• What's the Plan: Eddie Rosario

    In 2011, Miguel Sano enjoyed a breakout season in Elizabethton, launching 20 homers in just 66 games for the Twins' advanced rookie-league affiliate. Because that dazzling performance served as a springboard for the young slugger, who has since graduated to elite prospect status, it can be easy to forget that Sano didn't even lead his team in home runs that year. No, that would be Eddie Rosario, who went deep 21 times and posted a 1.068 OPS for E-town -- one of the best offensive seasons ever assembled in the Appalachian League.

    While he has never garnered the same massive hype as Sano, Rosario has managed to stay on the same aggressive promotion schedule and has hit at every level. If he's not as close to the majors as Sano, who could be up next month, he's certainly not far behind.

    Following his huge season in Elizabethton, Rosario was moved from center field to second base, as the Twins hoped to shift some of their minor-league strength from the outfield to the infield. Though his adaptation to the new position has included some bumps, his glovework has mostly drawn solid reviews.

    And the bat... well, the bat just continues to shine. Rosario has hit .307/.359/.513 overall in four minor-league seasons. He batted .329 with a .903 OPS in the first half at Ft. Myers to earn a promotion to New Britain, and in the Eastern League he is currently at .274/.333/.403 through 56 games. Those numbers don't stick out like the ones he's posted elsewhere, but this is a 21-year-old getting his first taste of Double-A. Among 19 second basemen with 200-plus plate appearances in the EL, Rosario is the third-youngest and ranks seventh in OPS. Pretty damn good.

    The thing about Rosario is that he doesn't necessarily have particular skills that elevate him above the rest. His power has come back down to Earth after the 21-homer season in E-town -- he has hit only 22 total bombs in two seasons since. His plate discipline isn't great. He's not much a base stealer (19-for-40 over the last two years, yuck). But Rosario can straight-up hit, and has done so very consistently while rising rapidly through Minnesota's system.

    He's clearly a part of the next wave for the Twins, but how long will it be before we actually see him at Target Field?

    The Aggressive Route


    Sano has forced his way into consideration for a September call-up due to his sheer obliteration of Eastern League pitching. That hasn't been the case for Rosario, whose numbers at New Britain profile more as good than great, especially after a recent slump that has seen him bat .158 over his past 10 contests.

    Early 2014 would seem to be the soonest we might see Rosario, and when the Twins do finally decide to give the kid a look, they'll need to find room for him with the suddenly entrenched Brian Dozier holding down second base. There are a number of potential ways to go about this. As a young, cheap second baseman coming off a breakout year, Dozier might have some trade value during the offseason. If they could flip him for quality arms while opening a spot for Rosario, it's something they would have to look at. Heck, they could even look at trading Rosario if the right opportunity comes along.

    The more likely scenario, however, is that the Twins look to create space for both Dozier and Rosario. That might mean trying Dozier at shortstop again (although he's looked so comfortable at second that's hard to envision). It might also mean sliding Rosario back into the outfield, at least temporarily. Suddenly the Twins don't look quite so stacked out there in the short term, with Aaron Hicks' brutal season casting doubt on his readiness.

    By starting in Rochester next year, Rosario would be ready to put up numbers and position himself for a call-up whenever a need arises, either at second or in the outfield.

    The Conservative Route

    It's easy to caught up in the flurry of promotions, what with all the midseason movement we've seen this summer. Guys like Sano and Byron Buxton have changed the rules for an organization that typically opts for a more patient approach.

    But it's important to remember that Rosario simply isn't on the level of those two, and the Twins might be a bit gun-shy about pushing too hard with non-generational talents after watching Hicks struggle immensely with the transition from Double-A to the majors this year.

    Next spring, Rosario will still be only 22, and unless he turns things around in the final weeks at New Britain he'll be coming off a fairly pedestrian half-season in Double-A. By returning to the Rock Cats next year, the second baseman will still be younger than many of his peers in the Eastern League, and he'll be able to dictate his own pace through his production. With Dozier earning plenty of leash in the majors, the Twins have the luxury of taking things as slowly as they want without worrying about robbing the big-league club of a talent that could sorely be used (unlike with Sano and Alex Meyer).

    The Likely Route

    With his lack of overwhelming production in New Britain, along with the presence of Dozier in the majors, I expect the Twins to go full-out conservative with Rosario. And that's perfectly fine. Let him continue to iron out his game and work his way up to Triple-A and beyond while the Twins continue to see what they have in their emerging 26-year-old incumbent.
    This article was originally published in blog: What's the Plan: Eddie Rosario started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Fangraphs' prospect expert basically laughed off the concept that Dozier would block a top prospect like Rosario.....but....

      I also expect them to be conservative, and to move him to AAA next year. And to see what Dozier is/is not next year. Plenty of other top prospects in other orgs move up, based on talent not numbers, from level to level. I don't know they'll do that here or not.....
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      I like this series of articles so far. Thanks. A few weeks ago Mr. Stohs wrote an article about Dozier's numbers trending positively and there were many comments after that. It seems pretty logical that with Dozier playing well it would make sense to let Rosario prepare more slowly for AAAA. I hope the do not move him back to OF. Its nice to have this "issue." I look forward to a day when discussions like this happen about the pitching staff.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      Dozier has done exactly what fans wanted Plouffe, Parmalee and him to do: show improvement while getting regular at-bats. Speaking for all fans, Plouffe and Parmalee should not be given another opportunity if its going to block talented youngsters. On the other hand, Dozier may be performing well enough that Rosario needs to break down the gate at AAA next year to get a call up as Dozier is more than holding his own defensively and is taking a very positive turn offensively.

      It wouldn't be too bad of a situation to keep a Gold Glove (yes, I said it) caliber player in Dozier where he is and move Rosario to LF. I am assuming that Rosario will get a September call up in 2014 or possibly earlier, but more than likely be in the running for a full-time job in 2015. Buxton in CF, by then with Arcia/Hicks in RF.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Keep in mind Rosario's numbers were very good up until a bit over a week ago. He's been in a slump. That's the SSS of AA. I suspect he opens the season in Rochester with Sano for 2014. I'm perfectly fine with that. If Dozier is a mirage, then Rosario will likely get his chance sometime next year. If not, the Twins have a good problem, but I would hope Dozier finds his way back to SS since there really isn't much close in terms of impact talent.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      If they think Rosario is ready for the majors, I think they need to give Dozier another shot at short, or see what they could get pitching wise via trade.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      If they think Rosario is ready for the majors, I think they need to give Dozier another shot at short, or see what they could get pitching wise via trade.
      I like the idea of trading Dozier for a legitimate MLB SP if possible. Rosario's ceiling is high enough to risk losing Dozier to fill a more needy position. Otherwise no need to rush him out of AAA.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      I like the improvement by Dozier but I'm still not sold on him. Start Rosario in AAA next year till Dozier either loses his job at 2B or cements it. Rosario will only be 22 next year so there is no rush to get him to the bigs.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I would sacrifice some defense at SS to get too decent to good middle infield bats in the lineup. What's one error on defense when the pitching is giving up two doubles an inning anyway?
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'd like to see Sano and Rosario get promoted to Rochester for the playoff run. There aren't a lot of guys at the MLB level who have a relationship with winning baseball and I'd like these two to know what it is and like the taste of it.
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Fangraphs' prospect expert basically laughed off the concept that Dozier would block a top prospect like Rosario.....but....

      I also expect them to be conservative, and to move him to AAA next year. And to see what Dozier is/is not next year. Plenty of other top prospects in other orgs move up, based on talent not numbers, from level to level. I don't know they'll do that here or not.....
      Yea that one kinda peeved me off because he clearly had no idea how Dozier's been doing as of late.
    1. Andy4Twins's Avatar
      Andy4Twins -
      Anything that promotes either of these two individuals to Minnesota (Rosario or Sano) until next year would be flat out dumb. There is a good chance that they might not make the opening day roster next year and then it will be important to delay their Super Two arbitration status. I am fine if one forces your hand next spring to start them on the roster ... but to assume that is likely and promote them in September to win meaningless baseball games that they are actually better off losing is dumb. I agree with the send them to Rochester approach although I assume you need to demote someone then ... which would seem kind of unfair to whoever contributed to them being in the playoffs.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy4Twins View Post
      Anything that promotes either of these two individuals to Minnesota (Rosario or Sano) until next year would be flat out dumb. There is a good chance that they might not make the opening day roster next year and then it will be important to delay their Super Two arbitration status. I am fine if one forces your hand next spring to start them on the roster ... but to assume that is likely and promote them in September to win meaningless baseball games that they are actually better off losing is dumb. I agree with the send them to Rochester approach although I assume you need to demote someone then ... which would seem kind of unfair to whoever contributed to them being in the playoffs.
      You mean like Aaron Hicks this year? How'd that work out?
      If they think he's ready he should be here, if not he shouldn't, but I would sure as hell hope that the Twins have learned their lesson and that Spring Training will have absolutely nothing to do with that decision.
      We're talking about practice.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Fangraphs' prospect expert basically laughed off the concept that Dozier would block a top prospect like Rosario.....but....
      And I'll laugh off that he actually laughed off to that. Some expert.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      You mean like Aaron Hicks this year? How'd that work out?
      If they think he's ready he should be here, if not he shouldn't, but I would sure as hell hope that the Twins have learned their lesson and that Spring Training will have absolutely nothing to do with that decision.
      We're talking about practice.
      So why do they have spring training then, why not just write in next year's lineups after the last game of the season, and who did earn the opening day CF spot if not Hicks?
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by troyhobbs View Post
      So why do they have spring training then, why not just write in next year's lineups after the last game of the season, and who did earn the opening day CF spot if not Hicks?
      I'm guessing to get ready for the season? Maybe so pitchers can work on certain pitches, maybe get their pitch counts up?
      Maybe so that the first time hitters see live pitching in months it's not in a game that counts?
      Maybe so they can work on PFP, work on turning double plays, hitting cut off men, etc.
      Are you telling me that the opening day roster should be set based on ST numbers?
      Boy, I hope Mauer never has a bad spring training, does he have any options left?

      I'm not saying Hicks did or did not earn the CF job. If he did it should be based on his track record as a whole, and what the coaches see as his strengths and weaknesses, not because he can put up the best numbers in a tiny sample size of pretend games against mixed competition.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      The Twins are one of four teams still in on Cuban "SS" Guerrero. If they sign him the would give us two guys who profile as 2B but could be below average defensive SS and a top 50 2B prospect. That would give us 3 true 2B with questions surrounding them.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      Dozier has done exactly what fans wanted Plouffe, Parmalee and him to do: show improvement while getting regular at-bats..
      To be fair, Dozier has had some brutal stretches we rode out this year. It'd be nice if Parms had gotten that same opportunity. I think that's so crucial for prospects at their point of development.

      As for Rosario, I hope he and Sano play in the playoffs this year with AAA and then see June call-ups next year.
    1. frightwig's Avatar
      frightwig -
      Dozier at age 26 has emerged as a decent bat (.243/.311/.417) + good glove at 2nd base, a nice sort of player to have on the roster, especially as a compliment to a few real big bats in the middle of your lineup. But I wouldn't say that Dozier is an essential building block, one of the core players in the next good Twins team, or someone who should be blocking any top prospects.

      He buys the club some time to let Rosario develop some more in the minors next season. If Dozier's plate production improves in his age 27 season, I'd say sell high on him--especially if Rosario looks ready to come up to the majors by next summer or at the end of the season. If Dozier's bat regresses, well, too bad, but then he still might help the team after being shifted to a utility role.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I'm guessing to get ready for the season? Maybe so pitchers can work on certain pitches, maybe get their pitch counts up?
      Maybe so that the first time hitters see live pitching in months it's not in a game that counts?
      Maybe so they can work on PFP, work on turning double plays, hitting cut off men, etc.
      Are you telling me that the opening day roster should be set based on ST numbers?
      Boy, I hope Mauer never has a bad spring training, does he have any options left?

      I'm not saying Hicks did or did not earn the CF job. If he did it should be based on his track record as a whole, and what the coaches see as his strengths and weaknesses, not because he can put up the best numbers in a tiny sample size of pretend games against mixed competition.
      I'm just messing with you a little bit. I know for veterans it's next to nothing but I think young guys can win spots w strong ST showings. I don't see Rosario doing this but regardless, the Hicks situation was different especially with the trades, Mastro's injury and Joe Benson's lack of hitting.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      What about Rosario's production shows he is ready? His bat has been fine but he is slumping and needs to make an adjustment. He D has been fine but not good enough to ride that to MLB alone. He had a good June, great July and so far, a poor August.
      Give him a spring invite and track his progress in the Winter leagues...but...baring some kind of injury, I can't see how he makes the club coming out of spring.
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