• 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. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by troyhobbs View Post
      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.
      Oh yeah, I won't debate that. I know guys DO win jobs based on ST numbers. I'm saying that they SHOULDN'T.
      Hopefully the Twins have learned their lesson in putting too much stock in a small sample size of AB's that take place in completely different conditions, and against completely different competition than actual MLB games.
      Perhaps the Twins were planning to give Hicks the job regardless of his performance, and the ST numbers just made that an easy sell so they wen't with it. But, that is beside the point, my point is that ST numbers don't necessarily translate to MLB performance.
      I believe last ST it was Nick Blackburn that was putting up numbers that had everyone talking.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      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.

      We ain't talking about the game. We talking about practice, man.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      LOL, 11 years later that video still hasn't gotten old.

      "How the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?" HAHA.
    1. Jdosen's Avatar
      Jdosen -
      Quote Originally Posted by frightwig View Post
      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.
      I wouldn't say that either, yet. If he keeps improving over the course of the final month and a half and keeps doing the same thing next season, then we have a legitimate starting 2B.

      As I keep saying, odds are this situation just works itself out. Rosario might bust. Dozier might be a mirage. If they both end up being as advertised, then we have a good problem on our hands, but I wouldn't make any moves based on trying to predict how either of these guys will progress in the next year.
    1. goulik's Avatar
      goulik -
      Dozier Vs Rosario
      A decent offensive middle infielder who can show excellent defense is a rare commodity. That makes what Dozier has done special and a rare bright spot on this team. Rosario may turn out better than Dozier but as a AA prospect, that is only a projection, not a guarantee. I do not want to trade something that works for something that we hope will work (prospect pitcher) based on what we believe Rosario will be.
    1. 108 Double Stitches's Avatar
      108 Double Stitches -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jdosen View Post
      I wouldn't say that either, yet. If he keeps improving over the course of the final month and a half and keeps doing the same thing next season, then we have a legitimate starting 2B.

      As I keep saying, odds are this situation just works itself out. Rosario might bust. Dozier might be a mirage. If they both end up being as advertised, then we have a good problem on our hands, but I wouldn't make any moves based on trying to predict how either of these guys will progress in the next year.
      This sounds very reasonable. Unless something forces an early decision (like a massive trade offer), wait on it. More information will only make the decision easier and better grounded.

      Love this series of articles. Twins Dailey staff did a nice job coming up with this concept.
    1. E. Andrew's Avatar
      E. Andrew -
      I try not to make many calls, but Rosario is going to kill it. When you bat .301 and slug .516 after FRACTURING YOUR FACE, you're legit.

      I went for one autograph at spring training. Eddie Rosario.

      On topic, I hope he takes over second base on June 15th, 2014 and never looks back.
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      Rosario seems more ready than Sano but both are not ready for September call ups.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by RodneyKline View Post
      Rosario seems more ready than Sano but both are not ready for September call ups.
      In what way does Rosario look more ready than Sano?
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I don't think anyone has mentioned it but Rosario should be eligible to go to the AFL (I think). I can understand Sano making a case for a September promotion due to being an otherworldly talent. Rosario doesn't. He's good but the AFL would be better and then let him spend 1/2 a year in the minors next year while letting Dozier prove himself. If Dozier keeps hitting and playing good defense this is a good problem and I don't think it's an issue to move Dozier over to SS when Rosario is ready.
    1. goulik's Avatar
      goulik -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I don't think anyone has mentioned it but Rosario should be eligible to go to the AFL (I think). I can understand Sano making a case for a September promotion due to being an otherworldly talent. Rosario doesn't. He's good but the AFL would be better and then let him spend 1/2 a year in the minors next year while letting Dozier prove himself. If Dozier keeps hitting and playing good defense this is a good problem and I don't think it's an issue to move Dozier over to SS when Rosario is ready.
      That is if Dozier can cut down on SS errors... He had a real rough go at SS and that's why he's at 2nd...
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