With names like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer stealing the headlines, Eddie Rosario tends to get overlooked in the universe of Twins prospects. Rosario didn't appear on the Top 100 prospect lists for MLB.com nor Baseball America prior to this season despite impressive production in both 2011 and 2012, but he figures to find his way onto everyone's lists now after crushing in Ft. Myers during the first half and finishing with a solid showing in New Britain as a 21-year-old.
It's fairly rare for a kid of Rosario's age to hold his own in Double-A, and by all accounts the athletic Puerto Rican did so while demonstrating noticeable skill at his new defensive home. Rosario transitioned from center field to second base in 2012 as the Twins sought to shift some of their organizational strength to the infield, and as 1500 ESPN's Brandon Warne relays
, the organization believes that Rosario now plays like someone "you'd never believe wasn't a natural second baseman."
Of course, there's a problem here. While Rosario is reportedly adapting very well to second, the Twins have seen Brian Dozier lock down that position in the majors this year. Dozier has produced the best power-hitting season for a second baseman in franchise history, and his defense has been somewhere between good and elite. The organization liked Dozier plenty even before this breakout, so it seems safe to say that the 26-year-old isn't going anywhere soon.
But what does that mean for Rosario? He could conceivably be moved back to the outfield, but Warne's article also noted that a scout suggested the prospect wasn't a good outfielder. Besides, Rosario doesn't have the offensive profile to stand out at a corner spot (center field, of course, is reserved for Byron Buxton).
Rosario won't necessarily be ready for the majors next year, but he finished this season with a quality .742 OPS in Double-A (league average was .717) and he's now headed to the Arizona Fall League, where a strong performance could continue to raise his stock.
And maybe that's exactly what the Twins are counting on.
It is well known that the Twins are deep on position player prospects and relatively thin on pitchers, especially in the high levels. Swapping minor-league bats for arms has always been a logical play, but Buxton and Sano aren't going anywhere, leaving Rosario as the most highly regarded and expendable trade chip in the system.
Losing an exciting talent like Rosario, who turns 22 in two weeks, would certainly hurt, but sacrifices need to be made in Minnesota's ongoing quest for starting pitchers with upside. And it's easy to see other clubs coveting him, perhaps even more so than Denard Span and Ben Revere a year ago. If Rosario's defense is truly coming along as well as reports suggest, his offensive upside would be tantalizing at a position where impact bats are difficult to come by.
What do you think? Would you part with Rosario in return for an impact arm?