The situation: Minnesota placed Oswaldo Arcia on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor strain in his hip, opening up a spot for Rosario.
Background: Rosario’s stock has fluctuated over the years. He started as a relatively unknown fourth-round pick out of Rafael Lopez Landron High in Puerto Rico. The left-handed-hitting outfielder performed well at the lower levels and showed impressive tools, and quietly established himself as an intriguing outfield prospect. Concerns over his position and a 50-game PED suspension saw his stock sink, but he seemed to reestablish himself after a strong 2013 campaign in which he posted a .810 OPS and 10 homers. Just as quickly, it sunk once more, as he was terrible in 2014, struggling to a .246/.283/.387 line between High- and Double-A. Those struggles, in a strong Minnesota system, saw him looking in at our Top 10 Twins prospects this offseason, though he was listed as one of the three factors on the farm.
Scouting report: Rosario’s starting position is a bit unorthodox, with his hands starting low with some “twitch.” He is able to get through the zone quickly despite this because his hands are exceptionally quick, maybe the quickest of any Twins prospect outside of Byron Buxton. The plane is inconsistent, but when he stays balanced and in sync with his lower half he has a swing that’s conducive to shooting the ball all over the field. There’s very little swing-and-miss in his game, but there’s also very little patience, and there are times that he’ll give at-bats away by swinging too early in counts or at pitches out of the zone.
The biggest issue offensively is the power. It’s more a case of not understanding his limitations than not possessing any oomph. There’s enough bat speed and plane for him to put the ball into the gaps and hit his share of homers, but too often he tries to yank pitches out of the park rather than letting those excellent hands work with him. He could be a 60 hit, 45 power guy, but because of the approach it drops those tools more likely into the 50+/40 range.
The Twins moved Rosario out of the infield and back into the outfield, and though he’s not exactly elite there it was the right decision. He’s an average runner who takes decent routes to the baseball, and the arm strength is good enough for him to handle left or center field. Left is the more likely long-term landing spot, but if Minnesota were to play him in center at this point it likely wouldn’t end up as a disaster.
Immediate big-league future: There’s no denying that Rosario is a talented player; in terms of pure athleticism, he likely ranks behind only Buxton and 2014 first-rounder Nick Gordon in the Minnesota system. Unless the approach sees significant improvement though—and based on what we’ve seen over the past year nad a half it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen—it’s very unlikely he ever taps into that potential. Pure talent might see the 23 year-old get off to a decent start, but as pitchers get a book on him, it’s difficult to see Rosario becoming anything more than a competent bench bat. —Christopher Crawford
Fantasy Impact: The shine is off the apple for Rosario, who sports a smooth stroke but not enough power for an outfield corner and not enough defensive ability for the keystone. If he could even fake it there, his bat would be intriguing for fantasy, but left in the outfield, he’s lost in a sea of mediocrity.
Following a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test, Rosario slashed .243/.286/.387 between High-A and Double-A last season. He backed that up by opening the year with a tepid .242/.280/.379 slash line in Triple-A. Between those two lines, Rosario did hit well in the AFL, but his moderate power output left his OPS at .755 even in friendly confines.
He should only have a spot on the roster as long as Arcia is out. That makes his valuation somewhat tricky, as there’s only a moderate output for a short-term gain. There’s the potential for a long-term asset here, but it’s unlikely to show itself in the time that Arcia is on the DL, and even if the optimal output arrives down the line it’s something in the range of a 10-15 homer, .280 average bat. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, but when that’s the high-end outcome, it’s safe to let someone else spend their money on the risk. If you are intent on bidding, $5 seems a reasonable cap in AL-Onlies, given the nature of the call up. More like Meh-ddie Rosario.
â— 90th percentile: .291/.327/.470, 1.6 WARP
â— 50th percentile: .245/.278/.391, 0.3 WARP
â— 10th percentile: .199/.228/.315, -.0.6 WARP
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