The Minnesota Twins promoted prospect Eddie Rosario to the major league roster yesterday, replacing the injured Oswaldo Arcia. Rosario was off to a relatively slow start with the Rochester Red Wings in the Triple-A International League, hitting .242/.280/.379 with five walks and 17 strikeouts in 95 at-bats. Here's a look at what to expect.
Rosario was drafted by the Twins in the fourth round in 2010 from high school in Guayama, Puerto Rico. He emerged as a prospect quickly with an excellent tear through rookie ball (.294/.343/.438 in the GCL in '10, then .337/.397/.670 in the Appalachian League in 2011). He remained very productive in 2012 (.299/.347/.499 in Low-A) and 2013 (.302/.350/.460 between High-A and Double-A).
2014 was different. He got off to a bad start with a 50-game recreational drug suspension. When he came back he didn't hit with the same authority, batting just .237/.277/.396 in 79 games in Double-A despite hitting well at the same level the previous year. He did rebound with a solid performance in the 2014 Arizona Fall League, restoring much of his status, but his numbers in Triple-A thus far are undistinguished.
Rosario is a 6-1, 180 pound left-handed hitter born September 26, 1991. When he was drafted he drew comparisons to a young Bobby Abreu, but Rosario hasn't shown that kind of power. He's not punchless however, demonstrating a very fast bat although his strike zone judgment has been spotty against advanced pitching. He hit for high averages with solid gap power for most of his career but hasn't consistently replicated this since the drug suspension, although his run through Arizona last fall (.330/.345/.410) was in line with his old skills. At age 23 he is still young enough to develop further.
Here's some nice batting practice video from Fangraphs:
On defense, Rosario can play all three outfield positions without hurting you, throwing well enough to handle right field while showing sufficient range for center. He also has experience at second base but is less of a positive there; he's not a butcher but looks more natural in the outfield. The versatility itself will be an asset of course. His running speed is a little above average but he still needs polish with his stealing technique.
If Rosario can get back to his past level of success, he projects as a .280 hitter with moderate power, defensive versatility, and a few steals. It isn't a star package but you can make a career of that.