The San Diego Padres have a stacked system in the lower minors thanks to picking high in the draft and spending a lot of money in the international market in recent years. Of those, Jeisson Rosario has really stood out this summer in the Arizona Rookie League.
I have seen him several times this summer, and I come away with a different take every time. One thing is for sure is his bat is for real. He has a quick bat that gets through the zone and uses the whole field although he can get out on his front foot against a good breaking ball.
He is currently striking out at nearly a 23% rate, but he shouldn’t be a big strikeout guy long term and he has also shown a good eye at the plate, with an OBP of .391, nearly a hundred points better than his .293 average.
The ball does jump off the bat, not likely to turn into real home run power but can put the ball in the gap. Going into Sunday, he had just six extra-base hits, a home run and five doubles, giving him a slugging percentage that is actually lower than his OBP, just .380.
He currently has plus speed, had him as quick as 4.1 home to first, but will probably end up above average. On the bases he is still raw, as I saw him get picked off at first by a lefty without an impressive move. He is also just three of seven on steals in large part due to the fact he does not have a great first step right now.
Many have raved about his arm, but I have not really seen it. I have been regularly impressed by the accuracy he has with the arm, but the arm strength has not flashed at any of the four games I have seen of his this summer. On Friday night he unleashed one from center to try and gun down a runner tagging from second to third, but the ball just didn’t have much zip on it and was ultimately cut off by the shortstop.
The big question mark on Rosario is his defense. He has been playing center and has the profile to stick there, but is completely inconsistent. Friday night he ran in on a ball before turning around and having to take four steps back out to make the catch.
He has run a ball down to the warning track, only to have it fall right next to him. But he has also shown great reads and run down balls that seemed sure hits and even played a sure double on a sharp liner into right center into a single by sliding and stopping the grounder from getting by.
All that said, he is still just 17 years old, nearly three years younger than the average age in the AZL (per baseball-reference.com), and the inconsistencies will certainly get better. He is listed as 6’1” and 175 lbs., which seems pretty accurate, and he has the body type that should stay lean enough to remain up the middle in the long term.
Don’t be shocked to see him as a future top 100 prospect that makes a massive jump in the next year or two as the bat tool is enough to carry him to the big leagues, but he possesses the raw tools to become a top of the lineup regular in time.