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Non-Tendered: Eddie Rosario

59 players across the MLB were non-tendered before yesterday’s deadline. A small increase form 56 last season, over the next few days we’re going to look at some of the more intriguing players that are now free agents. Today we start with former Minnesota Twins Outfielder: Eddie Rosario.

 

History on Eddie Rosario:

Eddie Rosario started his professional career in baseball when the Minnesota Twins used their 4th Round selection in the 2010 MLB Draft to grab the outfielder from Refael Lopez Landron High School in Puerto Rico. While he wasn’t a late-round pick, Rosario did bypass many international scouts and it took a few years before he started to appear on some prospect radars. In 2012 he broke into Class-A Ball and was the 87th best prospect according to Baseball Prospectus. While he broke into Double-A the next season, his prospect stock took a hit as he received a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test (to which the substance was unconfirmed). However, in 2014 Rosario cracked the Baseball Prospectus list again, this time as the 60th best prospect, and in 2015 he would break into Triple-A temporarily and make his MLB Debut in early May. He would play 122 games in the MLB that season while leading the AL in triples (15) and hit a home run on the first pitch he saw. Rosario would only receive some down-ballot Rookie of the Year support and ultimately started the 2016 season back in Rochester (Triple-A).

He would be back to the MLB later in 2016, and ever since he has stuck around as the every day left fielder for the Minnesota Twins. In the Major Leagues, he has been very solid contributor, with averaging 2.1 bWAR and fWAR from 2015 to 2019. (In 2020 he had 0.9 bWAR and fWAR, which would’ve been about 2.4 in a full season.) Rosario has pretty good tools around his game, and while he isn’t the next budding superstar, he does have a plus arm and good outfield ability (even though the stats indicate otherwise), will hit 25+ HR’s, and decent speed which is helped by good baserunning IQ. He also has won two WBC silver medals with Puerto Rico in 2013 and 2017 which is cool.

However, he does have some knocks on his game which comes with his inability to stay patient at the plate and work a walk, the aforementioned drug-related suspension in his past, his defensive stats not being great, and his proneness to being a highly streaky player.

 

The Stats on Eddie Rosario:

Over his 6-year MLB career, Eddie Rosario has a good overall stat line. It’s nothing remarkable (if it was, why would the Twins let him go?) but there may be some reason for it. At this point, Rosario’s career triple-slash is a .277/.310/.478 (.788 OPS, 109 OPS+), with 119 HR’s, 388 RBI’s, 539:133 K:BB rate, and a 39:20 SB:CS rate. With the rate stats this comes out to be about 28 HR’s, 90 RBI’s, a 31:125 K:BB rate, and a 9:5 SB:CS rate. All in all, this comes out to about 2.1 WAR per year and 11.6 overall. Good starter-level type play.

Looking at the past two seasons is important for Rosario. In 2019 he had a .276/.300/500 triple-slash (.800 OPS) and in 2020 he had a .257/.316/.476 triple-slash (0.792 OPS). In 2019 he hit 32 HR’s and in 2020 he hit 13 HR’s (35*). In 2019 he had 109 RBI’s to 42 in 2020 (113*). In 2019, Rosario was 18th among AL MVP votes, in 2020 he was 17th. Across his game, he has been pretty consistent at seasons end.

*Numbers in parenthesis are extrapolated over a full season if 2020 had gone 162 games

Let’s also quickly look at some projections for Rosario going into 2021. Baseball-Reference projects he’ll hit to a .268/.313/.476 triple-slash (.788 OPS) with 18 HR’s and 60 RBI’s over 375 PA’s. Considering Rosario has averaged playing in 88.5% of his games since 2017, the low number of PA’s indicates why his rate stats are very low here. For Fangraphs, the Depth Charts projections and Steamer projections are nearly identical and both feature a triple-slash of .270/.317/.484 (.801 OPS) with 24 HR’s and 85-87 RBI’s over about 550 PA’s. This is likely closer to what to expect with Rosario. Considering he’s going into his age-29 season and has been consistently on the field and contributing, this type of performance should be expected in 2021.

 

Should the Yankees Be Interested?

The Yankees currently have a starting left-fielder in Clint Frazier who is going into his age-26 season and was a much more highly prized prospect than Rosario was. Frazier will also be entering just his first year of arbitration this season (MLBTR has his max arbitration salary at $2.6M and a low of $1.6M) instead of Rosario who was entering his 3rd and final arbitration year (MLBTR had a max of $12.9M and a low of $8.6M on him). Between the two of them as well, Frazier’s projections also come very close (Fangraphs at 0.775 OPS or BBREF at .814 OPS). It seems like a move set for the Yankees only to spend more money.

Truthfully, when I saw Rosario was let go, my immediate thought was for the Yankees to jump on him. However, the numbers don’t back up this idea and there is only really one situation in which I could justify bringing in Rosario. It would be if the Yankees decided to let Clint Frazier go in a trade. Joel Sherman indicated earlier today that the Yankees have been trying to gauge his market (along with Miguel Andujar and Mike Tauchman). I’d be hard pressed to trade Frazier for anything less than a major pitching upgrade (Nola, if he’s available) or a superstar (Lindor). However, this wouldn’t be the only piece necessary to move.

This would then also then mean that the Yankees would then have decided to completely move on from Brett Gardner (who I think will be back on an about $5M salary) and instead use that money instead of going to Frazier and Gardy to get Rosario and use Tauchman as the 4th OF.

If bringing in Rosario meant the Yankees traded Frazier (and obviously other pieces) to get back some serious help for this team, it’d be hard to say no. However, this left-handed outfield bat unfortunately does not have a likely future home in the Bronx.

 

Article By: Ethan Semendinger

Published On: December 3rd, 2020

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