Warne: Still at Class-A, Eddie Rosario quietly making noise at 2B
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Fast forward to today, and one could easily make the case the Twins have another trio developing between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. That trio is Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton -- and Eddie Rosario.
Rosario sort of flies under the radar in that group. In fact, had Oswaldo Arcia not debuted yet, he -- or even Aaron Hicks -- might have bumped the second baseman a bit further down that list.
So far, Rosario's off to a good start at high Single-A Fort Myers, with a .389 wOBA (weighted on-base average, scaled to OBP) after posting a .372 mark at Beloit, the Twins' previous low-A affiliate.
By comparison, Joe Mauer posted a .376 mark with the Twins in 2012. So, while there's clearly a disparity between their levels, it's plain to see Rosario -- among the Florida State League's youngest players at 21 years old -- is more than holding his own after an offseason promotion.
And while Rosario's a converted centerfielder, general manager Terry Ryan says the left-handed hitter's profile would even work in a corner. He's that good of a hitter.
"He profiles about anywhere on the field, actually," Ryan said. "But we have other centerfielders that are pretty good. So, we saw a little bit of an opportunity."
It isn't as though this is coming out of left, or even center, field. Rosario's played second base before.
"He played second base in high school. Otherwise, we probably wouldn't have approached him about it," Ryan said. "We put him over there in the instructional league, and he had some actions. He kind of looked like a second baseman."
It's rare to see a guy move within similar spots in the defensive spectrum, but it's a good move for Rosario's profile.
"All of the sudden, the bat plays up at second base," Ryan said. He added, "But it'd play in centerfield. Actually, he might profile in left or right too; he's got power. His bat profiles no matter where you want to put him. But as he shows the ability to play second base, the bat certainly takes a higher piece to his skills."
Rosario hit 21 home runs in his second season of rookie ball in 2011 and 13 between two levels last year. Only 13 big league second basemen hit more than 13 home runs last year, and only three -- Rickie Weeks, Aaron Hill and Robinson Cano -- matched or exceeded 21.
Perhaps even more impressively, Rosario has slugged .535 in the minors. Only one second baseman slugged higher than that last year (Cano).
None of this is to equate what Rosario has done in the minors to what he could do provided he makes the big leagues. This is just to frame up some context.
But for all the talk about Rosario's bat, Ryan also would suggest that Rosario is where he ought to be -- or further -- on the learning curve of playing the keystone.
"He's got a pretty good feel over there for someone just taking up the position," Ryan said. "He has range."
Through 22 games of his second season as an infield convert, Rosario has yet to commit an error. He committed 15 last year at Beloit in just 67 games at second.
As in the big leagues, though, errors don't necessarily tell the whole story.
"Don't get too carried away with statistics," Ryan said. "You never know from those if he's getting to a ball or anything like that."
But Ryan said he's happy overall with where Rosario and Sano are with their bodies of work with the leather.
Though he's basing those conclusions so far on managerial reports, having not seen either in action, Ryan said he's happy with where Rosario is -- and where he's headed.
"He's ready to play second base," Ryan said. "He's come a long way from the instructional league, and last year in Beloit. We were certain it was going to take some time, but he looks like he's got a lot of confidence that he can play there. I thought we saw that in major league camp. He didn't look out of place there."