The Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2013 is now available, and I’m happy to have it out there for people to order. It’s a great tool for learning more about over 150 players in the Twins farm system. One of the players who received an extra-long profile was Eddie Rosario. This morning, you will find out why the timing of today’s Eddie Rosario, For Better or Worse article is appropriate. Read the following and decide for yourself: Will Eddie Rosario be better or worse in 2013?

2012 Recap

When the Twins drafted Rosario in the third round of the 2010 draft, he was said to be the best bat from Puerto Rico that year. Since signing with the Twins, he has proven those people to be right. 

In 2011, he was the MVP of the Appalachian League. In 67 games, he hit .337/.397/.670 (1.068 OPS) with nine doubles, nine triples, 21 homers, 60 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Throughout the summer, it was a back-and-forth battle between Rosario and teammate Miguel Sano for the league leadership in home runs. Rosario won by just one homer.

The ballparks are smaller in the Appy League than they are in the Midwest League. Some wondered if Rosario would be able to continue putting up those kind of power numbers in Beloit. Simply put, he is not the same type of power hitter as Miguel Sano. However, he is a much more well-rounded hitter than Sano. In 95 games with the Snappers, he hit .296/.345/.490 (.835 OPS) with a team-leading 32 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs and 780 RBI. Impressive extra base hit totals considering he missed just over a month after being hit by a line drive in the mouth during batting practice in early June. He stole 11 bases, but he was also caught 11 times. Something happened after his injury because he could not read pitchers and was thrown out a lot. 

Rosario made the transition from centerfield to second base. He is a terrific defensive centerfielder with good range and a very strong arm. The move to second base was not simple. When I saw him play in early June, he showed very little range and looked uncomfortable. When I saw him play in early August, he looked much more comfortable, turned a couple of double plays and did have some improved range. 

This offseason, he has been very impressive in the Puerto Rican Winter League. In the regular season, he hit .338/.386/.496 (.882) with nine doubles and four home runs. In 31 playoff at bats, he has hit .290/.378/.581 (.0959) with a homer and nine RBI. He has primarily been playing in right field, although he has occasionally played more at second base. When he reports to spring training, he will be playing second base.

However, his spring training plans will be somewhat altered as he will be named to the Puerto Rican team in the WBC today when the rosters are announced. 

Why He’ll Be Worse

As was mentioned last week when we discussed Miguel Sano, Rosario will also be moving up a level to play in Ft. Myers. The Florida State League is more advanced than the Midwest League. The dimensions of the ballpark are even larger, matching big league ballparks since they are used for major league spring training. One thing to watch will be his walk rate. After walking 9.1% of his plate appearances in 2011, he walked just 7.2% of the time in 2012. He will also need to show that his second half base stealer drought was just a slump. 

Why He’ll Be Better

First and foremost, he hopefully won’t miss a month in the middle of the season due to a fluke injury. His numbers were very strong, and he was fairly consistent, at Beloit. His strikeout rate actually dropped from 20% to 16% 

When watching him, I found myself comparing his stance and swing are very similar to that of Denard Span. He has very quick hands so he is able to watch the ball a little bit longer. He also does a great job of using the entire field. He was also able to avoid long slumps. 

So, which will it be? Will Eddie Rosario get better or worse in 2013? Let us know what you think.

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