Minnesota Twins: The Redemption of Eddie Rosario
By Greg Simbeck
How Eddie Rosario went from being a trade candidate to a re-emerging as a vital part of the Minnesota Twins.
To start this off, et’s flip back to last year: Eddie Rosario‘s name was tossed around a lot this past offseason as potential trade bait for the Minnesota Twins. Rosario was rumored to be heading to the Marlins as well as several other teams during this time, and it looked like a forgone conclusion that Eddie Rosario would be traded away.
Fast forward to right now: Eddie is still playing left field for the Twins and having an awesome year at the plate. Let’s take a look at how Eddie has progressed from being the subject of trade rumors to once again performing like one of the best players in the American League.
First, I need to admit something to all of you. I like Eddie Rosario. I have always liked Eddie Rosario. Amongst the group of Minnesota Twins players that have grown together through the minor league system up until now (Rosario, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver), Eddie has always been my favorite out of that group. I may be biased, but I got that off my chest. I feel better already.
I want to begin this analysis with a quick retrospective of Eddie’s career with the Minnesota Twins. Eddie was called up to the Twins in May of 2015, and in his first at-bat in the majors, he hit an opposite field home run.
He became only the 115th player to hit a homer in his first major league at-bat. Despite playing in a crowded outfield, he still managed to lead all of baseball in triples with 15, while also finishing second in outfield assists with 16.
He followed 2015 up with a down year, as he started the season very slowly and eventually lost playing time to teammates Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler. He was demoted to Triple-A Rochester in May and spent 41 games with the Red Wings.
He did play well enough down there to warrant a recall by the Twins in July. He played outstanding baseball down the stretch and was picked to be the starting left fielder for the Twins at the start of the 2017 season.
Rosario put together two solid seasons in 2017 and 2018 averaging 25 homers and 77 runs batted in over this span, helping him become a Minnesota Twins fan-favorite. Over those two years, Eddie was named the AL Player of the Week in August of 2017 and was a 2020 AL All-Star Final Vote candidate, though Jean Segura eventually won the vote.
In 2019, Eddie had a very good season offensively for the “Bomba Squad”, hitting 32 home runs coupled with leading the Twins in runs batted with 109. Unfortunately, both his average and on-base percentage decreased and there was some evidence that his free-swinging style was catching up to him.
His walk to strikeout ratio showed no sign of improvement, and to top it all off, a left ankle injury he sustained in June of that year led to a stint on the 10-day injured list. To make matters worse, after Eddie returned, his defensive play began to suffer, making it appear as if his ankle was not fully healed.
The offseason trade rumors swirled with the logic that Eddie could be traded to acquire much-needed starting pitching. Many fans believed that it was time to give highly ranked prospects like Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach a chance to roam left field for the Minnesota Twins. These rumors continued to circulate all the way through the aborted spring training.
Despite all this, Rosario is having a very productive 2020 season for the Minnesota Twins. With better pitch selection at the plate and a finally healed ankle, his overall play has been very impressive.
He has already hit 7 home runs and driven in 23 runs in this short half season while also playing outstanding on defense. He has recorded 4 assists from left field, with none being more spectacular than the missile he threw to get Franmil Reyes out at second base last night by about 6 steps.
Will there be a time in the near future when Eddie will be shopped around again? Perhaps, but we should all enjoy the Rosario ride while it lasts.