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to give him another chance in left field this summer, largely because they lacked other feasible options and he was still only 25-years-old. Man, am I glad that they did.
This season has been a revelation for Rosario. Not only is he leading Twins regulars in hitting with a .296 batting average, his .503 slugging percentage is second on the team to human rocket launcher Miguel Sano. Rosario has significantly cut down on his strikeouts and his 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio coincides nicely with a respectable on-base percentage of 0.337. Per Aaron Gleeman, here are Eddie Rosario’s swing rates on out-of-zone pitches over the past three years: 2015 – 47 percent (highest in MLB), 2016 – 45 percent, 2017 – 38 percent. That’s a significant change in his chase rate, and it’s clearly manifesting itself positively in his stat line. Simply put, Eddie Rosario went from being one of the worst offensive players in the history of baseball to one of the best hitters on the Twins, and it recently culminated in him winning last week’s American League player of the week award while leading the red-hot Twins to seven wins in their last eight games.
I don’t know if these changes in Rosario’s approach are attributable to new Twins hitting coach James Rowson or just his maturation as a hitter as he enters his prime, but Rosario is now a dangerous stick in the middle of the resurgent Twins’ lineup. With this recent win streak, the Twins are now only half of a game behind the Angels for the final American League wild card spot and their playoff odds since Aug. 1 have increased from 5.3 percent to 24 percent.
It’s a good thing that the Twins are hot right now, because they’re headed on a tough road trip this week with stops in Cleveland and Arizona. In the best case scenario, the Twins could make a major move on the division-leading Indians if they can go to Cleveland and make some noise. In a more realistic scenario, if the Twins can keep their heads above water against two playoff contenders this week, they will return home for a long home stand against tanking teams like the White Sox and Blue Jays that will afford them a legitimate opportunity to bank some wins and really assert themselves as a fixture in the wild card race as the calendar turns to September.
The Twins have been incredibly fun to watch this season, and Eddie Rosario deserves credit for being a major contributor in their return to respectability. With each week that passes, it’s looking more and more like I was wrong about Rosario, and it’s a good reminder that hitting at the big league level isn’t easy and it takes time (over two years in Rosario’s case) for hitters to make adjustments and figure things out. With Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco also starting to show signs of life at the plate, the Twins might have made the best trade deadline decision possible – by standing pat and showing faith in their young players, their team is improving and they didn’t have to cede any future assets. Regardless of how this season turns out for the Twins, the future is bright for this squad.
Twins take conservative approach at deadline
Heading into this season, I thought I had seen just about enough at bats from Eddie Rosario to officially label him a bust. I don’t think it was a crazy notion – after two full seasons in the big leagues, he had an on-base percentage of 0.292, which was second worst among all major league outfielders since 1900. Seriously. While he flashed some occasional power, he constantly
chased pitches out of the zone and his strikeout to walk ratio was a conniption-including 7.74-to-1. However, the Twins decided
By Andy Thayer