Comparing Amed Rosario to other recent star shortstops

Over the last year or so, I have found myself mentioning quite often that I feel Amed Rosario’s career path is trajecting like Xander Bogaerts’ and expect similar results. Rosario was the top prospect in baseball upon being brought to the big leagues and Keith Law called him “a tool shed.” Too, FanGraphs rated him as a Future Value 65 which means Future All-Star. Hence, the abilities for stardom are there to be tapped.

Last year, Rosario’s second half yielded a 112 OPS+ tear to the tune of .319/.351/.453/.804 over one plate appearance shy of 300 PA; that gives much cause for optimism and even excitement. We will compare their offensive stats in a little bit and we need to remember Bogaerts plays his home games at Fenway Park, known for its short left field and high offensive production, and Rosario plays in Citi Field, known as a pitcher’s park that has suffocated offensive production of its home team over the years.

When looking at Baseball-Reference to see what other players’ production compares with Rosario’s through equal respective ages, we see a nice list of quality players and two of them are Hall of Famers. The closest comparison is Jimmy Rollins and all of us know Rollins’ game intimately. He was a thorn in the Mets’ side for years and made a very good career for himself as a leader and a valuable player to his team’s success. Later in his career, Rollins used a favorable home park to show some good power numbers but was mostly known for his speed. Also included in the list of players most comparable, in the third spot is Troy Tulowitzki. Another very good player who may have had inflated stats due to his home park for many years, but was still an above average player for his position overall.

Ben Clemens wrote a great depth analysis article on Rosario on FanGraphs recently and it offers that Rosario has improved by hunting fastballs in a specific zone rather than anywhere, has improved his chase rate every year, has improved differentiating fastballs from the benders and is swinging at more fastballs, and he has improved on the field to where he is now average on defense rather than his league worst defensive rating that Rosario came into the league with.

Before I start the comparisons, I’d like to recognize Rosario’s yearly improvement in plate discipline:

Season O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact%
2017 45.5% 66.6% 55.3% 56.4% 75.9% 67.3%
2018 41.2% 69.4% 53.8% 63.6% 85.1% 76.0%
2019 38.1% 71.8% 51.7% 64.0% 88.2% 77.6%

Now, onto the player comparisons based on the first three years of each respective player:

First Year PAs Stat Line OPS+
Rosario 170 .248/.270/.394/.665 76
Bogaerts 50 .250/.320/.364/.684 87
Rollins 55 .321/.345/.377/.723 83
Tulowitzki 108 .240/.318/.292/.609 53
Second Year PAs Stat Line OPS+
Rosario 554 .256/.295/.381/.676 88
Bogaerts 538 .240/.297/.362/.660 83
Rollins 720 .274/.323/.419/.743 93
Tulowitzki 682 .291/.359/.479/.838 109
Third Year PAs Stat Line OPS+
Rosario 655 .287/.323/.432/.755 102
Bogaerts 613 .320/.355/.421/.776 107
Rollins 705 .245/.306/.380/.686 85
Tulowitzki 421 .263/.332/.401/.732 85

The numbers speak for themselves. When stepping back from our impatience with Rosario’s lack of instant success, we see that he’s on a very good road that compares favorably with other players that became all-stars. In fact, in Brian’s projection post for Rosario, I put the All-Star expectation on him. Everyone calling for Andres Gimenez should look at the above numbers and see how Rosario is the only one in a pitcher’s park, but his numbers still compare favorably and in the case of slugging, he has them beat. Hopefully, our “tool shed” busts out the sledge hammer this year and rewards the front office for not including him in any trades because his name was constantly brought up, whether it was for J.T. Realmuto, Starling Marte, or Francisco Lindor.

8 comments for “Comparing Amed Rosario to other recent star shortstops

  1. MattyMets
    March 6, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Gus, great post. It’s nice to see the upward trajectory in offensive performance. I’d like to see Rosario improve on his base running and defense too. He clearly has a lot of talent, though I wish he had better range in the field. His swing is long, so I’m not sure I can envision him hitting .320 like some of the other SS you named, but, shoot, if he can do .280 with 30/30 doubles and steals, solid defense and maybe improve his walk rate a bit, I’ll take it!

  2. March 6, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I hope you are right with your Rosario-Bogaerts comp.

    And may he not be: Orlando Arcia, J.P. Crawford, Jurickson Profar, Addison Russell or Dansby Swanson.

    But I think it’s important to recognize how Bogaerts got where he is. In his third season (last one of your chart) he had a .372 BABIP. The following year he dropped 37 points in that category but still had a more productive year because he increased his BB% from 4.9 to 8.1 and increased his ISO from .101 to .152

    His walk rate has gone up each year since and his ISO has topped .200 the past two seasons.

    Can Rosario do that?

    • Ike Rauth
      March 6, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      I am so glad we did not trade Ames for London especially with the other players they were talking about we would have had to give up I have no doubt that he will grow into an elite offensive short stop someday may also steal 30 bases and if his defense continues to grow the way it did in the second half who knows how good he could be defensively he has all the tools to be a tough short stop and he’s only 24

    • TexasGusCC
      March 6, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Brian, I did notice his second half BABIP was .381, a huge jump from the .280 in the first half, so that must have been a little more luck than less luck. Too, Rosario came into camp last year trying to take more pitches and the plate discipline shows it. I hope he bats in the top three rather than #8 because he deserves to be shielded in order to grow. I have my own lineup ideas, like everyone else.

  3. José
    March 6, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    “Rosario was the top prospect in baseball upon being brought to the big leagues”

    I totally don’t remember this. Is it senility on my part?

  4. JImO
    March 8, 2020 at 8:05 am

    He is only 24, he hit around .320 in the 2nd half plus cut back on strikeouts. He should have a very good 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: