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:
Now, onto the player comparisons based on the first three years of each respective player:
|First Year||PAs||Stat Line||OPS+|
|Second Year||PAs||Stat Line||OPS+|
|Third Year||PAs||Stat Line||OPS+|
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.