Height: 6' 2" Weight: 170 lb
Acquired: 2012 International Signing, $1,750,000 signing bonus, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2014: (SS-A/A) .274/.320/.372, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 7 SB (70%), 15 BB, 58 K
2013: (Rk) .241/.279/.358, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 2 SB (25%), 11 BB, 43 K
Rosario has made some improvements on his swing by cutting down his swing length and reducing the severity of his leg kick. When combined with his already quick hands, the changes have given him the ability to turn on fastballs both inside the zone as well as keep up with premium velocity stuff up in the zone. While Rosario has grown physically stronger year over year, the added strength is not translate into his swing. When taking batting practice next to the likes of Michael Conforto, you could HEAR the differences in the loudness of the contact each player was making. While Rosario was driving pitches in all directions, it just didn't sound like a powerful enough swing yet.
Rosario's hitting approach has been improving as well. He has been able to cut down on his already reasonable K rate from 19% in 2013 to 18% in 2014. He seems to have a strong sense of the strike zone from top to bottom, never chasing pitches that are too or too low. However, he still struggles quite a bit with his K zone recognition from left to right, primarily on horizontal breaking pitches such as sliders and 11-5/10-4 curveballs. It's certainly not a problem that's particular to him as most 18 years olds have this problem,. He still has plenty of development time left to improve on this pitch recognition skills so the point here is that....again....he is no where close to a finished product and he still carries significant development risk.
Lastly lets touch on the defense. Rosario is pretty solid this aspect of his game. Playing on a much higher quality Brooklyn field than in his past seasons, his hands looked softer, his fielding looked clean, and his reactions off the bat were pretty solid. He possesses enough arm strength to stick at the SS position but previous reports of his "cannon arm" seem overblown. He is fearless though, never being afraid or hesitant to make throws from the hole or with a runner bearing down on him when turning the double play. \
While I am fully confident that he will continue to fill out his frame and become stronger....I do have some concerns that increased body mass could reduce his speed/range from its already average state. There should be no reason to rush Rosario at this point in time as he still needs lots of work. A full season developing in Savannah is probably the most likely scenario this year unless he absolutely mashes.
Ceiling: Solid MLB starting SS (Jimmy Rollins)
Floor: Hits the AA prospect wall.
Anticipated Assignment: (A) Savannah starting SS