Eddie Rosario hit 27 homers and stole nine bags last year. This should disqualify him from being a sleeper. You might be thinking. “Sure, uh-huh, but what was his average?” He hit .290. So, now you might be thinking, “Okay, okay, got it, but what was his BABIP? Was he lucky?” His BABIP was .312, his career BABIP is .325. You might now be thinking, “Fine, but the Twins, I mean, blech, right?” The Twins were the 7th best offense in baseball last year, just ahead of the Diamondbacks, Rangers and Red Sox. Now, you might be thinking, “Well, Rosario isn’t a big part of that offense.” He’s their cleanup hitter. Now, you might be thinking, “His HR/FB must’ve been insane.” It was 16.4%. Far from insane. Now you might be thinking, “He hits a lot of ground balls. He’s gotta, right?” About the same as Gary Sanchez and Travis Shaw. “He strikes out a lot?” Nope, about the same as Freddie Freeman. “I feel like he’s been around a while, he’s old, right?” He’s 26. “So, why is he a sleeper?” Better yet… So, what should we expect from Eddie Rosario for 2018 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
If I had to put my finger on one thing that is artificially suppressing Eddie Rosario, I think there’s a confirmation bias saying the Twins are bad, so anything related to them must also be garbage. It’s inaccurate, but you can’t fight City Hall, unless you’re Batman and City Hall’s been taken over by the Joker. Let’s have some fun with math! In 2015, 40.6% of the balls Rosario hit were fly balls. He was younger than (no dur), so he didn’t have as much power. If this surprises anyone, I suggest having someone else check your closets for cats jumping out of them, because you’re easily shocked. If he has a modest uptick in fly balls this year to 40.6 from 37.4%, he will hit 183 fly balls. If he holds his HR/FB% of 16.4, he hits 30 homers this year. I have not said one number that would be challenging for him to reach. If he has a slight uptick in more power– he is only 26 — he hits 35 homers with ease. So, a .290 hitter with 30 homers, who is likely not drafted until after 150 overall? I mean, I know there’s been an offensive explosion, but this is an easy top 100 hitter. In fact (Grey’s got more!), he was the 72nd best player last year on our Player Rater. There were 16 pitchers in front of him, so Rosario was the 56th best hitter last year. One thing I haven’t mentioned (hey, why mention the negative stuff), he was caught eight times in 17 steal attempts. That’s a worst percentage than LiAngelo Ball. I watched some film on Rosario, and, honestly, he looks slow as dog balls. However, Paul Molitor won Manager of the Year honors with a team that was top ten in steals, while mentioning his 39-game hitting streak incessantly, so the Twins might keep sending Rosario. I think he could be anywhere from a two-steal guy to a ten-steal guy. Everything else, though, should be purdy. For 2018, I’ll give Eddie Rosario the projections of 88/30/96/.286/4 in 551 ABs with a chance for more.