Randy Rosario cracked a few Twins prospects lists after compiling a 2.82 ERA in 44.2 innings for Elizabethton in 2013. He opened 2014 in Cedar Rapids, making three starts with a 5,56 ERA before having Tommy John surgery. Friday night was his sixth start of the season for the Kernels.
Rosario is a 21-year-old lefty out of the Dominican. His windup motion is at least vaguely reminiscent of Frank Viola's, and he appears to have more lower-body involvement in his delivery than does Felix Jose.
I was seated right behind two Kernels pitchers, Randy LeBlanc and Sam Gibbons, who were charting pitches, and could see their radar gun, which was giving higher velocities than the scoreboard listing. Rosario threw a few mid-90s heaters but sat considerably lower than that, 88 to 90 mph.
What he really had going was movement. He had a pitch, either a sinking fastball or a hard slider, that moved sharply to his glove side (down and in to a right handed hitter). He struck out five men in his 5.2 innings Friday; one of them reached first when the pitch eluded catcher Brian Navarreto, and Navarreto had to throw to first to complete two others.
Rosario and his teammates had an ugly first inning, with three infield errors resulting in two unearned runs. Rosario himself was involved in the ugliness. He fielded a comebacker that should have been turned into a double play but threw low and behind the second baseman covering the bag. The error was charged to the second baseman, but it was still a suboptimal throw from Rosario.
The lefty got through the fifth without allowing another run, but was clearly laboring in the sixth, with more effort showing in his delivery. After getting the first batter out, he allowed a double, wild pitch, single and double before getting a fly ball and then issuing his first walk of the game, at which point manager Jake Mauer pulled him. The reliever, Jared Wilson, issued his own walk to load the bases and then gave up a three-run double.
So Rosario's line for the game: 5.2 innings, nine hits, six runs, four earned, one walk and five strikeouts. It was a better outing than that stat line suggests.
Rosario is young -- a year younger than the Midwest League average -- and he seems to be bouncing back from the ligament replacement surgery well. I think he has a major league future ahead of him, most likely as a reliever, but good health is obviously a necessity for that to happen.
I commented Friday morning on Navarreto. On Friday evening he went 0-for-5 but gunned out two more would-be basestealers. That makes him 5-for-5 in the three games I've seen. Again, I don't know about his bat, but the catcher can throw,