Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Eddie Rosario Experiment

Eddie Rosario is a Puerto Rican -- turned 20 in late September --who the Twins drafted in the fourth round in 2010 and had a monster 2011 season in the Appy League as an 19-year-old outfielder -- 21 homers with a slash line of .337/.397.670.

He played mainly in center for Elizabethton, and everything I've seen about him suggests that (a) he could stick in center rather than have to move to a corner and (b) the Twins have so many other toolsy outfield candidates in their minors -- Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Angel Morales -- that Rosario might have to shift to a corner anyway.

Plenty of outfield prospects, but a dearth of middle infielders -- which led, according to this LaVelle Neal item, to an instructional league experiment of trying Rosario at second base. LEN says it went well enough for the Twins to plan to continue the position shift in spring training.

Even if the shift takes root, it's no immediate fix for the major league middle infield. Rosario's big season came in the lower levels of the  system -- there are four rungs of the organizational ladder separating him from Target Field. He won't be in Minnesota in 2012 or 2013, and even 2015 may be pushing it for this rather conservative developmental system.

That the Twins are trying this with one of their better prospects speaks, again, to their long-running difficulty in developing middle infielders. It's something to keep an eye on -- and the likelihood that next season will see Rosario and Miguel Sano in the same infield for Beloit in the Midwest League has me contemplating a minor league road trip next summer, something I haven't done for a few years.

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