Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rosario, Santiago and Mejia

Eddie Rosario watches his
game-ending sac fly head out to
center field at Dodger Stadium.
Paul Molitor claims that Eddie Rosario gets better in big moments -- "he likes the bright lights," the manager says of the player -- and while I am dubious about that kind of evaluation, Rosario did provide the game-winning RBI Monday night in the 11th inning to put Puerto Rico in the WBC championship game.

He also had a marvelous throw from right field in the bizarre top of the first, in which the Netherlands lost two baserunners before Wladimir Balentien homered. Rosario didn't nail a runner himself, but his throw held a Dutch runner at third and was followed by a Yadi Molina throw to first that caught a celebrating Jurrickson Profar off the base.

Rosario has a better throwing arm than Max Kepler does, which makes it odd that Kepler is the one playing right field for Molitor with Rosario in left. That may be balanced a bit by the fact that left field is a bit more spacious in Target Field (and in most other parks, for that matter).

I noted a few days ago that a Baseball America writer said Rosario was having a breakout WBC. He is having a good one, certainly.


Also having a good tournament is Hector Santiago, who threw 3.1 innings of relief Monday, allowing one run. In true Santiago fashion, he walked three in his outing. But he was also pumping his fastball at 93-95. a good bit better than his usual velocity as a starter.

All those innings came in relief, I'm a bit baffled that Edwin Rodriguez chose to start less experienced pitchers in this tournment, but it's worked so far; Puerto Rico is not only in the finals, it's undefeated. I'm not sure where this use pattern puts Santiago in terms of being ready for the regular season.

The WBC's pitch count rules make Satinago ineligible for Wednesday's championship game. Jose Berrios is a strong candidate to start against either Team USA or Japan. If he does, it will be the biggest game of his life so far.


In the humdrum of Twins camp. Tyler Duffey and Adlaberto Mejia split Monday's exhibition game at the Blue Jays camp. Duffey threw five shutout innings, easily his best performance of the spring, and Mejia threw the final four, allowing back-to-back solo homers but continuing to show impressive stuff. I still like Mejia for the final rotation spot.

Berardino went so far as to compare Mejia to the young C.C. Sabathia. Other than that they are both left-handed, large and too dark to have played in the pre-Jackie Robinson era, I ain't buying it. Sabathia was a more highly-regarded prospect 16 years ago than Mejia is. But if he has half the career Sabathia has, I'd sure take that.

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