Friday, January 18, 2019

Where they stand: Left field

Presumed regular: Eddie Rosario

Others on 40: Jake Cave, Zack Granite, LaMonte Wade, Michael Hall

Notable nonroster: None

This may be the spot at which the Twins can have the most confidence in what they're going to get. Rosario isn't as good as the "Minnie and Paul" promo ad last summer claimed ("one of the best outfielders in the league," I believe it called him), but he's certainly a productive, useful player.

What Rosario needs to be a real star, the kind of hitter you can build a productive lineup around, is better strike zone judgment. He took a big step forward in that department two seasons ago, but plateaued last season. As long as he's drawing 33 walks and fanning 105 times a year, his on-base percentages will never be particularly good.

Turn another 15 outs into walks or hits, now you have a guy who can belong at the top of the order. Find another five extra-base hits a year, now you have a guy who can belong in the middle of the lineup. Right now, Rosario's just a bit shy both ways. Almost there, not quite.

Maybe I'm picking nits. He is, as it stands, a quality supporting piece. And that's what I expected him to be when he was coming through the minors. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano were supposed to be the stars. Rosario is probably the best all-round position player on this roster. It's OK to want a bit more from him; his shortcomings are not why this team failed in 2018.

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