Fantasy Baseball: Eddie Rosario's First Half Is No Fluke
It happens every year. Household names fly off the draft board in the first round, and hidden gems go overlooked and unacknowledged throughout the draft. Some of the league's best players don't even get drafted.
Take New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, for example. Judge, with an ADP of 378.17, was basically undrafted or, at best, picked as a late-round flier in 2017 drafts, but he finished 12th overall in ESPN's Player Rater. That's not too shabby for a dude that may have been scooped up on your waiver wire.
Among players with 270 or more plate appearances in 2018, Rosario ranks 10th in weighted on-base average (wOBA), despite an average draft position that would fall in the 11th round of a 12-team league, per NFBC ADP data.
So we gotta ask: is Rosario for real? And where did this come from?
Let's dig in and find out.
In his rise to this point, it's easy to have lost sight of Rosario. 2017 was his first full big league season, and he actually split time between the majors and Triple-A in 2016, as he racked up 169 plate appearances in Rochester.
To be fair to the Twins slugger, 2018 isn't coming out of nowhere, though. While he is young in his career, Rosario was really good last season.
|Season||PA||wOBA||HR||R||RBI||ISO||Hard %||Fly-Ball %|
The lefty-swinger bashed his way to 27 long-balls last season, including an impressive .218 isolated power (ISO) and 37.4% fly-ball rate. But he's taken things to a new level this season by pumping up that ISO, hard-hit rate, and fly-ball rate across the board.
Although he just missed out on 80 runs and RBI in a season a year ago, he's on pace to shatter both of those plateaus this year, with more than 50 in each category through 74 games.
If there is one knock against Rosario, he hasn't showcased the greatest batting eye. He doesn't draw a ton of free passes; his career walk rate sits at a meager 4.6%, which he is slightly ahead of in 2018 (at 5.4%). And for reference, the league-average walk rate this season is 8.6%.
In addition to that, Rosario isn't afraid to take a hack, and that leads to him chasing some pitches outside of the strike zone. While he has improved his Out-of-Zone Swing Rate to 38.5% this season, he is still well above the league average of 30.4%.
To counterbalance that aggressive plate approach, after a high-water strikeout rate of 25.7% in 2016, he has slowly whittled that down the past two seasons. So far in 2018, Rosario's 16.9% strikeout rate would register as a career-best.
Rest of Season Projections
As Rosario continues to bomb away...
Incredible. Eddie Rosario’s third jack of the game sends the #MNTwins home with a victory. pic.twitter.com/RloQL4aIIj
— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) June 3, 2018
...it will be interesting to see how he performs over the remainder of the season.
Our projections don't expect the young outfielder to be slowing down any time soon. With 17 home runs under his belt, and 17 more home runs projected the rest of the way, that puts him at a cool 34 jacks in 2018. Tack on another 48 runs scored and 50 RBI in the back half of 2018, and we are staring at a member of the 100-100 runs and RBI club, which puts him in some elite company. As a point of reference, only 17 players in major league baseball scored 100 runs last year, and only 8 of them drove in 100 runs at the same time.
If you have glaring needs and need to shore up your pitching staff, a top-tier ace is the kind of reasonable return you should expect for Rosario (especially in dynasty leagues; he's only 26). Otherwise, he's likely to stick on your roster for the rest of 2018. And there's no problem with that.