By Jeff Quinton (@jjq01)
August 8, 2013
If I am targeting minor leaguers, I am targeting the Twins 21-year old, Double-A second baseman Eddie Rosario. While Rosario is clearly not the most valuable dynasty asset, he is one of the most underrated. Rosario has received love from the Guru on these pages, but I declare that that love is still not enough. Rosario has a decent chance of becoming a top 5 dynasty second baseman and, better yet, he is not valued as one. What we have on our hands is a prospect who is victim of two of the most powerful phenomena that lead to prospects being underrated:
- Gap in fantasy and actual value
- Productivity in “boring” categories
Gap in fantasy and actual value
Rosario will never be a top 30 prospect in any of the traditional prospect lists because he is a tweener–his defense will never be enough at second base to accumulate the wins above replacement of a true superstar. Even as dynasty owners become savvier in differentiating between real and fantasy value, there is still a bias towards higher rated prospects.
I like to use these traditional rankings for dynasty purposes by asking, “How would this guy rank if he had average defense?” In Rosario’s case, I am guessing he could be a top 30 prospect. I will concede that we do need to factor in the risk of him not sticking at second, but his recent promotion to Double A as the everyday second baseman makes me more confidant in him sticking. Also, as more and more teams employ atypical keystoners (Carpenter, Uggla, Kipnis, Gyorko, Murphy, Rendon) my confidence in Rosario sticking grows. So assuming Rosario sticks, what makes him a future top 5 fantasy second baseman?
Productivity in “boring” categories
In 2012 Rosario hit .299 with 13 hr, 67 runs, 74 RBI, and 11 SB in 100 games (95 in A ball). In 2013 Rosario is fantasy slashing .312/9/67/57/6 in 96 games across High A and Double A. At first glance, there is nothing to get too excited about. Why? Because when it comes to homers and steals, our favorite categories to salivate over, Rosario is only good, but not great. I am not here to tell you that his HRs or SBs will improve either. What I am here to say is that Rosario has a good chance of being a top 5 second baseman because of his ability to perennially hit .290+ and produce a combined 170+ runs and RBI. Rosario is one of those guys who is always hitting the ball the hard and is consequently rewarded with lots of singles, doubles and triples; thus, he is always scoring runs or driving in runners. Will you get the satisfaction of watching Rosario hit 30 bombs a year? No. Will you get an undervalued player who at the end of the year helps you win your league? Most likely.
Not only is Rosario victimized by the above two phenomenon, he has also been consistently overshadowed by stud prospects within the Twins organization. First it was Hicks and Arcia, and now as Rosario has blossomed, he has been outshined by uber-prospects Buxton and Double A New Britain teammate Sano. As a result, Rosario only makes our favorite columnists’ bottom blurbs rather than headlining the articles. All this adds up to Rosario being pure profit for us arbitrage mongers. If Rosario is unowned or his owner underrates him like the rest of the community, you cannot pounce on the opportunity fast enough.