Let’s start by saying this is going to be less about the statistics that either of the titular players offer, and more about the concept of them as prospects, and how we perceive them. While statistics are necessary in most cases, I wanted to talk about the value of these players as it pertains to their positions, and the risk involved in investing in them. Both players ranked in the top 300 on the July update of the top 500, but then again both were playing second base at the time.
Since then, both players have been shifted to the outfield, with DeShields, Jr moving to centerfield and Rosario to a corner (centerfield is pretty well covered for Minnesota between Hicks now and Buxton in the future). The shift from the offense-scarce second base to the offense-rich outfield is a tough one for both players’ prospect status. Of course, in leagues where RF/CF/LF is split out, instead of the generic OF, DeShields, Jr still retains value, as centerfielders are hard to come by as well. Both DeShields, Jr and Rosario are still prospects in their own right, but each takes a hit in a very different way, when it comes to fantasy.
DeShields, Jr is stocky, standing 5’9/205 lbs and can deliver extra base hits, though his home run power will be lacking. His fantasy value, and perhaps his prospect value though, is built on his wheels. He’s got 80 grade speed and while hustling might not be his forte, he can take a walk, get down the line in a flash and rack up stolen bases with the best of them. Rosario on the other hand has a more well rounded game. He doesn’t walk like DeShields, Jr but he doesn’t strike out as much either (excepting his first taste at Double-A last year). He hits for average, gets on base enough, and has hit for ample pop at every level, once again, excepting Double-A. While neither player is going to be a home run hitter, Rosario is the much better bet to post a solid slugging percentage, making up for the lack of homers by wearing out the gaps for doubles. The problem here is, that while I would rather have Rosario as a prospect in real life, this outfield shift is worse for Rosario than it is DeShields, Jr. The latter remains a boom/bust prospect who could drastically impact your fantasy leagues if he hits – at any position. The former had more value tied up in the position he played because his ceiling wasn’t quite as high.
I have long been a proponent of both prospects, and I own them each in different leagues. I had thought, and perhaps been insistent that, while not a good defender, Rosario would stick at the keystone if for no other reason than that his bat was worth it there. There was a risk inherent in that thinking, and it turns out I lost. I once would have ranked Rosario far above DeShields, Jr but with both shifting to the outfield, looks like their on field positions aren’t the only things that have changed.