Yeah I admit I fell into the trap. The trap where you automatically look past Minnesota Twin hitters given the reputation of Target Field as a place where home runs go to die. For that reason, I never gave outfielder Eddie Rosario much thought when he put together what became a very impressive breakout season in 2017 that sets the stage for him to be a very good value play for 2018 fantasy baseball. First, let's take a closer look at those numbers from last season that put Rosario on the fantasy baseball map.
If you put the name Ryan Braun in front of those numbers, you would salute the impressive season and salute the guy's typical excellence. Instead it was Rosario who put forth those numbers and having turned just 26 this past September, even more could be on the way. Now in digging into the past a bit, perhaps we should have seen this coming as Rosario went 10/5 in his HR/SB categories with a .269 average in just 354 at-bats in 2016 and he was an even better 13/11/.267 there in 2015 in 474 plate appearances. So in actuality, Rosario has been hinting at his skills for awhile now. Even going back to his minor league performances, Rosario hit .319 at Triple-A in 2016 to add some more validity to his numbers.
Getting back to his 2017 performance with the Twins, Rosario's 18.0 K/9 was a very good number and speaks to the lack of strikeout holes in his swing. Then when you add in a 42.4 ground ball and 20.2 line drive rates, Rosario should continue to be a good batting average guy going forward. In addition, the power looks legit and with his move to cleanup, Rosario could approach 30 home runs and 90 RBI as well.
As far as negatives, Rosario was just 9-for-17 on steals which is a terrible rate but at least he is aggressive on the basepaths. 7-10 steals is possible but that will serve as just a bonus there. Finally, you would love to see Rosario show some more patience as his 5.9 BB/9 rate a year ago with the Twins was rough but this is a minor quibble considering how good everything else looked.
In the end, Eddie Rosario looks like a potentially tremendous value play for 2018 fantasy baseball and you could end up with those 30 home runs, 90 RBI, and a .300 average for the price of an OF 3 this spring. Go get him.
2018 PROJECTION: .295 29 HR 88 RBI 90 R 8 SB