Rosario is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. He is an agile, well-coordinated athlete with an ability to use the barrel of the bat to drive balls from foul line to foul line. As I witnessed in the recently concluded Arizona Fall League, Rosario can hit his share of home runs as well. He blasted a huge homer in the November AFL Championship Game for his Salt River club.
True to his reputation as an outstanding hitter, Rosario has hit for a very good batting average at every classification in his five-year Minor League career. He has a .294 career batting average in his 1,874 plate appearances.
Rosario has the ability to recognize pitches very well. His eye-hand coordination helps him make outstanding contact. Rarely missing pitches, Rosario has struck out only 328 times. He has a combination of gap power and enough speed to take an extra base on line drives.
Rosario's first season as a professional took place at the Twins' Gulf Coast Rookie League club. He hit .294 in 213 plate appearances.
In 2012, Rosario missed seven weeks of development when he was hit in the face with a line drive during batting practice. He bounced back well and was a contributor on the Puerto Rican 2013 World Baseball Classic team.
Rosario has the ability to hit breaking balls, a factor that has stymied many young hitters. His bat control allows him to spoil pitches and work counts. In his career, Rosario has not registered high walk rates, but he is a very tough out at the plate.
While his physical presence doesn't overwhelm, he has the quick hands and strong wrists needed to barrel the ball over the fence. While I don't see him ever becoming a major power threat, I do see him setting up bigger bats in the lineup by getting on base, stealing and then scoring. He has the ability to play various roles. He can be a pest who gets on base with regularity and/or the guy that drives in runs with a gap double.
The Twins boast top prospect hitters such as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. However, as the prospects continue to mature, Rosario can certainly complement them with his ability to get on base and score.
Rosario was still able to play in 87 games this past season. He began at Class A Advanced Fort Myers at the end of May. He finished the season at Double-A New Britain. Combined, he hit only .243 as he was rebounding from being away from the game for almost two months.
Rosario competed in the AFL in an effort to make up for a 50-game suspension. It was his second positive test for using a drug of abuse.
My first look at Rosario came in the 2013 AFL. It may have been his worst performance as a professional, as he hit only .238 in 80 at-bats playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He played both second base and left field.
This autumn, I saw a completely different player. Rosario completed his 2014 AFL season with a second-place finish in the batting-title race. He hit .330, compared to the league-leading .338 accomplished by Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker. Winker had 68 at-bats, Rosario 100. Rosario had four doubles and two triples among his 33 hits. He stole 10 bases in 14 attempts.