Ring around the Rosario, pocket full of Amed

Ring around the Rosario, pocket full of Amed

Amed Rosario is currently rostered in just 73% of Ottoneu leagues. Here’s why you should consider adding him this weekend.

Opportunity…

Rosario was involved in the offseason’s biggest blockbuster as part of the return to Cleveland from the Mets for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. His presence was overshadowed, though, by Andres Gimenez, who surprised many in 2020 by holding his own at the plate (.321 wOBA) to go along with solid defense in his first season in the majors. And so entering 2021, Gimenez was given the first crack at Cleveland’s starting shortstop job, while the team toyed with the idea of moving Rosario to centerfield.

Just a little over two months into the season, Gimenez is back in the minors after struggling to hit MLB pitching (.235 wOBA in 29 games) and Rosario is cemented in as the everyday shortstop since early May and has been batting second in the lineup since May 23. At this point it’s his job to lose as Gimenez continues his unspectacular performance at AAA (.278 wOBA).

Meets ability

With this much playing time, Rosario has a very high floor in 5x5 leagues because of his speed. While playing full time in 2018 he stole 24 bases, tied for 16th best in all of baseball that year. He followed that up with a 19 stolen base season in 2019, 22nd best in the entire league. The skills are still there, he’s in the 97th percentile in terms of sprint speed, according to Baseball Savant.

Plus, Cleveland is one of the most analytically tuned-in teams and I think they’re helping him be more efficient on the basepaths. While they’re middle of the pack in terms of stolen base attempts, they’re 3rd in efficiency (32/38 or 84%). In 2018-2019, Rosario was caught stealing 21 times (43/64 or 67%). So far this year he’s 6/6. That puts him on pace for 18 steals over a full season, but do note, he didn’t steal a base in the month of April.

In fact he didn’t do a whole lot of anything positive in April, he mustered just a .250 wOBA in 74 plate appearances and is probably lucky Gimenez had more minor league options left. But since then? .363. If I had to guess why, the combination of having to learn a new defensive position on the field while adjusting to a new city off of it may have been affecting him.

As for his power and on base skills, and thus his viability in points leagues, it’s still developing, but intriguing. He’s currently sporting the best hard hit rate of his career (41.2%) but the worst barrel rate (2%) despite an average launch angle of 7.2, only slightly below his career average of 7.7. Plus, he’s swinging at nearly 9% fewer pitches outside of the zone which is driving a career high 7.5% walk rate.

I’m also just inherently interested in Rosario as he’s still just 25 years old and not all that long ago he was a consensus top 10 prospect in all of baseball. Plus, this past offseason it was reported he was working with Doug Latta, a swing coach who helped make Justin Turner into a perennial all-star, among other players. His average cost in Ottoneu is under $3 and he qualifies at shortstop and outfield, a pretty rare combination. For a guy that you’re not expecting to be more than a fill-in at middle infield and outfield, there’s very little risk here with a good shot at long-term reward.

All statistics are through June 11.

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)