In 2014 the Twins are going to have a tough decision to make at 2nd base when Eddie Rosario is expected to be ready for the Major Leagues. Do you go with the steady hand at second base that is Brian Dozier or do you go for higher upside who is less likely to reach that upside in Eddie Rosario. They both have some positives and negatives to them so there is really not an easy answer to this. It basically comes down to how much you believe in upside because if you are talking upside Rosario is the guy as he just oozes upside. However, if you prefer a second baseman that will make all the plays at 2nd and put together solid at bats who is doing fine at the major league level this year than your guy should be Dozier. The interesting thing about this topic is there is no perfect choice as each choice has some risk and each choice also has some reward so it will be very interesting to see which way the Twins will go in 2014.
To start with the incumdent Brian Dozier was a 8th round pick in 2009 out of the University of Southern Mississippi as a shortstop. He signed quickly and was sent to Elizabethton where in 53 games he hit .353 with 38 runs scored and a .417 OBP. In 2010 he started the season in Beloit where he hit .278 with 24 runs scored and a .347 OBP in 39 games. He was then promoted to Fort Myers where he hit .274 with 44 runs scored and a .352 OBP in 93 games. In his first two pro seasons he was as solid as you could be and there were many that thought Dozier could keep moving through the system as the Shortstop of the future.
Even after doing well in Fort Myers in 2010, Dozier began the year still in Fort Myers, but would not stay long. In 49 games he hit .320 with 32 runs scored and a impressive .423 OBP with the Miracle. Dozier then moved on to New Britain where in 78 games he hit .318 with 60 runs scored and an impressive .384 OBP. He then came into Spring Training as a non-roster invitee and almost making team before going to Rochester. In 48 games at Rochester he hit just .232 while scoring just 15 runs with a .286 OBP, but a lot of those numbers came after he got sent back down after a stint with the Twins and it did not go very well the second stint in Rochester.
Then on May 5th, Dozier received the call that so many wish for and was called up to the Twins. Things did not go real well in Dozier’s first taste of the major leagues as he hit just .234 with 33 runs scored and a OBP of just .271. To make matters worse he was struggling at shortstop as he committed 15 errors in just 84 games with the Twins. Finally, in August he was sent down and in the offseason the decision was made to make Dozier a full time second baseman. The results have been mixed so far this season as Dozier is hitting just .235 while scoring 36 runs with an OBP of .315. Brian Dozier has had good times and bad, but it feels like he is finally turning the corner and can make a good case why he should be the second baseman of the future.
Eddie Rosario was drafted by the Twins in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB draft out of Puerto Rico as a centerfielder. He spent the 2010 season in the GCL where he hit .294 and scored 34 runs with an OBP of .343. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2011 and that is where his stock really took off. He and fellow prospect Miguel Sano put on a power display unseen in years. Rosario ended up winning MVP honors in the Appalacian League when he hit .337 with 21 homeruns and drove in 60 with a crazy 1.068 OPS. Being slight of build at only six feet tall and weighing 170 lbs you knew that wouldn’t last with the power numbers. The Twins in the fall of 2011 did something that was unheard of and that is turn a good centerfielder into a 2nd baseman a position he hadn’t played since high school.
Rosario came into 2012 season not only joining a full season league, but also a new position. He did alright in Beloit hitting .296 with 12 homeruns and 70 rbi’s along with scoring 60 runs with a .835 OPS in just 95 games as he missed time due to injury. This year he joined the Fort Myers Miracle and did really well hitting .329 with 6 homeruns and 35 rbi’s along with scoring 40 runs with a .903 OPS. This led to a midseason promotion to AA New Britain. He got off to a slow start in New Britain, but started putting it together right before the All-Star break as he is hitting .275 in just 24 games. Something that has to be mentioned that in Elizabethton and then again in Fort Myers he has been pulled from games for not hustling balls out. He is very confident and that is something he is just going to have to overcome.
Now the fun really begins as we compare the two to determine who is the 2nd baseman of the future. There are really two ways to look at this when deciding which is the better option. If you look at defense then the option is clear as Eddie Rosario is not in Brian Dozier’s league as a defensive 2nd baseman. That is not to say that Rosario is not a solid 2nd baseman because he is, but you have to remember he has only been playing second for two years. Dozier has soft hands and good range for the position, while Rosario will still make the error that your like wow I can’t believe he made it and his arm is not bad, but Brian Dozier has a shortstop quality arm. However, if you are going to talk offense there is no comparison as Dozier is a .256 career hitter while Rosario is a .310 career hitter. So it comes down to offense or defense what do you prefer because Dozier is very good defensively, but Rosario has hit at every level he has ever played at showing gap to gap power who will hit a lot of double and possibly double digit hr years.
This was closer than I thought it would be when I started doing research so I went to the best prospect guide I know and that’s the great Seth Stohs and I asked him several questions about this two. I asked him the strengths and weaknesses of the two and he started with Dozier and his strengths and weaknesses. According to Seth, “Great defense, good 2B range, generally takes good at bats. Based on minor league track record and what he did in June, he could be a guy who walks about as much as he strikes out and have some extra base power. He can be a league average or even a little better, starting 2B. His weaknesses are Before June, his big league time had been pretty underwhelming. He struggled defensively at shortstop, and at the plate, he was admittedly a mess last year. His approach at the plate was much bettre this year but he numbers didn't come on until June. His "toolbox" isn't exceptional, but he is a ball player.”
Now on to Rosario’s strengths and weaknesses starting with the strengths, “He is a line drive hitter who uses the whole field. He will have a little bit of power. He really has a quick, left-handed bat and a good, but aggressive, approach at the plate. Then his weaknesses, “Although his defense at 2B is greatly improved, that will remain a question mark until we see him.” I then asked Seth how big of an upside does Rosario have, “ I can see him being the type of guy who could have a few years where he hits .310 with 40+ doubles, 15-20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. HE could be an All Star second baseman.” I then asked if he thought Brian Dozier could effectively play shortstop to get them both in lineup, “Effectively? Sure. He has played shortstop his whole life, and although he really struggled in his time with the Twins in 2012 didn't show it at all, I think he can be a solid defensive shortstop. That's not to say a Gold Glover, but a guy who can make the routine plays, for sure.” The final question that I asked Seth was if he was making out the lineup who would he want at second base, “ Right now, I'd definitely say Dozier. He seems to have turned a corner and I would stand behind him. What will happen in 2013, who knows? We'll see how Eddie Rosario handles AA over the remainder of the season. He'll be added to the 40 man roster, and he'll go to spring training. He made a strong impression at spring training this year. By May or June of next year, that answer may change. I suspect fans will be clamoring for him by September.”
After taking Seth Stohs comments under consideration there is no way in my mind that Eddie Rosario is not the 2nd baseman of the future. His upside is just way to much and he can be way to special. His upside is unbelievable and he probably will not obtain the level that he possibly could, but I will take upside over projectability any day of the week. That is not to say that Brian Dozier is not a very good defensive second baseman who has the ability to have a high OBP. If I had to choose I would take the easy way out and tell Brian Dozier in the offseason start working on your shortstop game again so that I can have a middle infield of Dozier and Rosario. How do you like that I refuse to pick between the two, but if I was forced to it would be an easy decision and that is Eddie Rosario is the Twins 2nd baseman of the future. Let me know what you think of this article, whether you agree or disagree I want to hear about it. You can either leave a comment in the comment box or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on twitter @texastwinsfan.