Atlanta Braves: Where Will Eddie Rosario Fit?

Rosario brings much needed depth (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Rosario brings much needed depth (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves potentially have yet even more reinforcements coming

The Atlanta Braves trade acquisitions of Joc Pederson, Richard Rodriguez, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall have been extremely productive. Add in Travis d’Arnaud and Huascar Ynoa coming back from injury, some may have forgotten that the Atlanta Braves have another piece in Eddie Rosario that could yet bolster the team even more.

What type of numbers should be expected from new Atlanta Braves outfielder Rosario?

For his career, Rosario has an above-average offensive slash line of .275/.308/.470, 107 OPS+ (7% above league average) and 12.5 WAR. It is concerning that he is having a down year with .254/.296/.389 and OPS+ of 84+.

If we look at his underlying offensive metrics according to baseball savant, it is not promising:

·      Average Exit Velocity – Bottom 40%

·      Hard Hit% – Bottom 22%

·      Expected Batting Average – Bottom 36%

·      Expected Slugging% – Bottom 30%

·      Expected Weighted On Base Average – Bottom 18%

It is safe to say that this year has been a down year. His expected OPS is .728. For reference, Abraham Almonte has an OPS of .744, and Guillermo Heredia has a .704

Rosario has been injured

Rosario has only played in 78 games this season due to injury, which has played at least a part in his down year in terms of offense. It also can be assumed that he was able to be acquired as basically a salary dump at the trade deadline due to this.

His career expected numbers have been better in years when he was healthy for a majority of the season.

·      2017 – .804 xOPS

·      2018 – .710 xOPS

·      2019 – .814 xOPS

·      2020 – .751 xOPS

Why would the Atlanta Braves add Rosario?

It should be noted that he is struggling in his rehab assignment. At the time of this writing he is 1 for 20 with 1 walk. If he continues to struggle we may not see him till September when the rosters expand to 28 players.

There is a reason the Atlanta Braves front offense were willing to take on the salary to acquire him. The answer is simple, depth. If you look just at his offensive line, you may notice that it is slightly lower than Almonte. Well, offense is not the only way to contribute to a team. In only 61 games, Almonte has accumulated .1.0 defensive WAR, which has resulted in an overall WAR of -0.8. The difference between Rosario and Almonte in overall WAR is 1.3.

1.3 WAR is more than Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Heredia, or Ehire Adrianza have combined or individually. In fact, Rosario’s 0.5 is more than any of the aforementioned players have this season.

It is important to remember that you win games by scoring more runs than your opponent, not just who scores the most runs for the season. If that were the case, the Minnesota Twins would be in contention for a wild card spot.

Keeping your opponents from scoring is a combination of pitching and the defense behind them. Without going down a rabbit whole, just know that Rosario brings more value than just his bat.

Rosario has at least 384.1 innings in all 3 outfield positions, has been decent at all of them. His main position has been LF with a well above average 10 Defensive Runs Saved in his career. Stats don’t even have to be looked at to know he is better defensively than Soler, but it may be surprising that if you look at Rosario’s DRS per inning played in CF, it is better than Heredia.

Where will Rosario fit?

Rosario is best in LF, but with his versatility, the only player he would not be a defensive upgrade for is Adam Duvall. With that, we can focus his hitting.

The Atlanta Braves have absolutely crushed lefties, especially since the trade deadline. However, many of their hitters struggle against righties.

·      Albies – career 87 OPS+, 108 OPS+ in 2021

·      Duvall – 99 OPS+, 120 OPS+ in 2021 (first year with reverse splits)

·      Soler – career 97 OPS+, 75 OPS+ in 2021

·      Pederson – career 109 OPS+, 100 OPS+ in 2021 (oddly, also his first year with reverse splits)

·      Heredia – career 84 OPS+, 84 OPS+ in 2021

Other than Pederson, every other hitter listed hits much better against lefties than they do righties.

Rosario is a career 107 OPS+ hitter against righties. As you can see, he hits righties better than Soler, Duvall (for his career), and Heredia. He is also right on par with Joc Pederson.

Adding Rosario now adds a solid platoon option for multiple players where Brian Snitker can deploy hitters against only starting pitchers where they excel at. Not only does this result in an offensive upgrade, but it is a defensive upgrade as well.

It should be noted that “platoon player” does not equal “bench player”. Most successful teams are so successful because they have so much depth that they can play players in situations only where they excel. No one looks at Joc Pederson and thinks “bench player”. However, when the Dodgers were healthy, he mostly only played versus righties as a Dodger.

Of course, this is all dependent on a few things. Rosario needs to get fully healthy and back to his normal self. It also means that Brian Snitker has to actually take advantage of platoon splits.

Projecting The Rest Of The Season. dark. Next

Against righties, Soler has no business batting 2nd, and Heredia should not be playing at all. Will that happen? Time will tell. With Rosario in the fold, at least there are more tools in the tool chest to be successful.