While browsing this season’s stats for the Palm Beach Cardinals, where the park factors have a huge effect on any of the hitters there especially those that hit for power, Rainel Rosario stuck out like a heavy-hitting sore thumb. Let’s take a look closer at Rosario after the jump.
Rainel Rosario was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and I can’t find any word of his bonus, so it must not have been anything huge. Rosario played 2007 and 2008 in the Gulf Coast League as an 18 and 19 year old. He reached JC in 2009 as a 20 year old for just 36 games, but he was just above average for the league with a .758 OPS and .335 wOBA.
In 2010, Rosario started out at Batavia, but had that mastered in 25 games and a .373 wOBA (assisted by a .426 BABIP) and was promoted to Quad Cities for 39 games at the end of the year. The jump in level did not hurt Rosario in the least. In fact, Rosario got better with a .407 wOBA and 148 wRC+, which is way over average.
So far in 2011, Rosario is scoffing at the 66 (100 average) park factor for HRs in Palm Beach for right-handers as he has already hit 6 HRs and picked up 9 stolen bases. Rosario has dropped his K rate 5% this year, but his walk rate has also dropped to 9%. His slugging has dropped this year in Palm Beach and that is to be expected at Palm Beach. But, he has improved his line drive rate from his time in Quad Cities and currently is hitting about 17% line drives. And because I know you need to know, his wRC+ is 113.
As long as he can continue to decrease his K rate and keep his walk rate around 10%, Rosario will continue to catching the eyes of prospect watchers for years to come. And once he makes it to Springfield, whether that is this year or the next, his numbers should jump up with the park factors as should his profile in the Cardinals minor league system. But, Rosario is still a solid prospect. His only year with below average production was 2007, his first year in the US, so there is no reason Rosario should be slowing down any time soon.