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Over/Under 2021 Preview: Eddie Rosario

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Will Eddie Rosario be worth more or less than 1.8 fWAR in 2021?

Cincinnati Reds v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Based on ZiPS projections, Eddie Rosario is expected to finish 2021 with the following stats:

591 PA, 28 HR, 5.4 BB%, 15.1 K%, .277/.314/.488, 105 wRC+, 1.8 fWAR

Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Let’s Go Tribe Discord.

Chris Davies’s Prediction: OVER

I’ve long been an admirer of Eddie Rosario, to the detriment of my fantasy teams, in fact. Maybe it’s the 136 wRC+ he’s put up whenever he played Cleveland, but I had it in my mind that he was always just a week or two away from a huge breakout into superstardom.

That never happened, and in 2020 Rosario fell to the nadir of his young career, being cut by Minnesota. Last season’s short sample was not especially brutal for the Puerto Rico native, but he continued to whiff too much, walk too little, and provide poor defensive value. But despite his shortcomings, he actually improved his walk rate, wRC+, and defense — so could Minnesota’s loss be Cleveland’s gain?

I probably don’t have to remind anyone that Rosario easily would have been the best outfielder in Cleveland last year. He was half a win better than the team’s best outfielder, Jordan Luplow, despite managing just 0.9 fWAR in 57 games. The ZiPS projections regress Rosario back to his mean for most statistics, including fewer walks and more strikeouts than last year, but both at rates better than what Cleveland did as a team last year.

If Rosario can continue his career trend toward fewer swinging strikes (10.6% in 2020 vs. 12.9% career), more zone contact (87.8% in 2020 vs. 83.3% career), and more contact authority (15.9% HR/FB in 2020 vs. 13.7% career) — perhaps by utilizing the benefit of being a lefty in Progressive Field and pulling the ball more (41.6% in 2020, down from 48.8% in 2019) — he could provide the above-average outfield bat that fans have been clamoring for since Michael Brantley was allowed to walk away. Which is to say nothing about what the veteran might offer in terms of a steadying presence in both an outfield and a lineup that need a steady presence.

In 2019, qualified hitters with 1.8 fWAR included Cesar Hernandez and Jose Abreu. Cleveland liked Hernandez so much they inked him to a contract. If Rosario can even push the projection at 1.8, he’ll be a great signing. But I think there’s more in there because I can’t give up my belief in him and I fully believe he has signed in order to do to Minnesota what he used to do to Cleveland.

Poll

Will Eddie Rosario finish 2021 with an fWAR over or under 1.8?

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    Over
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    Under
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