I’ve never been on the Amed Rosario bandwagon. Growing up near Philadelphia gave me a lot of exposure to the Mets prospect dystopia. No fan base spends more time rosterbating about future busts. Anytime I hear a Mets prospect is supposed to be the next big thing, I’m instantly skeptical. Fernando Martinez forever! #FMart.
Entering 2017, I viewed Rosario as an interesting upside play. His stats read like a $1 player – the kind you really want to own due to a high floor with a 10% chance he explodes into a $15+ talent. My take was based purely on his actual production which including middling power, evaporating speed, and a secretly high swinging strike rate. This profile often translates very slowly to the majors.
However, it’s not always fair to evaluate a prospect like Rosario solely based on his performance. Despite glaring flaws, he hit .341/.392/.481 as a 20-year-old in Double-A. His age 21 season began with a .328/.367/.466 line at Triple-A. He thrived as one of the youngest players in the upper minors.
Prior to his August 1 call up, Rosario was considered by some analysts to be the top prospect in the minor leagues. Ronald Acuna hype hadn’t yet reached maximum acceleration, and several notable names had already been promoted to the majors. Rosario seems to have fallen from top prospect to fantasy pariah in less than half a year. Example time!
I inherited a share of Rosario ($7) when I joined Dave Cameron’s ottoneu league earlier this winter. The same roster includes Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Manny Machado, and Chris Taylor. Given my shortstop depth and my impression of Rosario, I figured I’d flip him for something a little more useful to my team.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not), nobody is interested in taking on Rosario. Part of the issue is the FGpts format which heavily penalizes him for a sub-.300 projected OBP. However, this also seems like a case of giving up on a top prospect very quickly. Rosario was definitely overmatched in the majors last season, but that doesn’t automatically mean he won’t adjust.
When hunting for trade market bargains, it’s often useful to bucket players by asset class. Rosario is not the first top prospect to have an ugly debut. He has plenty of good company. Given that he’s an unnecessary redundancy on my roster, an enterprising rival should be looking to deal something modest and stable for the Rosario lottery ticket. It doesn’t hurt to see if I’d accept a $3 Brandon McCarthy. It’s not like you’ll miss him.
And therein lies the advice. Rosario has very quickly morphed into a buy-low, post-hype sleeper. He’s still young enough to turn into just about anything. If you have patience, room for a project, and an opportunity to acquire him for fungible assets, you should take the chance.
As the asking price shifts towards an actual core player, it makes more sense to look for alternatives. That’s the funny thing about prospects. Aside from the very deepest of leagues, there’s always a substitute to a given prospect. Don’t have the goods for Acuna or Victor Robles? Go get Juan Soto for half the price. Rosario cost too much? Snag Carter Kieboom instead.
Since minor leaguers don’t contribute to your lineup, you can afford to be a tad cavalier in shifting from near-majors to far-away assets. Doing so obviously adds risk, but there are always new opportunities to replace your mistakes. Acuna himself was only starting to gain helium last spring. When you spike an investment in a guy like Acuna, it’s like turning $1 into $50.
So I deviated a bit from Rosario in those last few paragraphs. In summary, actual top prospects cost a boatload to acquire. One alternative is to go hunting for the next wave of top prospects. If you’re right, you profit.
The other option is to look for post-hype major leaguers like Rosario. He’ll provide some immediate value to your roster as long as you’re using him as a backup. He’s also just as likely to morph into a star as those low minors guys. Always hunt for the asset classes that are overlooked in your particular league.