The World Baseball Classic is a tournament where you can see some of the greatest players in MLB at different points in their careers. There are OG’s who participate and carry weight and cause excitement based on name alone. There are superstars in the prime of their careers who just can’t resist another opportunity to put on the colors of their homeland, shred MLB’s restrictive corporate code and culturally release their full baseball inhibitions for a few weeks.
Then there’s the unheralded, young player like Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario, who is simply just one of the 750 players filling MLB rosters this season. With only 214 MLB games under his belt and playing in a small media market like Minnesota, Rosario isn’t a household name.
He played for the Puerto Rican National Team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. After the 2013 season, Rosario received a 50-game suspension for using a banned substance, which he served at the start of the 2014 season.
The PED mishap stunted his career growth a bit, but by 2015 he was called up to the majors and he’s proved to be a productive young talent, leading the league in triples in 2015 with 15.
On Tuesday night against the juggernaut Dominican Republic squad in the 2017 WBC, Rosario re-introduced himself to the baseball world as a clean, rising baseball force.
The 25 year old complemented catcher Yadier Molina’s superstar steez with the defining game of his young career so far. He flexed a multi-faceted skill set and probably solidified a starting job for himself without even attending Spring Training.
In the first inning when the Dominican Republic loaded the bases with no outs, and after Jose Bautista struck out, Carlos Santana hit a short fly ball to right field. Rosario, who has the second-most assists in the majors the last two years but has played only 35 games in right field, caught the ball and fired a laser to Molina at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
In the fourth inning, Rosario hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the center field fence for a 2-1 Puerto Rico lead.
Rosario accomplished all of that in a game that he entered already scorching with a .556 batting average in WBC play. If the baseball world didn’t know Rosario before, he can at least guarantee that he’s as loved in PR as he is hated in DR right now.