Willin Rosario may be one of the best young catchers in Major League Baseball but relatively nobody knows who he is. That could be because he plays for the Colorado Rockies but it also could be because he’s not a well-rounded catcher just yet.
Last year Rosario was an offensive juggernaut for the Rockies as he set the Rockies rookie record with 28 home runs, led National League rookies with a .530 slugging percentage and drove in the more runs than any Rockies catcher in a season, with 71. He became a big bat in Colorado’s lineup but what held him back in 2012 was his play behind the plate.
Rosario allowed 21 passed balls last season to go along with 13 errors and those statistics often overshadowed his big time offensive output. Granted the Rockies’ pitching staff didn’t help him out much with 94 wild pitches, last in the league and 19 more than the second worst staff, but if he wants to become one of the best catchers in baseball he’ll need to greatly improve those numbers in 2013.
As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training earlier this week Rosario will be focusing on improving that weakness in his game. He worked on it extensively during winter ball in the Dominican Republic and worked on it at the Rockies’ complex there with trainers. Will all the training to get better behind the plate eventually pay off in his second season? That remains to be seen but he is aware of the hole in his game and he’s working extensively on fixing it.
The Rockies are high on his athletic ability and they love the way he performs at the plate so they are going to be very patient in working with him to get his play behind the plate up to par. Overcoaching will be an issue that the coaches will be aware of as spring training continues this month and into March. There’s no need to harp on his weakness because Rosario knows it and so does everybody else so letting him figure it out mostly on his own will only benefit him in the end.
What Rosario needs is guidance and that’s exactly what he’s getting so far. If he can fix this hole in his game he can quickly evolve into one of the best all-around catchers in the league.