Pop quiz: Who led all catchers in home runs during the 2012 season?
Who hit those home runs while playing in 31 fewer games and with 149 less at-bats than National League MVP Buster Posey?
The answer is Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario.
While Rosario didn’t put up all-around big numbers like Posey did last season (Posey’s batting average was 66 points higher; Posey hit 20 more doubles), Rosario’s second season in the Major Leagues was pretty impressive.
This little-known catcher from the Dominican Republic started to heat up right after the All-Star break. At last season’s break, Rosario was batting .253. He had hit 14 home runs up to that point, with 36 RBIs.
From the break through the end of the season, Rosario hit 14 home runs, drove in 35 and batted .291. By the time he cleaned out his locker at season’s end, his batting average had climbed to .270.
Don’t look now but he’s doing it again.
Rosario had two hits for the Rockies on opening day. After taking Game 2 off, he came back on Wednesday with a three-hit, one-homer night, driving in two runs to help the cause.
Friday’s home opener against the San Diego Padres saw Rosario turn on an 0-1 pitch from Jason Marquis in the fourth inning. Rosario deposited the ball over the left field wall, giving him his second home run of the season. It also gave the Rockies a 4-1 lead in a game they would eventually win, 5-2.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez told the Denver Post during spring training that Rosario possesses what he calls “stupid power.” He meant it in a complimentary way.
Michael Cuddyer said of Rosario, “Wilin doesn’t just hit home runs, he hits majestic home runs.”
So the word is out. The Rockies aren’t just about Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki anymore, though they’ll still be the focus of many headlines and opposing pitchers this season.
Rosario shouldn’t mind. He’ll still get his share of pitches to hit — and runs to drive in.