Sometimes a player can play in one organization so long without putting up real impressive stats that you tend to overlook him when he does start to improve his game.
Garabez Rosa is one of those players.
On a Double-A Bowie team that has several players hitting the ball well, it is easy to overlook Rosa right now. But he is having what is so far a breakout season and his defensive versatility could lead him one day to make the back-end of a big league team’s roster. Maybe even one in Baltimore.
Rosa, it seems, has been an Oriole forever. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in November 2006 at age 17.
Now in his eighth season in the organization, Rosa entered this year with a career average of .257 in 664 Orioles minor league games. But in 23 Bowie games this year, he is batting .361 with eight doubles, two homers and 20 RBIs for the Baysox. He is slugging .530 and has an OPS of .909. He’s stepped us his game and his teammates and coaches have noticed even if many others have not.
“He’s really come a long way offensively,” Bowie manager Gary Kendall said. “This kid, a couple of years ago, you could tell him a breaking ball was coming and he’d still struggle. He’s starting to get it a little bit.
“He could be a sleeper. He’s not a sleeper on our ballclub, but he could be a sleeper in this organization.”
So has breaking-ball recognition been the biggest factor in Rosa’s potent bat this year?
“That and better strength and an understanding of what he’s doing out there,” Kendall said. “He’s starting to really understand how to hit. When I had him in Aberdeen, everything was pull-oriented. Through his hard work, he’s made real significant strides offensively. Defensively, he can play second, short, third, the outfield. He can be a super-utility type player.”
Kendall made sure to mention the hard work that coach Butch Davis has put in with Rosa and several of the Baysox players that is paying off right now. Davis is clearly clicking with the Baysox position players.
As for his glove, Rosa can be used all around the diamond, although he’s been strictly starting at second for the Baysox this season.
“He plays the outfield well and he’s got a good throwing arm, a little better than average in the outfield,” Kendall said. “At second base, he turns the double play well and he’s got good hands.
“He was signed as a shortstop, but it’s probably the position he needs the most work at. (O’s minor league infield instructor) Dave Anderson really took a liking to him in spring training and worked hard with him to make him more solid on defense. He’s really worked hard.”
For Rosa, that hard work is now paying off, even if some haven’t noticed.