Red Sox outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario was one of seven players the club optioned to their alternate training site over the weekend.
The 21-year-old has not seen much action this spring after suffering a left hamstring injury while running after the ball in the fifth inning of a game against the Twins back on March 3.
While Rosario has not played since then, the Red Sox still believe they have something in the centerfielder, who was one of the two prospects (Hudson Potts being the other) they acquired from the Padres in exchange for Mitch Moreland last August.
“Good athlete,” Sox manager Alex Cora said of the young outfielder on Saturday. “We believe that there’s more there. Physically, we need to get him in a better spot. It was a tough offseason for him with the birth of his child. He was here for [fall instructs] and then went back to Miami. It’s not that he was way out of shape, but he can do better.”
Per his Instagram, Rosario and his partner welcomed their first child into the world back in January, so that was the time frame Cora was referring to.
The Dominican native — listed at 6-foot-1 and 191 lbs. — comes into the 2021 season as the No. 20 prospect in Boston’s farm system, per Baseball America.
The last time he saw any organized minor-league action, the left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing Rosario slashed .242/.372/.314 (102 wRC+) to go along with three home runs, 35 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 12o games played for High-A Lake Elsinore in 2019.
Upon acquiring him from the Padres last summer, the Sox sent Rosario to their alternate training site in Pawtucket and then to their fall instructional league in Fort Myers before adding the speedster to their 40-man roster in November in order to avoid being eligible for December’s Rule 5 Draft.
At fall instructs, Rosario got off to a decent start, but started to struggle as camp went on, according to SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall.
“Rosario did not show a stand-out tool and did not seem like a potential difference maker,” Cundall wrote back in November. “His frame is not that projectable. His best tools were on defense, where his instincts stood out and he showed an above-average arm. His run times, however, were closer to average than plus, which is a concern — if his speed continues to decrease, it could limit his defensive upside.
“At the plate, Rosario’s approach was OK,” added Cundall. “He worked counts but did not seem to be seeing the ball that well and showed fringy contact ability and minimal raw power. The Instructs games were not the ideal showcase for Rosario — he lacks loud tools, but as one of the more advanced players there, scouts expected more out of him against inexperienced pitching.”
Taking that report into consideration, it would appear that Rosario — who does not turn 22 until October still has plenty of room to grow in regards to his development. He is currently projected to begin the 2021 season with Double-A Portland.
“He’s so young that we just got to get him in a good spot,” said Cora. “If he does that, his athletic ability is going to take over. He controls the strike zone, which is very important. And he’s a good athlete.”
(Picture of Jeisson Rosario: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)