Top Dominican Prospect Arrives

Garabez Rosa is arriving today to replace the promoted Jedidiah Stephen.  This is not a permanent promotion for Jedidiah or Rosa.  The Frederick Keys have caught the injury bug.

Rosa is widely regarded as the best Dominican born prospect in the Orioles farm system.  He is only 19-years old. 

I found an article on MASNsports.com about Rosa.  David Stockstill (Player Development Director) is quoted several times in the piece. 

Before I let you read the article, a little promo for the “N.Y. Deli” up the street from the hotel.  I’ve had it the last two days.  The guy that owns it is from Yonkers, NY.  The sandwiches make me feel like I am back home.  “The Brooklyn Bidge” sandwich was delicious today.  Turkey, Pastrami and Cole Slaw- perfect.  Ok, I’m done digressing.

FROM MASNsports.com by Steve Melewski

What’s not to like about a 19-year-old shortstop with solid defensive skills, a .330 batting average and power potential?

Garabez Rosa from Cotui, Dominican Republic is just that. Orioles’ scout Carlos Bernhardt signed him in November of 2006 and he has quickly become the O’s top Dominican prospect.

“He’s got to be right at the top. There isn’t anyone I would put above him.
(among our Dominican players),” said O’s Director of Player Development David Stockstill.

In 49 games in the Gulf Coast League last summer, the 6’4″ 166-pound right-handed hitter produced a .330 average with four homers and 29 RBI.

In batting mostly second and fifth in the order, he hit .370 in August and .362 with runners in scoring position.

Rosa, who finished third in batting average and fourth in hits in the Gulf Coast League, batted .342 vs. left-handed pitchers and .321 vs. right-handers.

Plus his defensive skills are solid and right now he projects to continue at short as he moves up the minor league ladder.

“Right now he has a plus arm and plus range, especially going to his right, and he comes in on the ball well,” Stockstill said. “What we don’t know is if he will put on 20 or 30 pounds as he fills out. If he does, he could one day wind up at third base. But he would have to play his way off shortstop.”

Rosa, who doesn’t turn 20 until October, played for the O’s Dominican Summer League team in 2007, batting .275 in 58 games.

While his batting average was third among all O’s minor leaguers last year, like many young players, his strike zone discipline was lacking. In 185 GCL at bats, Rosa fanned 26 times and walked just once for an OBP of just .339.

“He’s a free swinger that needs to work on pitch selection. But I’d rather he be aggressive, we can always get him to back off,” Stockstill added. “He swings at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone and needs to improve on that. But he really gets the barrel of the bat to the ball. He’s a very good fastball hitter right now but you know he will see fewer fastballs as he moves up.”

Stockstill likes Rosa’s power potential.

“He really drives the ball well gap-to-gap. He hit four homers last summer in the Gulf League and that’s pretty good with those big parks and the dead air. He’s not just a pull hitter but can drive the ball all over which leads you to think he has solid power potential.”

Since he will play all this season at just 19, Rosa will probably play for a short-season team starting in June and stay in Florida in April at extended spring training.

“It’s a stretch to say he would begin at Delmarva. We have a game plan for him and it’s likely he would start at extended spring training and then maybe play at Aberdeen. If we have a Delmarva injury or something, that could change. He could play at Delmarva right now but it’s probably not the best thing for his development.”

Rosa had five hits in 20 at bats late last summer with Aberdeen, dropping his average for the year from .330 to .322. What goals have the O’s set for him during the 2009 season?

“He needs to recognize off-speed pitches better. He needs to learn the strike zone better and become more selective. As far as his fielding, just become more consistent. He’s probably never going to be a big base stealer but he can work to become a better base runner.”

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