Wilin Rosario is an electrifying talent. The crack of his home runs is emphatic and his trot down the line is cocksure. He is a commanding presence at the plate.
As a hitter, the young Rosario needed to make adjustments going into the 2012 season. Namely, like so many young power hitters, he needed to adjust to Major League breaking pitches. While that is an area of his game that still needs work, he improved enough in that aspect to make a serious impact in what was considered his rookie season. Enough of an impact, in fact, that he could have been a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate based on his offensive production alone.
Unfortunately it is not based on offensive production alone, and Rosario’s astounding 21 passed balls in 2012 are hard to look past.
The thing is, the Rockies knew that Rosario’s defense, from game-calling to receiving to the dreaded passed balls issue, needed work. They knew he was still raw in that aspect and that he would have to develop on the fly at the big league level. To ease that transition, they added veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez. The plan was for Hernandez to be the starting catcher for some of the year and then gradually hand the reins to Rosario. Injuries derailed that tidy scenario and, after a baptism by fire and due to his huge offensive production, Rosario looks to be the starting catcher.
The Rockies then needed to decide who Rosario’s back-up will be, and it looks like they will try a modified version of their 2012 plan:
Thought #Rockies would pursue veteran backup C, but appear confident that Hernandez will rebound. Could go w young guys in AAA, too
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) November 30, 2012
While Hernandez was a gigantic disappointment in an injury-shortened season, there are elements of this that can still work out. Hernandez can indeed continue to mentor Rosario in the nuances of catching at the big league level, from pitch-calling to communicating with the pitchers to the concept that he needs to block the damn ball when it’s in the dirt. It has always been refreshing to hear how willing Hernandez is be unselfish and fade into the background to help Rosario. That should work just as well with him as back-up as the Rockies hoped it would in their gradual transition plan last year.
So Ramon Hernandez will be back with the Rockies. He will be back for valid and good reasons…as long as nobody dares to utter the phrase “clubhouse culture” ever again.