Wilin Rosario had an interesting year as the Rockies catcher last year.
He hit well, but he had a hard time being a catcher.
All of this came while Rosario was learning on the job, especially when he had to be on duty after Ramon Hernandez went on the disabled list May 25 with a hand injury. He caught 85 games last season.
It was a tough spot for him to be in, but he was better off learning. Players can be better from this experience.
This year can’t get any worse for Rosario.
Rosario spent the winter working on his skills as a catcher in winter ball. He reworked his catching stance in an attempt to prevent wild pitches and setting up corners for pitchers to pitch.
He worked with Rockies catching coach Jerry Weinstein about calling a game with the pitchers. Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba have been tutoring him when it comes to working at the plate.
Rosario feels it will pay off for him this season.
It has to if Rosario wants to be an everyday player.
No one questions his ability to hit. It’s hard to when he was the league leader for rookies in homers (28), RBIs (71) and slugging percentage (.530).
The Rockies always had high hopes for Rosario as a hitter.
Being a catcher is more than just hitting a baseball. He has to call a good game. He has to make sure those wild pitches don’t move runners up on base. He has to come up with a game plan for a pitcher to be successful. He has to provide leadership for pitchers when they go on a funk. He has to know how to throw runners out. He has to handle the grind of playing many games during the course of a long season.
In other words, he has to make a pitcher’s life easy.
There are so many responsibilities when it comes to being a catcher. It’s not for the faint of heart.
A catcher is basically an extension of the manager when it comes to calling pitchers and managing a game.
Rosario has to know how to do these things if he wants to be an everyday catcher. It’s hard to put him into another position when one realizes he may not be good at that position.
Rosario was a catcher since he played the game. He can do it. It’s all about how he applies what he learned when the game starts.
Weiss and the Rockies pitchers have given Rosario high marks for his work as a catcher this spring.
There hasn’t been much pass balls or errors so far from Rosario. He framed pitches much better, and his footwork improved.
That has to be encouraging, but we won’t know much about him as a catcher until he plays for two months.
One thing about Rosario. He is coachable. He is willing to learn to get better. He knows he has to if he wants to be a successful player in the majors.
He does not want to face the possibility of being a designated hitter if the catching role does not work out. No player wants that role. It’s hard to be one when he is only used few times a game. Most players want to be impact players as fielders along with what they do at the plate. It makes them more focused when they come to the plate.
Rosario strives to be the next Pudge Rodriguez.
There is something about being a catcher that is a great hitter. Their role is magnified when sportswriters, analysts and fans talk about catchers.
A catcher has so many ways to impact a game whether it’s calling a game or being the guy that is a difference maker at the plate.
Most catchers strive to do both even though that’s hard to do.
Rosario is fortunate to have a gift where he can do both. This is why the Rockies invested time in him to work on his game at the plate. They know it’s hard to get catchers that can be good power hitters. They also don’t want to give up on a talent like him.
They hope this work can pay off. They feel if Rosario does not get it now, he may not get it ever. It’s a fear that has to cross their mind.
Right now, it’s all good. Spring training is always a cause for optimism until the game starts.
The Rockies would love to have Rosario catch most of the games this season.
It’s on him to make it happen.
It will depend how he applies from what he learned in a regular season game.
That test is coming soon.
The Rockies are hoping Rosario passes it next month.