- Full name Jorge Alberto De La Rosa
- Born 04/05/1981 in Monterrey, Mexico
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- Debut 08/14/2004
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Brewers were pleased to acquire de la Rosa as one of six players from Arizona in the blockbuster Richie Sexson deal last offseason. Just days earlier, he had been traded by the Red Sox to the Diamondbacks in the Curt Schilling deal. Milwaukee thought de la Rosa was further along in his development than he turned out to be, however. He first fought command problems in Triple-A, then experienced elbow discomfort, which likely contributed to his difficulties finding the strike zone. He was shut down for a month before returning to the rotation and eventually making it to Milwaukee for a late-season cup of coffee. De la Rosa gets his fastball to the plate at 90-93 mph and has reached 95 in the past. He also shows a solid curveball with sweeping action and depth, along with a much-improved changeup. Control continues to be a major concern. When he throws strikes, he looks the part of a top pitching prospect. With a decent camp, he could start knocking at the door of the Brewers rotation. Some scouts say he could eventually evolve into a late-inning reliever.
This offseason, de la Rosa was the key prospect in separate transactions involving two of the game's elite players. Three days after the Red Sox sent him to the Diamondbacks in a deal for Curt Schilling, Arizona turned around and shipped him to the Brewers in a nine-player trade for Richie Sexson. De la Rosa was Boston's best pitching prospect, and he has accomplished more at a higher level than any of the top arms in the Milwaukee system. When the Red Sox bought him from Mexico's Monterrey Sultans in 2001, then-general manager Dan Duquette dubbed de la Rosa "the Mexican John Rocker" because he projected as a hard-throwing lefty closer. While he still lights up radar guns from 90-95, he has shown potential as a big league starter. Besides his heater, he has a curveball that's a plus pitch at times, as well as a changeup that has made significant improvement. He still needs to refine his command and become more consistent with his secondary pitches, but he's not too far away from the majors. The back of Milwaukee's rotation is unsettled, so he should make his big league debut at some point in 2004.
The Diamondbacks signed de la Rosa in 1998 but sold him to the Monterrey Sultans two years later. When Arizona's working agreement with Monterrey expired, the Sultans kept de la Rosa's rights, then saw his velocity jump to the mid-90s in winter ball. Boston signed him for $600,000 in February 2001, and former general manager Dan Duquette dubbed him "the Mexican John Rocker." Moved to the rotation in 2002 to get more innings, de la Rosa still maintained a 92-94 mph fastball. He also throws a hard breaking ball and made strides with his changeup. For two consecutive seasons, de la Rosa has pitched well in high Class A before getting hammered in Double-A. He must gain better command of his pitches and more consistency with his changeup to succeed against more advanced hitters. The Red Sox will give de la Rosa a third crack at Double-A in 2002, continuing to use him as a starter to give him more mound time. His best long-term fit may be as a power lefty out of the bullpen.
De la Rosa originally signed with Arizona in 1998. Two years later, the Diamondbacks transferred his contract to his hometown Monterrey Sultans, a Mexican League club with which they had a working agreement. When the agreement lapsed, the Sultans kept de la Rosa's rights, which suddenly became quite valuable when his velocity jumped 5 mph to 95-97 in the Mexican Pacific League that winter. After Boston landed him for $600,000, GM Dan Duquette dubbed de la Rosa "the Mexican John Rocker." He has the velocity to be an intimidating closer, but that's also the extent of his strengths. De la Rosa has inconsistent mechanics, which makes his command spotty, and he doesn't hide the ball well. He also lacks a second pitch he can trust. His 83-mph slider is better than his curveball, which he hangs too much, and he slows down his delivery when he throws his changeup. His arm action is a little too stiff for some scouts. He tore through high Class A in his Red Sox debut, then got hammered following a promotion to Double-A. Boston has been looking for a reliable lefty reliever for a few years, but de la Rosa will need to round out his game before he's the answer.
Minor League Top Prospects
Several managers projected de la Rosa as a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors, while others thought he would fit nicely as a fireballing lefty coming out of the pen. They all agreed that he had a quality arm. De la Rosa has a lively 90-91 mph fastball that touches 94, a curveball that has a chance to be a plus pitch and an improving changeup to rack up better than a strikeout an inning for Portland. He also showed a better feel for pitching in his third stint in the EL.