Kala’i Rosario owns the highest OPS of any player who has spent the entire season with High-A Cedar Rapids, runaway leaders of the Midwest League’s West Division.
And a 21-year-old outfielder from Hawaii was doing it by being more selective at the plate.
“It’s hard to think of someone who has made more developmental strides than Rosie, and he’s done it for three straight years,” Twins farm director Drew MacPhail said. “He’s always had good strike-zone coverage, but he’s done a fantastic job of learning to limit himself to good pitches to hit.”
By late July, the Twins’ fifth-round pick in 2020 out of Waiakea High had already drawn more walks than he did in his first two years combined.
Rosario’s .496 slugging percentage caught the Twins’ eye, but his .383 on-base percentage has them projecting his future three levels up. He hit .270 with 16 home runs through 89 games.
“He made a ton of adjustments to his swing, becoming more efficient, giving himself a longer look at pitches,” MacPhail said. “He’s a big guy with natural power. Now he swings at better pitches, and does even more damage with them. He’s really gotten himself noticed.”
The Twins did a double-take after Rosario’s slow start at Low-A Fort Myers in 2022 turned into a rousing finish. The 6-foot, 205-pound corner outfielder hit .345/.406/.483 over the final three weeks of the season and reached base in all but one of the final 16 games.
“He was an aggressive assignment at that level, just 19 most of the season, and it showed early on,” MacPhail said, “but he has made huge progress, turned himself into a real threat at the plate.”