The fourth pick of the 2010 Rule 5 Draft was the third straight relief pitcher taken, and the second 21-year-old A-baller, as the Orioles selected young Adrian Rosario from the Brewers.
Rosario actually started 2010 in Rookie ball, which says a lot about his level of experience. Given that he has had very little success outside of the 2010 season, he’s an extreme longshot, but let’s take a slightly deeper look.
Until 2010, Rosario never struck out seven batters per nine innings, as he worked in Rookie ball as a swingman. The big transition he underwent in 2010 was a shift to relief full-time, which allowed his stuff to blossom and saw his strikeout rate shoot up. Quickly promoted to Low-A, Rosario was even more dominant, although he walked too many batters and it was just fourteen games.
Rosario, thus, falls into the “good arm, zero experience” category. He’s nowhere near big-league-ready, but he does have good potential for the future. He’s the sort of guy who really drags down a 25-man roster if he’s kept on it all season long. The Orioles obviously are going nowhere, so they have little to lose by hanging onto him, I suppose; still, he probably can’t contribute for real until 2013 at the earliest.
If you’re going to pick a long-term project pitcher here, why not make it somebody who actually has big-time upside. Rosario’s already thoroughly proven he’s not a starting pitcher, and the chances he becomes a big impact reliever are also slim, although they exist. It’s a shame that the Orioles didn’t at least go for someone with bigger upside when delving into the ranks of the low minors, particularly since they picked so early in the draft.