Top 30 Reds Prospects: No. 28

Many felt it a reach when Cincinnati used a second round pick to get Gabriel Rosa in the 2011 draft. Since then he's struggled in the rookie leagues, but he's still only nineteen and the Reds knew they were getting a raw talent when they made the investment. An injury sidelined him in 2012 but he's very athletic and projects as an everyday player at the MLB level.

Gabriel Rosa is another example proving that Cincinnati is not adverse to risk when it comes to going off mainland after raw skilled, high-potential players. Technically he's not a foreign player since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and they did not pony up a multi-million dollar signing bonus like they did with Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez. They did invest a second round pick (84th overall) in the 2011 draft and went above slot to sign him for $500,000. At that time many considered it a reach to use such a high selection to deny his services to Bethune-Cookman and after 49 rookie league games he's not done a lot to disprove those opinions. However, he's still only nineteen years old and his skills place him prominently in the Reds future plans.

Rosa was drafted as an outfielder, but thus far all the action in his still-brief professional career has been at the third base where he has plenty of arm strength to man the job. There are some concerns that his slow release may eventually move him to right field but he does have skills in the batter's box that are desirable for a corner position. Above him in the pipeline are David Vidal who earned a midseason promotion to Pensacola, Rule 5 pickup Travis Mattair whom the Reds sent to the Arizona Fall League, and of course 2012 N.L Rookie of the Year contender Todd Frazier. Still, mid-lineup run producers at the hot corner are a bit scarce and it figures that Rosa will remain there for a while.

In the box opposing pitchers have been able to take advantage of a long swing and strike him out in over one quarter of his 200 plate appearances. Also, like many other young players there is a need to improve ability to drive outside pitches to the opposite field. Still, it's felt that the bat speed will come and power projections will improve as his 6'4" frame fills out. The Reds knew they were getting a raw talent when they selected Rosa only four days after his eighteenth birthday and they will be patient.

Rosa's debut in the Arizona fall league after the draft ended with a .245/.314 AVG/OB while slugging over .400 in 28 games. He began 2012 in extended spring training and moved to Billings before a hip injury ended his season after only twenty-one games. Now as he prepares for his third professional season there will be a high amount of interest in how his development progresses in the lower minor league levels. The Reds wanted Rosa badly on draft day in 2011 and there's good reason to believe that he will climb back up their list of top prospects in 2013.

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