Rosa Quietly Progressing

PULASKI, VA - Adonis Rosa sits quietly amongst his teammates in the Pulaski Yankees’ locker room. Hailing from Santiago, Dominican Republic, the second year pitcher speaks little English. Where words may elude him on his path to the league, Adonis Rosa lets his pitching do all the talking.

In his first season in Pulaski, the 20-year-old Rosa is part of a Yankee pitching staff that is posting a collective 3.04 ERA and an Appalachian League leading 211 strikeouts.

Rosa’s personal numbers aren’t too shabby either. With both the DSL Yankees and Pulaski, Rosa has appeared in 16 games, starting seven since joining the organization in 2014. He’s a perfect 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 13 strikeouts in his first four games with Pulaski this season too.

While he’s never technically lost a game, Rosa remains humble about future prospects, vowing to stay true to the abilities that got him here.

“I try to do everything the same way, every day,” Rosa said through the help of a translator. “I did that pretty well in Extended [Spring Trianing], thanks to God. I basically worked on whatever the coaches wanted me to work on. I knew coming in here that I would have to work on a lot of stuff, so whatever the coaches tell me to do, I do.”

Pulaski manager Tony Franklin, who admittedly hadn’t seen much of Rosa prior to this season, has been pleasantly surprised with his pitcher’s production in the early going.

“Rosa has certainly been fun to watch because he competes, and for that, you really like the fact that when the guy goes out there, he’s going to be intent on getting into the game,” Franklin said. “He’s into the game and his pitching style kind of shows that.

"He doesn’t take too long in between pitches; he gets the ball, gets up on the mound, pitches it and goes after them. He’s been pretty good, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with him.”

“My experience has been real good here,” Rosa said. “I have a fastball, curveball and a changeup. I’ve topped out at 93 [fastball], but right now I’m averaging 88-91. Apart from my fastball, my changeup is my best pitch. That has been my key go-to pitch when I get in trouble.”

Franklin agrees that having an offspeed pitch that works, specifically a changeup, can be dangerously effective.

“Having a changeup to go to, I think is a wonderful thing," Franklin said. "That’s a wonderful thing for any pitcher at any level because I think it’s probably the best pitch in baseball. It got me out a number of times.

But you’ve got to have a change of pace. If you’re a fastball pitcher or a hard slider pitcher and you’re throwing everything around the same velocity, you’ve got to have something that’s going to get hitters off of your fastball, your hard stuff. And the changeup is when they can do it.”

Franklin also commended Rosa’s ability to recognize some of the important aspects of the game.

“If you can command your fastball and use your changeup to get some swings and misses, that’s a great thing. And it's good that’s he’s realizing that at a very young age,” Franklin continued. “Sometimes, it takes an act of pulling teeth to get these youngsters to throw their changeup, but he’s one guy that sees the benefits in doing it. And for him to call it his go-to pitch, that’s a wonderful thing.”

Pulaski pitching coach Justin Pope has been pleased with Rosa’s determined demeanor and work ethic, even calling him one of the bright stars on Pulaski’s young pitching staff.

“He’s a great competitor," Pope said. "He has three pitches and can throw them for strikes whenever he needs to. He works really quickly, which keeps the defense in the game. He competes and goes right after guys and isn’t afraid to say, ‘Here it is guys, try to hit it.’”

With so much success, it’s hard to find the troubling aspects of Rosa’s game. Humble as ever, Rosa only hope to keep working and growing, and believes Pulaski is the right place to do just that.

“My goal here is to better my body physically and to pump up my fastballs and get those to a higher speed,” Rosa said. “I feel great being in Pulaski because the people treat you like family. It's easy to have a relationship with the people here because they treat me so well, and I’m very happy with that.”

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