The annual Rule 5 draft is a chance for prospects to get a new start with a different organization and quite possibly get a chance to make their major league debut. This series we will take a look a select few Yankees prospects that are eligible for the 2018 Rule 5 draft look at reasons why they could be protected, selected, or left alone.
Adonis Rosa – Right-Handed Pitcher
Right-handed pitcher Adonis Rosa was signed by the New York Yankees in December 2013 as an international free agent. He went on to make his professional debut in 2014 as a member of the Dominican Summer League Yankees. The 6-foot 1-inch tall native of Santiago, Dominican Republic appeared in 12 games that season, making three starts, and earned a 1.62 ERA in 39 innings.
His strong performance in the Dominican Republic earned him a promotion state-side to the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League in 2015. As a regular of the Pulaski rotation, he had a 7-2 record with a 3.93 ERA in 55 innings over 11 games.
Rosa started the 2016 season in extended spring training before reporting to Staten Island to start the New York-Penn League season in June. Rosa was the opening day starter for the Staten Island Yankees, allowing two runs over six innings and striking out six Cyclones. He went on to earn a 2-1 record with a 1.32 ERA in six games, five starts, striking out 27 over 34 innings with the Baby Bombers.
He earned a promotion to the Charleston RiverDogs on July 22, 2016. With the RiverDogs he overpowering a 2-5 record with a 2.86 ERA in eight starts. He struck out 46 over 44 innings. He ended his season with a six-inning shutout on September 1 against Hagerstown.
Rosa split the 2017 season between three different teams, including a brief two-game cameo in Triple-A with the RailRiders. Overall, he had an 8-3 record with a 3.06 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 111 2/3 innings pitched over 26 games, 13 starts.
He spent most of the season with the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League where he was 4-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 21 games, eight starts, striking out 79 batters in 83 innings pitched. He had three games with the Tampa Yankees, winning all three and pitching to a 4.32 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. In his two games in Triple-A, Rosa allowed just two earned runs in 12 innings of work, striking out seven.
Rosa went 14-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 26 games, 21 starts, with 108 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings in 2018. He led the entire Yankees organization with 14 victories and was third in the organization in innings pitched. His 128 1/3 innings was a career high for him, as he heads into an offseason where he will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Why Should He Be Protected?
Rosa has been pitching in the Dominican Winter League for the past few offseasons, giving him valuable experience against tough competition including several major league players. That experience combined with his rise through the system means he is on the verge of being major league ready.
Unlike many of the pitchers in the Yankees system, he does not throw 98 miles per hour. He relies heavily on plus command of his four pitches and a competitiveness that matches up with anyone in the system. This is a change of pace of what the Yankees currently have in their bullpen or as spot starters.
With the Yankees or not, Rosa is likely to make his major league debut in 2019 which means he is a prime candidate to be selected in the annual Rule 5 draft. A small market team might want to take a flyer on him to fill out their rotation or be a swingman; he would fit in well with the Yankees in that role similar to Adam Warren the last couple of years.
Why Should He Be Left Exposed?
Rosa is not a hard thrower, and it is no secret the Yankees like pitchers with powerful fastballs which sort of makes him an odd man out with the Yankees. His fastball usually sits 91-93 miles per hour, occasionally getting it up to 94 at times. He follows it up with an average curveball and slider as well as a changeup that is still developing and clearly lags behind his other pitches.
When you look at the Yankees system, the next year will see a ton of pitchers coming up the ranks. Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield already made their major league debuts, Domingo Acevedo is not far behind, and neither is Michael King who might even more ready thank Rosa at this point and is not eligible for the draft this year. The Yankees might as well let him stay exposed, expecting him to be returned at some point because the roster spot could be used to protect another player or sign a free agent.