DENVER -- Slugging catcher Wilin Rosario got another plug for his Rookie of the Year credentials from manager Jim Tracy on Tuesday.
Tracy has been vocal about Rosario's need to improve defensively, with his 20 passed balls leading all Major League catchers and 28 other teams overall, but he was adamant that his offensive prowess demanded consideration.
"It's a delicate balance, I won't shy away from that," Tracy said. "I believe he's the first player in Rockies history to have three hits in four consecutive games. Twenty-six home runs, his average is up around .275. Guys like that, you don't go shake an oak tree and half a dozen of them fall out every time you say to yourself it would be great to have a right-handed power bat, not to mention a right-handed power bat that plays behind the plate for you."
Rosario homered in his first at-bat Tuesday night to reach 27 on the season. He passed Todd Helton (25) and Troy Tulowitzki (24) to take the Rockies' rookie mark, but both Helton and Tulo have Gold Gloves in their trophy case and looked like the full package when they arrived as freshman. On the other hand, five-tooled players Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler took some time to find their stride.
"This kid'll get this," Tracy said of Rosario's defense. "And when he does, you're talking about a right-handed-hitting catcher that in our ballpark over a full season with 500-600 at-bats could hit 40-plus home runs. That's a pretty special piece to have around."
Entering play Tuesday, Rosario ranked first among National League rookies in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage.
"For this kid not to be considered and not to eventually garner votes for the National League Rookie of the Year, that would be a [mistake]," Tracy said.