Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Update: Vinny Rottino

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Folks, I am truly pleased to give this update on Vinny Rottino — while he’s still not hitting, it appears that last year, the reason he was sent to AA ball (after succeeding several times at the AAA level) was at his own request.

Peter Jackel at the Racine Journal-Times broke this story, and here’s some relevant quotes from his story dated April 19, 2011, “Rottino Still Chasing A Big Dream,” available at http://www.journaltimes.com/sports/51a2cf76-6a42-11e0-a8dc-001cc4c03286.html :

For a sense of just how serious Rottino is, consider this story:

Just after being signed by the Marlins prior to the 2010 season, Rottino was sent to Class AAA New Orleans and told younger prospects would receive the preference in playing time.

After a few games, Rottino approached the Marlins’ brass and asked to be sent down to Class AA Jacksonville, where he would be able to play every day. That meant willingly forfeiting half the $12,000 monthly salary he would have received by playing at Class AAA to have a greater chance to showcase his skills. In other words, Rottino conceded about $36,000 in salary last year.

“It was the right decision,” Rottino said. “When I came to spring training this year, one of the guys in the front office pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to you last year, but I just wanted to let you know I’ve never seen that before – a guy wanting to take half the pay to play in Double A. I just wanted you to know how impressed I am.’ “

Note the reason for being impressed likely was not just the fact that Rottino has persisted (he’s now 31, a full adult, who knows exactly what he wants and is doing his best to get it), but that Rottino had an outstanding year last year in Jacksonville, batting .307 with 22 steals (and only 2 “caught stealing,” an excellent percentage), 69 RBI, 8 HR and a stellar .385 on-base percentage (OBP). 

Rottino did exactly the right thing for himself; he went to AA ball, played every position (he’s an IF-OF-C), hit well, stole many bases, took walks, and proved he’s still “got it.”  And with his excellent season, he was named the best utility player in the Southern League at the end of the 2010 season — the first major award Rottino had won in over two and a half years for his play.

Rottino, as I’ve said before, is an outstanding defensive outfielder and a very good defensive infielder; he’s fast, positions himself well, has a good arm and does everything right — he has outstanding “baseball fundamentals,” in short, from every statistic I’ve ever seen (and from the very few times I’ve actually managed to see Rottino play).  He can pinch hit, though he’s better if he plays every day, and is a contact hitter rather than someone who hits for power — with his speed, his ideal position in a lineup would probably be either second or seventh.

At any rate, I know I was frustrated when Rottino started on a tear at AAA ball last year, hitting two triples in one game for New Orleans, then was sent down.  But now that I know that Rottino requested it in order to get more playing time, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I agree that Rottino made exactly the right decision for himself.

But for the rest of us, there’s a lesson to be learned here.  Persistence is important.  Look how hard Vinny Rottino has tried, knowing his full worth — he deserves a chance to play major league ball.  And I believe he will get that chance if he just keeps trying; it doesn’t matter about his age, it only matters about his ability and his determination and his drive.  Rottino has a winning attitude and I applaud him for refusing to give up on himself or his talents.

Here’s hoping that Rottino will find his hitting stroke and have a great season in AAA ball.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

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