Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Archive for May 12th, 2011

Vinny Rottino Update

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Time for an update about Vinny Rottino, a Racine, Wisconsin native who plays in the Florida Marlins organization.  As I’ve said before, Rottino plays multiple positions well and has succeeded at the AAA level before.  Note that Rottino has had a few “cups of coffee” at the major league level (originally drafted by the Brewers, Rottino played a little bit in the majors in ’06, ’07, and ’08, being a September call-up all three times); he’s now 31 years old and is playing in New Orleans at the AAA level, most of the time in the outfield.

Here’s Rottino’s stats from

Now, for those of you who’d rather see stats than go to another Web site, I’ll quote some of the salient particulars.

Rottino’s average is now .319, and he’s been on a .455 clip since May 3, 2011.  He has an OBP of .420, had walked 15 times and struck out 10, and has stolen six bases without being caught stealing once.   He has 2 HR, 11 RBI, and now has 30 hits overall (in 94 ABs; yes, that’s what his batting average means, but I thought you all might like it spelled out a bit more).

Rottino started out cold — as in, he was in a 1 for 25 slump to start the season.  Fortunately he’s found his hitting stroke and is on a major tear right now, hitting up a storm; it seems that the folks in New Orleans, like the folks in Jacksonville last year, have figured out that Rottino is a contact hitter and does better when he can actually get on base.  (I never have understood why it is that the major league teams don’t work more with contact hitters and help them improve their game as much as possible to get to the majors — instead, they seem to concentrate on either the really big stars or the home run hitters who might develop into really big stars.)  Rottino has ability and he can hit; he can play any position on the field save second base with excellent defense at all positions save catcher (he’s not played that as long so he’s merely adequate there; might get better with practice).  Rottino can steal a base for you, intelligently, and won’t run you out of an inning.  Rottino can get a clutch hit for you.  And he’ll help your team because he’s smart and level-headed — really, what’s not to like about this guy?

I keep hoping that Rottino will get his shot and be able to play a few years in the major leagues.   It’s happened before that an older player finally has received a shot — most notably with pitcher Jimmy Morris, who came up with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (they weren’t yet the Rays) in 1999 at the age of 35 — and usually the older player does well for a while, but has a brief career.  (For example, Morris’s career was only two years in duration.)

Even so, Rottino is 31, is in excellent physical shape, hasn’t shown any signs of his body breaking down yet as he’s known for taking good care of himself and he could play, potentially, six or seven more years if all went well for him.

Major league teams all the time bet the farm on a 21 or 22 year old who has no more ability than Rottino, and half the time these folks are out of baseball in four years or less.  Whereas with Rottino, he’s been trying now since 2003; he wasn’t initially drafted by anyone, instead being signed as a free-agent by the Brewers.  So it’s obvious that this man loves baseball, wants to learn how to play it better, and will do whatever is necessary to get himself to the majors and play as well as he possibly can in order to stay there.

The world needs heroes, it’s often said; well, to my mind, Rottino at his advanced-for-baseball age of 31 is a hero.  He has not given up on himself, and I’m betting he will not.

I really hope the Marlins realize what a gem they have in this man, and give him the chance he has richly earned.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 12, 2011 at 10:34 pm