January 16, 2013 - Midwest League (MWL) - Dayton Dragons
Former Dragon Adam Rosales' hustling style of play makes him a fan favorite wherever he goes. His Adam Rosales spent parts of the 2005 and '06 seasons with the Dragons, and later became the 29th Dragons player to reach the Major Leagues. Known for his hustling style of play and passion for the game in both the Minor Leagues and the Majors, Rosales quickly became a fan favorite in Dayton and later in Cincinnati.
Rosales, a native of the northwest Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois, was drafted by the Reds in the 12th round in 2005 out of Western Michigan University. In college, Rosales earned Academic All-Mid American Conference honors as well as 1st Team All-Conference. He played four seasons at Western Michigan before signing with the Reds.
Rosales' first season in professional baseball provided immediate indications that he might have been a steal in the 12th round. Assigned to Billings to start his pro career, he batted .321 in 34 games to earn a quick promotion to Dayton for the final six weeks of the season. In just his second game with the Dragons, he collected four hits. In his first week with the Dragons, he hit two home runs and batted .414. Strictly a shortstop at that time, Rosales continued to produce big games as the season wound down including a contest at Fifth Third Field on August 31 when he slammed two home runs against Wisconsin and to lift him to Midwest League Player of the Week honors. He enjoyed a 15-game hitting streak over much of the month of August that, at the time, was the second longest in Dragons history. At season's end, his average with the Dragons stood at .328 with nine home runs in just 32 games. Baseball America ranked Rosales as the #15 prospect in the Reds organization, a big acknowledgement of his first-year success in light of his relatively modest draft status.
Rosales started the 2006 season at Sarasota but struggled with an injury and returned to Dayton in mid-June. He got healthy with the Dragons and earned the team's Batter of the Month award for July. Twice in the month, he connected on two homers in the same game. In 55 games with the Dragons, he hit .270. Over his two years in Dayton, Rosales appeared in 87 games and hit .292 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI.
A healthy Rosales returned to Sarasota in 2007 and hit .294, an improvement of 81 points over his average with the same club a year earlier. At mid-season, he was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga and found his power stroke with the Lookouts, connecting on 13 homers in just 67 games. For the year, with the two teams combined, Rosales hit .286 with 18 homers to earn the Reds Minor League Batter of the Year award.
Rosales moved up to Triple-A Louisville for 2008 and enjoyed another strong year, batting .287 with 11 home runs. On August 9, the call came from Cincinnati. Rosales was promoted to the big leagues. He made his debut that night as a pinch hitter for Bronson Arroyo against the Astros, and three days later, he collected his first big league hit, again as a pinch hitter in a win over the Pirates. After a short stint back in Louisville, he rejoined the Reds and finished out the year in the big leagues, batting .207 in 18 games.
Rosales started the 2009 season back in Louisville and enjoyed a sizzling month with the Bats. In 17 games in April, he hit .431 with four home runs. On April 29, with the Reds starting third baseman Edwin Encarnacion out with an injury, Rosales was promoted back to Cincinnati. In his first game, delivered two hits and two RBI in a 3-0 Reds win over Houston. Rosales returned to Louisville for two weeks in late June, but spent most of the season with the Reds.
On May 10, Rosales gained some level of national acclaim. In an 8-7 extra inning loss to the Cardinals, Rosales hit his first big league home run off Adam Wainwright. It was not the homer that brought attention to Rosales, but the fact that he circled the bases in a virtual sprint. His entire lap was timed by Fox Sports Ohio at 15 seconds. The event brought many dugout grins from his teammates, a well-watched video on YouTube, and a story at Reds.com by Mark Sheldon. Rosales' sprint was in concert with his entire style of play and attitude towards the game. He wore his red socks "old school," all the way to his knees. He sprinted on and off the field between innings, ran to first after drawing walks, and earned a nickname, "Pete Rose-ales" in reference to a certain player who played the game in the same manner. In Sheldon's story, Rosales was asked about the sprint around the bases after his first home run.
"I've been doing it since I was a little kid," Rosales said. "I'm not going to change. I just do it. I think it's fun. It's who I am. I always get razzed about it. That's what makes it fun. Give them a reason. But I'm going to keep doing it."
In Rosales' next game, he belted another home run, and completed another sprint. The fans fell in love with Rosales and his throwback style of play. Fans in Dayton had seen the same player, three years earlier. At the end of the 2009 season, Rosales was named as the recipient of the Reds "Heart and Hustle Award" as voted on by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni.
Rosales struggled over the late part of the 2009 season and finished the year with the Reds at .213 in 87 games. Following the season, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics. Over the last three seasons, Rosales has appeared in 146 games with Oakland, batting a combined .234 with 11 home runs. He has played all four infield positions as well as left field. His versatility and passion for the game have made him a player that managers want on their teams.
Rosales, now 29 years old, has played in 251 Major League games over five seasons. In November of 2012, Rosales signed a one-year deal with the A's for 2013. As the 362nd player selected in the 2005 draft, he has enjoyed a fine career. In each of the eight cities in which Rosales has called home, he has surely been a fan favorite. He was the 29th Dragons player to reach the Major Leagues.