Despite playing in just 43 MLB games combined, Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are already proving to be the building blocks the New York Mets hoped they’d develop into down the road.
The injuries that destroyed the 2017 season for the New York Mets have a silver lining. They forced the club to shed its pending veteran free agents, ultimately leading to the promotions of top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.
The pair has proved their worth this summer, and with nothing to play for except 2018, the Mets have no reason not to give them every chance to adjust to the major league level.
Rosario’s numbers don’t pop out at you. Over 26 games, he’s hitting .247 with four home runs, seven RBI and a .722 OPS while going 4-for-6 in stolen base attempts. But almost all of his production has come in the clutch.
On Aug. 11, Rosario smacked his first career homer on the same evening that Smith made his debut. The go-ahead blast, ninth-inning blast gave the Mets a 7-6 lead they wouldn’t give up.
Amed Rosario's first career home run is a game-winner: pic.twitter.com/3mOZHIXTfI
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 12, 2017
Last night, after the Mets—in typical Mets fashion—blew a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals, Rosario crushed a 405-foot go-ahead solo home run in the top of the eighth, and once again gave the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.
Just as advertised, the 21-year-old has instantly become a dominant defensive force at a premium position. Prior to his promotion, New York deployed Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and a few other pseudo-shortstops in order to delay Rosario’s arrival.
Advanced defensive metrics like UZR and DRS don’t accurately measure how much of an upgrade he’s been at the position.
The Mets’ front office must have been nervous that Rosario wasn’t ready for the majors just yet. Once again, they were miserably incorrect as Rosario has made a handful of near-impossible plays and has already established himself as one of the better defensive shortstops MLB has to offer.
Young shortstops have taken the league by storm over the past few seasons. Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Correa are three examples of shortstops that have established themselves as MVPs of their respective clubs.
Rosario’s encouraging start to what should be a long MLB career suggests that he can continue that trend. Like Rosario, Smith has made Mets baseball watchable again.
Despite hitting just .161, more than 140 points below his .330 batting average with Triple-A Las Vegas, Smith has flashed more power than many thought he had.
One more look at Dominic Smith's first career home run, a 373-foot, opposite-field shot to left. #Mets pic.twitter.com/IRtpdnsF6K
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) August 16, 2017
In fact, both Smith and Rosario went deep in that game—one that the Mets wound up losing, 5-4.
He’s also shown the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field, drawing comparisons to Kansas City All-Star Eric Hosmer.
Rosario and Smith have already proved that when they are on the field together, they are a deadly combination—both at the plate and in the field.
So enjoy the next 32 games, Mets fans. It’s merely a preview of what’s to come.