When it comes to the development of their own youngsters, the New York Mets can’t afford to look at what the Baby Bombers are doing in the Bronx.
Torres and Andujar have been key contributors as the Yanks have won six straight and 15 of their last 16 games. Meanwhile, Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto had contributed little heading into Monday night’s game against Cincinnati, a 7-6 victory that snapped the Mets’ six-game slide.
When talking about young players, patience is always going to be key. Even though a player reaches their goal of making the major leagues, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an adjustment period. It’s easy to forget that these players are still developing.
For example, let’s take a look at Andujar. The Yankees’ third baseman was 3-for-28 in his first seven games of the season. Rather than demote him, the Yankees were patient and he turned into an extra-base hit machine for New York in the bottom of the lineup.
Torres has become a walkoff machine, winning games for the Yankees with one swing of his bat.
Meanwhile, in Flushing, it is hard not to be frustrated with the way Rosario has played. For a team that needs any kind of production from the bottom of the lineup, the 22-year-old shortstop is hitting .243 with nine RBI and eight extra-base hits. Plus, he does not have a stolen base this year, which is stunning considering his speed.
It’s only been 76 games, but Rosario has a career batting average of .242, and that is not what anyone expected from one of the Mets top prospects when he was promoted to Flushing last August.
It is important for the Mets to trust their development process and not to panic about a sample size that is less than half of a full big league season. At the same time, Rosario isn’t seeing many pitches (3.55 per plate appearance) and his 26 strikeouts are the fourth-most on the roster.
Defensively, errors are the not the definite stat for an infielder. However, he has three errors in 29 games this year after having six all of last season. In terms of defensive runs saved, that is at minus-2, which is tied for 13th among all National League shortstops.
Right now, the key for Rosario has to be to try to do the little things to get back on track. In this Mets lineup, he does not have to be a hero. Instead, he needs to get his way on base, even if it is on a walk. If he can do that, he can use his speed to steal bases and manufacture a run while the power production is down for the most of the lineup.
The Mets don’t have much depth at shortstop in the organization other than Gavin Cecchini, so he will get every chance to make an impact at the big league level and be the sparkplug that the team needs.
As for Conforto, he has not had the start of the season everyone expected. The 25-year-old is hitting .198 with two home runs and seven RBI. His on-base percentage is .344, which is the third-highest on the team, but the Mets need his power production to pick up.
It’s easy to forget that Conforto is coming back from serious shoulder surgery, so it’s going to take time for him to get into a rhythm. But, in the other borough, Aaron Judge (also 25) has had more patience at the plate (.423 OBP) and has continued his power surge from last season (eight home runs).
Judge has been electric to watch on a day-to-day basis in the Bronx. It’s easy to forget that he hit .179 with 42 strikeouts in his first 27 games with the Yankees. That caused him to have to win the right field job in spring training the following year.
The key word here to remember is patience. It is a long season and all players develop their talent at their own pace. Conforto didn’t forget how to hit and he is going through one of those slumps that every player has. Once he finds his form, he might not be Judge, but he has the talent to be one of the best players on this roster.
Patience is a hard thing for baseball fans and sports fans in general in New York. It is all doom and gloom for Mets fans right now, but as of Monday, they are only 1.5 games out of first despite a six-game losing streak. There is plenty of time for these players to find their form.
The Mets system is not where the Yankees system is at. But, their young players can still develop and make a similar impact. Just be patient.