Despite a premature label as a “bust,” New York Mets young shortstop Amed Rosario is proving his worth beyond stats.
In July 2012 the New York Mets “ponied up” (relatively speaking) $1.75 million to sign an infielder from the Dominican Republic as an international free agent prospect. He rapidly escalated to the apex of the New York’s farm system prospect leaderboards — nearly as fast as the speed the franchise hoped he’d one day bring to an offense at the Major League level.
Four years later, that kid was 20-years-old going on 21, tearing up the minor leagues — mainly Triple-A Las Vegas — to the tune of a .324 AVG, accompanied by 42 extra-base hits, 19 stolen bases and 71 RBI.
While his major league service time was manipulated by management the following year, the evidently-prepared No. 1 prospect in the Mets system was ready and waiting to be called up to the Bigs, just as its diehard fanbase was ready and waiting to see what extreme talents the neophyte had to display.
That day finally came on August 1, 2017; the day Amed Rosario made his MLB debut.
But while Rosario’s delay to the Bigs finally ended, the fans stood by… and waited… and waited for the prodigy to prove his worth.
After his initial Major League stint across just 30 games played, some had the audacity to label Rosario a “bust” with little hope remaining, if not diminishing all expectations for their designated shortstop of the Future. Presumptions were made for Rosario to be the electrifying spark to the lackluster and often inept Mets lineup in demand for speed and contact, especially at the leadoff spot, much like the Jose Reyes of the mid-2000s — no, not the ghost of Jose Reyes currently robbing a spot on the Mets 40-man roster.
In other words, Rosario needed to be a catalyst.
These days, with just over three weeks left in the 2018 season and the Mets going nowhere fast, looking ahead to competing in 2019, Rosario’s play has shut the mouths of the haters, or rather, made their jaws drop. The temporary “bust” is a disappointment no more. Rosario is shining bright.
Since this year’s MLB All-Star Break, Rosario’s slash line reads .275/.309/.388 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs, 20 RBI, 30 runs scored and, most importantly, 12 stolen bases. Aggressiveness on the base-paths is where his greatest improvement lies. Whether it’s due to his own realization that, “Damn, I’m lightning quick,” or his desire to get an ordinarily slow offense rockin’ and rollin’… or a combination of both, Rosario is finally proving himself to be not only a spark plug, but also — and indubitably — New York’s Shortstop of the Future.
While the stolen bases are fun and dandy, you can’t accumulate steals without getting on base, and Rosario’s offensive development has not gone unnoticed either. This season, his nine games with multiple extra-base hits trail only David Wright (10, ’05) and Darryl Strawberry (12, ’83) for the most for a Met under the age of 23 in a single season.
Slashing .330/.355/.478 across the last month, ranking second among National League shortstops in average since August 1st (.306), he’s also reduced his strikeout rate to under 20 percent. For reference, more than 26 percent of Rosario plate appearances last year resulted in a strikeout.
All told, saying there is legitimate cause for optimism surrounding the former top-prospect would be a criminal understatement. Amed Rosario officially turned a corner. I’m not here to tell you when that pivot occurred, but to maintain the pivot itself did take place, and that is a matter of fact.
With the emergence of “hit-machine” Jeff McNeil, Mr. Smiles Brandon Nimmo, the already established Michael Conforto and now, the leadoff hitter for many years to come, Amed Rosario, these Mets shouldn’t just hope to see their offense flip upside-down from inept to formidable — they should expect it, and you should too.