The New York Mets needed someone to step up and perform in the leadoff spot, and Amed Rosario is doing just that.
After Jeff McNeil went down with a hamstring injury, the New York Mets needed a player to emerge and take over the leadoff spot in their lineup. Shortstop Amed Rosario has excelled as the leadoff hitter during the three games since McNeil was placed on the IL.
Even though Rosario’s time as the leadoff hitter won’t last long, he has also shown to be capable of remaining as a productive hitter at the top of the lineup until McNeil returns. That productivity all begins with his offensive outburst since the All-Star break.
In 31 games since the break, Rosario has hit eight doubles, three triples, three home runs, eight RBI’s and has slashed a line of .367/.396/.547/.942. Rosario has also recorded a .419 BABIP and a 148 wRC+ since the break as well. The Mets shortstop has also continued this outburst into his new role as the leadoff hitter.
Rosario has hit an insane eleven-for-16 along with a pair of doubles, a triple and two RBI. The 23-year-old has also struck out just twice over his last three games as well. Limiting the number of strikeouts is something the Mets will need him to continue to do as their leadoff hitter.
Being able to remain disciplined at the plate and swinging only at good pitches are traits that translate into a productive leadoff hitter, which makes Rosario’s swing rates encouraging in his ability to remain a productive leadoff hitter over the next week and a half as McNeil’s fill-in at the top of the lineup.
Over his last three games, Rosario has recorded a 78.3% Z-Swing rate and a 42.4% O-Swing rate. These numbers show that Rosario has been doing a good job at swinging at pitches just inside the strike zone. This is also something that Rosario has been doing all season as well.
This season, Rosario has recorded a 71.9% Z-Swing rate and a 36.8% O-Swing rate. Which shows that this impressive plate discipline from Rosario over his last three games should be sustainable during the remainder of his time as the leadoff hitter. What’s been even more impressive about this recent stretch for Rosario is his increased hard-hit rate.
Generating hard-hit contact has been an issue at times for Rosario this season. As he’s created a 34.8% hard-hit rate this season. But, Rosario has generated a 50% hard-hit rate since becoming the leadoff hitter. The increase in Rosario’s hard-hit rate has been a big part of leading to this offensive success.
This is especially the case since the majority of the contact that Rosario makes results in producing groundballs. Rosario has produced a 57.1% GB rate over his last three games. But Rosario continues to create hits even with that rate because of his elevated hard-hit rate over his last three games.
However, it’s unlikely for Rosario to continue his high hard-hit rate of 50% through the rest of the season. It would be more likely to see his hard-hit rate sit somewhere above 40% during the rest of the season. Which even at that rate, should allow him to continue to be a productive hitter at the plate, even with all the groundballs he induces.
Rosario’s chances of sustaining this production through the rest of the season will also increase if he’s able to start hitting the ball to the opposite field. So far this season, Rosario has produced just 24.9% of his hits to right field.
That number has also decreased even further since Rosario became the leadoff hitter as well. Rosario has sent just 21.4% of his hits the other way over his last three games. Which is exactly why opposing pitchers have been pitching him on the outer half of the plate during that time.
Opposing pitchers will likely soon begin to make adjustments against Rosario, which will include pitching him high and inside and away off the plate. So, Rosario will need to start producing hits to the opposite field to fully guarantee his chances of sustaining this recent production.
The Mets are relying on Rosario to maintain this production not only until McNeil returns. But also through the rest of the season as well. Having Rosario breakout offensively during the second half of the season has made the Mets lineup so much more dangerous against opposing teams.
His recent performance will also likely keep his bat in the top half of the lineup even when McNeil returns from the IL. The Mets could certainly use another reliable batter to get on base in front of the slugging Pete Alonso.
So, the emergence of Amed Rosario’s offense should help keep the Mets in the playoff race while Jeff McNeil is away. His continued production should also help the Mets make a playoff push during the final quarter of the season as well.