Mets shortstop Amed Rosario was named the Appalachian League’s top prospect by Baseball America. Clint Longenecker also ranked righthanders Robert Whalen (#15) and Chris Flexen (#19) to round out his top twenty.
BA writes that Rosario showed “star potential” in his debut season and said he is an exceptional athlete with above-average speed.
“He could be a star,” a scout said. “He is 17 and can drive the ball to right-center field like a man. He has very good feel to hit and his swing generates a lot of leverage. I think he can have 20-25 home run power. I think he can be a shortstop because he has all the tools and he can run.”
Rosario makes things look easy defensively, showing good feet around the bag and the range and body control to make any play at shortstop. He has good hands and a plus arm with the ability to throw from all angles. Managers expect him to reduce his error total with experience and they say he could remain at shortstop, but he could also profile at third base as he fills out.
Rosario also drew rave reviews for his hitting ability. He has above-average bat speed with natural whip and a rare ability to drive the ball and create loud contact for his age, and he excels at hitting to the opposite field. He will need to shorten his stroke, improve on handling pitches on the inner half and polish his strike-zone discipline.
The Mets shelled out $1.75 million for Rosario last year, which was the highest bonus they have ever paid out to an International free agent. He was ranked 11th on Baseball America’s list of International Prospects at the time.
Tim Gilbert wrote:
The Dominican shortstop has come into his own playing for the advanced rookie league Kingsport Mets this season. After a rough start to the year in which Rosario hit .200 through July 14, he truly found his bat and hit .292/.311/.460 the rest of the way. Such improved levels of production out of a 17 year old teenager point to his immense potential and upside if he stays focused.
Here is what Baseball America posted on our promising righthanders Whalen and Flexen…
Mets fine-tuned his mechanics, and those tweaks, combined with a professional throwing program, helped him rediscover his stuff and finish second in the league ERA.
Whalen showed a low-90s fastball that touched 94 mph with above-average movement, and the incorporation of a sinker in addition to his four-seam fastball gave him a 2.4-to-1 groundout-to-flyout ratio. He has an advanced ability to throw strikes, and his offspeed stuff played up because of it, allowing him to use it in fastball counts. He throws a changeup, curveball and slider, and the best of the three is a high-70s curveball with three-quarters tilt that is consistently above-average.
He has an average fastball that sits in the low 90s, and his velocity could improve as he matures. He gets good downhill plane, though the pitch can lack life.
Flexen has a solid-average curveball that has improved dramatically, with good depth and late tilt. He also throws an average changeup and a slider. With command of three average or better offerings, polish and a delivery that offers deception, he should advance as a starter.
We’ve been extolling the virtues of these two all season long on MMO and MMN as both turned in a pair of impressive seasons for Kingsport.
It’s exciting to see the new-found respect our minor league system is getting. The Mets now have a system speckled with high upside prospects at each level and many of them forged their way to the majors in 2013. We’ve been waiting a long time to get to this point.