When the news broke on July 31 that Amed Rosario was set to be called up to finally make his long awaited Major League debut a day later in Colorado, fans had just one question: What took so long?
The 21-year-old shortstop has already impressed in his short stint in the Majors, posting a line of .247/.271/.452 with eight extra-base hits, eight RBI, and four stolen bases in 26 games.
More recently, Rosario has gotten into a steady groove at the plate, slashing .290/.313/.532 in 17 games, recording at least one hit in 12 of the 17, while reaching base in 14 of them.
Rosario has held his own with RISP as well, where he’s 4-for-14 (.286), with two triples and three RBI. With two outs and RISP, Rosario is 2-for-7 with a triple and RBI. A small sample size, yes, but one fans who have been following the kid’s rise in the minor leagues shouldn’t be all that surprised by.
In 93 at-bats with RISP in Las Vegas this season, Rosario posted a .376/.382/.516 line, with eight extra-base hits and 46 RBI. In 81 at-bats with the St. Lucie Mets in the first half of the 2016 season, Rosario posted a line of .383/.404/.543, with eight extra-base hits and 36 RBI with RISP.
When speaking of Rosario’s penchant for clutch hitting, one would be remiss to not speak on his early power numbers in the late innings. Already in 96 at-bats, Rosario has hit four home runs. Of the four, two of those have come in the eighth inning or later and have given the Mets the lead and eventual winning run (August 11 vs the Phillies and August 27 vs the Nationals).
While his offensive efforts have been fun to watch, his bread and butter has been his defensive capabilities at short, providing the Mets with a steady defender with plus range up the middle. Among shortstops with minimum 200 innings played at the position, Rosario ranks 10th in defensive runs saved with three, while his 30.4 UZR/150 is currently ranked first among shortstops.
Of course, there are going to be some growing pains for the dynamic shortstop. In the rubber game of last Sunday’s Mets’ 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins, Rosario allowed the speedy Dee Gordon to reach on an infield single, as he double-clutched before throwing to first. Instead of having two outs and a runner on third, Jacob deGrom had to deal with runners on the corners and one out, with Giancarlo Stanton stepping to the plate. Needless to say, a three-run home run ensued by the hulking right fielder, and deGrom’s day was over in the seventh.
Growing pains are a part of the development for a young player, and these games are as perfect time as ever to let Rosario work through mechanics, both defensively and at the plate. For a consensus top prospect in all of baseball, Rosario hasn’t let the labels get to his head. In fact, he’s embraced the teachings and instruction he’s received from his teammates, and has done and said all the right things thus far in his brief stint in the majors.
Maturity can sometimes be a player’s downfall, preventing them from reaching their true potential by letting their egos come before the team. Fans have witnessed countless players around the league who have immense talent, however, can’t get out of their own way due to their arrogance. With Rosario, his humbleness and love of the game are on display each time he steps foot on the field, and anyone who follows his Twitter account knows, he’s appreciative every day for the opportunity to be playing the game of baseball.
Even with the early gaffes that he’s made, Rosario continues to impress with his approach and attitude he brings to the diamond.
When the Mets dropped the first game of their three-game set against the Colorado Rockies on August 1, Rosario’s Major League debut, the sprightly shortstop learned quick how fast the game can happen. With Charlie Blackmon on first with a leadoff walk in the ninth, the ensuing batter, DJ LeMahieu, hit a hard grounder to the right of Rosario, a potential double play ball. However, Rosario sidestepped to the second base bag, as Blackmon took off on the pitch. Rosario tried to double back, but the sharply hit grounder bounded off his glove, putting runners on first and second with no out. Nolan Arenado sent the Rockies home victorious with a game-winning RBI single to center in the ensuing at-bat.
As the Rockies were celebrating on the field, Neil Walker and Jay Bruce quickly raced over to Rosario, comforting him and making sure he didn’t put the onus squarely on himself for the walk-off defeat. Rosario was appreciative of the veteran’s efforts.
“It really means a lot that they are there for me like that. It’s just part of the game,” Rosario said of that ninth inning play. “You shake it off. I’ve already forgotten it. I will be back with a new mindset and a lot of faith tomorrow.”
While the season has been a major disappointment in many facets, including the incredible rash of injuries the team has dealt with, there are still players of note to watch and evaluate over the final month. Rosario is front and center in that regard, and should represent hope for all Met fans that another big piece of their eventual winning formula is now right where he belongs, playing shortstop in Queens.