When you talk about elite shortstop prospects in New York, it seems like a lot of the talk surrounds the New York Yankees’ Jorge Mateo. Brewing in the New York Mets farm system, however, Amed Rosario is amid a breakout season that could have him big league-bound more quickly than his crosstown counterpart.
Rosario was signed at the age of 16 out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2012 for $1.75 million. He has since risen through the Mets minor league ranks rapidly, shaping his game from solely a defensive asset to one at the plate as well.
His defense has been ahead of his bat for several years, but to be fair, Rosario has been one of the youngest players in the league at each stop he has made, often more than three years younger than the median age. While he may never amount to show any immense power numbers, he is enjoying a successful 2016 at the plate.
Rosario made his debut at the age of 17 for Kingsport in the Appalachian League. Immediately, it was easy to see where Rosario would need work. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-handed hitter had a big, aggressive swing, and he wasn’t afraid to lay off a pitch he didn’t like. He hit .241 in short season, while getting on base at just a .279 lick. The red flag was in his plate discipline, as he struck out 19 percent of the time, while walking just five percent of the time, drawing a mere 11 walks over his first 226 plate appearances.
The Mets promoted him to Low-A Savannah to start 2014, and he looked completely lost at the plate. Rosario went 4-for-30 in his brief stay, striking out 11 times and walking just once before being sent to the New York-Penn League. He played very well for the Brooklyn Cyclones in his second season, slashing a much more respectable .289/.337/.380, but still hardly drew a walk.
Last season saw Rosario skip over the South Atlantic League and head to the Florida State League as a mere 19-year old, where he performed surprisingly well. He slashed .257/.307/.335 while improving on the base paths, stealing a career-high 12 bases in 16 attempts. He also showed off his developing power, using it to the gaps by belting a career-best 20 doubles and adding on five triples. The strikeout level was still a tad bit high (17.5 percent) but it wouldn’t be so worrisome if it weren’t for the glaring disparity in his lack of improvement in the walk department (still a very low 5.5 percent).
Rosario headed into 2016 considered the best shortstop in the Mets’ farm system and arguably their entire organization. There was no denying that he was the shortstop of the Mets future, as he is extremely athletic with a cannon of an arm, quick feet and the advanced range to excel at the highest of levels. There is also no denying that that Rosario can hit, as he makes a lot of contact, which he uses his plus-speed to turn into extra-base hits. Still just 20 years old, he has a big enough frame to still develop some more power.
He has a lot going on at the plate. He seems rather fidgety, always bouncing, and he steps big into the pitch. But, as you can see in this video from Mike Rosenbaum, when he connects, he explosively rips through the strike zone.
For more on the hot hitting Mets prospect, including video and projections, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for me complete article.