|Picture of Rosario on deck in Port St. Lucie|
As the slow winter season continues to possibly take shape, I figured why not take this opportunity to write about one of my adored prospects, the now 20 yr old (happy belated bday) shortstop Amed Rosario. Ever since a certain shortstop won the batting title and was let go, the Mets have been desperately needing a long term placement to man the all important position in the infield. Many have tried, few have succeeded.
With the Mets rotation in place, all everone wants to talk about this off season is acquiring depth, a bullpen arm, possibly a star player and/or a big time or at least above average shortstop. As fans, many have longed for guys like a certain star who now plays for Toronto instead of that other star who once played for.....well you know.
There's talk of the Mets looking options regarding Ian Desmond costs, along with the same old trade partner of the Cubs that still has not yet come together. In all, due to the thoughts of certain free agents being too pricey, there's the idea that Mets may prefer to go the trade route to acquire any star type players. And, what would that cost the Mets? We already know, leverage making or not, that the Mets publicly do not want to trade ANY of the 5 pitching studs still under team control. We've also heard some rumblings about the Mets prefering to keep both TDA and Plawecki with the organization as well. So, with Conforto now being pretty much officially a major league player, what is left for the Mets to offer in trade that has major value there on the open market? Perhaps its the young Mr. Rosario.
Over the past year i've read reports that Mets have also publicly stated no way Jose (that's like a slip of the name/term) on the possibly of trading Rosario. I've also said here on Mack's Mets many times that I consider Conforto, Dom Smith and Conforto to have been untradeable under any/all circumstances over the past year, regardless of what would come back to the team. So the question remains, what do the Mets (and me) still see in this young man?
Look at his stats as a professional......Nothing jumps out at you. He has 5 home runs in 238 minor league baseball games. I believe Wilmer Flores doubled that by May last year. He's a career .257 hitter in the minors. And his OBP is at .302. The only time his OPS went over .700 was in what remains his best statistical season as a baseball player. In 2014, as an 18 yr old playing way down in Brookly, Rosario hit .289, with a .337 OBP, .380 SLG and .717 OPS while playing 68 games before a late season promotion to join Savannah that year. But, I always try my best to look more into the numbers when I can, and also take advantage of being about 80 miles from Tradition Field didn't hurt for me either. So I made a few trips to lovely Port St Lucie. I'm the guy who went to a game when Conforto, based on the box score, went 0-5. But, in reality, I watched Conforto destroy the ball to DEAD center for a long 400 foot out, along with a SHOT to left center that was tracked down. I also got to enjoy watching Dom Smith CRUSH a ball over the left field fence.........oh yeah it was just left of that stupid foul pole.........And then there was Amed Rosario.
As I've stated in previous St. Lucie LIVE look in posts in the past year during these games, he has ridiculous range, speed and arm strength out there at SS. I believe the bio's have him at 6 ft 2. Not sure what your average shortstop is height wise, but he seems ok over there to me. As far growing into his body, they list him at 170 and that sounds about right. Kid definitely sports a baggy jersey if you know what I mean. And I also do understand that a guy like Dom Smith certainly.....shall we say looks a little different now then he did when he got drafted out of high school. But, Dom is a first baseman. Anyone can fill out but Rosario seems to be ok in ability to hold on a little extra weight and definitely stay at the position. Again, I can only describe in words what it was like to watch him vacuum up balls hit to him, either in the air or ground, on the fly or a chopper, and the ease of the throwing motion right to the target of the guy at first base. Long story short this is not Wilmer Flores ladies and gentlemen. Im not sure if Rosario will ever come close to having Wilmer power at the plate, but he has the contact ability. And, although Rosario did not homer in 2015, he did hit 20.....20 doubles in 103 games for St. Lucie. He's also a guy with 15 career triples in his career, and stole 13 bases in 2015. I also saw Rosario and my boy Jeff McNeil create some havoc on the bases, going first to third, second home, etc. with ease. So, is this what the Mets are truly seeing, beyong the numbers?
Im no expert. I'm simply a guy with opinions who uses my non expert eyeball test. I did randomly proclaim on this site before that what I saw was a teenage Anderlton Simmons at shortstop during those few games I watched Rosario LIVE in St. Lucie, and I'm not backing down from that. Right or wrong, I see power from Dom Smith, a solid utility guy in Jeff McNeil, and a defensive Whiz in Rosario. However the main thing I can't speak a bunch on is Rosario hitting. I've seen him make contact. I've seen him smack a 2 strike pitch, with a runner on third, past the second baseman to score a run. However, I did not see any SOLID Conforto type contact during these games. But it's contact nonetheless. I'll leave the extra analysis and discussions for the the experts. But I'm still focused on the title of this article.
Should the Mets hold onto Rosario? He will play out the entire 2016 season as a 20 year old. However, he will now most likely be at the AA level, so he's obviously close, regardless of his age. We can't downgrade a guy and his potential when he already at this level. And, of course, this continues to be the show me level of the minors. I'm not sure what excitement Rosario can show while fielding in what I'm told is an awful infield in Vegas and pretty much most fields about there in the desert, so the focus should be on AA Bingo.
It looks like Rosario remains at the highest of highs as far as projection, talent and possibly tradeability. And with other guys below him in the minors putting up better stats at the position, along with Checchini having a breakout offensive season above him, what should the Mets do?
I personally still put Rosario and Dom Smith over ANY hitting prospect in this organization right now. No offense to Brandon Nimmo, but the poor guy hasn't stayed healthy. I also love the stats that a couple of other low minors shortstops put up in 2015, but they are OLDER than Rosario and playing at those lower levels.
In my heart I believe that Rosario deserves every chance in the world to be the Mets furture shortstop, and if that means signing one year veterans for the next couple of years, or going with guys like Wilmer, Tejada, Checchini, Reynolds and company to hold the fort at close to minimum age while using money for star players at other positions, so be it.
What say you Macks Mets?