New York Mets: Will 2020 be a breakout year for Amed Rosario?

One of the hottest prospects when he entered the league in 2017, Amed Rosario has three seasons in MLB. The first one was abbreviated, as he started that year in Triple-A. And the New York Mets have to be pleased with his career development curve: he was a below average batter in 2018 and 2019, but he is now basically average.

Rosario achieved improvements in each season, and he finally advanced enough in 2019 to be considered as “average.” However, given his obvious talent to play baseball and his prospect pedigree, there is potential for much more.

Will 2020 be the year in which Rosario takes the next step? Youth is on his side at 24 years old. Experience is, as well. He now knows MLB pitchers. He is familiarized with their repertoires.

Taking the next step for the Mets

In his 46-game debut in 2017, Rosario slashed .248/.271/.394 with a paltry 75 wRC+. The following year, he was at .256/.295/.381 with 85 wRC+. Last season, he batted .287/.323/.432 with 100 wRC+. Slow, but steady improvements.

After starting the year batting .260/.299/.414 (88 wRC+) in the first half, he evolved into an above-average hitter in the second. His line of .319/.351/.453 is the perfect evidence of that.

Will he have a ~115 wRC+ performance after all is said and done? How about pushing for the 130-140 range as he did in Double-A (142) or Class A-Advanced (132)? Since he achieved a 116 mark in Triple-A and he hit those heights in last year’s second half, that seems like a reasonable expectation moving forward. The Mets are surely hoping there is more in store.

As the 15 home runs he hit in 2019 suggest, Rosario isn’t a zero in the power department. To unlock it, however, he may need to hit more fly balls (1.67 career GB/FB.)

No one is expecting Rosario to be a home run king, though. The New York Mets would surely take last year’s second half (high average, not so many homers) and bank on improved defense, which is kind of divisive.

Iffy defense

The Fielding Runs component to establish a player’s defensive value in Fangraphs takes UZR into account, not DRS. Rosario, according to those guidelines was a positive defensive player (with 5.9.) His UZR (-0.8) and UZR/150 (-0.6) were only a hair below average and after positional adjustment, he was over zero in the final tally.

However, DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) told a different story. He was -16 according to that metric, which is very, very bad. He has the speed and athleticism to improve. The Mets’ rotation is full of groundballers, so it would benefit the team if he could be better at short.

His baserunning game can also improve. He stole 43 bags in the last two seasons, but was also caught 21 times, which is a lot.

With modest improvements in his offense, defense, and baserunning, Rosario could break out and give the Mets a competitive edge.