Competing in one of the hardest divisions in baseball, the New York Mets have struggled to clinch a playoff spot for the last three years following their back-to-back postseason runs in 2015 and 2016. Since then, the Mets have grappled with two major ongoing developments that have made it difficult for them to reemerge as a playoff contender; this consists of one, injuries that have plagued all facets of their roster, and two, rebuilding a new foundation that’s structured around young talent. Just to give you an idea, the only New York Mets players that are currently on the active roster who were also a part of the 2015 team that made it to the World Series, include Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jeurys Familia, Yoenis Céspedes, and Michael Conforto; five years later, everyone else from that 2015 team, is no longer a Met (ESPN).
But what remains to be fascinating with this transformation over these past few years, is that the Mets were able to assemble a crew of bright, young, cornerstone players that will serve as the pillars of their new franchise. All-Stars like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto, illustrated last year just how special they are and what kind of impact they can provide for this team. However, it doesn’t stop there: Guys like J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, and Tomás Nido, have all shown great promise and growth with the potential to be strong additions for the Mets. What’s important to remember is that before 2019, the Mets didn’t have much stability offensively. The reason why Jacob deGrom only managed a 10-9 record in 2018 and then a 11-8 record in 2019 (winning the NL Cy Young Award in both seasons by the way), is because the Mets didn’t have the right pieces to put together an effective lineup that could provide deGrom a consistent level of run support up until now (ESPN).
That being said, the Mets have something to work with and it showed last season. What’s so exciting about this team is that the young talent the Mets have isn’t one-sided. Essentially, what these young players provide on offense, is almost equally matched on defense. And one of the best dual-threat youngsters the Mets have been able to develop, is their shortstop, Amed Rosario. Ever since Jose Reyes dominated the shortstop position roughly a decade ago, the Mets have been looking to fill the void he left behind, just like the Yankees have been looking to fill Derek Jeter’s shoes once he retired. Similarly to the Yankees, who landed a brilliant, young shortstop in Gleyber Torres, the Mets found theirs as well in Rosario, who showed New York Mets fans that last year, was only the start of great things to come.
Unlike any other sport, statistics speak volume in baseball and believe it or not, portray a sound impression of what each player brings to the table. And statistically, Amed Rosario played his best baseball since entering the league three years ago (ESPN). Coming off a sophomore year where he logged in over 550 at-bats yet only produced a decent 9 HRs, 51 RBIs, with a .256 average and on-base percentage that was below .300, Rosario turned up in 2019 (ESPN). Posting 15 HRs, 72 RBIs on 616 at-bats, Rosario also hit for a .287 average with a .323 OBP and mustered a WAR that was nearly 2.0, all career highs (ESPN). Also, the most delightful statistic above all, is that Rosario is only 24, which in baseball years, is still very young (ESPN).
However, if you’re not sold on these statistics, just take a look at his splits during 2019. Outside of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, Rosario was one of the most consistent hitters in the lineup last year. During July and August, he was virtually untouchable, hitting well over .330 and raking in a total of 29 Runs and 16 RBIs (ESPN). Rosario only had one poor hitting month last season which was in May, mustering only a .229 average with 31 strikeouts and an OBP that was not even .280 (ESPN). Nevertheless, Rosario bounced back and improved his hitting, elevating it to another level and demonstrating just how to clutch he can be as well. With runners on base, Rosario was simply dangerous, accumulating 81 hits, 65 runs, 6 HRs, 66 RBIs with a .312 average and an OBP that was well over .330 (ESPN). And with runners in scoring position, he was still a threat at the plate, hitting over .280 along with 53 RBIs and a .314 OBP (ESPN).
Although statistics paint a good picture, they don’t show everything, particularly when it comes to measuring the defensive talent of a player. Everyone knows that Rosario can play the shortstop position pretty well, but last season, he raised the bar. His offensive development was so good, that in the midst of it all, his progress defensively went a little unnoticed. Not only did his athleticism evolve, but Rosario’s quickness, agility, arm strength and reflexes improved significantly last season as well, executing big-time defensive plays for his team time and again.
All in all, Amed Rosario has more than proved that he’s got the skills defensively. But now, he’s also hitting the ball exceptionally well, something New York Mets fans have never seen from him before. You have to keep in mind that before 2019, Rosario wasn’t known for his offense and had a bit of a strikeout problem. But after last season, Rosario has shown just how far he’s come and how hard he’s worked on improving his swing and plate discipline. Entering his fourth season, Rosario has so much room to grow into something really special. Although it may have been a slow start, he has built upon his talent year after year. And after making such a big leap in 2019, Amed Rosario has everything at his disposal to make 2020 an even better season.