The New York Mets had high expectations for Amed Rosario after his breakout second half in 2019. Rosario’s lack of plate discipline struggles at the plate, and Andres Gimenez‘s emergence shrank his playing time in a disappointing 2020 season.
For the first time since September 14, 2019…..
Amed Rosario has drawn a walk. pic.twitter.com/f9PGfgvXOv
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 31, 2020
Rosario will never be a high walk rate player, but getting his OBP almost 50 points above his batting average was a huge step. After Rosario started 5-for-16 in the first four games of the season, everything went downhill from there. In the next 13 games, Rosario went 8-for-50 (.160) and failed to record a walk until August 31.
Loss of Playing Time
During this period of Rosario’s struggles, the shortstop position became a platoon role with Gimenez. One of Rosario’s struggles was his timing at the plate, causing him to stray away from his full-field approach from 2019. Rosario had his highest pull percentage and lowest up the middle batted ball percentage of his career.
His BABIP on pitches on the inner third of the plate was significantly lower than it was during 2019. A lot of Rosario’s success came from his ability to take those inner third pitches and shoot them back up the middle. Rosario also has not learned how to steal bases, wasting his speed. Gimenez was able to showcase his stealing ability throughout the season, which earned him extra playing time.
Rosario still provided quality defense but Gimenez playing at a gold glove level, outshined him. In the small sample size, Rosario had a solid year, and it was the one area where he did not regress during 2020.
Rosario woke with the bat during the last 29 games (21 starts). The slash line was more recognizable at .299/.333/.442 with an incredible .370 BABIP. The increased BABIP and SLG show that Rosario was making cleaner and strong contact during this stretch. Rosario started this stretch with a .197 average to a high point of .266 to finish the season at .252.
The 2021 Plan
The slow start to the season was heightened with the shortened season and Gimenez looming in the background. Rosario and Gimenez will likely battle each other for the everyday job at short during Spring Training. The battle may not end in March since each player bats from opposite sides, and Gimenez plays multiple positions, both could still get plenty of playing time throughout the season.
The biggest thing Rosario should work on is becoming a capable base stealer. His sprint speed is one of the best in baseball but only has 50 stolen bases in 75 attempts in his four years in the big leagues. Rosario does not need to steal 50+ bases, but there is no reason why he cannot steal 20-25 bases in a season. That ability is the biggest difference between the two young Mets shortstops.
2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)
Hitting: 45 (55), We have seen flashes of brilliance over the last two seasons but can Rosario do it for a full season?
Power: 45 (50), Rosario’s biggest leap will be breaking 20-30, HR-2B threshold.
Run: 75 (70), Rosario has lost a step each year but is still as fast as anyone. Hopefully, the stolen bases come with it.
Field: 55 (50), Slightly above average and surprisingly better going to his right than his left.
Overall: 45 (55), 2021 really seems like a make or break year for Rosario. Having Gimenez right behind him should light a competitive fire under him.