Is Amed Rosario Really Long Term Answer At Short for the New York Mets?

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

The New York Mets‘ roster consists of young studs like Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil. Their infield is getting even younger as at 3rd you’ll have JD Davis who can also really slug and is only 27 years old as well. The only question mark in this young lineup is their shortstop Amed Rosario, who by most accounts has been a disappointing shortstop in his career. People are either in the camp of he’s a bust or believes that he is just waiting to break out.

Is he an elite shortstop prospect? No. Is he a scrub who won’t be starting in a year or two? No. Let’s breakdown Amed Rosario, the good and the bad.

Lack of Plate Vision

The issue with Amed Rosario is he doesn’t have much patience. Let’s take a look at how often he swings at pitches outside of the strike zone according to Baseball Savant and compare it to Mike Trout’s ability to do so as he’s one of the elite OBP guys in baseball.

Amed Rosario in the four quadrants outside of the strike zone swings at 32-40% of them thrown, and when you do the math it’s an average of 35.75% of non-strikes swung at, which is not at all good. For Mike Trout, he has a range of 6-26% and has an average of 16.5%. That means Trout is swinging at less than half of the balls Rosario swings at, and it shows in his OBP and BB% that Rosario has a major Plate Vision issue.

If the Mets can coach Rosario into being more patient and getting his walk rate up to the MLB average of ~8% then he’d have an OBP of .372 last season and paired with a .432 SLG%, that’s a pretty impressive season and would make him a threat in the lineup. I didn’t change one other thing about him in that stat change other than OBP, and his season looks a whole lot better.

Defensive Liability

Amed Rosario’s -10 OAA and -10 DRS with a -.06 UZR/150 ranks near the bottom for shortstops, and so the defensive metrics are not showing good signs for the youngster. The thing for me is, does he have to be a great defender to be good enough? He had improvements in DRS and UZR from what was even worse in 2018 and had a downgrade in OAA. I think he can get better as he is going to be able to see a slight improvement because he will have even more innings under his belt.

I think I’ve ripped on the guy enough, let’s get to what Amed Rosario’s 2020 could look like in terms of averages (if there is a season).

Projecting Rosario’s Strengths and His Season

I think as we’ve seen with Rosario before, his speed is a weapon, with his sprint speed putting him as the 37th fastest player in the MLB in 2019. The issue was while he snagged 19 bases, he was caught 10 times, but his speed could be used to give himself an extra-base when it matters such as extending singles or going from 1st to third.

His second half was pretty good actually, with a .453 SLG and .351 OBP, but he has to work more walks. How do I think his 2020 looks? I think he will walk more, and I think it can tun around his career a little.

.360 OBP
6.7% Walk Rate
.440 SLG
115 wRC+
-5 OAA
0.1 UZR/150

I think we will see Rosario have a solid season, and it will be the year where we see Rosario become a solid shortstop.

Who will be the next New York Mets’ All Star? Here’s a strong candidate

Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association (MLBPA) came to an agreement on Friday regarding many aspects for the future and the 2020 season. Play will resume when there are no travel restrictions or medical risks for teams and fans, so we know that it won’t be until June at the earliest. The New York Mets and the rest of the league will have to wait a little and, with luck, COVID-19 will be out of the picture in a few weeks.

While we wait for the season to start, we can speculate and try to guess which player will be the next member of the New York Mets to be considered an All-Star.

Zachary Silver of MLB.com writes that shortstop Amed Rosario, who had an outstanding second half in 2019, is the Mets’ strongest candidate to make the leap from solid regular to All-Star caliber player.

He writes: “Because Amed Rosario has already spent two and a half years in the big leagues, it’s easy to forget that he’s still just 24 years old. Don’t let that fool you. Rosario put everything together in the second half last season, batting .319 with six homers, nine steals and an .804 OPS.”

The Mets have a 3-WAR shortstop with further potential

For the season, Rosario accumulated 2.7 fWAR, not bad for a 24-year old. In 157 games, he had 655 plate appearances, 15 home runs, 75 runs, 72 RBI and 19 steals. His patience could get better, as he only had a 4.7 BB%, coupled with a 18.9 K%.

For the year, he was basically an average offensive performer, with a 100 wRC+.

However, he had a 88 wRC+ in the first half and a 114 wRC+ mark after the break in 2019.

Initially viewed as a liability in the field, Rosario made substantial improvements to that part of his game as the season went on. “Perhaps the most important takeaway in the Mets’ eyes is that he enjoyed dramatic defensive improvements as the season went on, committing just one of his 17 errors in September.”

“New York believes what it saw from Rosario in the second half is sustainable, and if he can be that type of player over a full season, then there’s little doubt an All-Star appearance is in his future,” Silver wrote. The Mets certainly hope that he can be his second half-self, with a .319/.351/.453 and good defense at short. That should be enough to make the All Star in the future.

New York Mets: Lugo, Lockett Impress in Tie Against Marlins

The New York Mets had a change of pace in their Monday meeting with the Miami Marlins. Walker Lockett made a start for the Mets, and Seth Lugo saw game action for the first time in the Spring. Unfortunately, they may have lost Michael Conforto the same day they regain Lugo.

Conforto did not injure himself in Monday’s game. The injury occurred a couple of days ago while making a diving catch a couple of games ago. Conforto tried to battle through it but is flying to New York to get the injury examined more in-depth.

Pitching Shines

Walker Lockett started the game with three impressive innings. He allowed three hits and struck out two as he tries to prove he can be a valuable member of the Mets starting pitching depth. Also joining him was Corey Oswalt, who only allowed one run over four innings with five strikeouts.

Seth Lugo picked up right where he left off in 2019. He struck out one in a very easy 1-2-3 inning. Lugo will not need too many innings to get himself right for Opening Day. Tyler Bashlor was the other Mets reliever to throw. He bounced back from his poor outing to pitch a scoreless ninth inning.

Quiet Offense

Spring Training’s worst scoring offense showed up once again to only muster five hits and one run on the day. Two of the hits were triples from Jake Marisnick and Amed Rosario, who are slowly working their ways out of slumps. Eduardo Nunez provided the lone run on a ground out after Marisnick’s triple. Nunez also had a hit on the day to move his average to .320 as he tries to earn himself a roster spot.

Rick Porcello makes a start on Tuesday as the Mets face the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach at 1:05 p.m.

New York Mets: Coming Off A Big 2019 Season, Amed Rosario Is Only Getting Started

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

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 José 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.

New York Mets: Nimmo, Rosario Heat Up in 3-2 Loss to Astros

The New York Mets took on the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach for their 13th game of the Spring. It was a tightly contested pitchers duel throughout as Michael Wacha took the mound in his third Spring outing.

Things started great for the Mets as Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a triple of Lance McCullers. It was one of his two hits on the day, which moved his average to an even .400. Pete Alonso drove him in with a groundout to immediately give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Amed Rosario provided an encore in the second inning with his first triple of the Spring, which also led off the inning. He now has hits in back to back games after his hitless start. Eduardo Nunez played the role of Alonso to drive in Rosario in the following at-bat. Those would be the only two runs the Mets mustered all game.

Wacha’s Outing

Michael Wacha spent his outing tiptoeing out of trouble throughout. After retiring the first two in the first inning, he back to back singles before escaping the inning. In the second, Wacha worked around a Carlos Correa double to keep the Astros off the board.

The trouble was too much to escape in the third inning. A George Springer single and stolen base followed by a Josh Reddick walk to set up runners on first and second with no one out. Wacha retired the following two hitters and seemed poised to get out of a third straight jam. Unfortunately, Michael Brantley got to him for an RBI single, which would be all Wacha allowed.

Over three innings, he allowed five hits, one run, a walk, and struck out two batters. It was not a dominant outing by any means, but he battled throughout.

Following Wacha, all minor leaguers took the mound. Yelfy Ramirez took the loss by allowing a walk-off home run to Chas McCormick to lead off the bottom of the ninth. The big concern comes from the 2-3-4 combo of Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Wilson Ramos. They all went 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and only produced the Alonso RBI ground out.

Steven Matz takes the mound at Port St. Lucie on Saturday when he faces the Washington Nationals. It will be interesting to see how he follows up on the performances from Wacha and Rick Porcello.

New York Mets: Porcello, Fargas the Story in 7-7 Tie

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The New York Mets offense is starting to come together as the starting pitching continues to dominate. Despite some bullpen struggles, the Mets finished in a 7-7 tie with the St. Louis Cardinals in a back and forth game. Their offensive output over the last two games finally moved them out of the bottom spot in the runs scored category.

Rick Porcello continued his solid start to Spring Training. Over three innings, he allowed two hits, a walk and struck out four. Porcello lowered his ERA to 1.50 and is showing why he deserves to hold a spot in the Mets rotation.

Tyler Bashlor‘s outing was a nightmare at best. He only recorded two outs and allowed seven hits, six runs, and three home runs after Porcello left the game. The home runs were the pitfall for Bashlor in 2019, and he served them up in bunches on Thursday.

Spring Training Cycle

The little known prospect Johneshwy Fargas pulled off quite a feat by hitting for the cycle. He received a non-roster invite to Spring Training after stealing 50 bases in double-A. For a team with very little speed, Fargas gives the Mets a speed threat to throw in their outfield late in the season. Jarrett Parker and Patrick Mazeika also blasted home runs on a day where most of the regulars were on the bench.

Amed Rosario finally recorded his first hit of Spring Training after going 0-for-15 to start camp. Pete Alonso recorded two hits and now has a hit in five of his last six games as his bat is starting to come around. Robinson Cano and Dominic Smith both went hitless to drop their averages to .125 and .130, respectively.

The Mets head to West Palm Beach to face the Houston Astros for a rare night game. Michael Wacha makes his third start of the Spring against Lance McCullers, fresh off Tommy John Surgery.

deGrom and Wacha Shine in Split Squad Outings

The New York Mets starting pitching has been nothing short of elite through the first ten games of Spring Training. While the bats are still shaking the rust off, the pitching has exceeded expectations so far. In their split-squad games on Sunday, they beat the Nationals 3-1 and lost to the Marlins, 7-2.

Jacob deGrom picked up where he left off in 2019. The back to back Cy Young winner threw three scoreless innings, only allowing one hit and striking out two batters. He a majority of the Nationals everyday players and made it look easy to cruise through the lineup once.

Michael Wacha also pitched well against the Marlins. Over his three scoreless innings of work, he allowed a walk, two hits and struck out one. Wacha still firmly believes he is a starting pitcher, and his two Spring starts show he should be a starter.

Diaz Settles In

If you did not hear about Edwin Diaz’s outing, there were not any problems. He threw a scoreless fourth inning with the only blemish being a Ryan Zimmerman double. Justin Wilson followed by striking out the side in the fifth inning. He has retired all six batters he has faced, and four of them are on strikeouts.

Jeff McNeil continued to stay hot with two hits in the same amount of at-bats. His average is now .500 for the Spring. Michael Conforto homered for the first time and now has hits in three consecutive games after starting 1-for-8. Robinson Cano also added a two-run double to open up the Mets scoring in the first.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Pete Alonso lined a single to center field for his only hit in three at-bats. The concerns were only small for 2019’s home run champ, and the single took the stress off the Polar Bear. Eduardo Nunez has started the Spring hot, his two hits Sunday moved him to 5-for-15. Nunez was a non-roster invite but could easily steal a spot away from Luis Guillorme.

Amed Rosario continued his struggles at the plate. He went hitless in three at-bats and is hitless in all five of his games so far. Only two of the at-bats ended in strikeouts, which is a good sign for the young shortstop. As he settles in more, the hits should follow.

The Mets get a day off on Monday before welcoming in the Marlins to Port St. Lucie. Noah Syndergaard will make his second start of the Spring.

Projecting the New York Mets Everyday Lineup

The 2020 New York Mets starting lineup comes in with plenty of potential, but one of their biggest questions will be defense. Their lineup contains plenty of power as well, which should make up for the lack of speed it holds. Here is what it should look like come Opening Day.

Catcher: Wilson Ramos

Wilson Ramos is an undervalued catcher coming into Spring Training. He came off a strong year at the plate, hitting .288/.351/.416 with 14 home runs and 73 RBIs. Ramos defense is what held him back ranking in the bottom of most defensive metrics and only throwing out 15% of base stealers. Most of it was in part of the Mets inability to hold runners on, but the Mets should expect another strong year from the Buffalo.

First Base: Pete Alonso

There is nothing to say about Pete Alonso that everyone else has not said. He is coming off one of the best rookie seasons of all time and has emerged into a fan favorite. The home runs are likely to regress, but the real growth from Alonso will come in his walk and strikeout rates.

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano came in full of hype in his return to New York but struggled with injuries and his performance. Despite entering his age-37 season, his solid second half should give hope that he returns to All-Star form. Cano should keep his performance strong as he ages much like fellow Dominicans Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.

Shortstop: Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario had a huge growth year in 2019. He set career highs in offensive stats across the board and improved defensively in the second half. Rosario’s walk rates and stealing ability still need to improve, but at age-24, he is trending in the right direction.

Third Base: Jeff McNeil

Jeff McNeil emerged as an All-Star outfielder but is likely to play a majority of third base. The position itself will be a revolving door early in the season, but once he should remain there every day as Luis Rojas settles on a consistent lineup. McNeil’s power emerged in 2019, which made him a very dangerous hitter due to his high ability to put the ball in play.

Left Field: J.D. Davis

Speaking of a revolving door, that is likely what the Mets outfield will be. J.D. Davis took the job in left field and ran with it to make Brodie Van Wagenen look like a genius for acquiring him. His defense is a significant issue, and any improvement can make him a real All-Star threat in the National League. The competition between Davis and Yoenis Cespedes should be exciting, especially if Cespedes shows he is fully healthy. The prediction is that Davis comes away with the job, but if Cespedes is in the 2015-16 form, then there is a real log jam there.

Center Field: Brandon Nimmo

Despite all the trade rumors, Brandon Nimmo has survived the offseason. His ability to get on base allows his flaws as a center fielder to go overlooked. Nimmo is still a serviceable center fielder, and with Jake Marisnick as a defensive replacement, it should help the Mets late in games.

Right Fielder: Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto has been the one consistent part of the Mets offseason. No drama or publicity and it translates to his play on the field. He has hit 25+ home runs in three straight seasons and has been someone the Mets count on to anchor the middle of the order. Conforto will see time in center field, but a majority of his time will be in right field.

Analytics Reveal Mets Need to Improve Infield Defense in 2020

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

The New York Mets won 86 games in 2019 and probably could have won a lot more if their bullpen wasn’t blown games left and right. Their offense pulled them out of a few jams, but what about their defense. Analytics show the Mets could use some improvement on defense, especially in the infield.

Some of it has to do with the revolving doors around second and third base, Pete Alonso still learning his way at first base and Amed Rosario just beginning to get comfortable at shortstop.

From Deesha Thosar of the NY Daily News:  

For the third straight year, the Mets finished bottom five in the league in Defensive Runs Saved (-93; 29th) and bottom 10 in Ultimate Zone Rating (-12.8; 24th) in 2019, per Fangraphs. The Amazin’s -93 DRS were second only to the Orioles’ -105. The Dodgers topped all of MLB with 136 DRS last season, an overwhelming turnaround from the 47 DRS they posted in 2018.

 

Los Angeles also shifted their defenders in 50.1% of all plate appearances in 2019, which led the league, per Baseball Savant. The Mets, on the other hand, only shifted in 14.1% of all plate appearances, which was tied for the second-lowest shift rate in MLB with the Indians. Only the Cubs (12.7%) shifted less.

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen has identified defense as one of the team’s key objectives this spring under new manager Carlos Beltran and his staff. The Mets’ starting pitchers specialize in ground balls and it would behoove them to have an defensive infield that can capitalize on that.

“Contact and ground-ball pitchers, in particular, will depend on solid infield defense behind them in order to be successful on the mound,” wrote Thosar. “Stroman ranked fourth among MLB starters in ground-ball rate (53.7%) in 2019, per Fangraphs. Syndergaard (48.0%), deGrom (44.4%) and Porcello (38.1%) were not far behind him.”

The Mets’ infield is basically comprised of the same players from last season: Alonso and Rosario are cemented in at first and short. Jeff McNeil will likely be moved around between the outfield and third base, flipping with J.D. Davis, while veteran Robinson Cano will be the starting second baseman. Expect another veteran, Jed Lowrie, to get some playing time all over the infield to spell these four. That makes for a lack of continuity and, truth be told, none are gold gloves to start with.

The Mets will have to work with what they have to improve their numbers on defense. Rosario appears to have had a breakthrough and Alonso has made great strides as well. But, again, a platoon at third base and Cano’s range issues at second are elements to be concerned with.

 

Rey Ordóñez: Mets should leave Amed Rosario alone

New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario began his Major League career with such high expectations, it was almost impossible for him to succeed. As a 21 year-old in 2017, Rosario – considered the top prospect in all of Baseball by many – played in 46 games, batting .248 with four home runs and 10 RBI. His fielding was not eye-popping either.

Rosario’s second season didn’t wow anyone to the point where they felt he would live up to the hype. He batted .256 with 9 HR and 51 RBI. He did steal 24 bases, however. Again, his fielding was nothing special and there were rumblings that the team was contemplating moving him to the outfield.

2019 changed all of that. Rosario began to blossom. His defense improved to the point where the team backed off the notion of moving him off shortstop and his offense was more in line with the player the Mets felt they developed a few year earlier. Rosario raised his average to .287, belted 15 homers and drove in 72 runs. The Mets were finally realizing that he was their man.

Rey Ordóñez, the Mets’ former All-Star, Gold Glove shortstop, is confident the Mets have something special in Rosario.

“I try to see the Mets play every time they come to play the Marlins,” said, Rey, a former shortstop, who was a part of what is almost universally acclaimed as the best defensive infield of all time. “He was so much better the second part of the year. I would just leave him alone. The stuff he has done at such a young age (23) is amazing.”

“I just think his defense will keep getting better and better,” said Ordóñez. “As far as his offense, his stats are something that I only could have dreamed of when I was playing.”

No one is expecting Rosario to become a defensive whiz like Ordóñez but they’re hoping he’ll continue to improve on both defense and at the plate.