The New York Mets have a potential star waiting in the wings in Amed Rosario. The highly touted shortstop is currently ranked as the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com, and has shown the Mets’ big league coaching staff how special he can really be with his strong spring training performance.
While Rosario was re-assigned to minor league camp Tuesday, the 21-year old has impressed manager Terry Collins in his limited action.
“He’s shown me everything that needs to be seen,” Collins told reporters last week. “He hasn’t hit for power in camp, but you know he’s got it. He’s got great hands, he’s got great poise on the field and he loves to play, got great energy. He’s going to be a good player.”
Rosario boasts a complete skill set on both sides of the ball. He can hit, field, and run with the best of them and scouts peg him as someone who can push his way to the majors this season.
“He has excellent speed and should continue to be a base-stealing threat. There is no question he’ll be a shortstop long-term, with the potential to be an elite-level defender thanks to his range, hands, footwork and plus arm,” an MLB.com scouting report says. “ There’s no reason to rush him, but the future impact shortstop could force the organization’s hand if he continues to perform as he has.”
The Mets love Rosario and he is proving to be close to big league ready. If he is indeed ready for a Flushing call up in 2017, the question becomes where do you play him.
New York has a steady starting shortstop in Asdrubal Cabrera and a solid reserve in Wilmer Flores. The Mets also have Jose Reyes, who is capable of playing the position, but is likely to see most of his time at third base with David Wright on the shelf.
As of now, there doesn’t seem to be room for Rosario. If you’re the Mets, you don’t want to call up your top prospect to sit on the bench, which is exactly what would happen if Cabrera, Flores and Reyes are all healthy. He would need legitimate playing time.
But should one of the three aforementioned players suffer an injury at some point in the season, a door will be open for some playing time and Rosario is the perfect candidate to fill in. There may be an adjustment period for Rosario upon reaching The Show, but such is the case for any prospect making his debut at 21 years old.
Even if he struggles, the promotion of a top prospect can provide a boost to the other 24 players on the major league roster. Rosario is an exciting player and if he even shows just flashes of his potential, it can be enough to spark the team.
There is no downside to giving Rosario a shot to prove himself in the big leagues this season. He is the future at shortstop and Cabrera will be a free agent after this season, meaning the Mets need to know what they have in Rosario before this offseason.
If he struggles, New York can add a veteran stopgap on a one-year deal to play part time and take the pressure off Rosario. If he succeeds in his debut this season, the Mets can sleep easily knowing they have a future star at short stop for the next few years.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe
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