Spring Training has started and New York Mets fans are optimistic about the team’s chances in 2020. One player that has them excited is shortstop Amed Rosario.
The New York Mets have plenty to be excited about entering the 2020 season. Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso headline a talented roster and new manager Luis Rojas will have to quickly get up to speed after the Carlos Beltran debacle. If not for arguably the worst bullpen in the league last year, the Amazins probably find themselves in the playoffs.
Offensively, the Mets have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic. The team really gelled at the end of last season and their young guys were vital during the playoff push that ultimately came up three games short.
Pete Alonso emerged from the pack and appears to be a potential superstar. However, the impressive second-half emergence of starting shortstop Amed Rosario sparked the offense and gave the team much-needed production at the position. Rosario finished the season batting .287 with 15 homers and 72 RBI.
It’s fair to say that the start of Rosario’s career was a disappointment. He struggled at the plate and even more in the field, looking nothing like the fans or the team, had hoped.
However, Rosario looked like a completely different player after the All-Star break last year. When you think of the great hitters in baseball, what is one thing that most of them have in common? Plate discipline. Rosario would swing at anything his first couple seasons in the big leagues and even for the first part of last year.
Working on his approach, understanding situations and most importantly, staying patient, was vital to his success at the plate. Those habits didn’t for a short period of time, either. For the last three-four months of the season, Rosario showed poise and confidence. He was getting on base and driving in runs, finally rewarding the franchise that has been so patient with him.
Rosario had a second-half stat line of .319/.351/.453. He shuffled around in the lineup throughout the year, hitting eighth, second and sometimes was called upon to leadoff. His ability to adjust and do what the team needed him to do was not only unselfish but very impressive.
Even more impressive was the fact that the 24-year-old turned himself into a legitimate defensive shortstop. He showed patience and improved range, making plays he wasn’t able to previously. Rosario showcased a new level of confidence and leadership, evident by his verbal command of the infield. For some perspective, it’s also important to remember that he is younger than both Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto.
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Rosario is poised to continue his success heading into 2020. He has handled criticism well since being called up in August of 2017. Additionally, he has had a chance to learn from some of his role models, soaking in the veteran leadership displayed by Jose Reyes and now, Robinson Cano.
Another year wiser, Rosario has shown that he can handle the pressure of playing in New York, something many players have struggled to do. It’s going to be important not only for Rosario but for the Mets, that he improves in every aspect of his game.
We sometimes act as though players are “busts” if they don’t produce right away at the professional level. As we’ve seen across all sports, it takes some guys a couple of years to really figure it out and put it all together.
Rosario was arguably the team’s most important piece late last season and if 2020 is anything like a repeat of his 2019 second-half numbers, the New York Mets have a very good chance of playing in October.