- TEAM: New York Mets
- AGE: 21
- POSITION: SS
- BATS: Right
- THROWS: Right
- HEIGHT: 6-foot-2
- WEIGHT: 190 pounds
- ACQUIRED: The New York Mets signed Rosario as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2012.
Without much debate, Amed Rosario is one of the budding future stars on the prospect lists of most analysts.
Currently playing at Triple-A Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League, Rosario is on the cusp of being promoted to the parent New York Mets. In fact, many baseball analysts are baffled that he has not yet been promoted. For whatever reason, the Mets have chosen to give Rosario some extra Triple-A seasoning before summoning him to the major league club.
Rosario is a five-tool player.
While his defense is solid, in order to discuss Rosario properly, the scouting report has to begin with his bat.
Statistics are important when analyzing the future Mets shortstop. He has improved his batting average since his 2014 season, his second in professional baseball. That season Rosario hit a combined .274 playing for short-season Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League (.289 in 290 plate appearances) and .133 at Class A Savannah in the South Atlantic League. Rosario was only 18 at the time. In that season, he served notice of his future quality bat with 11 doubles, six triples and two home runs. The fun had begun.
Since then, Rosario has continued to hit. He batted a combined .324 last year, playing at Class A-Advanced St. Lucie in the Florida State League and at Double-A Binghamton in the Eastern League. He hit five home runs and had 71 RBIs.
At the end of the 2016 season, he was added to the Mets 40-man roster, leading to speculation by fans that he would quickly be promoted to the parent club.
Rosario’s frame is still not at full development. Tall and thin with power continuing to increase, he has the potential to have a home run total in the mid-teens while using his outstanding speed and very good baseball instincts to score runs and drive in runs. He may have the type of surprising home run profile exhibited by Francisco Lindor, the Cleveland Indians shortstop many have compared with Rosario.
Rosario is the type of hitter that is valuable at the top of the batting order. He is an excellent contact hitter, with no more than 87 strikeouts (527 plate appearances) in any year of his five minor league seasons.
Using the barrel of the bat with advanced hitting mechanics and letting the ball travel deeply, Rosario is capable of using the entire field. This season, Rosario is hitting a robust .317 against right-handed pitchers and .360 against lefties. Whether he’s facing a left-hander or right-hander, Rosario can hit him.
Adding depth to his upper body will be a nice component to assist Rosario in reaching his potential as a hitter and as a complete player.
Once Rosario gains more experience and learns the nuances of baserunning, he will be a threat to steal every time he gets on base. He has plus speed, well above the average major league runner.
Hitting aside, Rosario is a superb defensive player. Even though he’s a fine hitter with emerging pop in his bat, his defense is even better than his offense at this stage of his career. Again, in that regard he compares favorably to Lindor.
Rosario is smooth and sure-handed at shortstop with a quick first step and excellent range. He has a very strong arm, allowing him the luxury of planting his feet properly and not rushing his throws.
Every player has some issues to work on in development and even after making it to the major league club. Rosario’s issues are few and far between.
He still has to master the art of stealing bases. He needs more experience trying to steal against quality pitchers. His speed is a weapon and it really is just a matter of time until that speed translates to stolen bases.
He has had a few hiccups regarding the accuracy of his throws. Improvement will come with time and experience.
Of less importance is his lack of home runs during his minor league development. It is difficult to find fault with his lack of power at the age of 21. Last year, he hit eight home runs. This season, he already has seven in the first half of the season. It really isn’t an issue other than in the minds of some scouts and analysts fixated on the home run. I am not among them. I prefer the nice and measured stroke Rosario has shown.
Rosario was the starting shortstop for the World Team at the recently completed Sirius/XM Futures Game. It was his second Futures Game appearance, as he also played in the 2016 game in San Diego. In that game he got a single and scored a run in two plate appearances.
He went hitless in two at-bats in this year’s Futures Game. In his first at-bat, he struck out on a changeup from Tampa Bay Rays Brent Honeywell, who was named the Larry Doby Most Valuable Player of the game. In his second at-bat, Rosario struck out on a blazing fastball from Detroit Tigers prospect Beau Burrows. So it wasn’t a good day at the plate.
The frustration from Mets fans regarding Rosario’s major league arrival date is understandable. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he got the call after the All-Star break.
Rosario has traditionally played against older players with more experience. He’s still only 21 and it may be possible that he continues to add depth to his frame.
Before he signed with the Mets, it was reported that the St. Louis Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox were interested in signing him out of the Dominican Republic. However, Rosario received the largest signing bonus offered to an international player by the Mets. His $1.75 million bonus immediately placed him on a fast track in the organization. So while fans and analysts rightfully wish to see him at the major league level, his club may feel his age and lack of experience dictate more development time in the minors.
Rosario’s only below average tool at this point is his lack of home run power. In terms of his overall hit tool, his running speed and ability, his defense, his arm strength and his overall baseball IQ, he is well above average. That’s important because other than his power output, he grades at least a 60 on the scouting scale in every facet of his game.
He has told people he is fashioning his game after his two favorite players, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes. He has received pointers from Reyes, who serves as somewhat of a mentor to Rosario. Soon, however, Rosario may supplant Reyes at shortstop.
Awards have not escaped Rosario. In 2016, Rosario and outfielder Brandon Nimmo were named the Mets’ Sterling Minor League Organizational Co-Players of the Year. Last year, Rosario was named to the Florida State League’s All-Star team and he was voted the league’s Most Exciting Player.
In his 2017 season, Rosario seems to enjoy being in the Pacific Coast League. Dubbed a hitter-friendly league by many, he has built his case to become a member of the big-league Mets. Not only is he hitting .327 at the All-Star break, he has struck out only 58 times in 375 plate appearances. He has walked 20 times. Rosario has 16 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
THE FUTURE FOR ROSARIO
Rosario is a better shortstop option than any player currently on the Mets major league roster. If he only played defense and didn’t hit, he would play defense well enough to earn a role as the team’s big-league starting shortstop. However, he not only plays defense, but he runs well and he hits well. His power is emerging. Once he is promoted, he may have a grasp on the Mets shortstop role for a number of years.
It’s likely Rosario could initially scuffle with major league pitching. The breaking balls and consistent fastball movement and velocity will exceed anything he likely has seen on a daily basis in his career. It would be natural for him to deal with some setbacks and have to regroup in an effort to prove he belongs on the big stage. He does.
Rosario is a good hitting, very good fielding five-tool player with some emerging power. He already has doubles pop in his bat. Home runs aren’t far behind.
As he grows and matures, Rosario will have the skills to retain the role of Mets shortstop until his skills erode. Young and still growing a bit, Rosario has huge upside and should become a stabilizing force on the club.
SCOUTING PHRASE FOR ROSARIO: An excellent fielding, good hitting shortstop who could easily become a star with the Mets
SCOUTING GRADE: 60 — an All-Star-quality shortstop.
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