by Ray Kuhn
Take a walk… What if we ask nicely?
Based on what we saw last season from Amed Rosario after his promotion to the major leagues, it appears that the young shortstop is going to have to learn how to reach base via the walk. In 165 AB he walked just three times to go along with 49 strikeouts. While he wasn’t exactly a model of efficiency in Triple-A prior to his promotion, 23 walks and 67 strikeouts in 393 AB, he does know how to take a walk.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 22-year old would have a learning curve to deal with, but don’t let his lackluster debut scare you off. At the same time this isn’t a situation in which you should overpay based on what Rosario projects to be in the next few seasons.
Before getting the call to join the big leagues he hit .328 with 7 HR and 19 SB while driving in 58 runs. While Rosario was assisted by a .377 BABIP, we can’t discount the plate skills he brings to the table. As he prepares for his first full season in the major leagues, he is doing it with a .248 batting average under his belt after he hit 4 HR and stole three bases.
Ultimately he will have to work on limiting the strikeouts, in 2016 he struck out 12.5% of the time in High-A and 21.5% in Double-A and drawing a few more walks (there is nothing to suggest this won’t happen), and for now his batting average is likely limited to the lower end of the .260/.270 range. Not only will he will benefit from his elite speed, but he has displayed average, at worse, contact skills and should continue to do a good job putting the bat on the ball.
Those contact skills should only improve as he progresses in his career, and he also could develop into a 20 home run threat. For now, don’t expect much more than 10 to 15 home runs.
Now we get to the true reason why Rosario is on your radar, his speed. It is an elite tool and after stealing a combined 22 bases last season he should be good for at least 15 to 20 in 2018 depending on how much the Mets allow him to run.
To start the season he will likely be batting eighth, but with a glaring hole atop New York’s batting order it is possible he finds himself in the lead-off spot at some point if shows he can handle it. While batting in front of the pitcher isn’t ideal for his outlook, there is a lot to like. The problem is that it appears you might be a year too early.
A conservative expectation is a 10 home run, 15 stolen base campaign, but there is upside for more. That likely limits Rosario to a middle infield option, due to the risk.
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 02/20/18|