On last year’s midseason MLB Pipeline rankings, which place the top 100 minor league prospects in order of their potential in the big leagues, there were two Mets organizational players on the list. One was first baseman Dominic Smith, who landed 41st on the list. All the way at number two on the list was Amed Rosario. Rosario was thought of by the organization, and many fans as the next Jose Reyes. The comparisons were easy to make, both Dominican born, smooth as molasses with the mitt, and packed solid speed that benefit the top of any lineup.
The problem with Rosario is that his approach to at bats will prevent him from assuming that leadoff position that he was slated to fill. Rosario has built a reputation as a “free swinger” that hardly ever draws a walk. Considering that he has only seven career walks in 287 at bats, calling him a “free swinger” might be a bit of an understatement. That’s okay though, because the Mets will have Brandon Nimmo to put in the leadoff spot for the time being. In addition, Rosario has found a snug spot in the lineup that he has had great success in.
Manager Mickey Calloway has been adamant about batting the pitchers eighth this season, and that’s understandable considering the talent at the plate that some Mets pitchers punch. This left a void for the ninth spot, which could be considered a second leadoff hitter. This role was perfect for Rosario to fill, as it would act like a training spot until he was ready to graduate into the actual leadoff spot. Evidently, Rosario has crushed it in the nine hole, hitting .297.
With this success, it is understandable that Calloway would want to bounce him around the order. He has seen limited success in various in the other slots he has batted in. He has had eight at bats batting sixth, and 23 at bats in the seven hole. Between the two, Rosario has a batting average of .169, which is an average that doesn’t belong in any starting lineup. There might be no scientific reason that Rosario is just better in the nine spot, but I don’t think that it is something that should be griped about.
In a lineup that has seen a lion’s share of inconsistencies and changes, anytime there is a consistent presence, it should be embraced. While Rosario was expected by many to be the leadoff hitter of the future, he has seemed to have found a home hitting last. Of course, he is young so there is still time to experiment with him. He has hit everywhere in the lineup except for third and first for the Mets, and by far the most success that he has seen has come out of the nine spot. He could eventually get moved to the leadoff spot, and he could find success there too. Right now though, is not the time for him to be moved to leadoff. A popular saying is, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.”
Well, Rosario hitting ninth is not broke, so we should not try to fix it.