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2017 Mets Season Review: Amed Rosario made his much-anticipated major league debut

Mets fans were not surprised, but ready, for the MLB debut of the team’s top prospect.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After bursting on the scene in 2016 with tremendous offensive displays at both High-A St.Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, Amed Rosario entered 2017 as not just the consensus top Mets prospect, but arguably one of the five best prospects in all of baseball. Simply put, Rosario had become a huge deal in short order, and Mets fans had their eyes on him throughout all of 2017.

Rosario began the year with Triple-A Las Vegas, and exploded out of the gates for the 51’s. The shortstop hit .404/.439/.506 in the month of April, building even more excitement for his eventual promotion to the big leagues. And when he continued to rake through the month of May, calls for his promotion began to get serious. With Jose Reyes struggling mightily, Asdrubal Cabrera having an underwhelming season himself, and the Mets free-falling out of the playoff race before it even began, the idea of a call-up for the 21-year-old phenom seemed to become more prudent with each passing day.

Rosario then slumped in the month of June, hitting .237 for the month with just a .644 OPS. But despite that, the calls to promote Rosario only grew stronger as the month went on. But the Mets didn’t budge. They had their reasons, but with the team officially out of the race and the Super Two deadline passed, continuing to keep Rosario at Triple-A was becoming increasingly curious. The whole ordeal turned into quite a saga, as the Mets took on loads of criticism from the fans and the media for weeks. It was even becoming a meme.

The Mets’ intentions for Rosario’s promotion had become rather clear, though: they were specifically waiting until after the July 31 trade deadline to call him up, in order to clear some roster space for their top prospect. And the Mets came through on their word, and when July 31 came, Rosario got the call as soon as the trade deadline passed.

He made his highly-anticipated debut on August 1 against the Rockies in Colorado. He collected his first big-league hit that night on an infield single to the shortstop, but a crucial error in the ninth inning of that game wound up overshadowing that. The young shortstop broke to cover second base on a steal when he shouldn’t have, and then missed a ground ball that went right to the spot he had vacated. The game was tied 4-4 at that point, and the Mets lost the game 5-4 on a walk-off single later in the inning.

But the rest of Rosario’s first MLB trial went reasonably well over the next two months. He blasted his first career homer on August 11 in Philadelphia, a game-winning solo shot to the opposite field that put the Mets in front 7-6 in the ninth inning of that game.

But because Rosario played for the Mets in the year 2017, he dealt with a few maladies along the way. He bruised his finger in early September and missed a few games, and later that month was hospitalized with a stomach issue and again missed a couple of games. But both of those were brief issues, and he was able to escape the year with his body and limbs all in tact, so Mets fans should probably be thankful for that.

The young shortstop ended his rookie season playing in 46 games at the MLB level. In 170 plate appearances, he hit .248/.271/.294 with four homers and four triples, which was good for just a 74 wRC+ and a .282 wOBA. The underwhelming line was mostly a product of poor plate discipline and contact ability; he walked just 1.8% of the time at the major-league level while striking out 28.8% of the time, and his chase rate was an obscenely-high 45.5%. On top of that, Rosario made contact on just 67.3% percent of his swings—league average is usually around 80%—and swung and missed 18.1% of the time, which almost double the usual league average of roughly 9.5%. Patience has always been an issue for Rosario, and his lauded bat speed didn’t seem to translate to the MLB level.

That said, Rosario is still only 21 years old, so it was only natural for him to have some kinks to work out at the MLB level, and he is far too talented to put up numbers like that over a larger sample size. But he will definitely need to correct those issues very soon. Rosario’s future value is heavily contingent on his offensive output, and ironing those issues out is ultimately what will get him closer to the Francisco Lindors and Carlos Correas of the world.