The Mets have done a tremendous job over the past few years of producing top notch pitching. You can fill two major league rotations with guys who recently graduated the system: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Michael Fulmer, Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Gabriel Ynoa, and John Gant all come to mind.
One thing the Mets arguably haven’t accomplished, however, is bringing up a top-tier position player. The Michael Conforto saga aside, for a team that has at times struggled to produce runs, there have been no readily-available internal answers recently. For most of 2016, the best homegrown Mets position players were Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes. This player development issue snowballs into a money problem, as the Mets have to pay good, but not elite, players like Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, and Asdrubal Cabrera expensive veteran contracts to fill positions that they’ve been unable to fill with cheaper, team-controlled players.
But against this dreary background, Amed Rosario shines especially bright. A consensus top prospect in the organization, he does everything you can want from a prospect—he plays a difficult to fill position (shortstop) well, hits for average (with some power) against significantly older competition, steals bases, and seems just generally excited to play for the big league club.
After batting .267 with three RBIs in major league camp, he was sent to minor league camp on March 14. Nevertheless, there are expectations that he’ll get his first taste of Flushing this season; Terry Collins has even admitted as much.
Of course, there’s some question of how exactly those mechanics would work; Asdrubal Cabrera will be marked “6” on your Mets scorecards for the time being and would be rather expensive to relegate to the bench. Additionally, Ty Kelly, T.J. Rivera, and Wilmer Flores have all shown themselves to be serviceable utility players, and the arrival of a new shortstop would likely leave one of them out in the cold.
These questions seem minor, however, when considering the tantalizing prospect of Amed Rosario anchoring the Mets’ infield for the next decade or two. For now, though, he’ll be plying his trade in Las Vegas, and Mets fans will be asked to dream just a little bit longer.