Going into the 2012-2013 international market, Dominican youngster Germen Amed Rosario was considered the 11th-best rookie available. At the time, he was divisive among scouts. Though most envisioned his lanky body filling out—thus adding more power to his profile—there were questions about the changes to his swing mechanics and approach. Some saw him being able to tinker with his swing and managing a respectable batting average and moderate power, while others were not so optimistic and thought Rosario would ultimately become a low-batting average, moderate-power infielder.
Even his ability as a defender wasn’t something that scouts could agree on. Some thought that he would be able to remain at shortstop and thrive, while others saw him adding too much mass and having to move to second or third base. And others still were not completely sold on his infield instincts and actions and saw him as a better fit in the outfield. The only thing scouts universally agreed on was that the young Dominican had an outstanding makeup and work ethic.
Rosario’s total package prompted Sandy Alderson’s Mets to sign him for $1.75 million, the largest international signing bonus in franchise history. While part of that may be due to the fact that his signing bonus was negotiated by his father, a lawyer and judge in their native Dominican Republic, the youngster would not have been able to command such an impressive signing bonus if his skills and abilities did not warrant it.
Rosario wowed the Mets during instructional league and then played so well in spring training that the 17-year-old earned a ticket straight to Rookie-level Kingsport Mets for the 2013 season, where he hit .241/.279/.358 as the youngest player in the league. Though his batting line didn’t jump off the page, scouts came away universally impressed with virtually every aspect of his game, prompting many to consider him the circuit’s top prospect.
He began the 2014 season with the Low-A Savannah Sand Gnats in late May, but the move was only temporary to get him primed for the season in a no-pressure environment. He was soon transferred to the Rookie-level Brooklyn Cyclones for the rest of season, and the 18-year-old hit a respectable .289/.337/.380, ending the season with the third-most hits in the NY-Penn League, outperforming players on an average three years his elder.
Confident in his ability, the Mets skipped Rosario over Low-A and assigned him to the High-A St. Lucie Mets for the 2015 season. His .257/.307/.335 batting line was slightly below league average in the Florida State League that year, but the fact that the Dominican shortstop was able to tread water as a 19-year-old facing competition that was, on average, almost four years older than him was the main takeaway from that year. He continued to develop, especially when it came to his defense. Years earlier, some were unconvinced that he would remain at short. By the end of 2015, Rosario had honed his defense to the point where those attributes—his range, his instincts, his soft hands, his strong arm—were his greatest strength.
The shortstop spent much of the offseason engaging in a tough workout regimen back home in the Dominican Republic and came to camp leaner and stronger in 2016, and the results were tangible in his performance for the year. Repeating High-A, he came out of the gate like a bat out of hell. In 66 games, the 20-year-old hit an impressive .309/.359/.442 with three home runs and went 13-for-19 in stolen bases. When the first half of the Florida State League season came to an end, he was promoted to Double-A Binghamton.
The promotion and the fact that he was facing some of the top prospects in the minor leagues did little to stop him. Finishing up the 2016 season with 54 more games with the Binghamton Mets, he hit .341/.392/.481 with two home runs and went 6-for-8 in stolen bases, giving him a season total combined between the two teams of .324/.374/.459 with five home runs and 19/27 stolen bases.
An elite defensive shortstop with the potential to be an above-average offensive threat, Rosario came into the 2017 season universally considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball—and the Mets’ best prospect by a wide margin. Through 94 games, Rosario has not disappointed. Once again having put in an impressive amount of work during the offseason, the shortstop has hit .328/.367/.466 for Triple-A Las Vegas, stolen 19 bases in 25 attempts, and made the Pacific Coast League All-Star game.
We might have once been surprised, but we are no longer. We are ready.