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Amed Rosario provides elite defense and hope for the future

If the shortstop can hit a little, the Mets may have a superstar on their hands

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Like most of 2017 for the Mets, Amed Rosario didn’t exactly have the rookie season he, the Mets, nor the fanbase, hoped he would have. Due to some nagging injuries and the transition to the big leagues, Rosario at times didn’t appear to be the All-Star caliber talent many—including this site—pegged him as.

That isn’t to say that his season was a total wash. He still dazzled with his glove, showed a little power, and hit enough to carry his elite glove. But given a full season at his disposal, it seems more than likely that Rosario will be able to put last season behind him and become the player we all think he can be.

Rosario will be the everyday shortstop this season and will likely benefit from a better defensive infield, with Adrian Gonzalez at first and Todd Frazier at third base. With the aging Asdrubal Cabrera getting the bulk of the playing time at second base, Rosario’s range will be important up the middle. An unknown factor in his defensive performance will be Mickey Callaway’s defensive alignments and shift usage, something we can only speculate about based on limited spring games and his reputation as being analytics-friendly.

On the offensive side of his game, the Mets’ offseason acquisitions of Frazier and Jay Bruce, along with the (hopefully) healthy Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes means that Rosario doesn’t need to be an offensive juggernaut this season. The Mets can afford to bat him lower in the lineup and let him get adjusted to big league pitching, as well as work on the parts of his game that suffered in his major league stint.

Specifically, Rosario’s patience all but evaporated after his call-up. A much-diminished walk rate (1.8%) and an astronomical swing-and-miss rate (18.1%) led to him not producing offensively like he had in the minors. Hopefully, with more opportunity, experience, and an improved lineup around him, he can regain some of those skills.

Couple that will his speed—a truly rare commodity on the Mets—and Rosario might be able to find an offensive niche on this team. Before his debut, he was lauded as a potential above-average bat; if he can achieve that, it lengthens the Mets’ lineup and gives the team a different offensive look than the home run happy profile many of their players fit.

When Rosario exceeds his 2017 performance, don’t be surprised. Be ready.