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Amed Rosario is getting better at just the right time

Rosario’s improved play of late, both at the plate and in the field, could indicate an even brighter future for the talented young shortstop.

MLB: New York Mets at Chicago White Sox Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Overshadowed by teammates who have burst onto the scene or otherwise underscoring their awesomeness—and somewhat forgotten, perhaps, in the happy kerfuffle surrounding a team that has very suddenly and unexpectedly played its way into the Wild Card race—Amed Rosario has continued his emergence as a solid everyday player for the Mets—and one who, moreover, looks to be improving still.

Taken as a whole and considered on its own, Rosario’s to-date performance in 2019 is decent if not particularly noteworthy, especially when one compares him to his peers. FanGraphs has Rosario at 1.6 WAR on the season thus far, which is 21st among major league shortstops; his 100 wRC+ is 15th. It doesn’t take a stats wiz—which your author is most definitely not—to deduce Rosario’s defense has been a drag on his overall value, as anyone who watched him play earlier this season would readily attest.

When one takes a broader view of Rosario’s still-young career arc, however, there emerges a more exciting portrait of a player on the rise. Earlier this year, in mid-May, Maggie Wiggin penned a thorough analysis of Rosario’s marked improvements at the plate dating back to August 2018. And while the additional plate appearances logged since Maggie’s article was published might represent a relatively small and arbitrary sample, it cannot be denied, nor should it be ignored, that Rosario has not only maintained those improvements, he has shown glimpses recently that he might be on the brink of taking another step forward.

Since the All-Star break, a span of 24 games and 99 plate appearances, Rosario’s batting line is an excellent .344/.384/.538, good for a 143 wRC+. A strong month obviously doesn’t mean a player is in the midst of a permanent breakout, but for a player of Rosario’s pedigree, talent, and youth, it’s a good sign.

Happily, Rosario’s defense has followed the same trend. Earlier in the season, the notion of trying Rosario in center field gained traction in light of his misadventures at shortstop. Lately, however, he’s improved enough in the field that those plans appear to have been shelved. Again, such a development doesn’t necessarily mean a move to center shouldn’t or isn’t going to happen at some point; but one can put a check mark in the “plus” column that Rosario was able to course-correct.

When one puts all this together and remembers that Amed Rosario is only 23 years old with the equivalent of a mere two full major league seasons under his belt, one should feel some optimism about what the future could bring for him. What’s more, Rosario is a pre-arbitration player and under team control until 2024. Mets fans should feel good about that, and all the more so in that Rosario’s recent improvements, should they stick, are just in time for what could be an improbable run at the postseason.