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Amed Rosario needs to build on his 2019 second half - and quickly

With a potential challenger lingering in the Mets’ player pool, Rosario’s time is now

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

In many ways, the slow start to Amed Rosario’s career as a Mets has made the 24-year old something of the forgotten man on a roster packed with heavy-hitting young talent. Indeed, his mysteriously delayed arrival to summer camp barely registered as a news story (thankfully, he did show up just a few days later, and in one piece no less).

The lack of a spotlight, and the lowering of expectations, may take some pressure off the former top prospect Rosario, who struggled mightily in his first year and a half as a major leaguer before finally putting up an average season in 2019. An offensively average season, that is, as the slick glove that caught everyone’s eye as he worked his way through the minors still has yet to appear.

But more pressure on Rosario to meet the lofty standards expected of him may arrive in the form of Andres Gimenez, another highly touted shortstop prospect who has been added to the pool of players available to the Mets in case of injury or illness for the duration of the season. Gimenez is not considered to be the same quality of prospect that Rosario himself was, and his struggles particularly with the bat have led many prospect writers to question his future as an every day player.

Were it not for the exceptional nature of this season, the 21 year-old Gimenez would likely spend the entire season in Syracuse, but his path to Queens is now much abbreviated. Rosario should arguably have a long leash after the significant improvements of 2019, but in a short season that accommodates little in the way of a cold streak and with the novelty of Gimenez just a phone call away, it’s hard to rule out the possibility that he will find himself the target of a mid-season shake-up.

In order to avoid that fate, Rosario needs to draw on his strong second half of last year, a stretch of several months where he settled down in the field, used his speed on the basepaths wisely, and showed focus at the plate. As has always been the case with Rosario, who is still the Mets’ youngest everyday player, the pieces are all there to build a strong and perhaps even excellent major league career. The key now is for him to move past the long layoff and strange rhythm of the season and finally put them together.