PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets top prospect Amed Rosario didn’t need long to leave a lasting impression on another shortstop whom he now considers a mentor: Jose Reyes.
The two crossed paths in 2016 with Double-A Binghamton. Reyes was working his way back to the majors and Rosario was reinforcing his status as one of baseball’s top prospects.
“Wow, this guy’s smooth,” Reyes said Monday. “He can do whatever he wants on the field. This guy’s what, 21 years old? I think he’s going to be a superstar player at this level.”
Reyes refused to back off the high praise. “Oh, yeah, that’s the kind of tools that he has,” he said. “He just needs to continue to work and put everything together. We’re going to see him in the big leagues sooner rather than later.”
The Mets began full-squad workouts just two days ago, but Rosario already has caught the eye of manager Terry Collins, who watched his first round of batting practice. Rosario put on another show Monday in front of general manager Sandy Alderson, who has spent the last year swatting away trade offers for the prized prospect.
“My impression [Sunday] when we started batting practice, the first pitch he saw, he hit it off the top of the batter’s eye, which was eye-catching,” Collins said. “It looks like he’s got a good arm, good hands, so I just can’t wait to see him play.”
Indeed, it is on defense that Rosario has set himself apart. Rival scouts rave about his athleticism, instincts and baseball IQ. Another evaluator called him easily the best prospect in the Mets’ system.
Scouts have long waited for him to fill out his lean 6-2 frame, and he took a step toward that goal this offseason, packing on about 10 pounds of muscle. He came to camp at 190 pounds.
Last year, Rosario hit .324 in 120 games between high Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. He slugged a career-high .459, a reflection of his speed and developing power. He finished with 24 doubles, 13 triples and five homers.
He also struck up a relationship with Reyes, the shortstop whom he said he most wants to emulate. So far this camp, the two have been joined at the hip.
“I’m so thankful to God first,” Rosario said through a translator, “and I’m so thankful that I have people like Jose.’’
As a 20-year-old, Amed Rosario put up impressive numbers for High-A Port St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last season. His totals: