Mickey Callaway noticed an improvement at the plate from shortstop Amed Rosario during the Mets’ recent 11-game homestand.
“I’m seeing a shorter, quicker swing,” the manager said Sunday. “I’m seeing a guy that is probably maintaining his posture a little bit better than he has.
“You’ll still see an at-bat like [Saturday] where [the Nationals’ Matt Grace] executes some really good pitches and then throws a really good strike-to-ball breaking ball [to strike out Rosario]. But overall, he’s doing a real good job of staying in his legs.”
Rosario credits the coaching staff for helping him to improve.
“One of the key things we have been doing is focusing on hitting the ball inside,” he said through a translator. “I want to stay inside of the ball and use my right leg to push my body.”
After going 0-for-6 in the first three games of the home stand before the All-Star break, Rosario went 9-for-26 (.346) in the final eight games with a .418 on-base percentage, .815 slugging percentage, three doubles, three triples and two stolen bases.
“[He’s] making sure he’s not leaning over too much where he wants to chase,” Callaway said. “When he gets a pitch that he can hit, he doesn’t miss it, because he’s shorter and quicker to the ball.”
The 22-year-old Dominican might have turned a corner this season, especially after enduring a June in which he batted .216 (16-for-74) with 20 strikeouts.
“It’s important for us that we have a lot of veteran players that lead by example and help us with what to do,” said Rosario, who ended the first half hitting .246 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 90 games. “I try not to give much attention to bad moments because I don’t want them to interfere with anything else. I try to stay positive all the time.”
He has remained upbeat even though he’s been up and down in his first full major-league season. He batted .233 in April, but followed with a .277 May. He struggled again in June and is hitting .243 for July.
Rosario, who batted .248 in 46 games last season with the Mets, mentioned his family, which has “been with me and supported me. They don’t let me get down during bad circumstances.”
Callaway said Rosario has remained positive and never takes a bad at-bat, or hitting stretch, onto the field.
“On defense, he’s been tremendous, just making plays,” Callaway said. “He brings a lot of energy, and he’s where he needs to be. He’s really locked in on his positioning and his pre-pitch routine, so he’s doing a fantastic job.”
Rosario added: “Whatever happens at home plate doesn’t have to affect when I’m playing defense. That’s very important to me.”
He said he wants to continue his recent stretch of good hitting and become more consistent.
“Basically, I want to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Rosario, who was named the 2017 Pacific Coast League rookie of the year. “I want to keep the hard work going. I’m trying to stay healthy and stay focused.”