Amed Rosario has yet to find his way at the plate since making his major-league debut, but Mets manager Terry Collins still was impressed with his first week with the team.
“In five or six games, you can see that this kid’s going to be a very good player,” Collins said before Sunday night’s 8-0 loss to the Dodgers at Citi Field. “Obviously, there’s a lot of things he’s going to learn how to do and he’ll do it on his own because he’s a sharp kid.”
Rosario, 21, is 4-for-22 since getting called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and making his major-league debut on Aug. 1. He went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts against the Dodgers on Sunday night.
The Dominican Republic product is widely regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball but already has struck out 10 times as a major-leaguer. Rosario has made more of an impact with his glove and is errorless in his first 52 1⁄3 innings at shortstop, although a hit-and-run grounder off his glove proved costly against the Rockies in his major-league debut. It was scored a hit.
“He’s got great athleticism, plays with great energy. He’s handled playing shortstop brilliantly,” Collins said.
At the plate, however, Rosario has struggled to make contact. He has struck out in more than 45 percent of his 22 plate appearances and has whiffed on 18.9 percent of the pitches he has seen, according to FanGraphs.com. The latter figure is tied for the 11th- highest rate among the 508 non-pitchers in the majors with at least 20 plate appearances.
Rosario was the fourth-ranked prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America’s midseason rankings, and his scouting report from the publication touts his “excellent contact skills” as one of his best tools.
Rosario struck out in 17.3 percent of his 1,926 minor-league plate appearances and in 15.8 percent of his trips to the plate this season with Triple-A Las Vegas (which plays in the Pacific Coast League, where the average strikeout rate was 19.8 percent as of Saturday’s games). His high contact rate there helped him hit .328 with a .367 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage in 425 plate appearances.
When he has put his bat on the ball in the majors, Rosario generally has made solid contact. Entering Sunday night’s game, his average batted ball left the bat at 87.9 mph, according to Statcast data on MLB.com (the major-league average is about 87 mph).
“At the plate, he’s going to see the difference between Triple-A and the big leagues,” Collins said. “I think he’ll make a lot of adjustments. He’s a smart guy.”
Michael Conforto, who recalled his own debut as a highly regarded Mets prospect, agreed.
“He seems much cooler and collected than I was,” Conforto said after Sunday night’s game. “Things move a little bit quicker up here, but I’m sure he will definitely settle in. He’s incredible in the field, he’s an incredible athlete and he’ll start swinging the bat here soon, too.”