PORT ST. LUCIE – Amed Rosario blooms at shortstop and as a batsman. The Mets believe he could become an all-star this season.
"I could see that," coach Chili Davis told the Post on Thursday in Clover Park.
Rosario hit .249 until June 21 of last season, then it all came together. Rosario hit the rest of the season .319 (107-335). His OPS went from .687 in mid-June to .806 the rest of the way.
What has changed? Rosario hit the books.
"I think his preparation was really good before the games," said Davis. “Check out jugs and not only prepare for the starter, but take the entire package, the bullpen and the starter, look at them and see how they throw and where they make mistakes.
“Mechanically, he uses the whole field. He has great hands. He trusts that his strength will be shown when he tries to reach a line drive. He did 15 home runs last year. It gets better on the bases too. Trying to make him a full player. It also has speed. "
24-year-old Rosario was one of three shortstops in the majors that produced at least 15 homers, 15 steals, 70 RBIs, and 30 doubles. Francisco Lindor and Trevor Story were the others.
The new manager Luis Rojas worked closely with Rosario last year in his role as a quality control trainer.
"He did a great job putting together a plan and not just showing up with talent and competition," said Rojas. "Before he got away with it, but you have so much talent in the big leagues and guys who are preparing to compete with the same talent. So you have to prepare yourself so that you can win the matchup."
Rosario started winning matchups. He led the Mets with a career high of 177 hits and set a career high with 30 doubles, 15 homers, 72 RBIs and 31 walks. His 177 hits were the fifth most in the NL and most of a mead since 2013 (Daniel Murphy, 188).
In the second half, Rosario changed his defensive under infield coach Gary DiSarcina, who worked as a shortstop in the major league for 12 years. And those changes paid off as Rosario's range and reliability improved.
Rosario made 10 mistakes in his first 33 games and only seven in his last 120 games, including only one mistake in his last 28 games.
The biggest change was the 6-foot-2 Rosario, which was placed lower on the floor with his glove. It was far too high and that sabotaged his ability to get ground balls.
"This is one of the most difficult jobs out there. I didn't go on vacation in the off-season," said Rosario. “And I wanted to be with my family in Santo Domingo [in the Dominican Republic], ''
Rosario has three sisters and two nieces were born this off-season. One of his sisters is married to Tiger's shortstop Willi Castro.
"Before the pitch, it's all about timing, so I want to focus on number 1," said DiSarcina. "No. 2 For me, pre-pitch is like a striking posture, they're all different, big boys are different from smaller boys, but they have to be a lot like a batsman, when they make contact, they all look the same. They have to on the balls of her feet and in an athletic position, shoulder-width apart and square to the base plate.
“Amed was so off-center. That was one of the first things we worked on and it was such a simple solution. He just sat up for two days and he understood, "said DiSarcina." I always pointed at his navel so that it was aimed at the batsman. "
Here's why it is so important to be deep in the balls of your feet and in a sporty position:
"If it's late," said DiSarcina, "then when you get to the ball you'll be late and your basics will collapse."
"All of that [DiSarcina] taught me that I could put myself together for success, and I will continue to do so this season, ”said Rosario. “The biggest adjustment for me was to stay low. I stayed upright and being tall makes it harder for me to come down. "