By Zach Gewelb
It’s time for the Mets to call up shortstop Amed Rosario. With the team slumping and starter Asdrubal Cabrera dealing with injuries, New York needs to summon its top prospect to bring a jolt of energy to the big league club.
Rosario, ranked as baseball’s No. 5 overall prospect by Baseball America, has a lot to offer at the Major League level. He has proven to be an excellent hitter, posting a .359/.401/.493 batting slash at Triple-A Las Vegas early this season. He has also displayed a sound glove and strong arm at short, adding to his overall value to the team.
The Mets have Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes as insurance behind Cabrera. But Reyes hasn’t played well this season and Flores hasn’t shown much consistency.
The incumbent shortstop has reportedly been playing with a torn ligament in his thumb, and was just placed on the disabled list, which theoretically opens the door for Rosario.
And while Rosario has been discussed as a possible replacement in the media, manager Terry Collins said he isn’t sure if the stud prospect is an option quite yet.
“Those aren’t my calls because I don’t know anything about the guy. I don’t know how he’s playing, and if they think he’s not ready mentally. I don’t know any of that stuff. I stay outside of that stuff,” Collins said.
While it’s clear Rosario should be an option, assistant general manager John Ricco recently shot down that notion.
“We like what he’s doing down there, but we think he needs more time,” Ricco said earlier this week.
Instead, Reyes has been tabbed as Cabrera’s replacement.
Rosario, 21, is young and still has plenty of room to develop, but that shouldn’t scare the Mets from calling him up. In fact, a call to The Show could aid Rosario’s development rather than hinder it. The Mets’ Triple-A squad is part of the Pacific Coast League, which is notorious for padding hitters’ numbers. While Rosario’s numbers are excellent, playing in the PCL makes it difficult to fully judge his performance. With that being said, there’s little left for Rosario to prove in Vegas. It’s time to see what he can do in the majors.
Worst case scenario: He is called up and doesn’t perform well while adding a boost of energy and young legs to a beat-up, veteran big league roster. Best case scenario: Rosario emerges as a star and seamlessly transitions into a legitimate, starting-caliber shortstop for the Mets.
If Rosario comes up and succeeds, it will be easy to find him some playing time when a healthy Asdrubal Cabrera returns. Collins can start Rosario at short, with Cabrera at second and Neil Walker at first. He can move Cabrera to third base — which will help hide his lack of range at short — and play Rosario at short with Walker at second and Lucas Duda or even Jay Bruce at first. Or Collins can even start Rosario at third and short every so often to keep his bat in the lineup.
The bottom line is that Rosario would give the Mets some flexibility and allow Collins to mix and match his lineups on a daily basis to field the best starting nine every day.
It makes sense. Don’t play Reyes every day. Call up Rosario. It’s time to usher in the Mets’ next homegrown star.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe