Enough of This – Call Up Rosario
The Mets are a team with a number of issues right now. The pitching staff as a whole has the worst ERA in all of baseball. The starters haven’t been going deep into games, and the bullpen is just now starting to crack. While the position players are hitting, the team defense is unacceptably poor. While there may not be any causation, there is certainly a correlation between the Mets poor pitching, and their poor defense.
With Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia going down, it is hard to believe the pitching staff is going to get any better. Right now, the Mets can pin their hopes on Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, but who knows when they can come back? And when Matz comes back, how long is he going to be healthy? Same goes for Lugo who has a torn UCL in his pitching elbow. With the Mets unlikely to significantly upgrade the pitching staff in any way, the team is going to have to upgrade their defense.
There are some minor tweaks that can be made. Juan Lagares can start in center field over Curtis Granderson. Typically, you do not want to start Lagares due to his offense, but with Granderson hitting .144/.206/.272 on the season, it’s hard to argue Lagares can be any worse. Unfortunately, a switch from Granderson to Lagares is likely insufficient to address the defensive issues. That goes double with the Mets statistically having the worst middle infield in the major leagues.
Right now, the easiest position to upgrade is shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera has a torn ligament in his thumb leading the Mets to consider putting him on the disabled list. In addition to his thumb, we have also seen Cabrera struggle for the second straight year with some leg issues. If he were to go on the disabled list, the natural option to replace him would be Jose Reyes.
For his part, Reyes just isn’t hitting. For the season, Reyes is hitting .189/.286/.315. Those numbers have been boosted by his numbers in May. In May, he is hitting .220/.283/.341. As a result of his poor hitting, Reyes is eminently replaceable. In fact, he has been replaced. When Lucas Duda returned from the disabled list on Friday, Reyes moved to the bench, and T.J. Rivera was moved to third base.
Overall, the Mets need a shortstop. As it so happens, they have on in Triple-A with Amed Rosario.
Depending on whichever source you rely, Rosario is either a top 10 prospect or the best prospect in all of baseball. One of the main reasons for this is he is succeeding in Triple-A. Through his first 36 games, Rosario is hitting .359/.401/.493 with 11 doubles, a triple, two homes, and 22 RBI. This isn’t even him padding his numbers at Cashman Field. In fact, he has hit better on the road.
Now, Rosario has cooled off in May hitting .283/.339/.472. However, if those numbers are indicative of what a slump looks like for Rosario now, that’s extremely encouraging. Even with a potential regression if he were to be called up to the major leagues right now, Rosario’s offense would certainly play in the majors. One of the reasons why is Rosario is a good defender.
Look past his nine errors this season. This is a player widely regarded as one of the top defensive prospects in baseball. Overall, it is his defense that is needed right now. His range at shortstop is far and above what either Cabrera or Reyes can provide at the moment. Those ground ball hits pitchers give up could be turned into outs. If those hits become outs, rallies end, or maybe rallies don’t start in the first place. The starting pitchers now have to throw less pitches, and they could go deeper into games. In turn, this could take some of the burden off of the bullpen.
Is this an oversimplification? Perhaps. But there is no denying the Mets need a better glove at shortstop. A shortstop with more range would permit help abate the range issues Neil Walker has at second and Rivera has at third. Even if this all is an oversimplification, it’s at least worth a shot.
Right now, the Mets are not really going anywhere as currently constituted. There are few areas in which the team can look to upgrade internally. With Cabrera’s injuries and Reyes’ ineffectiveness, shortstop is one of those areas. If the Mets are serious about winning in 2017, now is the time to call-up Rosario.