Mets Should Bat Rosario Ninth

In 46 games as a rookie last year, Amed Rosario hit just .248/.271/.394.  Part of that was fueled by his being a rookie adapting to Major League Baseball.  Another part of that was Rosario’s drawing just three walks in 170 plate appearances.  What is scary is there is evidence to suggest Rosario may be due for a regression from these numbers.

Eno Sarris, then of Fangraphs, found Rosario had troubling exit velocities and launch angles.  There is also the fear Rosario’s .330 BABIP will stabilize.  Also, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone Rosario walked just three times in 170 plate appearances.

Arguably, the walk rate was the biggest issue with his biggest issue.  In Double-A, his walk rate was just 7.6%, and in Triple-A, his walk rate was only 5.4%.  Overall, this means the low walk rate is who Rosario is right now as a player.  That is troubling, and for the moment, it should make you question where Rosario should hit in the lineup.

Believe it or not, there are some who see him as either an option to lead-off or the future lead-off hitter for this team.  To be fair, we did see some glimpses of his being a Jose Reyes type of electric lead-off hitter.  However, with his walk rate and OBP, Rosario should not be hitting anywhere near the top of the lineup.

Given his production, you can argue Rosario should be hitting eighth in the lineup.  It’s not a far-fetched idea with him arguably being the worst hitter in this lineup.  Still, you have to question if this would really be what is best for his long term development.  You would be really hard-pressed to argue having a pitcher protecting him in the lineup would help him see better pitches and/or help him work on his ability to draw walks.

Taking everything into account, the Mets really should consider hitting Rosario ninth in the lineup.

By doing this, you are putting Rosario in a much better position to succeed.  Instead of a pitcher protecting him in the lineup, he would have someone like Brandon Nimmo or even Michael Conforto.  With the pitcher in front of him, there will be more than a few occasions where Rosario will bat with a runner in scoring position and first base open.  That’s quite an advantageous hitting situation.

Similar to what Bobby Valentine did with Roger Cedeno in 1999, this could also help Rosario prepare to be a leadoff hitter.  With Rosario batting ninth, there may be more than one occasion where he leads off the ensuing inning after the pitcher makes the final out.  More than that, when he comes to the plate, Rosario will be able to do so with a table setter’s mentality.  After all, with Yoenis Cespedes likely batting second, Rosario will need to find a way to get on base ahead of the run producers to put him in a position to score.

Ultimately, so long as Rosario is able to mentally prepare himself for hitting ninth, this is the ideal lineup position for him to start the year.  Should Rosario begin to hit or he show an ability to being drawing walks, the Mets can then find a more prestigious spot in the lineup for him.  Until such time, let him both learn how to best utilitze his speed as a table setter and permit him to be better protected in the lineup.


0 thoughts on “Mets Should Bat Rosario Ninth”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    At AA he slashed .330/.381/.464/.845
    You worry too much. At Age 21 last year and at 6’2″, he was still growing into his body.
    He’ll be a great top of the order guy for years to come.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      He slashed that while drawing few walks. He did that with a high BABIP.

      I believe in Rosario, and I think he has the tools to be a great leadoff hitter. However, those tools aren’t ready yet.

  2. OldBackstop says:

    At AA he slashed .330/.381/.464/.845

    You worry too much. At Age 21 last year and at 6’2″, he was still growing into his body.

    When they batted him 7th last year he slashed .296/.305/.531/.836. I’ll take that anywhere in the lineup.

    Rosario will be a great top of the order guy for years to come. They should write him in there everyday and check back June 1.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      No, Nimmo is the best leadoff hitter on the team with Conforto a close second.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Yeah, but until May 1 Conforto might not be around and Nimmo might not be a top three OFer. In fact, Conforto coming back won’t much help Nimmo either. Rosario is a starter Day One, god willing.

        I’d be interested to see if Rosario’s height hurts his walks. But if he hits to an OPS of .836 with wheels, I’ll overlook the walks. Not optimal, but we don’t have the budget to have optimal players in every role.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Wouldn’t it be better to find out if the guy who continuously gets on base could do it in the majors than find out if a guy who never learned how to draw a walk can figure out how to do it at the MLB level?

  3. OldBackstop says:

    FYI, in 40 plate appearances this spring, yeah, spring, Rosario is slashing .316/.350/.526/.876

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Your Spring Training SSS proves my point as he’s drawn one walk in 39 plate appearances.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Fine, he’s not walking. He is unlikely to start doing so at his age. But he has wheels and pop. I have no problem starting him at 7 or whatever to start the season….,Nimmo, Conforto, Cespedes is a good top of the order, and Cabrera could be a 2 and Reyes could be a 1. I’m guessing you hate the Cabrera/Reyes ideas, but when the OF doesn’t have Nimmo or Conforto in it, who do you want leading off? Conforto is a waste there, he’ll be hitting solo HRs and he has poor SB speed.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          If you want Rosario to be a future leadoff hitter, the ninth spot is a much better learning spot than seventh.

          And yes, I think Nimmo should leadoff with his on base skills. I’d also look to Conforto in that spot when he returns from the DL. Remember, he excelled in that spot last year. I’d rather him hit solo homers than have him feel uncomfortable in his lineup spot and not have the same production.

          If Nimmo and Conforto is not playing, I’d actually go with Cabrera to leadoff. Of all the qualifiers last year, he saw the most pitches per at-bat. That has value from a leadoff hitter.

          And no, Reyes shouldn’t leadoff ever again.

          One last point, stolen base ability is way down the list on why someone should leadoff. I’m more concerned with the ability to get on base and to take the extra base on a base hit. I’m only interested in stolen base ability from my pinch runners.

  4. OldBackstop says:

    I think the Mets are nice placed for a big trade. Lagares, Smith, Nimmo, Lugo, Gsiellman could all bring back a true impact guy. I’d like to see an A+ first baseman, second baseman, or, with other moves, a CF or catcher.

    I just see a glut of B level guy

    PS: RIP Montero…shrug. Might be a break for him, he’ll be a major leaguer for another year.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It would be a real shame if the issue with Montero was he was injured all this time.

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