The New York Mets haven’t been a particularly sharp defensive team so far, but one of their biggest problems has been a poor performance from shortstop Amed Rosario. Rosario came through the Mets’ farm system with a reputation as an elite defender, but that hasn’t translated to the big league level. Although the past two years have seen Rosario be an average defender, things have gotten worse this season, as Rosario has become a liability in the field.
Over the Mets’ first 33 games, Rosario has already committed nine errors, which leads the team. Rosario has a .916 fielding percentage, which is not great for a big league shortstop, and he has already been worth -11 Defensive Runs Saved and -0.8 defensive Wins Above Replacement. The woes have evolved beyond errors into mishandling routine plays, such as last night when Rosario couldn’t field a throw from the outfield, which would have resulted in a force out at second base.
Rosario has been solid at the plate, hitting .260 with two homers and 18 RBI’s, but you have to wonder if his struggles in the field will start to impact his offense. The Mets did bring Adeiny Hechavarria up to the big leagues this weekend to give them more defensive versatility off the bench, but with Rosario’s issues its fair to wonder if he will start to eat into his playing time.
Just last season, the Mets gave Rosario a few days off to clear his head and work on some things, starting Jose Reyes at shortstop in the meantime. Hechavarria is a more capable defender than Reyes, which would help the Mets’ pitching staff while Rosario works on a few things. The Mets were mulling giving Rosario a day off yesterday, but the 18 inning marathon in Milwaukee changed the equation since the team needed to get rest for Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano.
The important thing for the Mets, however, is to get Rosario right. Rosario is one of the Mets’ most important players this season, and they can’t afford to have him slip into a funk because of some bad defense. The National League is very competitive, and bad defense from Rosario could cost them games they will need to have in order to make the postseason. It may only be May 5, but it is time to start worrying about the Mets’ young shortstop.