Today's minor league spotlight will take a look at shortstop Amed Rosario. The Mets paid $1.75 million to sign Rosario, who's still more than a month shy of his 18th birthday.
Instead of spending a year in the DSL or even the GCL, the Mets sent Rosario to Kingsport, where he hit .241/.279/.358 and helped the K-Mets reach the Appalachian League playoffs. He hit 8 doubles, 4 triples, and 3 homers with just 43 strikeouts and 11 walks in 58 games. Following the season, Baseball America named Rosario the #1 prospect in the Appalachian League.
At 17, Rosario has all the tools to be a star. He has above average bat speed and really drives the ball for a kid his age, especially to the opposite field. With a 6'2'' frame, he should fill out and could end up becoming a 20 homerun guy. Of course, he does have to improve in all the usual areas like plate discipline, pitch recognition etc. but all the hitting tools are there.
Defensively, he has good foot work and body control, as well as a plus arm at shortstop. Scouts expect that he'll be able to stay at shortstop, but even if he fills out too much his arm and athleticism should allow an easy move to third base.
Obviously, Rosario is years away, but he had an impressive pro debut in Kingsport, especially when you consider he's a 17 year old kid moving from the Dominican Republic to rural Tennessee. He has the build, speed, athleticism, and bat speed to become a star at shortstop for the Mets, albeit years down the line. He'll most likely spend next summer in Brooklyn, although the Mets could go crazy and send him to Savannah, but I'd be very surprised to see that.
I ranked Rosario as the Mets 2nd best shortstop prospect; here's the entire top 10. I put him behind Gavin Cecchini mainly because there's a little more certainty that Cecchini will be an average big league shortstop defensively, which is a rare commodity. He also a little more advanced than Rosario and the Mets did pay him a little more money to sign Cecchini than Rosario, although draft money and international money aren't necessarily the same.
In other minor league news, the Arizona Fall League started up Tuesday night. The Mets are sending 7 prospects, and here is my preview of those prospects.