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The superstars Amed Rosario could (eventually) be measured against.

PORT ST. LUCIE — This is baseball’s Golden Age if you’re a fan of home runs, analytics, whiny player representatives or shortstops. For Amed Rosario, that means he could enjoy a fruitful first full major-league season … and still rank nowhere near the top at his position. The Mets think that Rosario carries the potential...
Time: 18:01     Date: 14.02.2018
Last US Sport News: The superstars Amed Rosario could (eventually) be measured against. NY Post 24 - US News

For Amed Rosario, that means he could enjoy a fruitful first full major-league season … and still rank nowhere near the top at his position.

The Mets think that Rosario carries the potential to be mentioned, eventually, in the same conversation as the industry’s elite shortstops, and they’re not alone with that take. There’s just no benefit from placing those sorts of expectations on the 22-year-old at this juncture.

“If you put Rosario in the draft, he would’ve been a flat-out No. 1 (round) pick, like all those other guys,” J.P., Ricciardi, a special assistant to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday, referring to Houston’s Carlos Correa, Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and the Dodgers’ Corey Seager. “I think he’s right in a class with those guys.

“The difference is, those guys have proven it. He’s in that period where he’s learning how to prove it.”

Added Ricciardi: “I don’t think it’s fair to the kid to say, ‘He’s going to be the next this, or the next that.’ It’s just not fair. As long as he’s what we think he can be, which is a very good everyday major-league player, I think we’ll all be happy with that.”

In the 2017 season, six shortstops — the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons (7.1), Correa (6.3), Seager (5.6), Lindor (5.5), Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart (4.9) and Texas’ Elvis Andrus (4.7) — accrued 4.7 or more Wins Above Replacement per Baseball-Reference.com’s calculations. As a point of comparison, only two second baseman, Houston’s Jose Altuve (8.3) and Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop (5.1), reached that impressive radius, with Minnesota’s Brian Dozier next at 4.4.

Francisco Lindor (left) and Carlos Correa are two of the best players in the league, regardless of position.Getty Images

Correa, Lindor and Seager all exploded onto the major-league scene. The first two guys placed first and second in the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year ballot, and Seager — whom the Mets passed on in the 2012 draft, selecting Gavin Cecchini 12th while Seager went 18th — won National League Rookie honors in 2016.

In a surface sense, Rosario already trails those guys, as he used up his rookie eligibility with his August 1 promotion last year and a .248/.271/.394 slash line with good glovework. More meaningfully, he’ll match up this year, his age-22 season, against those players at those ages. Lindor and Seager enjoyed their breakout rookie campaigns at that age, whereas Correa, only a year and change older than Rosario, won his freshman hardware in his age-20 season and put up a .315/.391/.550 slash line last year at 22. That’s just ridiculous. Don’t bet on Rosario matching that.

Bet on him playing outstanding defense.

“Unbelievable athlete, obviously right on par with Lindor,” new Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who served as the Indians’ pitching coach during Lindor’s rise, said of Rosario. “Extreme athlete. Can move around really well. Go left, right. Good arm. He has all the tools.”

Rosario should be a star on defense immediately while his offense progresses.Getty Images

The offense?

“Obviously his plate discipline is something we’re addressing with him,” Ricciardi said. “He knows it. He’s aware of it.”

As Callaway ran his first formal pitchers and catchers workout, Rosario was away from camp after stopping by here last week.

“I saw that the game was quicker and that I have to make adjustments quicker,’’ Rosario said during his visit. “I learned a lot, and being there helps me for this year.’’

“The big question is how fast he gets acclimated to the major-league game,” Ricciardi said. “He’s got all the tools. He’s got all the skills. And it’s a tough place to learn, the major-league level.”

So tough, especially in this prime time for shortstops, that the bar should be lowered for now. Rosario can be great. He needn’t be great in 2017, however, for the Mets to be good enough to execute a big rebound.

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