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New York Mets: Amed Rosario needs to hustle to first base

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 29: Amed Rosario
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 29: Amed Rosario
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New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario needs to start hustling down the first base line a little more often.

Amed Rosario is the flashy rookie shortstop who debuted last season with lots of hype, lots of media, and lots of issues. The New York Mets shortstop has a terrific glove, has terrific speed, just as his mentor, Jose Reyes had, and has an electric bat who could eventually become a superstar for years to come.

If only he would run hard to first base.

One of the biggest issues Rosario has is his expanded strike zone, in which he chases a number of pitches out of the strike zone, or hit pitcher’s pitches instead of a fatter pitch that he could crush in a better hitter’s count.

Because of his lack of plate discipline, his walk rate is non-existent (although ironically he walked in the 8th inning of last night’s nine-run explosion), and his OBP is very low especially for such a fast runner.

When a player is blessed with speed, every ball hit on the ground should be a close play at first. Even routine ground balls have to be fielded with urgency, which can possibly prompt the fielder to throw the ball away in a rush, or botch the play altogether. Not being able to routinely catch and throw to first can always present an opportunity to get on first base.

However, Rosario has developed some bad habits early and must be dealt with immediately. One of his worst habits is that he does not run hard to first EVERY SINGLE TIME.

During the Mets first few games of the season, Rosario jogged to first base which prompted Ruben Amaro, Jr., the first base coach, to speak to Rosario right after the play and a discussion ensued in the dugout.

The Mets announcers. Ron Darling and Gary Cohen also quickly pointed out his lack of hustle on that particular play. The problem is that Rosario still hasn’t gotten the memo that running hard to first is mandatory and is preventing the team to continue rallies.

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In Wednesday night’s game in the bottom of the 4th inning, the Mets pulled Steven Matz for a pinch hitter because of the Mets struggling to score runs the last few games. Brandon Nimmo, who pinch hit for Matz, got hit by the pitch which loaded the bases for Rosario with one out, who hit a slow ground ball which led to a double play and ended the inning with no runs scoring.

The Mets went on to blow the game open in the 8th inning, however, what was most disturbing was that Rosario was out at 1st base by three steps. A slow grounder with Rosario’s speed should be a force at 2nd and a safe call at 1st, which would have resulted in a run and the rally would have continued, however, I have watched quite a number of instances where Rosario simply is not running hard down the line to make the play close.

Jose Reyes might be struggling, however, Reyes runs hard down the line and every time there’s a play at 1st he makes it close because of his hustle. If Reyes is truly Rosario’s mentor then he needs to have a serious discussion with him about his lack of hustle.

Rosario is young and still learning how to play in the major leagues. It is a much faster game at this level, so this habit has to be corrected as soon as possible. Mickey Callaway and his group of coaches must show Rosario tapes of how far he is to 1st base when an out is made to prove that he has to run hard down the line every time to keep the pressure of the opposing infielders.

Next: Mets need another starting pitcher

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Hopefully, Rosario gets the memo soon.

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