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New York Mets: Checking in on Amed Rosario in the leadoff spot

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 04: Amed Rosario #1 of the New York Mets hits a RBi ground ball to third base in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 4, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 04: Amed Rosario #1 of the New York Mets hits a RBi ground ball to third base in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 4, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets are giving Amed Rosario a chance to bat leadoff regularly. So far, it hasn’t worked out too well, but there are some positives.

For the rest of 2018, it’s important the New York Mets experiment as much as possible. The mad scientists in the front office and in the dugout have an opportunity to use players in different ways.

One of the more anticipated usages is the way the Mets are giving Amed Rosario at-bats in the one-hole. Unfortunately, it hasn’t paid off.

Rosario’s noble attempt at becoming a decent leadoff hitter has resulted in only 8 hits in 59 plate appearances. In Sunday’s finale against the Atlanta Braves, the young shortstop went 0 for 3 batting first. On the plus side, he did draw a pair of walks. So, there is something to take away from this particular appearance.

Rosario has now drawn four walks as a leadoff hitter this year. When batting ninth, he has seen ball four only six teams in 172 trips to the plate. There’s a major contrast here. Is it a coincidence or is Rosario’s approach at the plate different when batting first?

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The sample size is far too small to know. Considering he doesn’t have a single hit to leadoff a game in 13 tries, I’m not so sure a few extra walks make up for the lack of actually hitting.

Ideally, Rosario would fit in as a top of the order guy. His flashy speed could become a nice weapon for the guys in the middle. Without Rosario reaching base often and the bats often going silent for several games in a row, we haven’t seen the full impact his legs could have on the game.

Yet another positive, 4 of the 10 stolen bases Rosario have happened when batting leadoff.

Again, the sample size is too minimal to understand if this is a change in his thinking or the circumstances have given him more opportunities to swipe a bag.

One thing I do know for sure is that Rosario’s bat has not won him a spot near the top of the lineup. Brandon Nimmo‘s success hitting first should lock him into that role until someone else takes it.

Rosario would make the most sense to usurp that job away.

We can look at Rosario’s numbers this season and see plenty of negative. He’s far from becoming a top shortstop in baseball. Still young, his approach at the plate has undoubtedly improved.

Rosario is striking out less frequently and learning to take walks. It’s a nice first step toward becoming a dependable major league player.

Regardless of how poorly Rosario hits out of the one-spot, I like the way the Mets are moving the lineup around. Rosario is someone they need to get moving.

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By putting his name first on the lineup card, they give the kid a much-needed test.

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