Mets minor leagues loaded with shortstops you should know about
By Robert Jonas
The New York Mets have a couple of shortstops down on the farm who could make a big impact at the major league level.
The New York Mets have their shortstop of the present in Amed Rosario. However, there are some minor league prospects to keep an eye on as future challengers.
Over their 57-year history, the Mets have had more than 30 shortstops who have started at least 50 games for them. A few have been memorable. Most of them have been hugely forgettable.
Amed Rosario is currently the Mets’ starting shortstop. His first full year did not go completely as planned, as he struggled to a .256 batting average and a .295 on-base percentage with 119 strikeouts. He did steal 24 bases in 35 attempts in 2018, and he posted a .969 fielding percentage. And at age 23, Rosario is young enough to improve his numbers significantly in 2019.
The Mets are hedging their bets on Rosario, though. They have three prospects in the minor leagues who have the potential to unseat Rosario in the next couple of years.
The Mets gave Andres Gimenez a closer look by inviting him to major league camp before depositing the 20-year-old in Double-A Binghamton to start the regular season. Rated the No. 2 Mets prospect by mlb.com, Gimenez has performed well at the plate and in the field over the past three years, posting a .290 batting average and a .375 on-base percentage, as well as a .966 fielding percentage at shortstop. Gimenez could challenge Rosario for the starting shortstop role in Queens if Rosario falters.
The Mets’ number three-rated prospect by MLB.com, Ronny Mauricio made a splash in his first season in the United States, batting .273 with 16 doubles and three home runs in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues. The switch-hitting teen from the Dominican Republic rates well for his bat and his glove, but he will be a work in progress for at least the next two years. Mauricio begins the season in Single-A Columbia, along with another notable shortstop prospect.
Another international signing by the Mets, Shervyen Newton showed promise in his first full minor league season with a .280 batting average and a .408 on-base percentage in the Appalachian League. Like Mauricio, Newton is a switch hitter with some pop at the plate (five home runs in 2018). However, with Mauricio on the same roster in Columbia, Newton may slide into a different infield position to give him more at-bats.
Rosario can cement his place in Queens with a big 2019 campaign. He is coming off a strong showing in Spring Training with a .356 batting average, .442 on-base percentage, 11 runs scored and 11 RBI in 16 games. Odds are, Rosario won’t keep that pace going once the regular season begins. However, any improvement over his career .255 batting average and .290 on-base percentage will help him immensely.
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If Rosario falters, though, the Mets have options in their farm system.