Former Mets infielder shockingly has the best batting average in the American League

He also has a new position he's playing regularly.
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers look like they’ll get their money’s worth with Shohei Ohtani who, despite not pitching this season, leads all qualified MLB players with a .368 batting average. Right behind him is Mookie Betts at .355. In fourth place is Will Smith at .346. Those three hitters plus Freddie Freeman make it a shock for the New York Mets to leave Chavez Ravine this past weekend with two wins in three attempts.

More stunning is who the American League leader in batting average is. A former member of the Mets now with a brand new ball club, Amed Rosario is batting .359 for the Tampa Bay Rays. The one point lead over former teammate and Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan will be tough to hold onto.

Former Mets infielder Amed Rosario is the latest recipient of the Rays magic potion

The Rays have some kind of magic over players, pitchers in particular. When a guy joins their organization, they tend to suddenly be a whole lot better. Rosario and his early success could be one of those surprise stories for 2024 if he can keep it up.

A lifetime .275 hitter coming off of a .263 season split with the Guardians and Dodgers, he actually did have a couple of good seasons in Cleveland post-trade from the Mets. Consecutive years of hitting over .280 in 2021 and 2022 helped raise his lifetime batting average. This was never the big knock against him. Rosario’s weakness was defense at shortstop and a poor eye at the plate.

Some things don’t change. Rosario has drawn a single walk in his first 79 plate appearances. As for defense at shortstop, he isn’t getting too many opportunities. The Guardians worked on turning him into a center fielder and second baseman. The Rays are using him in right field more than anywhere else with occasional starts on the infield.

Signed this offseason for just $1.5 million, Rosario has been an early and effective utility player. He’s taking a 14-game hitting streak with him into action on Tuesday. Although many of the hits are singles, he’s consistently driving in runs and coming up with multiple two-hit games. During Rosario’s hitting streak, 9 of the 14 games were multi-hit. When the streak began on April 5, he was batting a lowly .167.

The ex-Mets shortstop has found himself bouncing all over the Rays lineup with a leadoff appearance on Monday after a weekend series versus the New York Yankees where he batted fifth and sixth.

The MLB season is young and expecting a limited hitter like Rosario to win a batting title is an extreme bet no one should make even if he has Tampa Bay superpowers now.