Amed Rosario really can’t be blamed if he thinks the footsteps behind him are growing louder.
The New York Mets’ shortstop has had a difficult start to his 2020 season, taking considerable steps back from a strong second half last year in which he slashed .318/.349/.449 in his final 85 games with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
Over his 14 games this year, he’s slashing just .207/.207/.310 with a home run and four RBI, but it’s his plate discipline that is providing one of the largest red flags. He has yet to draw a walk this season while striking out 11 times, further building on his reputation as an impatient hitter.
His struggles, coupled with a stomach bug, sidelined him on Tuesday night to allow rookie Andres Gimenez to continue the impressive start to his MLB career.
The 21-year-old tripled off Max Scherzer to set up the Mets’ only run in a 2-1 loss while providing sterling defense up the middle alongside his double-play partner in Luis Guillorme.
His defense that’s drawing comparisons to Omar Vizquel or Rey Ordonez is being supplemented by a .293/.326/.415 slash line with two triples and three stolen bases.
He’s looking like the real deal — which only leaves those who are impatient with the 24-year-old Rosario looking at their clocks that much more.
For now, though, Rosario isn’t feeling much pressure about his job security, according to Mets manager Luis Rojas.
“Rosie is not feeling any of that. He’s out there having fun every day, he has great energy and he hasn’t changed a bit of who he is,” he said. “He’s trying to simplify things right now for his approach at the plate.”
“We’re kind of like slowing things down right now, but there’s nothing bothering him outside of that.”
Things are somewhat easier for Rojas right now considering veteran second baseman Robinson Cano was on the 10-day injured list, providing plenty of opportunities for both Gimenez and Rosario to play.
But with Cano nearing a return — he rejoined the team at Citi Field on Tuesday, according to Rojas — there are going to be some difficult decisions to make regarding Rosario’s playing time if he can’t break out of this funk.
In a 60-game season, you have to go with the hot hand — which is Gimenez. Especially for a team like the Mets who have playoff expectations, but are at the bottom of the NL East.