I have a pretty simple solution for solving Amed Rosario’s woes. And its called “actually swinging at strikes”. I’ve heard it now on two broadcasts in the last week that Rosario ranks among the top of the league in balls in the middle of the strike zone not swung at. As stupid as it sounds, it is what they said. And this isn’t a Rosario problem. This is an organizational problem. Last year, I had read a tweet somewhere that the Mets require all three minor leaguers a game to not swing at any first pitches. I’m not lying. There was even an accompanying video of Dom Smith in a bunch of at bats literally standing there with the bat on his shoulder, letting the pitcher know he was going to allow him to throw the ball right down the dick, and he wasn’t going to swing. Honestly, how asinine is this? I get being patient, but encouraging hitters to not swing at strikes really defeats the purpose of hitting.
Not only does a hitter get maybe one pitch an at bat he can actually hit, you’re also putting the hitter at a huge disadvantage by always being behind in the count. Such as with Rosario, until he can prove he can hit, he’s going to see a lot of early fastballs that they know he won’t swing at, followed by junk that he will be forced to swing at to protect the plate since he’s behind in the count. The solution is fairly easy here. Unleash Rosario. Let him pick a zone that he likes on the first pitch, if the ball is in the zone, let it rip. I’d honestly rather he make a hard out on the first pitch of an at bat than strike out on some 1-2 slider, or roll over on one and ground out weakly to 3B.
The Mets have it all ass backwards. Not every player has to be created in the same mold. Every player has a different skill set. So what’s good for one player won’t be good for the other. Here’s some more food for thought. No player last year swung at more first pitches than Jose Altuve. This is the same Jose Altuve who has won 3 of the last 4 AL batting titles, an AL MVP and 4 silver sluggers. So maybe it’s time to just let Rosario be Rosario. In his short career he’s batting .350 in 20 at bats when swinging first pitch. After starting an at bat 0-1, he’s batting .218 (178 plate appearances). Let pitchers know you can’t just get ahead of him early in counts. Make them earn it. Eventually they’ll have to start nibbling early on, creating more counts where he is ahead for a change.