Greason: Rosario, Smith provide bright spots for Mets’ future
Elizabeth Greason | Monday, August 28, 2017
For any Mets fan, Jose Reyes is an institution.
The Dominican with the contagious smile began his career with the Mets in 2003 as a rookie, making his Major League debut at just age 19 — the day before his 20th birthday. The speedster is the Mets’ all-time leader in triples and stolen bases and is the three-time National League stolen base leader, from 2005-2007. The shortstop won the Silver Slugger in 2006 and was the National League batting champion in 2011, before the Mets traded the icon to the Miami Marlins.
After jumping around the MLB for a few years, Reyes returned home to the Mets in 2016, slightly worse the wear, both on and off the field. The 34-year-old, while certainly still the same colorful personality he had been in his first stint with the Mets, prompting the same old “Jose” chant whenever he enters the batter’s box, had also battled minor injuries over time. And his primary asset, his wheels, had begun to fade with age, as speed does.
Enter Amed Rosario.
The shortstop signed with the Mets in 2012 as an international free agent and quickly became the talk of the entire Mets organization — the Mets’ top prospect, the future star.
Rosario made his Major League debut on Aug. 1 of this year, and has, so far, not disappointed. He has four home runs, eight RBIs and 23 hits in the less than one month he has been playing on the Major League stage for a struggling team.
The bold shortstop has also stolen four bases this month and been caught stealing just twice, leaving many — myself included — feeling as if the Mets found their new Reyes.
Of course, the Mets are a mess all over the place. Reyes — who, although a shortstop in the past, has been playing third base due to the loss of David Wright — is one of very few the cogs in the wheel that is still working — but as with all players, he is starting to rust with age. There is a significant amount of maintenance that needs to be done for the Mets to have a successful future.
Dominic Smith is another integral aspect to the Mets’ future. The highly-touted prospect is another home-grown Met, like Reyes and Rosario. He made his Major League debut days after Rosario this season, on Aug. 11 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
While hitting just .184, Smith has driven in six runs and homered three times in his three weeks in the big leagues.
Like Rosario, Smith is one of the bright spots in the Mets’ future. While Rosario can replace the speed Reyes once had, Smith can bring the power. The Mets traded three home-run hitters this season in Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda — they need to regain some of that with Smith.
Despite the downward trend of the 2017 season for the Mets, the future could be looking up. With Rosario and Smith gaining experience now and Michael Conforto poised to continue performing as he has this season — which earned him a spot on the All-Star team — the Mets could be in a position to do something special this offseason. While this is a trend for the Mets — struggling throughout the season, rebuilding slightly, going into a new season with inflated hopes and entering the All-Star break looking for trade opportunities — the future could be something different. Rosario and Smith are different. They have been waiting in the wings; they’re homegrown and they are ready to make something happen.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.