Analyzing prospects in short-season leagues can often be a confusing and fruitless endeavor. All three of pro baseball’s three large development hurdles–the jump to full-season ball, the jump to the upper minors, and the jump to the majors–remain in front of such players, and projecting how raw 17-21-year-olds are going to handle those difficult transitions years down the line cannot be done with much certainty. Still, there are plenty of relevant prospects in the short-season circuits, and today I’m going to discuss the first of a few that I personally viewed in the Rookie-Advanced Appalachian League in 2013: Mets shortstop prospect Amed Rosario.
Rosario had the distinction of being named the top prospect in the Appy by Baseball America, which immediately pegs him as someone to watch. So does his birth date: November 20, 1995. He was the youngest position player to open the year at the Rookie-Advanced level, which says a lot about how advanced he is for his age, even if the numbers he posted (.241/.279/.358 with a 43/11 K/BB, 3 HR, 2 SB, and a .941 fielding percentage in 58 games) veer closer to “problematic” than “exciting.”
But a player’s ranking on prospect lists and his raw numbers (particularly at such a low level at such a young age) do little to shed light on what sort of player he may become. For that, we have to turn to visual evidence.
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