At 22 years old, Amed Rosario has the brightest of futures because he takes nothing for granted in the present.
To that end, Rosario is already in Port St. Lucie working on improving the most glaring weakness in his game after getting called up to the majors by the Mets in August. In 165 at-bats, the shortstop struck out 49 times. He batted .248 with a .271 on-base percentage.
The right-handed hitting Rosario walked three times in 170 plate appearances.
All too often, he put the pitcher’s pitch into play. Command the strike zone to command the at-bat.
Rosario spent last week working with hitting coach Pat Roessler on getting a better grasp of the strike zone. This is the kind of work it is going to take for Rosario to put up better numbers.
He realizes it is not about arriving in the majors. It is about staying.
“I’ve been working hard, steadily, every single day,’’ Rosario told The Post Tuesday through translator Melissa Rodriguez. “Coming into this year, I’ve really been focusing on my strike zone, trying to make that smaller and, of course, trying not to go for some of those bad pitches.
“I think it’s been going really well. I’ve been doing steady drills and all of last week I worked with [Roessler],’’ Rosario said. “Nothing is impossible, so we’ll see what happens.’’
Last year it was the desire to be called up. It will be different this season, but Rosario told me, “The pressure is still there because I don’t take it for granted being in the major leagues, so I’m still working every single day as if I have something to prove to make it up there.’’
Rosario brings an abundance of personality to the game and that will suit him well his first full season as a Met.
“It just runs in my blood to be that way,’’ Rosario said. “I get it from both my parents. They are really happy people, both social and they’ve taught me that you just have to enjoy life, you got to laugh at it, and stay relaxed.’’
On Tuesday, Rosario, who has a terrific social media presence, much like Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, posted a photo of himself, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and Yoenis Cespedes at a workout at the Barwis Methods facility behind First Data Field, tweeting with it: “Squadddddd..” along with fire and waving hand emojis.
Fittingly, Rosario was wearing a T-shirt that read: “Positive Vibes.’’
The key word for all his workouts, and Cespedes’ workouts, too, is agility.
“We’ve been training together,’’ Rosario said of Cespedes, “and from what I’ve seen, he is just super focused on staying healthy and training hard and being prepared for this upcoming season.’’
Rosario has been working on speed and power. He did hit four home runs, four doubles and four triples in his call-up last season.
When I asked Rosario if he could still beat Cespedes in a race, he laughed and said, “Oh yes, the two of us have a little bit of a [challenge] going and he said he’s getting ready for when we actually do have that race so that he can beat me, so he says.’’
Any improvement in speed, agility and flexibility will be a bonus for Cespedes, whether he wins that race or not.
Rosario met new manager Mickey Callaway recently and felt comfortable in his presence. It is a year of change for the Mets and Rosario is expecting big things from this team with Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard healthy and free-agent right fielder Jay Bruce returning.
“I’m really happy to see that we already have a few veterans in that clubhouse,’’ Rosario said. “With the mix of young guys I think that is going to be really good, very helpful. I would say this year we are coming in really prepared. I would let fans know that we are working really hard, we want to go in there and we want to win the World Series this year.’’
The first step for any success that is to come for Rosario is to take better at-bats. It’s about strike-zone discipline. That is the 2018 challenge.