A few months ago, with Amed Rosario still struggling defensively at shortstop, the Mets were kicking around the idea of moving him to center field.
Rosario's range remained poor, he was making mental mistakes in the field, and he was failing to get to the vast majority of balls that were graded out as difficult chances. As a result, Rosario had been worth -15 DRS (defensive runs saved) As of July 23. Things have changed.
Rosario's DRS entering play on Sept. 3 is -14, meaning he has been a plus defender at shortstop over the last month and change.
While Rosario still has defensive issues from time to time (both mental and physical), he has been showing serious signs of growth when it comes to his awareness, positioning, and playmaking ability. So, how did it happen?
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Mets coach Gary DiSarcina -- with help from the analytics staff, including Adam Guttridge -- laid out a "three-point plan" for Rosario that (among other things) helped to improve Rosario's pre-pitch setup and range.
Rosenthal noted that Rosario was eager to learn when approached by the Mets about the corrections he needed to make, and that he has remained engaged throughout the process.
While a potential move to center field hasn't been totally ruled out for Rosario, he seems to be cementing himself as a fixture at shortstop, where he has started to put it all together offensively.
The 23-year-old is hitting .285/.322/.430 with 12 homers, 26 doubles, seven triples, and 15 stolen bases in 133 games (526 at-bats) so far this season after slashing just .256/.295/.381 in 2018.
And if the Mets decide to revisit a move of Rosario to center field at some point, it could have more to do with their need to find someone to play there than any defensive shortcomings Rosario is still displaying.
Entering the 2020 season, Juan Lagares will likely be gone via free agency, leaving two non-center fielders (Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo) as the Mets' likeliest options in center field.
Taking the above into account, it wouldn't be shocking to see Rosario in center field at some point. But his defensive improvements at shortstop this season -- along with his offensive growth -- have made his season a very successful one.