NEW YORK -- As Amed Rosario has developed from an intriguing prospect to one of baseball's best, he has leaned at various points along the way on a few people in particular.
One, last summer, was Jose Reyes. The two crossed paths for about two weeks last July, when Rosario was playing at Double-A Binghamton and Reyes was working his way back into big league shape there. They snapped pictures together, posting them on social media. Both men came away impressed.
"For me, it was a tremendous experience, because Reyes is my favorite player, and he taught me and helped me a lot during those few games we played together," Rosario said at the Major League Baseball Rookie Career Development Program in Leesburg, Va.
If the Mets have their way, Rosario will soon follow in Reyes' footsteps as a standout big league shortstop. The organization's top-rated prospect and a candidate to land in baseball's top 10 when MLB.com reveals its 2017 list, Rosario hit .324 with five home runs and 19 stolen bases over two levels in 2016. He will attend his first big league camp next month alongside Reyes, and he could graduate as high as Triple-A Las Vegas this season.
Consider that a rapid ascent for Rosario, 21, who received a Mets-record $1.75 million bonus when he signed as a 16-year-old back in 2012. Though Rosario did not begin thriving as a hitter until last season, he consistently was one of the youngest players at each Minor League stop. That, Rosario said, helped him learn.
"Really, I thank God, who gave me the opportunity," Rosario said. "For me, it's a pleasure to play being a few years younger in each level I've played in. I feel good about that."
With Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera entrenched at shortstop this season, the Mets want nothing more from Rosario than another solid year of development. After that, anything is possible for a team that has been searching since Reyes for its shortstop of the future.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.