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The 11 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 1, Ronnie Mauricio

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Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2019.

Ronnie Mauricio
Steve Sypa

Team: Columbia Fireflies

Position: SS

Born: 4/04/01 (18)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 165 lbs.

Bats/Throws: S/R

Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2017 (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic)

2019 Season: 116 G, 470 AB, .268/.307/.357, 126 H, 20 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 23 BB, 99 K, 6/16 SB, .331 BABIP

Date(s) Seen: June 11 (1-5, 2B, 3 K), June 12 (0-4, BB, K), June 13, (2-5, 2B, RBI, K), June 14 (1-4, K), June 15 (3-4, 2 R, 2B, 3B, BB)

The Man

Considered one of the top rookies available during the 2017-2018 international signing period, the Mets and Dominican shortstop Ronny Mauricio agreed to a $2.1 million signing bonus for inking a deal with the organization, breaking the club record previously held by fellow Dominican shortstop Amed Rosario. The talented youngster made his professional debut in 2018, suiting up for the GCL Mets and getting into 49 games down in Florida, hitting .279/.307/.421. The 17-year-old was promoted to the Kingsport Mets to end the season and got into 8 games for them, hitting .233/.286/.333. The Mets were aggressive with Mauricio in 2019, promoting him to Columbia for the season. Though he clearly tired as the season went on, the shortstop held his own, hitting .268/.307/.357 in 116 games, .290/.333/.394 in 59 games in the first half and .244/.280/.320 in 56 games in the second half.

The Player

The switch-hitting Mauricio oozes potential, from his physical presence to his baseball tools. The 18-year-old is 6’3”, 165 lbs. with a leggy, athletic frame, suggesting that he will grow and add muscle in the years to come. Standing slightly open, holding his hands high, Mauricio has a quick, whippy, level stroke from both sides of the plate. As is the case with young switch hitters, his platoon splits reversed themselves; in 2018, he hit for a better average and more power as a left-hander batter, and in 2019, he hit for a better average and for more power as a right-handed batter. The potential for both his ability to hit for average and to hit for power are high, though obviously a lot of it- especially the ability to hit for power- is projection.

Defensively, he reads the ball well off the bat and shows good reaction times and instincts. He has soft hands, has a quick transfer, and possesses a plus arm. His footspeed is below average, but his range does not suffer much because of his quick reactions and instincts. There is concern that he might put on too much muscle as his body matures, forcing him off shortstop, but as long as he remains athletic and agile, he should be able to stick at short.

Looking To 2020

Mauricio held his own as an 18-year-old in a league where the average age in 2019 was about 22- and was an above-average performer in the first few months of the season, before he clearly and noticeably tired thanks to the long season. He has nothing left to prove in Low-A and should begin the 2020 season with the St. Lucie Mets.

The List

2: Francisco Alvarez

3: Mark Vientos

4: Brett Baty

5: Andres Gimenez

6: Jaylen Palmer

7: Shervyen Newton

8: Andres Regnault

9: Hansel Moreno

10: Wilmer Reyes

11: Luke Ritter