Hitter of the Week
2019 Season: 13 G, 55 AB, .345/.390/.400, 19 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 BB, 12 K, 2/4 SB, .442 BABIP
Week: 5 G, 23 AB, .391/.440/.478, 9 H, 0 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 BB, 3 K, 2/2 SB, .450 BABIP
Born in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, Ronny Mauricio was considered one of the top international rookies available during 2017-2018 international signing period. The Mets and the young shortstop agreed to a $2.1 million signing bonus, breaking the club record previously held by Amed Rosario. After impressing during spring training, he skipped the Dominican Summer League completely and made his professional debut with the GCL Mets last year. He played 49 games for them and hit .279/.307/.421. He was promoted to the Kingsport Mets at the end of the year and got into 8 games for them, hitting .233/.286/.333.
The Mets were very aggressive with him last year and they continued challenging him, assigning him to the Columbia Fireflies. He turned 18 at the beginning of April, making him the third-youngest player in the league, after Jose Sanchez of the Hagerstown Suns and Julio Rodriguez of the West Virginia Power. The season is obviously still very young, but despite his age, Mauricio hasn’t looked overmatched.
His BABIP is currently sky high, .442, so his batting average is a bit inflated, but Mauricio has a really good hit tool, and should be able to maintain a high batting average throughout the course of the season. His swing is quick and whippy, a little more compact and contact-oriented from the left side and a little longer and with power from the right. He has strong wrists and an advanced eye at the plate for someone his age, so he makes plenty of contact and puts the ball in play a lot.
Projectability is a term you hear a lot when it comes to prospect evaluation, and Mauricio is so highly thought of not just because he is very advanced for his age right now but because he’s extremely projectable. The hit tool is advanced and has the potential to develop into an above-average or plus asset. He hasn’t really showed too much power yet, but at 6’3”, 165 pounds, he is very slim and is going to add more muscle, and with it, power.
Projected growth can be a bit of a double-edged sword, because depending on how much Mauricio grows, he may have to eventually move off of shortstop. Right now, he does pretty much everything well there- he reads the ball off the bat well, shows good reaction times, has good instincts, has soft hands, a quick transfer, and a plus arm. The one aspect of shortstop defense that Mauricio could improve is his range, which is a bit below average. He is able to cover for it because he is strong everywhere else, but if he puts on additional mass, his range may be compromised even more, making him better suited for third base, or even the outfield. For now, though, Mauricio is a shortstop and as long as he remains athletic and agile, he is going to remain a shortstop.
Pitcher of the Week
2019 Season: 2 G (1 GS), 8.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER (3.24 ERA), 1 BB, 10 K, .176 BABIP
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, .167 BABIP
Harol Gonzalez, who is 24 now, burst on the scene in 2016, when he played for the Brooklyn Cyclones. His 2.01 ERA and 88 strikeouts led the league and remain two of the best marks in franchise history. The New York-Penn League has a tendency to make pitchers look better than they actually are, but Harol didn’t regress much in 2017. Spending most of the season with the Columbia Fireflies and getting into a handful of games with St. Lucie Mets, he posted a cumulative 3.53 ERA in 137.2 innings, allowing 133 hits, walking 40 and striking out 100. He was unable to keep the good times rolling in 2018, and really got exposed in the second half of the year when he was promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. In the first half, when he was with St. Lucie, he posted a 2.82 ERA in 73.1 innings, allowing 62 hits, walking 19 and striking out 59. In the second half, he made one start for the 51s and then spent the rest of the year with the Rumble Ponies, and it wasn’t pretty. In 52.0 innings with Binghamton, he posted a 7.79 ERA, giving up 79 hits, walking 17, and striking out 30.
Gonzalez put on some weight between his halcyon days in Brooklyn and now, which has helped his durability and stamina, but his fastball is still well below-average for a right-hander. It still sits around 90 MPH, touching 91, 92 MPH at times. He is able to hold his velocity better, but when your fastball at its peak is still below-average, it doesn’t really matter how low into the mid-to-high-80s it backs up into. The rest of his pitching arsenal is similar- a curveball, a slider, a changeup, a split change- but they are all generally fringe-average-to-average.
As fun as it might be to root for a guy like Harol, you really have to squint to see any kind of MLB future for him. For most his career thus far, he has been able to post good numbers in the minor leagues, but his stuff is underwhelming. It is easier for players like him, whose sums are better than the sum of their individual parts, to post solid numbers in the minor leagues, but without a standout attribute or two, it is hard to imagine him being effective in the majors.
Past Players of the Week
Week One (April 4-April 13): Travis Taijeron/Chris Flexen