Name: Ronny Mauricio
Weight: 165 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2017 (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic)
116 G, 470 AB, .268/.307/.357, 126 H, 20 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 23 BB, 99 K, 6/16 SB, .331 BABIP (Low-A)
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 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, possessing above-average bat speed. 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 at this point.
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.
There’s the saying, “You gotta see it to believe it”, and I think my high regard of Mauricio is from having seen him down in Columbia, rather than looking at the box scores and having my perception of him colored by that. Case in point, he was intriguing last season, but given his lack of exposure, wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, and while I didn’t think poorly of him, I wasn’t exactly on the hype train or anything either. Mauricio is so leggy and skinny that you know he’s going to fill in, and when he does, he might become a monster. I like the stroke, he seems to have a high baseball IQ, the defense is great, and while he didn’t tear the cover off the baseball, he was the second-youngest player in the South Atlantic League this past season and more than held his own. Mauricio isn’t necessarily in elite prospect territory just yet, but some of that aforementioned growth, a tweak here or there, some improved conditioning, a little more patience at the plate, one or any of those things happening could put him in that conversation.
Mauricio’s profile is really not my bag. The athletic ability is real, but the baseball skills are still lacking. He doesn’t walk, hit for power, or make contact at a special rate, making some of the projections in scouting reports sound like fairy tales. I feel this is a profile that gets consistently overrated, with results like Amed Rosario far more common than the lofty company bandied about as physically comparable players. To be clear, an 18-year old switch hitter performing reasonably well in Single-A is nothing to scoff at and he’s a legitimately exciting prospect, just one I’m less fond of than others.
Mauricio responded pretty well to an extremely aggressive full-season assignment in 2019, that made him the youngest player in the South Atlantic League for the vast majority of the season. While he clearly faded down the stretch, as is common for players as they adjust to a full-season schedule for the first time, Mauricio managed to post a roughly league average .268/.307/.357 in 504 plate appearances against almost exclusively older competition. Mauricio has a very quick swing from both sides of the plate, and has some serious bat to ball skills that could help him hit for a high average down the line. He generates a ton of bat speed from his tall and lean frame, and he should grow into more power as he gets older and starts to fill out. Mauricio probably has the highest ceiling in the Mets minor league system, and should be headed to the Florida State League to start the 2020 season.
Mauricio always had the projectability you want in an extremely young prospect – from the time he was a highly sought after IFA to when the Mets inked him to the richest IFA deal in their history at the time, to when he made his debut in the organization at 17, he was someone to keep an eye on. 2019 was the year he really piqued mine, and many others, interest, when he jumped all the way up from Rookie ball to Single-A, hitting a solid .268/.307/.357 in 504 plate appearances. While that hardly tore the South Atlantic League down, it was impressive given his age. At only 18, he was roughly three years younger than the average player in the league, and the fact that he held his own against much older players is interesting. The power should improve as he gets older, and he looks as though he could stick at short. His 2019 showed that he can handle a full season workload, and he is just beginning to scratch the surface.