Name: Ronny Mauricio
Weight: 220 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2017 (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic)
2022 Stats: 123 G, 509 AB, .259/.296/.472, 132 H, 26 2B, 2 3B, 26 HR, 24 BB, 125 K, 20/31 SB, .293 BABIP (Double-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, forgoing the Dominican Summer League completely and suiting up for the GCL Mets instead when their season began in late June. The 17-year-old hit .279/.307/.421 in the 49 games he played in Florida and was promoted to the Kingsport Mets to end the season, getting into 8 games with them and hitting .233/.286/.333. The Mets were aggressive with Mauricio in 2019, promoting him to Columbia Fireflies for the season. The youngest player in the South Atlantic League, Mauricio held his own as a whole, hitting .268/.307/.357 in 116 games with 4 home runs, 6 stolen bases in 16 attempts, and 23 walks to 99 strikeouts. While his season on the whole was slightly below average, he began the year strong but tired, hitting .290/.333/.394 in 59 games in the first half and then .244/.280/.320 in 56 games in the second half.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mauricio did not get to play in 2020, but he was invited to the Coney Island alternate site and the fall instructional league, where he impressed many in the organization. Mauricio turned heads in spring training 2021, having grown stronger and more muscular. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones and played 100 games in Coney Island, hitting .242/.290/.449 with 19 home runs, 9 stolen bases in 16 attempts, and 24 walks and 101 strikeouts. Late in the season, he was promoted to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and appeared in 8 games, going 10-33 with 1 home run, two stolen bases in as many attempts, and a 2:11 walk:strikeout ratio. The 21-year-old began the 2022 season in Binghamton and played the entire season there, hitting .259/.296/.472 in 123 games with team-leading 26 home runs, team-leading 20 stolen bases in 31 attempts, and 24 walks to 125 strikeouts. While the numbers were underwhelming on a surface level, his offensive contributions were slightly above league average thanks to his power output.
Mauricio stands tall and open at the plate, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head. He swings with a moderate leg kick, using a long-levered swing that utilizes an efficient bat path through the zone and a loose finish. Mauricio has a propensity to swing at bad pitches, owing to an aggressive approach at the plate and a still-developing eye for spin. When he is able to make solid contact, his above-average bat speed and natural strength allow him to punish balls, but his approach and struggles to recognize spin have lead to too many weak grounders or pop ups. His strikeout rates did improve slightly as the year went on, and a 23.1% strikeout rate is not all that excessive, but his walk rate plummeted to the lowest of his professional career. For a second year in a row, Mauricio was more effective as a left-hander hitting against right-handers than he was a right-handed hitter hitting against southpaws, hitting .267/.306/.493 with 24 home runs, 22 walks, and 100 strikeouts in 445 plate appearances as a lefty as opposed to .226/.250/.376 with 2 home runs, 2 walks, and 25 strikeouts in 96 plate appearances as a righty.
Defensively, Mauricio has all the tools to play an above-average shortstop. He reads the ball off the bat well and has a quick first step as a result, soft hands, a quick transfer, and a plus arm. Prior to his 2021 physical growth, he only occasionally suffered from defensive yips, but since returning to the field much more filled in, his defensive actions have become a bit more problematic. His strong arm will mask many deficiencies, but continued loss of agility and range may eventually force him to third base. He has the skillset to fit well there, as well as in the outfield, but has yet to suit up at any other position with the Mets.
Ronny Mauricio is literally one step from turning into a star. He has 30-30 potential and is a decent enough shortstop. The list of 30-30 shortstops is a short and elite one. That step he needs to take is a Paul Bunyan step though, not a Steve or a Lukas or a Ken or a Thomas sized step, and well, if I were a better man, I wouldn’t like those odds. Shervyen Newton and Jaylen Palmer had some of the worst at-bats of all the players I saw in 2022, but Mauricio was right up there with them. Breaking balls, even rough, rudimentary ones, give him hell, leading to some terrible swings. Hitters who struggle against breaking stuff are not unheard of in the MLB and do exist- Javy Baez and Rougned Odor are both closing in on ten years in the bigs despite being free swingers who have had issues with breaking balls. Can Mauricio do the same? I really don’t know.
I rated Mauricio outside of my top-10. In part, this was an attempt to be intentionally spicy, but I truly do not believe he can hit. His 4.4% walk rate continues to be a blaring indicator of his total lack of plate discipline, a flaw that he lacks the elite other skills to cover up. His surface level numbers remain appealing, and his Dominican Winter League stats were certainly fun, but higher level arms are going to dice him up unless he can get his swing decisions at least a grade better.
2023 was more of the same for Mauricio. He hit for a decent average, got a good amount of his above average raw power into games, but still saw his triple slash held down by a well below average on-base percentage. While he’s still incredibly young, and is clearly very talented, at some point he’s going to need to make better swing decisions, and get on base more, if he is to develop into the kind of above-average regular we hoped he would develop into. If he doesn’t, there’s still likely a big league role in Mauricio’s future, even if it’s as more of a bench piece than a first division regular.
Talk about divisive. Maruicio was downright bad in Double A Binghamton, hitting .259/.298(!!!)/.472. He struggles with poor plate discipline and swing decisions, which show up in his poor on-base percentage. It’s not all bad for him, though. He hits the ball with power when he does hit it, and I’ve personally always come away with good impressions of his defense when I’ve seen him. He’s also the reigning MVP of the Dominican Winter League, which is fun. He’s as much of a boom or bust prospect as you can imagine.