The preseason prospect writeups on Ronny Mauricio this year were the same as they always were. The former IFA signing had enough tools to fill up a Home Depot, but his traits in the finer points of his offensive game—his swing decisions, pitch recognition, and ground ball rate—all remained alarming enough to threaten any upside he could have in the big leagues. The consensus among most of the prospect community was that Mauricio was going to have to dramatically improve in some of those areas of his game to be considered a future impact player, especially since he barely mustered league average production at every minor league level he played at.
Mauricio got the promotion to Triple-A Syracuse to start 2023 and began the year like a house afire, prompting some writers to take a closer look and analyze if Mauricio had really improved anything in his game that would raise his prospect stock. The answer: not really.
And what would follow in the coming months was more of the same. His swing decisions and chase rates still lacked, and he went through a terrible mid-year slump, putting up a 74 wRC+ and a .398 SLG% across 241 plate appearances from May 18 through the end of July.
The 22-year-old bounced back with a strong August and took advantage of a very friendly run environment in Triple-A to post some gaudy topline stats for the year—.292/.346/.506, by far the most impressive triple-slash of his minor league career—but adjusting for the run environment renders that just a 108 wRC+. That said, Mauricio did increase his walk rate to 6.6% and lower his strike out rate under 20%, so it’s not impossible to believe there were, at the very least, some minor improvements in that department.
But when he finally got the call to the show in September, he turned heads in his first game. In his very first at bat, Mauricio announced his presence in a big way, lacing a double into right field at an astonishing 117.3 MPH, the hardest ball any Met hit all year. That was most Mets fans’ first look into what he can do.
Mauricio continued to rack up the hits early on, mostly hitting singles on the ground, but that batted ball luck quickly ran out, and Mauricio’s flaws reared their head. His final batting line was .248/.296/.347 over 108 PAs, which is just an 80 wRC+.
In one month, we got essentially the entire Ronny Mauricio Experience. He absolutely demolished some balls, like that first double, and his first major league home run on September 12th that he crushed 440 feet. He stole seven bases in the one month; a pace for over 30 in a full season. The tools are loud and eye-popping. The kid absolutely jumps off the page.
But anybody who watched his at bats in September (and you can be excused for not watching September Mets baseball this year) saw him take some absolutely ridiculous swings and look silly at times. According to Fangraphs’ plate discipline numbers, Mauricio’s chase rate was 45%, which would’ve been the fifth-highest among qualified hitters, and of the four players with higher chase rates than that, only Eddie Rosario was a league-average hitter. Mauricio also whiffed over 48% of the time against breaking balls in the majors, which is a catastrophic amount.
His contact rates also weren’t great, and he didn’t elevate the ball nearly enough for someone who needs to rely on power as much as he does. His average exit velocity was also just 90.7 MPH, which is a good number, but not a standout one.
The top-end exit velocities are undeniable. When Mauricio squares one up, you might as well duck and cover. But his pitch recognition and chase problems have been problems since he became a prospect, and he’s shown little to no progress in that area for a half-decade now. At this point, he’s probably never going to hit for a high average or get on base a ton because of it. With that in mind, he’s going to have to rely on his power as a carrying tool, which means he’ll have to do more consistent damage on contact and lift the ball far more than he has to overcome his other flaws. If not, then the 80 wRC+ he put up will be tough to improve on in a larger sample.
On defense, Mauricio logged most of his time at second base and looked comfortable and smooth there, and looked like he could become a plus defender at the keystone. He also got some time at third base and looked a little rougher around the edges there, but some more work could probably get him to passable at the hot corner.
A team trying to earnestly compete in 2024 should probably not guarantee a whole lot of playing time for Mauricio, given his flaws. However, he also has nothing left to prove at Triple-A. His future in this organization is questionable right now, and, based on their hesitance to call him up this year, the Mets seem to have made their evaluation here and don’t love what they see. Some sort of challenge trade to another organization may be the most likely and healthiest outcome here for Mauricio.