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Getting to know Mets prospect Ronny Mauricio

Ronny Mauricio is finally getting his call-up after establishing himself as one of the preeminent hitters in the International League.

Seattle Mariners v New York Mets
Ronny Mauricio
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Considered one of the top rookies available during the 2017-2018 international signing period, Dominican shortstop Ronny Mauricio agreed to a $2.1 million signing bonus with the Mets, 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 with them. 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, a 93 wRC+. 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.

Due 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, a 94 wRC+. 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, a 104 wRC+, thanks to his power output. Mauricio was promoted to Syracuse at the beginning of the season and appeared in 116 games prior to his major league call-up. He was tied for the International League lead in hits with Connor Norby and hit .292/.346/.506 with 23 home runs, 24 stolen bases, and 35 walks to 97 strikeouts, a 107 wRC+ in the heightened offensive environment of the league.

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 led to too many weak grounders or pop ups. Through the beginning of this past week, Mauricio averaged a 91 MPH exit velocity in 377 total batted ball events and a 97.9 MPH exit velocity on all hits. His singles averaged 94.5 MPH, his doubles 101 MPH, his triples 104.3 MPH, and his home runs 105.9 MPH. He logged 116 batted ball events with exit velocities over 100 MPH, 78 above 105 MPH, and 30 above 110 MPH, with his high water mark of the season being 116 MPH, a single off of Lehigh Valley IronPigs reliever Tyler McKay. A switch hitter, Mauricio has consistently been a better hitter from his left-side than his right

His aggressive approach and questionable swing decisions have held him back to a degree since physically maturing and coming into his own in 2021. Against fastballs (four-seam, two-seam, sinkers, and cutters), he is batting .347 with a .581 slugging percentage (883 pitches). Against changeups, he is batting .260 with a .402 slugging percentage (425 pitches). Against sliders, he is batting .235 with a .482 slugging percentage (358 pitches). Against curveballs, he is batting .133 with a .333 (162 pitches). His Whiff/Swing rate with fastballs (17.5%) is almost half what it is against changeups (26.9%), sliders, (34.5%), and curveballs (36.9%). Conversely, he too-often swings and makes poor contact against changeups, sliders, and curveballs, evidenced by the larger amount of ground balls or pop-ups per ball in play as opposed to fastballs. His GB% in 2023 has been roughly 10% higher than MLB league average, his FB% roughly 10% lower than MLB league average, and his IFFB% roughly 10% higher than league average.

Defensively, Mauricio has all the tools to play an above-average shortstop, conceptually. He reads the ball off the bat well and has a quick first step as a result, has soft hands, a quick transfer, and a plus arm. Prior to his 2021 physical growth, he occasionally suffered from defensive yips, but since returning to the field much more filled in, his defensive actions have become a bit more problematic, mechanical and wooden. After never having had him play anywhere else besides for shortstop prior to this season, the Mets shifted Mauricio primarily to second base this season, and he has gotten playing time at third base and left field this season, in addition to short. At third base, he has looked uncomfortable with quick reaction plays and ranging to his left. In the outfield, his routes to the ball are raw and need work. None of that is an indictment on Mauricio; it was apparent as far back as 2021 that Mauricio’s actions were getting clunky at short, and that his future was most likely at another position- especially with Francisco Lindor under contract for the next decade. The organization, for many reasons, was hesitant to move Mauricio to another position until this season, but had they done so earlier, the growing pains he is going through now and learning he is doing now likely would have ended and Mauricio more proficient at another position. Mauricio likely has the capability to improve as a third baseman and/or as an outfielder, but simply needs more time to learn the ins-and-outs of the position and get more comfortable.