Ronny Mauricio’s early numbers don’t scream “exceptional talent,” but his athletic ability and maturity tell Mets evaluators otherwise.
A 19-year-old shortstop, Mauricio is widely regarded as the organization’s top prospect. He spent last season at Low-A Columbia in the South Atlantic League, where he slashed .268/.307/.357 with four homers and 37 RBIs in 116 games. It was Mauricio’s first year playing in a full-season league.
“He is an impressive guy,” said an evaluator who has watched Mauricio. “You consider his age and he’s going to move fast because he understands the game. He has the ability to slow the game down. There will be groundballs and he will get to them and he doesn’t rush. He gets his feet underneath him and makes the throw and it’s amazing how he’s got a feel for it, ‘I don’t have to hurry, I don’t have to rush this,’ so I was really impressed with that.”
Mauricio, who was signed from the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old, joins Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez among young, high-upside shortstops in the organization. Another well-regarded shortstop, Shervyen Newton, began playing second and third base at Columbia last season to create an opening for Mauricio.
Their abundance of shortstops could lead the Mets to convert Mauricio to an outfielder at some point if the 24-year-old Rosario is blocking him. The Mets last summer discussed the idea of Rosario moving to center field, but the experiment never commenced.
“Ronny is so impressive because he has the potential to defend, throw, run, hit and hit for power — all while playing a challenging defensive position,” Mets executive director of player development Jared Banner said in an email. “He has shown remarkable poise playing against older competition so far.”
A switch hitter who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 166 pounds, Mauricio isn’t the prototypical shortstop.
“You hear he’s going to outgrow shortstop, he’s going to be too big, but let’s just let him play shortstop, in my opinion,” the evaluator said. “When he’s 20 years old and playing in Triple-A, then we can make some decisions, but he’s a pretty impressive looking kid.”
In 470 at-bats last season Mauricio struck out 99 times, a big number for somebody who displayed little power, but the Mets saw improvement with his pitch recognition as the season progressed.
“We challenged Ronny by sending him to full-season ball at 18 years old — he impressed us the most with how well he responded to adversity,” Banner said. “He developed a routine that worked for him and stuck to his process. Offensively, he showed improvement attacking more pitches in the strike zone while offering less at pitches outside the zone. Defensively, his throwing consistency and accuracy improved as the year progressed.”
Mauricio spent most of 2018 with the Gulf Coast League Mets and slashed .279/.307/.421 with three homers and 31 RBIs. The expectation, before the COVID-19 shutdown, was Mauricio would have played this season at High-A St. Lucie.
“There’s things he’s got to work at,” the evaluator said. “He can run, but he’s got to learn how to be a better base runner and that is all going to come with experience. I don’t necessarily think he’s a flier, but he’s a good runner, but like a lot of guys who are good runners, they have got to learn how to get started and all the other stuff.”
Mauricio attempted 16 stolen bases last season and was successful just six times.
“He is still learning how to be a true base stealer,” Banner said. “But we love his effort on the bases and we expect that to translate into an impact tool for him over time.”
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent in 2017.
2019 statistics: At Low-A Columbia he slashed .268/.307/.357 with four homers and 37 RBIs.