Position: SS B/T: S/R Age: April 4, 2001 (17)
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent by Mets on July 2, 2017
Stats (Kingsport): 247 PA, .273/.304/.410, 16 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, .328 wOBA, 98 wRC+
Previous Rank: 11
Now approaching the top three on our top prospects countdown, some clear observations can be made. Exactly eleven of the prospects we’ve gone over in the top 25 have been pitchers. Just as well, eleven have been position-player prospects. The distribution has been fairly even between middle infield, corner infield, outfield, as well as a fair balance of left-handed and right-handed pitching. With this write-up, it will push the number slightly in favor of the position players. This should speak to the balance in the Mets farm currently.
Our man of the hour, Ronny Mauricio, still wouldn’t even be able to open a bank account under his own name to store his $2.1 million bonus given to him in the summer of 2017 for another six weeks. This is no slight towards Mauricio, but rather, it speaks to the impressive ability that he’s shown at such a young age. This was also the biggest bonus the Mets had given an International Free Agent -breaking a record previously set by Amed Rosario– until Francisco Alvarez surpassed that figure last summer.
At the start of the baseball season in 2018, Baseball America’s Ben Badler had named Mauricio a breakout candidate for the season. The prior July of 2017, Baseball America had also named Mauricio the third-best international prospect after their current fourth-best prospect for 2019, Wander Franco, and the late Daniel Flores.
Well, the stock has been purchased after Mauricio’s first season in professional baseball. Fangraphs ranked Mauricio the 68th best prospect in baseball, Baseball America had him at 98, as well as being ranked in a few other publications. Baseball America seems to like Mauricio’s tools more, ranking his hit and power tools at 60 rating, and his arm at a 70 on the 20-80 prospect scale. Nevertheless, Fangraphs does seem to like his speed a a bit more, ranking that at a 45/50.
Alongside the positive ratings, each had some rather glowing reviews on Mauricio. Baseball America praised his bat and hand speed, as well as his timing and barrel frequency. They also rated Mauricio the best athlete in the Mets organization.
Now what Fangraphs had to say about Mauricio could make even the staunchest of Mets fans (critics) drool. The header reading “This is what Fernando Tatis Jr.looked like at 17,” Fangraphs continued to compare Mauricio’s frame and athleticism to the likes of 17-year-old versions of Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Correa, and this offseasons crown jewel, Manny Machado. Praising his flexibility, coordination, and “physical gifts,” they merely warned that he could outgrow shortstop, in which case he’d end up at third base.
So, now that you’ve heard all the things the industry has to say about young Ronny Mauricio, we would like to fill you in on some things about Mauricio’s makeup.
First of all, Mauricio is a switch-hitter with a bit more contact from the left side of the plate, and a bit more power to the right. While the splits themselves will show you the same things, as he held a .142 ISO as a right-handed hitter; .114 as a left-handed hitter, and a .318 BA as a left-handed hitter; .262 as a right-handed hitter, one could see similarities in his batting practice videos.
Mauricio drives the ball with ease from the right side, but has a tendency to get under some pitches as well. From the left side, he produces strong, line-drive swings. Mechanically, his swing is about as beautiful as you could want from a teenager, and certainly very mature for his. He plants his hind leg well from both sides, and replicates his quick, smooth swing fairly well from both sides. The only hitch is that, occasionally, his back leg tends to collapse just slightly, though this is likely due to his size and frame, and will likely stabilize as his body fills out a bit more.
Defensively, while Mauricio may not have the speed of some of his counterparts at shortstop, he does have the instinct. Mauricio has excellent instincts and reactions defensively, and plays in front of balls instead of trying to simply field with his glove. While not showing issue to either side, he is a bit more fluid playing to the second base side of the bag. Also carrying a very strong arm, the combination of that and his athleticism may hold him at short, much in the way of the aforementioned Carlos Correa.
Now, you may be reading all of this high praise and wondering to yourself “if everything here is true, why didn’t it translate into his numbers,” in which case, it’s vital to understand that scouting a player this young is mainly about tools, and skill set. Humor this inane comparison, but Correa also hit .258/.305/.400 in his debut at 17 years of age.
Mauricio did come out of the box hot. One of the youngest players in the Gulf Coast League, and starting his career state-side, he got the ball rolling with a 22-game hit streak. Similarly, he also got on base in 28 of his first 29 contests. Over the course of Mauricio’s first 34 games in pro ball -June 18 through July 29- he hit .333/.345/.529, with a .394 wOBA, and 137 wRC+.
Notwithstanding, the rest of his time in the GCL was not met with the same fortune. From July 30 through August 18, just before his promotion to Kingsport, he hit just .153/.219/.169. What one should take from this is that this did not happen because he was overmatched. In that time, Mauricio struck out less than he had during his hot stretch. He stuck out just 12.5 percent in that stretch versus a 15.5 percent rate during his first 34 games. Even struck out just 9.6 percent of the time in his last 12 games in the GCL.
The Mets organization recognized this about his approach and saw it right to promote him to Kingsport to help aid their playoff push. Mauricio hit just .233/.286/.333 in the Appalachian League. Still just 17-years-old in a league where the average hitters is was 20.3-years-old, and the average pitcher was 20.7-years-old, Mauricio was facing much more mature and developed competition. This was still a learning experience for him. Mauricio did become more selective with what he would swing at improving his walk rate from 4.7 percent in the GCL to 8.7 percent in the Appalachian League. The downside is that his strikeout rate jumped from 14.7 percent to 25.7 percent against much older competition. Nevertheless, Mauricio is extremely capable of making the adjustments to return to for, all he needs to do is play.
The outlook for 2019 may vary with Mauricio. One wonders if the Mets will be similarly aggressive with Mauricio’s placement in 2019 and if he makes the jump to the New York Penn League with the Brooklyn Cyclones in June, or if he will repeat with the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League. Regardless of where he plays, the sky is the limit for the young talent. Turning 18 on the fourth of April, he will still be one of the younger guys where ever he may roam. A strong performance in the coming season would indubitably boost Mauricio’s stock among industry pundits, and certainly so for the Mets organization.
25 Carlos Cortes
24 Ali Sanchez
23 Eric Hanhold
22 Luis Carpio
21 Freddy Valdez
20 Walker Lockett
19 Junior Santos
18 Gavin Cecchini
17 Jordan Humphreys
16 Christian James
15 Tony Dibrell
14 Francisco Alvarez
13 Will Toffey
12 Adrian Hernandez
11 Desmond Lindsay
10 Franklyn Kilome
9 Shervyen Newton
8 Thomas Szapucki
7 Simeon Woods-Richardson
6 Anthony Kay
5 David Peterson
4 Mark Vientos