Steve Cohen’s version of the Mets is run a lot more effectively than the Wilpons’ version. But even with all the improvements made throughout the organization, they still do some things that make no sense. Like, why hasn’t top prospect Ronny Mauricio started learning a new position yet?
That was a question I asked last week. The man is raking for Triple-A Syracuse, but through his first 16 games played, he appeared at shortstop 15 times and was the designated hitter once. This spurred me to start wondering why. I mostly thought New York didn’t see a future for him here.
And just like that, Mauricio was penciled in to play second base for the first time in a Mets minor league game on Friday. It happened all weekend during Syracuse’s games against the Durham Bulls. Based on the results, the beginning stages of that transition have looked pretty good:
Ronny Mauricio had three hits and a stolen base for Triple-A Syracuse today. OPS at 1.127
He played second base for the second straight game and fielded all of his plays cleanly.
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) April 22, 2023
Many of us (myself included) just assumed Mauricio should start learning how to play the outfield. But this is the kind of stuff that can happen when you have a roster full of defensively versatile players.
Learning a new position has its difficulties. That’s especially the case when an infielder tries to transition to the outfield. Letting Mauricio slide over to second base could accelerate his landfall in Queens. Could he still be the centerpiece of a midseason deal before the trade deadline?
It’s possible, but now it looks like the Mets do value Mauricio enough to try and make room for him on the big-league roster. That’s bound to happen when you’re hitting .350/.395/.688 with 14 extra-base hits and 16 RBI through 86 Triple-A plate appearances.
When Mauricio was playing shortstop every day, it didn’t look like New York had any desire to eventually promote him in 2023 (unless he’d be the designated hitter). But now that he’s playing second, it opens up that possibility.
If he does stick around past the trade deadline, it makes the Mets’ potential starting lineup look amazing…and mostly homegrown. Let’s fast-forward to 2024 for a second. Here’s who could be manning each position on Opening Day:
- Catcher: Francisco Alvarez
- First Base: Pete Alonso
- Second Base: Ronny Mauricio
- Shortstop: Francisco Lindor
- Third Base: Brett Baty
- Left Field: Jeff McNeil
- Center Field: Brandon Nimmo
- Right Field: Starling Marte
And if you want to throw in a designated hitter, that’s something Mark Vientos could do (if he’s still around, as well).
Of course, this means all three of the Mets’ top prospects would need to eventually fulfill their promise. It’s very early for two (Baty and Alvarez) and it hasn’t even started yet for another (Mauricio). However, it’s easy to get excited about this heading into the future.
And, depending on what the Mets need, this could be their present, too. Mauricio could get the call, slot into second base, and push McNeil to the outfield. That’d leave Mark Canha without an everyday home, but he could then be part of the solution at designated hitter.
As is always the case with prospects of any kind — especially highly-touted ones — we’ll have to wait and see how things unfold. But at this time last week, it felt like Mauricio was destined to get a ticket out of town in the near future. Now? He might just have a future in Queens.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.