All of those at-bats that Mets manager Buck Showalter was concerned about for Ronny Mauricio don’t seem to be hurting him all that much in the early portions of 2023.
The organization’s No. 6 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline started his spring in jaw-dropping fashion on Sunday against the Washington Nationals, launching an eighth-inning 450-foot home run over the left-center-field fence that left the bat at 110 mph.
Apparently, that’s not even his longest home run with the Mets organization. He hit a 507-foot blast last season with Double-A Binghamton against Somerset.
“He’s getting stronger, as expected,” Showalter said following the Mets’ 6-3 win on Sunday over the Washington Nationals. “He’s come a long way and kind of evolved as a prospect in a lot of ways.”
The 21-year-old is coming off a stellar campaign for Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League, winning MVP honors by slashing .287/.335/.468 (.803 OPS) with five home runs and 31 RBI in 46 games.
“It’s really the experience and the progress that you make over there with the competition,” Mauricio said via translator Alain Suriel. “It really makes you focus and makes you ready for when you’re not here and to achieve the goals that you need to achieve.”
The fact that Mauricio is turning heads at spring training is understandably a good sign. MLB Pipeline speculates that his estimated time of arrival in the majors is this season. The problem is there’s a superstar roadblock at his natural position.
Mauricio is a shortstop, the position that will be inhabited by Francisco Lindor for the rest of the decade, making that spot a non-starter for the youngster — which is something he already realizes.
“If I’m going to have an opportunity to play at the big-league level with the Mets,” he began, “I would think it would have to be at a different position.”
He admitted that he’s most comfortable playing third with a nod toward second base as well, though the former is a more likely option even with a log jam forming.
Jeff McNeil and his new four-year extension will hold down second base while the competition for Eduardo Escobar’s job at the hot corner upon his potential departure (he’s a free agent after this season) appears to be, for now, between Brett Baty and possibly Mark Vientos.
Mets officials also had spoken about playing him in center field, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, but Brandon Nimmo and his evolving defense is set there for the foreseeable future.
For now, though, Mauricio will be playing shortstop throughout spring training and at the very least, general manager Billy Eppler has a promising trade chip at his disposal.