Ronny Mauricio 3rd base experiment should become must for Mets

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Ronny Mauricio Mets
New York Mets’ Ronny Mauricio watches his double against the Seattle Mariners, his first hit in the majors, during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

QUEENS — Buck Showalter has made it no secret that he wants to get Mets prospect Ronny Mauricio into games outside of second base, where he has played his first 10 games in the major.

“He’s capable of really going to three other places,” New York’s veteran skipper speculated, as the 22-year-old’s natural position is shortstop, but began playing third base and the outfield during his time in Triple-A this season.

Yet with 17 games remaining entering Thursday, Showalter’s hands appear seemingly tied.

“One of the things that has to be considered is how it’ll affect everybody else’s needs,” Showalter said. “But I’m still looking to get him in some other positions before we get done… [but then it’s], OK, what does that do to Mark [Vientos], or [Brett] Baty, or [Francisco] Lindor, or whoever. It affects other people. So then you have to wait and see who’s in more need of it, but I would like to get him over to another position, at least one maybe two, just to eyeball it for a day or two.”

When it comes to third base, at least, there shouldn’t be much trepidation in slotting Mauricio there for at least a game or two. 

Baty has continued to struggle even after getting sent down to Triple-A in hopes of realigning himself. He’s batting .212 with a .596 OPS, with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 97 games. Since his recall on Sept. 1 (11 games), he’s batting .177 with 12 strikeouts. 

Ronny Mauricio Mets
New York Mets’ Ronny Mauricio gestures to teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Mauricio, in that same span since Sept. 1, has shown considerable more promise in a fraction of the time Baty has been in the majors (108 games overall). 

All the while, he’s playing at a second-base spot that belongs — for now — to Jeff McNeil. But Luisangel Acuna, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Max Scherzer deal, is lurking in the minors as a highly-touted second-base option and could see the big leagues in the next year or two. 

Getting Mauricio looks at third base now will give the Mets an idea of just how versatile he could be in the big leagues and, in the process, make Baty and Vientos potentially expendable as trade chips. 

For more on the Mets and Ronny Mauricio, visit AMNY.com