In his MLB debut on Friday night, Ronny Mauricio showcased his skills at second base, impressing both his double play partner, Francisco Lindor, and manager Buck Showalter. Mauricio, who had primarily played shortstop throughout his minor league career, made the transition to second base this season. Lindor praised Mauricio's composure and noted his ability to stay calm and focused on the field. Lindor specifically highlighted a play in the game where Mauricio and Jeff McNeil simultaneously moved to back up a pickoff attempt, showcasing Mauricio's presence in the moment and his readiness to react to the game. Although Mauricio's actions may have gone unnoticed by many, Lindor recognized the significance of his awareness and quick thinking.
The Mets have high hopes for the 22-year-old Mauricio as a potential second baseman, especially considering his impressive debut, which included a 117.3-mph line drive double to right field. However, Showalter emphasized the value of Mauricio's versatility as a multi-positional player, similar to McNeil. Showalter acknowledged that injuries can occur, and having players like Mauricio who can play multiple positions without sacrificing defense is essential. Mauricio has played shortstop, second base, left field, and even a few games at third base throughout the season. Showalter plans to utilize Mauricio's flexibility while also allowing him to continue developing as a second baseman.
Before his MLB debut, Mauricio expressed his desire to put on a show, and he certainly did just that. As a switch-hitter, Mauricio's first at-bat resulted in a 117.3-mph double to right field, the hardest-hit ball by a Met this season and one of the hardest-hit balls in the majors all year. Mauricio was ecstatic that the moment occurred in front of his family and friends, who were in attendance. In addition to his offensive prowess, Mauricio displayed his capabilities at second base by making routine plays and successfully turning a double play.
Mauricio's promotion to the majors also coincided with the return of Brett Baty, who had struggled during his previous stint with the Mets. Baty broke an 0-for-21 streak with a single in the seventh inning. The Mets are using the remaining month of the regular season to evaluate Mauricio, Baty, Francisco Alvarez, and Mark Vientos, all young rookies who could potentially be part of the team's core in the future.
Mauricio's defensive position will be determined on a daily basis, taking into consideration discussions with general manager Billy Eppler and the team's needs. Showalter emphasized the importance of fairness to the opposing teams while also doing what is best for the Mets. Mauricio acknowledged the difficulty of adjusting to playing multiple positions, particularly second base and left field, but expressed his growing comfort and eagerness to continue improving his footwork at second base.
Baty's return to the majors followed a period of reflection and work on his game in the minor leagues. He admitted to trying to do too much during his previous stint and expressed the need to focus on hitting the ball hard up the middle. Baty also acknowledged his attempts to make every play perfectly at third base, which contributed to his struggles. Showalter wants to see Baty finish the season strong and believes in his capabilities as a hitter, but acknowledges the challenges he will face against tough pitching.
Overall, the Mets are optimistic about the potential of Mauricio, Baty, Alvarez, and Vientos, who represent a young and promising core for the team. Mauricio's impressive debut, both offensively and defensively, has solidified his place in the majors, while Baty aims to regain his previous form and demonstrate his abilities at the plate. The Mets will continue to evaluate and develop these young players as they look towards the future.