Mets Minors: With Ronny Mauricio, Columbia overloaded with talent

The Mets shocked a number of people in 2018 when they skipped their top international prospect directly to the Gulf Coast League. Now the Mets buck convention farther by starting Ronny Mauricio in Columbia instead of Short Season ball in Brooklyn. For those not familiar with the Mets system the typical progression for players is as follows:

● Dominican Summer League (International Players)
● R1: Gulf Coast League (High School/Prep School Draftees)
● R2: Appalachian League (High School/Prep School/College Draftees)
● A-: New York Penn League (College Draftees)
● A: South Atlantic League
● A+: Florida State League
● AA: Eastern League
● AAA: International League

Obviously, the Mets were also impressed by Mauricio’s performance in 2018 and wanted to give the youngster a full season of exposure instead of the cautious approach. It remains to be seen if this aggressive new methodology will pay dividends and early returns. In point of fact, the Mets aggressively promoted three players I had slated to begin their years with Brooklyn.

Ronny Mauricio, SS: He turned 18 four short days ago and has managed a serviceable .745 OPS to start the year but his 6 strikeouts in 4 games leads me to believe that he might be in over his head.

Mark Vientos, 3B: At 19 years of age I suggested that Vientos might be a good candidate for an aggressive promotion but in his first taste of Columbia it’s been rough going. In the first 4 games he has collected only 2 hits over 13 at bats with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP: Also just 18 he had only pitched 17.1 innings in his rookie debut. While these innings were very good I did not think the Mets would expose him directly to Columbia so early. His initial 1.2 innings were decidedly mixed. He struck out four but also gave up 3 hits and 2 earned runs.

Clearly all of these results are too early to put much stock in. Once we have a few more weeks we will better be able to identify if the new aggressive approach at the lower levels of the minors is wise or awful. What is also interesting is the two names we do not see. When will we see Thomas Szapucki and Jordan Humphreys and where will they wind up pitching.

AAA:
Syracuse Mets

Dilson Herrera off to a good start – Former Met prospect is back with the team and hitting well but here is no room for another second baseman on the big league team.

Corey Oswalt looks good in debut – The 4.76 ERA belies a 0.88 WHIP. He’s still the most likely 6th starter sitting on the sidelines.

Tim Tebow strikes out a bunch and nobody should be surprised – Expect the Ks to be more plentiful than games played all season.

AA:
Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Will Toffey striking out to start the season – He’s not known as a high strikeout player but this season has seen him strike out more than games played.

Anthony Kay strong in debut – He only got through 4.2 innings as the Mets stretch their starters out but his 1.07 WHIP is a strong sign.

David Peterson needs control – Thanks to 3 walks in his debut Peterson’s WHIP is an unhealthy 1.80 to start the season.

A+:
St. Lucie Mets

Nobody Hitting – Travis d’Arnaud was the top hitter for the Port St. Lucie squad and he was only rehabbing. Now their highest OPS is South of .600 which is pretty awful.

A:
Columbia Fireflies

Walter Rasquin is hitting but it’s pretty worthless – At 23 there is nothing for him to really show the Mets at this level.

Hayden Senger making a case – He’s 22 years old but this catcher hit in his rookie debut and continues to do so in his sophomore campaign. More impressively he’s thrown out 2 of 3 runners to start the season.

Chase Chambers where he belongs – No surprise to see Chambers here after a strong 2018. The first baseman has some power and the right mix of patience to be a capable hitter.

Willy Taveras, Jaison Vilera and Darwin Ramos primed for Low-A success – Every year three or so pitchers just seem to succeed at this level. That has a lot to do with the friendly confines of most ballparks at this level. The flip-side of this is that this trio has a higher ceiling than most of the pitchers who we’ve watched roll through the South Atlantic League.

10 comments for “Mets Minors: With Ronny Mauricio, Columbia overloaded with talent

  1. April 8, 2019 at 11:28 am

    I see Newton is no longer listed on the Columbia roster. Would be interested to hear what happened there, if it was a clerical error or something else.

    • David Groveman
      April 8, 2019 at 11:43 am

      He’s on the injured list but I think it would be acceptable to have him play in Port St. Lucie once he’s back.

      • April 8, 2019 at 11:52 am

        aha – I see it listed as a minor shoulder injury.

        Interesting that the official Columbia roster lists other guys on the Injured List – Colin Holderman, Joel Huertas, Carlos Sanchez, Chase Chambers and Ranfy Adon – but not Newton.

        Also interesting to see Juan Uriarte listed as “Temporary Inactive”

        http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?sid=t3705

        • TexasGusCC
          April 9, 2019 at 2:25 am

          Brian, in looking at St. Lucie’s roster, they really don’t have a shortstop. Moreno stinks and Carpio is listed at 2B. So, that coupled with Newton’s age of 19 makes him the perfect player to put into that spot. That would also allow him to stay at SS where they can evaluate him further. However, the negative I see in that is a kid that is somewhat new to baseball jumping from Kingston to A+. Also, they could put him in Brooklyn – it’s the next step in accession – but I’d like to see him in Columbia switching between SS and CF with Mauricio to see how they both look at both spots.

          • April 9, 2019 at 12:53 pm

            That would be a huge jump.

            If you think a guy has a chance to stick at SS, give him that opportunity. My expectation was that Newton was going to get Columbia and Mauricio was going to Brooklyn and both would play short. But Columbia/St. Lucie would be reminiscent of the Tony Bernazard days. I guess we’ll see…

  2. April 8, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    That Sal is an ambitious place to Hit for for an 18 year old…maybe they’re grouping their high range Kids together as a support system—don’t want them hanging all alone with The Big Kids on the school bus

    Survival for Vientos and Mauricio and Newton would be a very productive outcome. Tough park…tough level. The stats may not tell the entire story.

    • April 8, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      Yes – this is an important point. Andres Gimenez played in Columbia as an 18 year old in ’17 and put up a .695 OPS and that was a very good mark for his age/level/park.

      In 2017, Columbia as a team had a .649 OPS and last year it was .672

  3. Metsense
    April 8, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Eraff: Segra Park is pretty fair for hitters, more so for right handed batters, only 372′ in the power alley. It does get more open in center (400′) and right power alley (382′) but have so seen McCormick Field in Asheville with that high (40′ ?) but short right field power alley (320′)? Segra Park is beautiful and Asheville is fun/quaint/old like me.

  4. April 8, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    League is loaded with College Pitchers…guys with some pitching experience. The Level and the League and the Park have been especially tight for hitters…see Brian’s comment.

    • David Groveman
      April 8, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      Columbia is friendlier than Savannah to hitters. As a whole the SAL remains a pitcher’s league.

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