Which would you rather have – a guy who can flat out rake but is a defensive nightmare or a guy who can pick ’em with the best but who has a balsa-wood bat? One look at the relative salaries of Kyle Schwarber and Travis Jankowski should tell you how MLB front offices feel about that question. Which brings us to Ronny Mauricio.

In 2022, Mauricio followed up a 26-HR season in Double-A with a strong performance in the Dominican Winter League (DWL), where he won MVP honors. He hit well in Triple-A but while fellow Baby Mets got the call to Queens, Mauricio had to cool his heels in Syracuse for most of the season. And when he did get to the majors, Mauricio posted just a 77 OPS+ in 108 PA.

A natural shortstop, Mauricio won’t play that position for the Mets anytime soon. He saw time in the bigs at second base, where he looked fine, and third base, where in about one-fourth of the innings he didn’t look quite as comfortable as he did on the right side of the infield. With the ability of Jeff McNeil to play either the infield or outfield, it seemed like the Mets had the option to play Mauricio at either second or third. And apparently, they want McNeil in the infield, which means if Mauricio wants a starting role, it will have to be at 3B.

Mauricio is back in the DWL and is playing the hot corner. And his early results have been crazy. In three games in the field, Mauricio has 16 chances – which is a lot for a third baseman – and has made four errors, which is way too many. On the flip side, at the plate he’s 9-17 with 3 XBH. That works out to a .529/.556/.765 line, a 1.320 OPS in 18 PA. Additionally, he has 2 SB and 2 Ks in this span. Given he had a 28.7 K% in the majors last year (and a 21.2 rate his last time in the DWL), his early 11.1 K% is nice to see.

Many will be quick to dismiss Mauricio’s early success at the plate, citing the oft-used, small-sample-size argument. Yet, while they wave away early success at the plate, they furiously bite their nails over gaffes in the field. Why isn’t this early defensive struggle dismissed just as easily? Knowing how teams value the comparative virtues of offensive and defensive performance, if Mauricio puts up a four-digit OPS in a larger sample, his defensive output will be far, far less important.

Obviously, we’d all prefer Mauricio not to commit a single error in his time in the DWL. But the idea is to get more reps under his belt, not to excel immediately. It’s going to be a work in progress for Mauricio at a position besides shortstop, which is the price the Mets have to pay now for refusing to move him off SS earlier.

Defense is important. But offense is the single most-important thing a player can bring to the table, as Schwarber’s 4/$79 million contract will attest. If Mauricio continues to post a 77 OPS+, it won’t matter how good he is in the field. Knowing this, my choice is to celebrate his offensive output over fretting about the errors.

23 comments on “Wednesday catch-all thread (12/6/23)

  • ChrisF


    Hitting takes two people to achieve. If lobbed pitches to Mauricio he’d be batting 1.000. However the same is not true for fielding. Sure the hitter needs to hit a ball but after that moment, the glove work and arm all belong only to 1 person. Well, really it is two (the field and the official scorer), but only one on the field. If the ball is really not playable then its a hit. But if a fielder flubs an obviously catchable ball there is only 1 person to blame, the same with throwing mistakes. As far as fielding goes in DWL, my expectation is that the balls in play will not be the quality of those in the majors, hence fielding errors accumulated with worse hitting are magnified as indicating that in the bigs, the matter only worsens. Its the inverse for hitting. For sure the pitching will be better, so the odds of hitting better drop (as we saw).

    I dont see that your scenario has to be

    • Brian Joura

      The idea that hurlers in the DWL are lobbing pitches to the plate is ludicrous.

      We have no idea about the field, the official scorer or even the balls that Mauricio has flubbed. They could be easy plays that anyone should make. Or it could be something completely different. You can (and probably will) assume the worst. I make no assumptions on the difficulty of Mauricio’s errors. He’s there to get experience at the position. I’m glad that he’s gotten 16 chances in three games. The more chances, the better.

      • ChrisF

        I didnt say they were. Im saying there is absolutely no comparison between DWL pitching and the Major Leagues. You are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Im also saying that an error only points at 1 person, not 2. I believe of the field was a disaster, then an official scorer would not give errors out. You asked for why there could be a difference, which is all I provided.

        Hitting should be easier in DWL
        Fielding should be easier in DWL

        I think its hard to assume errors are someone else’s fault.

        I too am glad hes getting the reps. Better he make the errors there than in Queens.

  • Boomboom

    Why is McNeil ever listed as an option at 3b where he s played a ton. That would seem to be tan easy solution to having Mauricio in his more comfortable spot at 2b. Baty can start in AAA, be trade bait or part of the DH equation.

    • Brian Joura

      In the Covid year of 2020, McNeil played nine games at 3B (75 innings) and made five errors. He looked awful.

      Outside of 2020, McNeil has played 176.1 innings at 3B in the majors and has made 2 errors. You could say the Mets overreacted to a tiny defensive sample. I think he’s pretty good at 2B and I wouldn’t play him at 3B if 2B was an option.

      I’m more interested in having McNeil hit the ball for power like he did his final 200 or so PA of the year – rather than the double-digit ISO guy he was most of the year – than moving him to a position he’s barely played in the majors.

      • BoomBoom

        He played a ton of 3b in the minors though and if Mauricio can play both 2b and 3b I have no doubt McNeil would be a better defender at either position. Not sure what that has to do with McNeil’s offensive profile.

        • Brian Joura

          I want McNeil focusing on offense, not defense.

  • Dan Capwell

    It really isn’t hard at all: Mauricio belongs at 2B. McNeil to LF. Get Turner to caddy for Baty @ 3rd.

  • Steve_S.

    I love that Cohen and Stearns flew to Japan last week to meet with Yamamoto! I am getting hopeful that we will sign him!

  • Mike W

    Let Mauricio play third. McNeil really needs to hit for more power like he did at the end of the year. It was tiresome for a good part if the season to see him hit weak ground balls to the right side.

    Heck, if we trade him which it looks like we won’t then Mauricio can play second.

    I was excited to read that Cohen did indeed go to Japan. I read that he me Yamamoto and his family.

    Even if we sign Yamamoto, it would be helpful to still get another starter. We will still need a left fielder, DH and some relief pitchers.

    I do like, that Stearns is trying to build depth, as king as though depth pieces aren’t the normal starters.

    The winter meetings were kind of a let down. Surprised to see Verdugo go to the Yankees. Word is that the Yankees are hammering put a deal to get Soto.

    I would be happy with Jung Hoo Lee to play left field.

  • Footballhead

    I’m switching gears here in looking at what happened to the Mets in the Minor League portion of the Rule5 draft picks. From the list of the two players gained, and the five players lost by the Mets, it seemed that they did poorly in losing RHP Hardy and Garcia. Sure they were lower level minor
    leaguer’s, but they had good seasons.

    I also can’t understand why they flipped Slaten for Ammons. Slaten looked like would have been ready to contribute in 2024, while Ammons is what, replacing Hardy/Garcia? Other then the articles’s attempt to explain the reasoning behind all this, can anyone else shed some light on what Stearns was thinking?

    • Metstabolism

      Yes. Someone on Stearns’ new team dropped the ball here. And you’re just hitting the highlights. Hardy was not a lower level pitcher, either. He ended the year at double-A, and had a solid outing in the (even more advanced) AFL in October.
      Here’s the real disturbing part: Aside from the 40-man major league roster, each organization can place 37 additional players on a reserve list. The players on that list are not eligible for the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
      The Mets only had about 47 players eligible for Rule 5 above rookie ball. six of those are in low-A and therefore almost certain to reach minor league free agency before they reach the majors. So how did the Mets manage to leave three well-performing double-A pitchers unprotected?? Including two whom they bothered to send to the Arizona Fall League, and did well there??
      Someone dropped the ball, here.

  • Mike W

    We really need to sign Yamamoto. After signing Iglesias and trading for Ammons and losing Fedde and the Yankees landing Soto, it would make me sick to see the Yankees land him.

    • Brian Joura

      I wonder if the Yankees get Yamamoto if their payroll will be higher than the Mets’ was last year.

  • AgingBull

    A quick thought about Cohen’s trip to see Yamamoto…
    It shows great respect. There’s no telling how much that could be valued but no other owner flew across the world to pay a visit.

    • Metstabolism

      … at least not that’s been reported in the NY media. I’ve seen said on other blogs that Toronto had reps out in Japan three different times to watch him last year, including in the NPB playoffs. Ture or not, I can’t say.

  • Mike W

    Ohtani at $ 700 million and 10 years. Whoa, I am really glad that is not the Mets.

    • Brian Joura


      There’s supposed to be a bunch of deferred money in the deal but I didn’t find any specifics. It might make those payments to Bonilla look tiny.

    • José Hunter

      Mike & Brian:

      I recall recent talk about the uncertain/destabilized future with Ohtani potentially crossing the $50M/yr barrier
      They blew right past it and jumped to $70M per
      Are they serious? $70M in 2024 for a full time DH?

      Ohtani won’t get the Dods that WS ring
      What they need more than anything is a rebuilt rotation
      And $70M could easily have gotten them approximately 2.5 of the very best SPs in this years FA class

    • Steve_S.

      Ya gotta wonder whether or not Steve Cohen would have beaten this deal, if Ohtani had wanted to come to NYC!

  • Brian Joura

    Ronny Mauricio medical update

    Flushing, N.Y., December 12, 2023 – On Sunday, Ronny Mauricio sustained a right knee injury while playing in a Winter League game. Imaging revealed a torn ACL, which will require surgery.
    An estimated return-to-play timeline will be determined following the procedure. Additional updates will be provided when appropriate.

  • Brian Joura

    FG projected Jung-Hoo Lee to get 4/$60. He just got 6/$113 from the Giants

  • Metstabolism

    Mauricio’s injury renders all of this a moot point for now. But there are a couple of things have been left out of the Mauricio narrative that might change the debate. First, he was terrible at 2B when he started there, too. He made multiple errors his first week, and continued them for over 30 games, albeit at a declining rate. But he settled in after a month or two at the position. Given his skill set, I see no reason he could not also settle in at 3rd if given a bit of time there.
    Offensively, he did not actually hit well, wire-to-wire, as most seem to think. He slumped terribly in mid-season in a league where the average OPS was slightly above .800 at that point, posting a mid-.600s OPS in June, and mid-.700’s in July.
    At the end of the day, Mauricio is a young player whose development is still a work in progress. Its premature to pass judgement based on one single month in the majors.

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