There is no shortage of top-hitting prospects in the New York Mets’ farm system. While Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez have made their way to the big club, AAA Syracuse still has a few top youngsters in its lineup. While Mark Vientos is raking in the early going, the prospect that has made the most headlines in the past six months is shortstop Ronny Mauricio. The Mets have to be thrilled with the progress that Mauricio has made over the past year and he is the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.

Mauricio, 22, has been in the Mets’ farm system since he signed as an international free agent in 2017. The development hasn’t always been linear with Mauricio, who had to repeat his time at AA Binghamton last season, but things took off in winter ball. Mauricio torched the Dominican Winter League, taking home MVP honors with a torrid offensive performance, and carried his hot hitting over to spring training. The construction of the Mets’ roster mean there was little chance that Mauricio would make the team out of camp but his performance gave the team confidence to promote Mauricio to AAA Syracuse.

The hot hitting has continued in the International League as Mauricio has hit .350 with six home runs, 16 RBIs and a 1.095 OPS in his first 21 games with Syracuse. The main question for Mauricio has been when the Mets would begin to move him off of shortstop, his natural position, since the team has committed to Francisco Lindor there through the 2031 season.

That process has officially begun as Syracuse played Mauricio at second base yesterday, the first step towards making him more versatile defensively. Mauricio is also expected to receive reps at first and third base along with the outfield. The decision makes sense since Mauricio’s bat appears major-league ready but Lindor isn’t going anywhere, making versatility Mauricio’s ticket to the majors.

There was a time when most expected the Mets to use Mauricio, who is rated as the team’s sixth-best prospect according to MLB.com, as a trade chip to improve another area of the roster. More defensive versatility could still make Mauricio an attractive trade candidate but it appears that the Mets have an eye on grooming him as a future replacement for Luis Guillorme, who is a better defender but far more limited at the plate.

Expect the Mets to use the next several months to bounce Mauricio around the diamond and get him as many reps as possible at other positions to figure out what his best fit in the majors could be. An injury could force the Mets’ hand with Mauricio but the best-case scenario appears to be a summer call-up as a guy with defensive versatility that can also provide an offensive spark to the lineup.

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