At this point, 2023 can’t end fast enough for the New York Mets. First, a season that began with World Series aspirations ended with a fourth-place finish and a trade deadline fire sale. And now, well into the offseason, the hits just keep on coming: According to a report from SNY’s Andy Martino, infielder Ronny Mauricio — the team’s No. 4 prospect and No. 87 overall, per MLB Pipeline — has suffered a torn ACL and will need surgery.
Source: Ronny Mauricio has a torn ACL and needs surgery— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 12, 2023
Mauricio is currently playing for Licey in the Dominican Winter League, although it’s unclear how exactly he sustained the injury. The Mets have yet to confirm the news or offer a timeline for Mauricio’s rehabilitation. Given the typical recovery process, however, this would seem to put the athletic 22-year-old’s 2024 season in serious jeopardy.
It’s a big blow for New York, as Mauricio appeared slated for a major role after making his much-anticipated Major League debut this past September. Standing a full 6’3, he’s tantalized scouts and fans from pretty much the moment he signed with New York out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2017. After years of big-time power but a questionable approach at the plate, he appeared to be putting it all together in 2023, slashing .292/.346/.506 with 23 homers and 24 steals in 116 games at Triple-A Syracuse. That earned him a September call-up for a Mets club that had already waived the white flag, and while his free-swinging ways were exposed a bit by big-league pitching — he posted a .643 OPS with 31 strikeouts to just seven walks across 108 plate appearances — the ceiling was obvious.
Ronny Mauricio just absolutely smoked his first career home run into the second deck in right field. A projected 440 feet at 112.4 mph off the bat. pic.twitter.com/KuuEo18f8v— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 13, 2023
Whether he could ever lay off the breaking balls enough to get all of that power into games (and get his OBP over .300) remained to be seen, but with question marks at second base and both corner outfield spots — Jeff McNeil can only play one position at a time, and Starling Marte’s health issues continue to mount — Mauricio figured to get every opportunity to prove himself at the Major League level in 2024. Now, that evaluation won’t take place until 2025 at the earliest, while new Mets president David Stearns has another hole to fill as he tries to navigate a tricky first offseason in New York.
The Mets are set elsewhere in the infield with Pete Alonso at first (barring a surprising trade), Francisco Lindor at short and Brett Baty at third. Mauricio’s absence exacerbates the need for a corner outfielder, with McNeil likely moving to second base full-time. There are options for Stearns to consider: Joc Pederson, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Korean import Jung Hoo Lee, even a reunion with Tommy Pham. But this really eats into New York’s depth, while delaying an answer to one of the key questions facing the organization moving forward.