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Top prospect Mauricio earns high school diploma

@AnthonyDiComo
March 23, 2020

NEW YORK -- The scouting report on Ronny Mauricio generally goes something like this: Lithe. Athletic. Quick bat. Raw power. Advanced for his age. On the diamond, it is easy to see glimpses of Mauricio’s potential at age 18. Earlier this spring, after Seth Lugo faced Mauricio in a simulated

NEW YORK -- The scouting report on Ronny Mauricio generally goes something like this: Lithe. Athletic. Quick bat. Raw power. Advanced for his age.

On the diamond, it is easy to see glimpses of Mauricio’s potential at age 18. Earlier this spring, after Seth Lugo faced Mauricio in a simulated game, the Mets pitcher came away raving about the organization’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, saying he was “impressed -- very impressed.”

Off the diamond, Mauricio’s maturity is also plain to see. This winter, Mauricio was one of five Dominican-born Mets prospects to receive his high school diploma. About once per week, he spent time in a typical regimen of studies, including math, social studies and other classes.

“It’s really important, especially for a baseball player,” Mauricio said earlier this month through an interpreter. “Today, you’re a baseball player. Tomorrow, you never know what can happen. So I think it’s good to have your education down the line. It’s really important for me.”

Mauricio’s path demonstrates the difficulty that many Latin American prospects face after joining professional organizations once they become eligible at age 16. At the same time they are attempting to develop into Major League players, they are torn from their old lives and forced to transition to a foreign country. Teams have programs in place to help, like the Mets’ educational system that helped Mauricio keep up with his studies. But taking advantage is not always easy.

“For me in the beginning, it was really hard, especially not being able to speak the language,” Mauricio said. “So then I wasn’t able to communicate. But I also think it’s problematic when you’re not accustomed to the food, either. You’re accustomed to the food back home. But eventually, you do figure out how to adjust and go on with living here.”

Once stateside, Mauricio began eating more vegetables and lots of carbs, hoping to fill out his lanky 6-foot-3 frame. Scouts almost universally think he will, envisioning him adding muscle and plenty of home run power to his profile. They also believe he will stay athletic enough to remain a shortstop, perhaps one day serving as Amed Rosario’s long-term replacement.

For now, those considerations remain in the distant future. Coming off his first full season of pro ball at Class A Columbia, Mauricio looks to continue working his way up the Minor League ladder after hitting .268/.307/.357 with four home runs last season. His next big goal is to make Double-A Binghamton, which could realistically happen as soon as 2021. Mauricio keeps his ambitions realistic, even though “at this point in my development, I feel like my confidence is one of my strongest attributes.”

In the interim, Mauricio plans to continue taking English classes in an effort to grow as a student off the field. Growth in one area, he knows, doesn’t easily happen without growth in others.

“I think there are a lot of people down in the Dominican and involved with MLB, and obviously involved with the Mets, who put a lot of effort into helping these guys get their educations,” said Mets farm director Jared Banner. “Mauricio has continuously strived to get better in all facets of his education, knowing how important that’s going to be to his future.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.