Mets’ Ronny Mauricio, Brett Baty call-ups signify lineup change

Speaking early during Thursday’s off day, general manager Billy Eppler dubbed both Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio “young, really exciting players.”

In what has been an at-times exasperating, at-times frustrating and at-recent-times dull season, the Mets will accept “exciting” at this stage.

Baty will join Mauricio as a Sept. 1 call-up, a league source confirmed, ushering in a lineup that will contain little that is proven but plenty that has potential.

It is possible that Mauricio will be playing second base and Baty third base when the Mets open a series against the Mariners on Friday.

Francisco Alvarez may be behind the plate and Mark Vientos at DH, a sign of both how far the Mets have fallen and how far they want to climb.

The future has arrived a lot sooner than the organization believed it would, partly because the future is enticing but mostly because the present failed.

Mets shortstop Ronny Mauricio fields a ball at Spring Training
Ronny Mauricio is set to make his Mets impact as soon as Friday.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Baty will be back after posting a .620 OPS in 86 major league games this season, often showing promise and often showing rawness.

He largely struggled against major league pitching, which culminated in an 0-for-18 road trip in early August that prompted a demotion.

The 23-year-old did not wallow and performed with Triple-A Syracuse, hitting five home runs with an .822 OPS in 17 games.

Eppler declined to go into specifics regarding Baty’s work at the lower level, but the infielder has dealt with issues lifting the ball.

His hard contact has not led to hits and extra-base hits often enough because over half (51.8 percent) of his contact has resulted in a ground ball.

The Mets have worked with Baty on “decisions on what pitches to swing at, swinging at pitches in a particular area,” Eppler said over the phone.

Mets third baseman Brett Baty #22 reacts after he strikes out swinging
Brett Baty struggled prior to being sent down to Triple-A Syracuse.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Baty’s next chance will come with a new and old infield partner, a player he knows from the minors.

Mauricio is expecting to be on his first major league roster, arriving before he has figured out a surefire position.

The Mets will hope the top prospect continues to learn all around the field and particularly at second base.

The club hopes he can grow defensively, even if misplays will be seen by the world rather than the few thousand in minor league seats.

“We’ve continued to see enhanced development with him at second base,” general manager Billy Eppler said of Mauricio. “Nothing teaches like the game.”

Mauricio’s bat has knocked on the major league door all year, but his glove — and quest to gain more flexibility defensively — has held him back.

A shortstop all his life for a team that houses Francisco Lindor, Mauricio first experimented with second base beginning in April, began seeing time in left field in June and played a bit of third base in early August.

His last 13 games with Triple-A Syracuse were back at second base, where the Mets have said he has improved.

He likely will see the bulk of his time in Queens the rest of the season at second base, even if the long-term hope is the Mets can uncover their next Jeff McNeil — a reliable infielder who can shift into a corner-outfield spot.

Mets third baseman Brett Baty runs in after the sixth inning of a Spring Training game
Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio form what the Mets hope will be a big part of their future.
Corey Sipkin for NY Post

“To classify Ronny as a one-position player, that would be premature to do that,” Eppler said of the Mets’ No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. “He’s someone that we value positional flexibility with.”

The Mets believe it will take more than 56 minor league games at second base and 26 in left field for Mauricio to become the Swiss Army knife they believe, with his solid speed and strong arm, that he can be.

There is more intrigue concerning how Mauricio hits over the final month of the season.

The 22-year-old switch hitter has mastered every minor league level, hitting .292 with 23 home runs, 24 steals and an .852 OPS in 116 Triple-A games this season.

It is his bat that has carried him this far, with strong wrists that can pounce upon mistakes.

Mets Ronny Mauricio takes batting practice at spring training
Ronny Mauricio’s bat carried him throughout the minors.
for the NY POST

It is not his swing but his decision-making that the Mets hoped would improve this season, and the results have begun to show.

In 2021, Mauricio struck out in 24.7 percent of his plate appearances in High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton.

The rate dipped to 23.1 percent with Binghamton last year.

This season, Mauricio has struck out 18.2 percent of the time.

As he has grown more careful, the walks have ticked up, too, with a career-best rate of 6.6 percent — still too low, but improving.

“We’ve challenged him with some specifics, and he’s met those challenges,” Eppler said.

In promoting both top position prospects, the Mets will have to make one corresponding roster move. Their roster expands from 26 to 28, but one of those slots will be taken up by a pitcher.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
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𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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