Thursday Thought: Missing on Javy Baez is fine because the Mets already have their second baseman of the future

St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The New York Mets have had quite the offseason so far. First, they signed Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and Starling Marte to bolster the lineup and defense. Then they signed Max Scherzer to a record-breaking contract to give the Mets the best 1-2 rotation punch in baseball.

One of the players the Mets missed on was Javy Baez, who signed a six-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are an up-and-coming team, and they now have one of the most talented shortstops in the majors as part of their very young, talented core.

While the Mets would’ve liked to have Baez back, they don’t need him. Ronny Mauricio is the second baseman of the future.

Mauricio is the third overall prospect in the Mets’ farm system and the 53rd ranked prospect in all of baseball. He’s a shortstop, but unfortunately for him, so is Francisco Lindor, and his 10-year extension kicks in this upcoming season. Mauricio needs to find a new home in the field, and since the Mets have Brett Baty and Mark Vientos at third, second base is the spot for Mauricio.

The switch-hitter is only 20 years old, and MLB Pipeline projects him to make his major league debut in 2022, which would be aggressive. He’s wiry strong and extremely athletic at 6’3” and 166 lbs. Pipeline rates him as a 50 hit tool, 60 power, 40 speed, 60 arm, 55 field, and 55 overall prospect.

He is absolutely athletic enough to play shortstop long term, and that will translate well to second base. An up-the-middle combination of Lindor and Mauricio would be one of the best all-around middle infields in baseball. If Lindor were to get hurt at some point, Mauricio could easily slide over to his natural position and fill in.

In 2021, he spent most of the season in A+ but finished the year in AA. Overall, he slashed .248/.296/.449/.745. He hit 20 homers, 15 doubles, five triples, drove in 64 runs, and scored 58. In his eight games in AA, he hit .323/.364/.452/.816. He’ll likely start the 2022 season in AA.

At the moment, the Mets have two potential starters at second base: Robby Cano and Jeff McNeil. It remains to be seen if Cano will play another game for the Mets, but McNeil is capable of holding down the fort until Mauricio is ready, even coming off the worst season of his career.

At the moment, Mauricio hasn’t played a professional game at second base. It would behoove the Mets to give him some reps there as soon as possible so that he is comfortable at second before he’s ready to come up. With his athleticism, it shouldn’t be a difficult transition.

While I know Mauricio has been asked about in trades, I would hope the Mets see the benefits of keeping him and moving him to the other side of the bag. Second base is a thin position across the league, and the thought of having one of the most athletic, powerful second baseman in the sport is tantalizing, especially knowing that he’d be turning two with Lindor for the next several years. 

Next. 3 curious 40-man roster decisions by the Mets. dark