Checking in on the Kids: NL East Edition
As part of our new mid-season rankings update, we wanted to shine a light on some of the recent call-ups or hidden gems in each division. This week we are focusing on the NL East. Like a parent checking in on a suspiciously quiet five-year-old in the next room, we here at TDG want to check in on our “kids” and see what they`re up to.
Brady House, 20 years old, 3B/SS, Nationals, Double A
House was drafted 11th overall by the Nationals in 2021 with big power and a strong throwing arm. He had a strong start to his career at the Florida Complex League where he slashed .322/.394/.576 with four homers over 16 games. By March 2022, House was a consensus Top 100 prospect.
Unfortunately, House’s second year in the professional ranks was riddled with injury. After starting his Single-A stint batting .326/.408/.449, he went on the IL with a back issue and was not the same for the rest of the season. He was eventually shut down in August 2022 with the hopes of being ready for a bounce-back 2023.
And bounce back he has! Across three levels so far in 2023, House has nine home runs and eight stolen bases. He put up matching 145 wRC+ in Single A and High A. Outside of the two games that he has played at Double-A at the time of this writing, House’s strikeout rate has normalized to ~20%, which is very manageable if he is going to put up an Isolated Power of over .200. The stolen bases are a bit unexpected considering he stole only one base through his first two years in the Nats system.
House’s rebound is great for the rebuilding Nationals, who likely believe that they have four of their five future infielders already in their system between House, Luis García, CJ Abrams, and Keibert Ruiz. For dynasty managers, those that held on to House will get their reward and for those looking to acquire him, now is the time. The buy-low window of late 2022 and the most recent offseason is officially closed, but you can likely acquire him at a fair price and be confident that House will get a shot at third base for the Nats in short order.
(The Roto Red)
Ronny Mauricio, 22, SS/2B/OF, New York Mets, Triple A
I’ve written up a few ‘dark horse’ call-up candidates so far. In this breakdown, I’m shucking consistency and going with a much more traditional candidate, Ronny Mauricio. His MiLB career has been a classic development roller coaster since receiving the big J2 signing bonus back in 2017. Though the ride has settled nicely over the course of the last two seasons. Spending all of ‘22 at Double-A, Mauricio basically produced point for point versus his early scouting profile. He crossed the 20/20 plateau with an aggressive approach in the box. This year, all at Triple-A so far, he’s on pace to continue those stats. He’s hit 14 homers with 14 stolen bases and supplied a very impressive .295/.341/.503 triple slash that will play in any format.
There are two big differences between Mauricio’s current season and last year’s production though. First is his improvement with his bat-to-ball skills. He’s still swinging a lot, as seen by his sub-5% walk rate. But the K-rate has dropped to an excellent 16%. And he’s not just making more contact, he’s making hard contact as well. Triple A Statcast numbers show that he’s hit 115MPH as his maxEV and averaging 92 MPH on all contact. Those are some big boi bopping numbers.
The other difference this year in Mauricio’s game has been the added positional flexibility. Considered an acceptable shortstop, the Mets are locked there for the foreseeable future with some Lindor guy. This spring the Mets started moving Mauricio around the diamond. He’s logged the majority of his defensive innings at 2B with even over 100 in the outfield. As he ages and fills out his XL frame even more, I think LF ultimately will be his defensive home.
So now that he’s handling his own at various defensive positions and his bat is ready, I don’t anticipate the dynasty world needing to wait much longer to see Mauricio in the MLB. In step with rumors, I’m split on whether it’ll be the Mets calling him up or trading him for a veteran bat. After the trade deadline dust settles, he’ll get his shot regardless.