Mark Vientos Needs To Play Everyday
The New York Mets finally broke glass for emergency and called up Mark Vientos from Triple-A Syracuse. The move was needed after the Mets went 56 innings without a homer, and the team dropped to three games under .500.
VIentos is not going to fix all that ails that Mets. After all, he can’t help José Quintana heal faster. He can’t get Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to rewind the clock a year. He can’t get David Peterson to rediscover his ability to pitch.
All Vientos can do is go out there and hit. Even on a team with Pete Alonso, Vientos could possibly be the Mets best power bat at the moment. So far this year, he has a 169 wRC+ and 1.104 OPS with Triple-A Syracuse. He has also posted historically higher exit velocities than Alonso did in the minors.
Of course, none of that is here or there. Mostly, it just highlights how the Mets have two very similar power bats in the lineup in Alonso and Vientos. Of course, the Mets can only take advantage of that by actually playing Vientos.
Mark Vientos with his 13th HR of the season.
107.2 mph off the bat and traveled 411 feet.
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) May 17, 2023
So far this season, we have seen Buck Showalter reticent to play his younger players and/or give them more responsibility. When Brett Baty was called up, he started in a platoon. When Francisco Álvarez was called up, he was named the back-up catcher, and even after winning the job from Tomás Nido, he still can’t get above hitting ninth in the lineup.
With Vientos, the Mets already have Daniel Vogelbach as the DH. Showalter does not like playing rookies over veterans, and it is going to be difficult to do that with Vogelbach with him being productive with a 119 wRC+.
That said, Vogelbach has been slumping, and he has not come close to posting the power numbers expected from a DH. More to the point, Vogelbach is not capable of providing the damage at the plate Vientos potentially can.
Certainly, there will be the impetus to make Vientos a platoon option with Vogelbach usurping the role Tommy Pham was supposed to have. Notably, Vientos struggled in that platoon role last season, and you have to believe Showalter remembers those struggles.
To his credit, Vientos has been better for those struggles. He has significantly cut down on his strike out rate. With his making more contact, he is destroying baseballs in Triple-A. He promises to add a dynamic to the Mets offense they sorely need.
However, that only works if he actually plays. That does not mean a platoon at third with Baty. It does not mean a platoon at DH with Vogelbach. It means in the lineup everyday. That is the expectation, but we will see if that is the plan Showalter has.