Mark Vientos Must Now DH Over Daniel Vogelbach
You knew it was coming. After two good games where Mark Vientos was 3-for-6, he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
In the top of the eighth, the New York Mets were trailing 6-1 with two on and two out. A big swing would get the Mets back into it.
Naturally, Buck Showalter turned to Daniel Vogelbach with his .361 SLG and all of six homers on the season. To his credit, Vogelbach battled (cue Art Howe) in an 11 pitch at-bat, but ultimately, he struck out like we all expected he would.
Therein lies the problem for the Mets this season, and it’s something that needs to be addressed for now and as the Mets look towards 2024.
Before Vientos was first called up, Vogelbach was hitting .250/.376/.369 with four doubles, two homers, and 13 RBI. This was one of the reasons the Mets felt compelled to call up Vientos.
From May 17 – June 18, both Vientos and Vogelbach were on the roster with Vogelbach getting the majority of the playing tone. Over that stretch, Vogelbach hit .122/.280/.220 with a double, homer, and two RBI. This time frame included the one week stretch where Vogelbach sat for a week to mentally reset and get going again.
Despite Vogelbach regressing, the Mets decided Vientos should go down with Vogelbach “resuming” the primary DH duties. He certainly didn’t improve despite Showalter continuing to lean on him.
In the time Vientos was back in Triple-A, Vogelbach hit .259/.298/.409 with two doubles, two homers, and 11 RBI. As we can see with the declining OBP, Vogelbach has not only stopped hitting, but he has also stopped walking.
All told, Vogelbach is hitting .224/.330/.361 with seven doubles, six homers, and 28 RBI. He has a -0.2 WAR, 93 OPS+, and a 98 wRC+.
For a position where your only job is hitting, Vogelbach isn’t. He’s below average. This season, Major League DHs have a combined 106 wRC+. Vogelbach is behind that mark while simultaneously driving it down.
The same can be said for the Mets. Even with Vogelbach getting the vast majority of starts at DH, the team has been at league average with a 106 wRC+. That means the Mets other options have greatly outperformed Vogelbach.
The caveat is Vientos hasn’t been one of those players outperforming Vogelbach. In his limited and disjointed playing time, he has truly struggled as evidenced by his 41 wRC+ this season.
However, Vientos has been hitting in Triple-A with regular playing time. With Syracuse, he has a 141 wRC+ displaying power only Pete Alonso can match (from a Mets organizational standpoint).
At the moment, the Mets are 46-53. They’re 18.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves and 7.5 games back of the last Wild Card. They’re at a point where they’re looking to sell.
When you look at trade pieces, no one wants Vogelbach. There’s zero reason why the Mets would try to showcase him. It’s over and done, and it’s time to move forward.
That said, there is reason to try to showcase Vientos. He’s blocked at first by Alonso and at third by Brett Baty. That leaves the DH spot for him as the Mets head to an offseason where they plan on heavily pursuing Shohei Ohtani.
If the Mets get Ohtani, that puts them in a spot where they need to start looking to trade Vientos. If Vientos goes on a tear, his trade value increases.
If they don’t get Ohtani, it would look like Vientos is one of the options they should look towards for 2024. Getting him more up to speed with a longer look would give then more of a sense as to whether Vientos should get the job next year.
All told, Vogelbach has hurt the team this year and will not be in the Mets plans next year. The Mets 2024 plans at DH at least partially hinge on Vientos or what the Mets want to do with him.
The team is past the point where they need to make the switch. They need to take Vogelbach away from Showalter and start Vientos at DH the rest of the season.