The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t the only slumping would-be contender turning to a top prospect to help save their season. Things aren’t going much better for the New York Mets these days, with seven losses in their last 10 dropping the Amazins all the way to 20-23 and fourth in the NL East. That star-studded offense, the envy of the National League on paper, has been anemic recently, with an 87 wRC+ that ranks just 26th in baseball over the last two weeks — but the team is hoping they have a solution for that in Triple-A.
The New York Mets are calling up slugger Mark Vientos, sources tell ESPN. Vientos, 23, is hitting .333/.416/.688 with 13 home runs in 38 games at AAA this season, and as the Mets look to escape this dreadful start, they’ll turn to Vientos as part of the solution.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 17, 2023
New York is reportedly promoting Mark Vientos, the team’s No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, after the corner man laid waste to Triple-A to start the season. His power potential has never been in question — he’s popped 62 homers across 222 games at Double-A and Triple-A since 2021 — but can he be the cure to what ails the Mets lineup?
Mark Vientos fantasy impact
In a word ... maybe. The 59th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Florida’s American Heritage School, Vientos has done three things consistently as a Minor Leaguer: hit for power, strike out more than you’d like and slide slowly down the defensive spectrum. Initially drafted as a middle infielder, he’s continued to add muscle as a pro and now splits his time between third base, first base and left field. With Brett Baty entrenched at the hot corner in New York, Vientos’ future is likely at one of the latter two spots — which will put a lot of pressure on his bat to produce.
He’s certainly shown signs that he can get there, especially recently. After a rough start in his first look at Triple-A last spring, Vientos turned it on, slashing .303/.378/.558 from May 1 on. His encore so far this year has been even more ridiculous: .333./416/.688 with 13 homers in his first 38 games. Of course, there was also a brief and pretty brutal MLB cameo in between those two stints, in which he hit just .167 across 41 plate appearances — and that’s sort of the rub with Vientos.
No one doubts his ability to mash Minor League pitching, especially when repeating a level. But there’s a reason he hasn’t cracked any top-100 lists so far: Vientos swung and missed a ton in his brief taste of the Majors, and real questions remain about his ability to hit right-handed pitching — he’s run pretty extreme platoon splits in the past, although he’s been an equal-opportunity destroyer so far this season — and whether he’ll swing and miss too much to thrive at the highest level.
With the Mets getting very little from Tommy Pham, Mark Canha and Daniel Vogelbach, Vientos is certainly worth a shot, and there’s upside there if he finds a way to make enough contact or gets shielded from tough righties. His power makes him worth an add in 12-team and deeper leagues, but don’t be afraid to move on if the strikeouts start coming in bunches.