Mets fans have been fed up with how the squad has performed for a while. Unfortunately, New York didn’t make any significant moves to try and change their fortune — until now. After another embarrassing showing at Citi Field on Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan has reported that Mark Vientos is finally getting the call from 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
His 13th home run of the year came on Tuesday night for the Syracuse Mets. I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Billy Eppler and Co.
It’s great that Vientos is getting the call. He’s deserved it for a while, and you know Brodie Van Wagenen is hyped up without needing any coffee this morning. But there’s another layer here that we need to make sure hits home.
Upon arriving in Queens, manager Buck Showalter immediately needs to pencil Vientos’ name into the lineup card for tonight’s game against the Rays. And then again tomorrow. And then again the day after that.
Everyone was excited when Francisco Alvarez got promoted prior to the Mets’ home opener in April. Soon after that, we were all excited about Brett Baty also getting the call to join him. This was followed by some frustration as they both weren’t immediately playing every day (more so Alvarez than Baty, but still).
Once Showalter started giving them consistent playing time, you could see them get acclimated to the big leagues — both in the field and at the plate. So, let’s not make the same mistake a third time, right? Showalter has mentioned he doesn’t want a young player like Vientos to just hit, which is understandable. But guess what? You’re the manager, Buck. Find a way to get him some work at first base and third base. That will allow Baty and Pete Alonso to stay fresh by being the designated hitter on those days. Or, just getting a day off.
He’s been creative in the past when it comes to keeping all the players on his roster engaged and sharp. Just do some more of that.
We don’t yet know who the roster casualty will be to make room for Vientos at Citi Field. Based on how the Mets have operated in recent years, though, my guess would be Luis Guillorme. Not only could Eduardo Escobar serve in his utility infielder role, but Guillorme also has a minor-league option left.
So, that’d leave Vientos with Escobar, Tommy Pham, and Daniel Vogelbach. None of those guys should be taking at-bats away from the 23-year-old.
Escobar has hit well recently (1.407 OPS over the past 28 days), but it’s obviously been in a very part-time role. Pham has inexplicably been the Mets’ clean-up hitter and fifth hitter the last two games despite slashing .121/.205/.242 in his last 39 plate appearances. Vogelbach is hitting .273/.404/.403 vs. right-handed pitching, but the Mets need someone who has the potential to do consistent damage.
If we take away Pete Alonso’s 14 home runs, New York would rank 28th in baseball when it comes to dingers. That’s unacceptable. Vientos has torn apart left-handed pitching in Triple-A this year (1.098 OPS in 31 plate appearances). But he’s done the same vs. right-handed pitching, as well (1.105 OPS in 135 plate appearances).
And sure, it may take him a few games to get his feet underneath him. We saw that happen with both Baty and Alvarez. If the Mets don’t insert him into the lineup immediately, though, that adjustment period will only take longer. And it’s not like he could do much worse than we’ve seen, right?
They’ve finally made the right decision to call him up. Don’t waste it by having him be part of a platoon.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.