The New York Mets farm system is known for being top heavy; Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty are top 50 prospects, while Ronny Mauricio is also considered one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball.
As conversations about the Mets farm system surround those three, there’s another top hitting prospect that doesn’t receive the respect he deserves: Mark Vientos.
Vientos, the Mets 2nd round selection in 2017, has had the best season out of any offensive player in the Mets farm system this season. His production has been quiet, but hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Vientos was just promoted to Triple-A Syracuse for the remainder of the season.
The 21-year-old has a slash line of .281/.346/.580 in Double-A Binghamton this season. While his .927 OPS looks strong, it is his 22 home runs in just 72 games that has really drawn attention to Vientos. Most of those homers have come in his last 55 games, as 20 of them have been hit over that stretch while producing a .306 average with a 1.027 OPS.
“It’s my approach for sure,” Vientos said of his success. “Trying to get pitches that I can barrel up instead of swinging at pitches out of the zone.”
Vientos had a strong reputation coming out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida, as he was selected 59th overall in the MLB Draft as a 17-year-old. Immediately drawing comparisons to Manny Machado, scouts described Vientos as a prospect with outstanding bat speed and above-average power. With the progress he’s made from 2019 to 2021, it’s become more clear that those reports are accurate.
“It was a lot of hard work during 2020 when COVID took the season away from us. I put a cage in my house, I did a lot of hitting with my dad, and a lot of people were telling me what I was doing wrong in the 2019 season. I was just working on a whole bunch of stuff,” Vientos said. “It was a big, big thing for me to go to the alternate site. Seeing how all those veteran guys went about their business and how they did their routines, it was a lot of learning in 2020.”
Vientos’s OPS is the highest out of any player in the Mets organization among qualified hitters and he has the most homers in the Mets farm system.
His season has been special, as SNY’s Jacob Resnick noted that Vientos is just the seventh player to hit 20+ home runs and produce an OPS over .920 before turning the age of 22 in Double-A since 2006; he joins Javy Baez, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Moustakas, Evan Longoria, Oscar Tavarez and Colby Rasmus.
When a prospect performs as well as Vientos has this season, they shouldn’t have to worry about who is behind them. But, in Vientos’ situation, he has the #47 prospect in baseball, Brett Baty, right behind him. The lone issue: they play the same position.
Vientos was drafted as a third baseman and has played the position well throughout his young professional career. In 2021, Vientos made an effort to become more versatile in the field, but he prefers the hot corner.
“I’m definitely most comfortable at third and I would love to play third base at the big league level,” Vientos said. “At the end of the day, wherever I’m at in the big league club and in the lineup, if I’m at left, first or third, I’ll play baseball.”
Even with the big names of Alvarez, Baty and Mauricio behind Vientos, he’s ready to prove himself when he gets the call to Queens.
“It’s tough not to look at all the critics out there saying all this stuff. But, honestly, I’m going to prove myself when I get to the big league level and that’s where I’m going to make my noise.”