Mark Vientos’ season started slowly, but it’s now on course to conclude much as Mets officials had anticipated.
The 19-year-old third baseman took a .263/.309/.434 slash line with 13 homers and 62 RBIs into late August for low Class A Columbia and had also progressed defensively, particularly on grounders.
“He’s a different guy, defensively, than we saw early on,” Columbia manager Pedro Lopez said. “Early in the year, he was getting too low in his setup. That was keeping him away from getting a quick first step and motion side to side. He has done a much better job with that. He still shows the strong arm he has and making plays at third base.”
Vientos, a second-round pick out of American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., in 2017, struggled to a .650 OPS in the first half of this season as he adjusted to pitchers who could throw offspeed pitches for strikes. In his first 44 games of the second half, Vientos had an .872 OPS.
“He has so much power, he’s a real strong kid with a lot of bat speed,” director of player development Jared Banner said. “I think we just focus on keeping him through the middle of the field, keeping him confident and trusting himself at the plate with a quality approach, just swinging at pitches he should swing at and taking pitches he should take.
“He can really impact the baseball. It’s impressive the power he has the other way. You don’t see that in a lot of kids his age. That definitely sticks out.”
Though the home run total doesn’t necessarily show it, Lopez says Vientos’ power should be a factor in the future.
“Columbia is a pitchers’ ballpark, and if you are going to get it, you’ve got to earn it—you have got to hit it well,” Lopez said. “He is 19 years old. I joke with him, ‘You can come back here at Columbia with me next year when you are 20 and you might be able to hit it out more frequently.’ But he’s done a real good job with the power. If he keeps that approach that he has—middle, middle field away—he is going to succeed.”