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The 10 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 3, Mark Vientos

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Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2018.

Mark Vientos
Steve Sypa

Disclaimer: This is a ranking of the best players that I saw during the 2018 season. I saw a wide cross-section of teams in 2018, seeing the Kingsport Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Columbia Fireflies, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but I did not see the GCL Mets, St. Lucie Mets, or Las Vegas 51s, nor did I attend every single game of the teams that I did see. As such, this is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. If a player is not on the list, I either did not see him, or considered the listed ten players better.

Name: Mark Vientos

Team: Kingsport Mets

Position: 3B

Born: 12/11/99 (18)

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 185 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Acquired: 2017 Draft, Round 2 (American Heritage High School, Florida)

2018 Season: 60 G, 223 AB, .287/.389/.489, 64 H, 12 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 37 BB, 43 K, 1/1 SB, .312 BABIP (Rookie)

Date(s) Seen: August 16 @ Pulaski (1-4, K)

The Man

As far back as 2013, Mark Vientos has been making a name for himself, participating in baseball showcases and exhibitions across the South. In 2016, he switched schools for his senior year, from Flanagan High School to American Heritage High School. He appeared in 26 games for the Patriots, missing some time in the spring due to a quad injury and hit .417/.467/.523 with one home run and four stolen bases in six attempts. Vientos was considered a borderline first-round talent, but the quad injury and the lack of home runs caused multiple teams to pass over him in the 2017 MLB Draft. After making a relatively safe pick with their first pick, selecting David Peterson, the Mets selected the 17-year-old Mark Vientos with their second-round pick.

Because he had a strong commitment to the University of Miami, the Mets signed him for $1.5 million, roughly $400,000 over the assigned slot value of $1,094,700, but offering the 17-year-old the extra money was a no-brainer thanks to his combination of youth and potential. The team assigned him to the GCL Mets to begin his professional career and he held his own as one of the youngest players in the league, hitting .259/.316/.397 in 47 games. He played in four games with the Kingsport Mets at the end of the season and then was assigned there for 2018. Amazin’ Avenue ranked Vientos the Mets’ fifth top prospect over the winter, and the youngster did not disappoint when the season began. As one of the youngest players in the Appalachian League, Vientos not only held his own but excelled, hitting .287/.389/.489 in 60 games. He walked 37 times, stuck out 43 times, and slugged 11 home runs- the most on the team by a large margin and tied for fourth in the Appalachian League along with Wander Franco and Nolan Gorman.

The Hitter

Mark Vientos
Steve Sypa

Vientos stands upright and has wide stance at the plate, helping him channel energy from his base. He used a slight leg lift as a timing mechanism as an amateur but recently exaggerated it a bit more. His swing can get a bit on the long side, but has solid bat-to-ball skills and does not make swinging-and-missing a regular habit. When he makes contact, he puts a jolt into the ball thanks to his plus bat speed. A byproduct of being a hitter above virtually all of the competition he has faced as an amateur is his exceptional patience and plate discipline.

He was initially drafted as a shortstop, but he played virtually the entire 2018 season at third base and is not expected to move back to the position. Vientos is not unathletic, but he lacks explosive quick twitch muscle, resulting in a slow first step and below-average lateral quickness. His above-average arm and good instincts allow him to handle the routine play fine at third fine. There is worry that if he continues filling in, he will be forced to move to first base, but the teen should be fine for years to come assuming his body does not suddenly and drastically change.

Looking To 2019

Vientos is not even 19-years-old yet, with a birthday in December, but given his upside, should be put on an aggressive developmental track. Key to his baseball maturation will be his ability to continue hitting for power without completely selling out his average. In addition, he will need to continue to draw walks and limit strike outs.

The Countdown

4. Jarred Kelenic

5. Shervyen Newton

6. Luis Santana

7. Matt Winaker

8. Ross Adolph

9. Zach Rheams

10. Juan Uriarte