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The 11 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 3, Mark Vientos

Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2019.

Mark Vientos
Steve Sypa

Team: Columbia Fireflies

Position: 3B

Born: 12/11/99 (19)

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 185 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft, 2nd Round

2019 Season: 111 G, 416 AB, .255/.300/.411, 106 AB, 27 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 22 BB, 110 K, 1/5 SB, .310 BABIP (Low-A)

Date(s) Seen: June 10 (1-3, 2B), June 11 (0-4, RBI, K, 2 E), June 12, (1-5, RBI, K), June 13 (0-5, 4 K) June 15 (0-4, 2 K)

The Man

Mark Vientos has been making a name for himself on the exhibition and showcase circuit for years, earning praise by scouts and evaluators as early as 2013, when he was just 14-years-old. For three years, he played baseball at Flanagan High School, but in 2016, he switched schools and began attending American Heritage High School a few miles away. He only appeared in 26 games for the American Heritage High School Patriots, missing some time in the spring due to a quad injury, but when he was able to get on the field, he hit .417/.467/.523 with one home run and four stolen bases in six attempts.

The 17-year-old was considered a borderline first-round talent, but the injury combined with his commitment to the University of Miami caused multiple teams to pass over him in the 2017 MLB Draft. The Mets selected Vientos with their second-round pick and signed him fairly quick, with the two sides agreeing to a $1.5 million signing bonus, slightly above the slot value of $1,094,700. The Mets assigned Vientos 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 the entire 2018. Once again 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 Mets were aggressive with the third baseman in 2019, promoting him to the Columbia Fireflies. While his season was a bit of a disappointment in terms of the expectations placed on him, Vientos had a respectable year, hitting .255/.300/.411 in 111 games with 12 home runs.

The Player

Vientos stands upright and has wide stance at the plate, holding his hands high. His swing can get a bit on the long side, but he has solid bat-to-ball skills, coming to the plate with a plan and generally adjusting depending on the pitcher and what he is given to hit. Of note, Vientos showed an extreme vulnerability to pitches down and away, especially breaking balls, seemingly unable to pick up on their spin. When he is able to make solid contact, he puts a jolt into the ball, regularly posting high exit velocity readings for a player his age.

Though initially drafted as a shortstop, Vientos hasn’t played the position since 2017 and is not expected to move back, instead playing third base. He 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, as he will exhibit even less of a first step and range, but Vientos should be fine for years to come assuming his body does not suddenly and drastically change

Looking To 2020

Vientos didn’t quite have the success that we would have liked to have seen, but he didn’t have a bad year either. He produced slightly above-average offense in the South Atlantic League as a 19-year-old. Vientos should start the 2020 season in St. Lucie.

The List

4: Brett Baty

5: Andres Gimenez

6: Jaylen Palmer

7: Shervyen Newton

8: Andres Regnault

9: Hansel Moreno

10: Wilmer Reyes

11: Luke Ritter