Week: 5 G, 17 AB, .471/.550/.765, 8 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 0/0 SB, .700 BABIP (Double-A)
2021 Season: 42 G, 159 AB, .283/.352/.597, 45 H, 11 2B, 0 3B, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 16 BB, 54 K, 0/0 SB, .340 BABIP (Double-A)
After winning Player of the Week honors last week, I took a deep look into Vientos’ numbers and got myself a little worried. His stretch of success coincided with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies facing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Bowie Baysox, the Portland Sea Dogs, and the Reading Fightin Phils, three of the worst pitching teams in the Double-A Northeast Northeast. After looking at some video, I didn’t see anything particularly different in his stance, stride, swing path, nothing. The numbers count all the same in the end, but was he just feasting on poor pitching?
This week, against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, a team that is among one of the better pitching teams in the Double-A Northeast, Vientos didn’t perform as well, but you can’t blame the kid for not being able to replicate a .400/.500/1.200 week that saw him hit five home runs in five games; he “only” went 8-17 with a pair of doubles and a home run.
His peripherals stayed in line, he did not look completely overmatched in his at-bats, and all in all, the week helped relieve my concerns about how much he was benefitting from the quality of the opposing pitchers he’s been facing.
Though he was not selected to participate in the 2021 Futures Game, Vientos is every bit as deserving as Fransisco Alvarez and Brett Baty, the two Mets who will be. His numbers, age, and prospect status all compare favorably to the third basemen who were selected, Tigers top prospect Spencer Torkelson, Cardinals top hitting prospect Nolan Gorman, and the Mets’ own Baty.
Torkelson, 21, has appeared in 31 games for the High-A West Michigan Whitecaps and in 16 for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, hitting .312/.440/.569 (170 wRC+) and .246/.353/.491 (128 wRC+), respectively. He was drafted 1st overall in the 2020 MLB Draft and is considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball coming into the 2021 season.
Gorman, 21, has appeared in 43 games for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals and 4 for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, hitting .288/.354/.508 (130 wRC+) and .125/.176/.125 (-21 wRC+), respectively. He was drafted 19th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft and is generally considered in the second quartile of prospects in all of baseball coming into the 2021 season
Baty, 21, has appeared in 48 games for the Low-A Brooklyn Cyclones, hitting .315/.408/.512 (160 wRC+). He was drafted 12th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft and is generally considered a fringe top 100 prospect in all of baseball coming into the 2021 season.
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER (1.50 ERA), 2 BB, 8 K, .100 BABIP (Low-A)
2021 Season: 3 G (3 GS), 15.1 IP, 17 H, 12 R, 9 ER (5.28 ERA), 6 BB, 16 K, .326 BABIP (Low-A/High-A)
Born in Hanover, Massachusetts, David Griffin was a one-year letter winner on the Hanover High School baseball team and a one-year letter winner on the basketball team as well. Mainly an outfielder, he injured his leg and ankle in a basketball game during his junior season, losing the entire season, and when he returned that summer, mainly pitched. His coach there had been coached by and worked with long-time Curry College head coach Dave Perdios and recommended Griffin to him. Coach Perdios and then-pitching coach Paul Bortolotti saw Griffin pitch a game for the Hanover Indians, liked what they saw, and were able to convince Griffin to attend Curry, an NCAA Division III school.
In his first year with the Curry Colonels, the right-hander appeared in 11 games, starting 8 of them and throwing 5 complete games. He posted a 1.59 ERA in 62.1 innings, allowing 44 hits, walking 20, and striking out 52, winning All- Commonwealth Coast Conference Third Team selection honors. His pitching was instrumental in Curry going 23-13 for the year and going on to beat Roger Williams University and win the 2015 Commonwealth Coast Conference Baseball Championship.
He followed that up with a 2016 season that was him appear in 15 games, starting 9 of them and throwing 5 complete games. He posted a 2.54 ERA in 67.1 innings, allowing 65 hits, walking 16, and striking out 63, winning All-CCC First Team selection honors. In 2017, his junior year, Griffin appeared in 12 games, starting 9 of them and throwing 5 complete games. He posted a 2.00 ERA in 67.1 innings, allowing 52 hits, walking 21, and striking out 53. He earned All-CCC First Team selection honors and All-Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England honors but went undrafted in the 2017 MLB Draft. Returning to Curry for his senior year, he appeared in 8 games and started 7 of them, throwing 3 complete games. He posted a 2.18 ERA in his final season at Curry, pitching 41.1 innings due to elbow tendonitis and allowed 29 hits, walked 17, and struck out 59, winning his third All-CCC First Team Selection honors.
After graduating college, Griffin had a workout with the Atlanta Braves, but they ultimately decided to pass on signing him as an undrafted free agent. He was set to join the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League that summer, but the tendonitis that plagued him during the collegiate season ultimately forced him to abandon those plans as well. He took some time off from baseball to fully rehab his elbow and eventually signed with the Gary Southshore RailCats of the American Association after some starts and stops with other opportunities. Appearing in 12 games and starting 2 of them, Griffin posted a 3.58 ERA in 27.2 innings. He allowed 20 hits, walked 17, and struck out 22 for the RailCats, who ended up going 40-59 on the season. The right-hander re-signed with them for the 2020 season, but when the American Association cancelled the season, he pitched with the Rockland Boulders of the All-American Baseball Challenge and the Road Warrior Black Sox of the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy instead in an effort to stay in playing shape.
He returned to the RailCats in 2021, and in mid-June had his contract was purchased by the Mets, making him the second Gary SouthShore RailCat to have their contract transferred to a Major League Baseball team. Through six starts, the 24-year-old had a 4.30 ERA in 31.1 innings.
He was initially assigned to the High-A Brooklyn Cyclones, where he started a game against the Wilmington Blue Rocks and allowed seven runs- four earned- in 3.2 innings, giving up 9 hits, walking 3, and striking out 1. Having been moved down to the Low-A St. Lucie Mets, Griffin has seen more success.
Standing 6’ even and weighing 205 pounds, Griffin has a solid frame for pitching. He has been extremely durable over the course of his career, throwing a whopping 18 complete games over the course of his 238.1 innings at Curry.
The right-hander throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a long arm action through the back and some crossfire. He hides the ball well, tucking his body in close during his leg lift and almost showing the hitter his numbers. His fastball has developed since his time in college, when it sat in the high-80s, and now sits between 88-93, averaging 91 MPH. He has also added a sinker, which features a little more velocity, sitting 88-94, and a little more movement. Both features slightly above-average spin rates. He complements his heater with a slider, a curveball, and a changeup, all three of which are below-average-to-fringe-average pitches. His low-to-mid-80s slider is the best of the three, as his low-80s curveball and mid-80s changeup have not elicited the swings and misses that his slider has, nor does he utilize them as much.
Players of the Week 2021
Week One (May 4-May 8): Francisco Alvarez/Tylor Megill
Week Two (May 9-May 15): Antoine Duplantis/Tylor Megill
Week Three (May 16-May 23): Francisco Alvarez/Franklin Parra
Week Four (May 24-May 30): Mason Williams/Franklyn Kilome
Week Five (June 1-June 6): Brett Baty/Alec Kisena
Week Six (June 8-June 13): Carlos Cortes/Josh Walker
Week Seven (June 15-June 20): Luke Ritter/ Justin Lasko
Week Eight (June 22-June 27): Mark Vientos/Oscar Rojas