Week: 5 G, 23AB, .391/.417/.870, 9 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB (Double-A)
2021 Season: 61 G, 232 AB, .280/.351/.603, 65 H, 15 2B, 0 3B, 20 HR, 52 RBI, 24 BB, 73 K, 0/1 SB, .317 BABIP (Double-A)
This week was a great week for the Mets’ top minor league hitters, but Mark Vientos had the best week of them all. The second-youngest player in the Double-A Northeast Northeast, Vientos is now tied for the most home runs in the league with Hartford’s Elehuris Montero, is fifth in the slugging percentage, and seventh in OPS. Many of these players have played far fewer than Vientos’ 61 games, and if players who have appeared in 40 or fewer games are eliminated, Vientos ranks second and third in those other two categories, respectively.
With Brett Baty having been promoted to Binghamton and now splitting playing time at third base with Vientos, his ability to adapt to a new position becomes even more important. A shortstop at American Heritage High School, he was drafted as such but was transitioned to third base by 2018, his second year in the system. He exclusively played the hot corner until 2021, when the Mets began playing him in left field and first base. His time at both is limited, but he would seem to be a better fit in the infield than in the outfield. Vientos is not unathletic or out of shape by any means, but he comes across as low energy and lacks quick-twitch muscle. While his above-average arm gets wasted at first, his other defensive liabilities would be less exposed there.
At first glance, the outfield probably isn’t the best idea, but this is the same organization that is fine with Dominic Smith playing in the outfield, so Mark Vientos can likely wing it as well.
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (Triple-A)
2021 Season: 14 G (13 GS), 77.2 IP, 55 H, 31 R, 27 ER (3.13 ERA), 15 BB, 74 K, .249 BABIP (Low-A/Double-A/High-A)
Player of the Week roughly two months ago, Walker has posted a 2.39 ERA in 26.1 innings with Binghamton and a 5.84 ERA in 12.1 innings in Syracuse since then. His debut with Syracuse was not particularly great, allowing 8 earned runs in 4.1 innings, but his latest was the polar opposite, throwing eight no-hit innings against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders before being replaced by Geoff Hartleib in the ninth- who proceeded to not only blow the no-no, but blew the game period by allowing three runs. Walkers 84 game score was the highest not only of his career but was among the highest that any Mets minor league pitcher has thrown this season.
The left-hander came into the season very much a wild card because of his lack of innings. Including this season, Walker has a total of 139.1 innings since being drafted in 2017 thanks to a car accident that cost him most of the 2019 season and then COVID-19, which cost him all of the 2020 season. On the surface, his pitching profile is not particularly exciting, but he got it done in High-A, got it done in Double-A, and hopefully will get it done in Triple-A over the coming weeks. His fastball, curveball, and changeup all grade out as average or below offerings, but thanks to some deception in his mechanics and the movement on his pitches, everything plays up.
How much further will Walker be able to ride his current streak of success? Given the rate that the Mets have gone through not only starting pitchers, but relievers, an MLB call up would not be surprising for the 26-year-old lefty. Given his lack of plus stuff, I don’t know if he would thrive in the majors, but it’s worth a try under the right conditions.
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
Week Nine (June 29-July 4): Mark Vientos/David Griffin
Week Ten (July 6-July 11): Jaylen Palmer/J.T. Ginn
Week Eleven (July 13-July 18): Jaylen Palmer/Connor Grey
Week Twelve (July 20-July 25): Jose Peroza/Justin Lasko