Mark Vientos had one of the more promising years from offensive players in the New York Mets farm system this past season. However, his defense left a lot to be desired.
In his first full year as a third baseman down in the New York Mets minor league system, 18-year-old Mark Vientos struggled defensively. After playing mostly shortstop in 2017, the Mets wisely moved him to the hot corner for all of 2018.
Why is this wise? The Mets already have Amed Rosario in the major leagues cementing himself as one of the core members of the team. Ahead of Vientos on the prospect depth chart is yet another shortstop, the franchise’s number one minor leaguer, Andres Gimenez.
The results of this move were not promising on the defensive side of things. Vientos committed 13 errors in 133 opportunities. He finished the year with a poor .902 fielding percentage, showing early on in his professional career that perhaps a position changed is needed.
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It’s certainly too soon to write Vientos off as a butcher with a glove. He has only played 68 games professionally at third base. In two years, he may be more than servicable.
The 2018 campaign wasn’t all bad for Vientos. When he wasn’t on the infield dirt with a glove on his hand, he was at the plate and hitting well.
In only his second professional season, Vientos made noise in the Mets minor leagues. Thanks to his season slash line of .287/.389/.489 and 11 home runs in only 262 plate appearances, he’s now the clear favorite to take over at third base in the future; unless of course, they move him elsewhere.
It’s not uncommon to see a minor league swap positions early on. Heck, big leaguers do it, too. Third base isn’t as easy as some guys make it look. And even though Vientos is an experienced shortstop, that doesn’t mean he’s cut out for the left side of the infield.
Also at third base in the Mets minor leaguers right now of note are David Thompson and Will Toffey. Thompson missed a large portion of 2018 due to injuries and Toffey only reached AA when the Mets acquired him from the Oakland Athletics in the Jeurys Familia trade. Neither is viewed as an unstoppable force moving toward the major leagues. However, with Todd Frazier‘s contract set to expire after 2019, there’s a good chance we see one of them start often in 2020.
As for Vientos, expect to see more of him at third base in 2019. Eventually, a spot in left field may suit him best.
What the Mets can’t do is teach Vientos a position for years in the minor leagues then decide to put him elsewhere once it’s time to play in the big leagues.
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Wherever they decide to put him, it’s essential Vientos gets to experience the spot to the fullest.