The situation with Mark Vientos is similar to Butch Huskey

Butch Huskey
Butch Huskey / David Seelig/GettyImages

He was a big, strong right handed hitter with some pop in his bat but no place to play…no place to play for the New York Mets. He came up as a third baseman but, really, he wasn’t very good there. He tried but it wasn’t pleasant to watch. He could play some first base, but he wasn’t great there and the Mets, of course, already had a presence there. The Mets experimented with playing him in the outfield but he looked lost in the small sample of playing time out there.

Sounds like Mark Vientos, doesn’t it. But while that scenario seemed to have recently play out for Vientos, it was the exact circumstances that happened to Butch Huskey when he was a Met. In fact, Vientos reminds me a lot of Huskey.

Vientos is basically the same type of player as Huskey. Both line drive gap-to-gap hitters with some power. And, for both, the problem is that neither were/are very good with the glove. The difference is that there was no DH yet in the National League when Huskey was with the Mets. And although Vientos was afforded that option, that option was taken away.

Butch Huskey was a seventh round draft pick and rose quickly through the New York Mets organization.

Huskey came up for brief cups of coffee in 1993 at age 21, and then again two years later, with little success.

He broke through in his third season in 1996, hitting .278 with 15 homers and 60 RBI in 118 games, sharing first base with Rico Brogna. The next season he appeared in 142 games, and improved to 24 home runs (second on the club to Todd Hundley) with 81 RBI, spending most of his time uncomfortable in right field. Huskey regressed in 1998, hitting only .252 and dropping to 13 homers and 59 RBI while never fitting in with John Olerud arriving to play first base and Edgardo Alfonzo moving from second to third base.

The Mets, with no place to put him, traded Huskey away to the Seattle Mariners after the ’98 season for no one Mets fans have ever heard of. And that’s a shame. Huskey would spend the 1999 season with the Mariners and the Boston Red Sox and hit a combined .277, 22 home runs and 82 RBI in 119 games.

Mark Vientos was a second round draft pick and succeed at every step of his minor league climb.

Mark Vientos' last two full seasons in AAA, he hit .281, 25 HR, 63 RBI in 2021 and .280, 24 HR, 72 RBI in 2022.

Although he proved he could hit, he also had to battle fellow third base prospect Brett Baty for the job. Baty won the job out of spring training in 2023 and Vientos got reps once Baty went down with an early injury. But, for some reason, Vientos was spending more time on the bench than on the field, even though the Mets were out of contention early on and could have given the young players the chance to prove themselves.

Finally, in September, Vientos got some consistent playing time, and began displaying his power…finishing with nine dingers and 22 RBI in limited action. But he came to 2024 camp ready to take on the role that Huskey could never take on for the Mets.

Huskey was a productive offensive player…perfectly suited for the DH role. The Mets didn’t have that space in the lineup when he was around. They do have that now. But, unfortunately, Huskey is no longer around…and neither is Vientos.