Mets minor leaguer can be the balance between Joey Wendle and Mark Vientos

Rylan Bannon isn't one of the extremes like Joey Wendle and Mark Vientos tend to appear.
Feb 27, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA;  New York Mets second baseman Rylan Bannon (58) rounds
Feb 27, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets second baseman Rylan Bannon (58) rounds / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re looking for players to potentially replace Joey Wendle on the New York Mets roster, Jose Iglesias is probably the first name to come to mind. Known for his defensive skills, he profiles perfectly as a backup infielder used for defense.

The importance of defense was something the Mets have made a priority. The signing of Harrison Bader proved they care as much about saving runs as they do scoring them. But at much as they value it, the Mets have also shown they’ll go in a different direction. Carrying J.D. Martinez, DJ Stewart, and Mark Vientos on the roster together for a couple of days certainly goes against the love of defense.

Minor league free agent signing, Rylan Bannon, is much more Vientos than Iglesias. Questionable defense at times in his career, he might actually offer the Mets the best balance. He can play multiple positions and right now, he’s heating up in Syracuse.

Mets minor leaguer Rylan Bannon is a good mix of Joey Wendle and Mark Vientos

Through 99 plate appearances, Bannon is now slashing .250/.384/.550 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI. A good eye at the plate exemplified by his 18 walks versus 22 strikeouts, this isn’t much of a surprise. He has, throughout his professional career, been prone to drawing walks at a high rate.

Where Bannon matches Wendle is with how many positions he plays. Syracuse has used him at second base 3 times, third base 14 times, and in a corner outfield spot another 3 times. He’s getting regular at-bats as a DH, too. Third base is the most important position here as some uncertainty about Brett Baty does linger. Bannon hasn’t been a terrific defender. Neither has Wendle this year.

For the Vientos aspect, we look at his power. His 6 early home runs have shown off some of the pop. He hammered 18 of them last year in Triple-A for the Houston Astros in just over 400 plate appearances. The total was a little higher than he typically has in a year. Nevertheless, he clearly has some pop and it’s showing up in Syracuse.

Bannon’s big downfall is he no longer has minor league options so the leash would be tight on him. Outperforming top Mets prospect Luisangel Acuna this season, his lone advantage is a history of playing third base. Acuna is already on the 40-man roster and bound to see MLB action at some point this year.

The Mets do need a player like Wendle around for his defensive versatility. A slumping bat and inferior defense this season should already have them looking at alternatives. Bannon, who has played limited shortstop, can be that guy. He can steal some bases—something Vientos won’t do often. He can hit for power—an element missing from Wendle’s periodic table.

With Baty playing well at third base and Francisco Lindor barely needing time off, the Mets aren’t in any dire need for a defensive-first utility infielder capable of playing shortstop. The Mets front office has already made some brash moves with the roster. Wendle, if he doesn’t offer them more, could be one of the next casualties and Bannon is a candidate to replace him.