Mark Vientos swatted a pair of home runs for the New York Mets on Wednesday in what has been a surprisingly productive month of September. Vientos barely hit in August, his most active month of the year for the Mets. Vientos was just 11 for 65 with a single home run all month. The slash line was an abysmal .169/.191/.262.
An early dose of pumpkin spice latte might’ve woken up Vientos. He was born in 1999, after all. Pumpkin flavored drinks fuel his generation.
Thanks to the pair of home runs against the Miami Marlins, Vientos now has more than half of his 7 home runs in the month of September (7 on the year). He’s hitting .291/.339/.546 this month and looking much more like the rising star he was down in Triple-A.
The NY Mets still need to see more from Mark Vientos but this is promising
One strong month doesn’t erase what he has done previously. His overall numbers at the major league level this year aren’t good. He’s still batting .226/.266/.376. Only 13 of his 42 hits have been for extra bases. The word “only” gets tossed into that description because if he was at least hammering home runs or driving the ball into the gap for doubles, we can almost excuse all of the other shortcomings.
His strikeout rate is still about 7% higher than the league average (29.7% this year vs. 22.5%) and his walk rate makes Amed Rosario look like Kevin Youkilis (The Greek God of Walks). His defensive mishaps and questions have kept him mostly in the DH role for the ball club. This year for the Mets, Vientos has started 28 games there, another 19 at third base, and 4 at first base. He’s clearly not a third baseman and first base is occupied. The DH spot is right there for the taking. What more must he do?
Vientos hasn’t even come close to touching the .306/.387/.612 he hit in Triple-A this season. His development into having true power since the 2021 season helped put him on the map. The poor walk to strikeout ratio has pretty much been there since 2019. It’s a fact we might need to accept about him.
Because he doesn’t bring much speed on the bases or a glove made of gold, giving the Mets good at-bats is all we can ask for. He has only 8 walks in 199 plate appearances for a rate just above 4%. A strikeout slightly more than once every four trips to the plate only works when some walks are cancelling them out or the bat does serious damage. Vientos is finally beginning to put a dent in the piñata. Hungry Mets fan believers waiting for him to knock out the candy should still have their doubts.
If next season is truly a transitional one for the ball club, Vientos can have a role. A DH platoon isn’t the ideal way to handle the spot in the lineup, but against left-handed pitchers, he can get a lot of starts.
On the other hand, if the Mets are more serious about winning in 2024 than Max Scherzer made it seem, it’s going to be difficult to pass off a roster with Vientos and Brett Baty both on it along with some other guys still yet to prove themselves. We all love and enjoy the Baby Mets but even the best parents need a break from the children they love.