Going into Spring Training the New York Mets have many of their starting positions already covered around the diamond, which is a great problem to have. However, their bench is a bit unsettled and there will be plenty of competition this spring with players vying for a shot to head back north with the ballclub.
One player in particular who is an interesting case is Mark Vientos. Vientos has a strong argument for being part of the Mets bench as the 23-year-old third baseman hit .280/.358/.519 with 24 home runs and 72 RBIs, and 16 doubles over 101 games in Triple-A last season. It can be argued there really isn't much left for Vientos to prove at the Triple-A level next season as he was an absolute force the vast majority of the year at the dish.
Mark Vientos has a case to break camp with the Mets this spring but there are a few questions that remain
Vientos also provides the Mets with a raw power threat off of the bench that they don't really possess currently and who can regularly DH against left-handed pitching. Speaking of his numbers from last season in Triple-A, Vientos had hit .315/.401/.692 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs against left-handed pitching. The Mets could desperately use a player with Vientos' pedigree against southpaws next season.
But where question marks lie is where would Vientos play defensively outside of being a part-time DH. Vientos has experience at both third base and first base, although his defense is an area that the Mets have shown concern about in the past as he hasn't shown to be a strong defender.
There is also the question of what the Mets do what Darin Ruf. Ruf, who had a forgettable two months with the Mets last season after being acquired from the San Francisco Giants at the Trade Deadline, is still under contract for $3 million this season. Ruf would be Vientos' main competition to make the roster next season as they are essentially the same type of player, but Vientos contains the higher upside of both players.
Vientos will be an interesting case to watch this spring, especially since he will be receiving high-leverage at-bats by participating in this year's World Baseball Classic for Nicaragua. There certainly seems to be more upside than not by having Vientos on the roster, but we'll let that scenario play out in March.