Amid a stretch where the Mets have lost a lot more than they have won and struggled offensively, general manager Billy Eppler made a change Wednesday morning, hoping to provide a spark.
Mets’ Mark Vientos is returning to the major leagues
According to Jeff Pasan of ESPN, the Mets are calling up the top prospect with no corresponding move announced yet.
The Mets selected Vientos with the 59th pick of the 2017 MLB draft, and he quickly blossomed into one of the top prospects in their system.
In 2022, Vientos hit .280 with 24 home runs and 72 RBIs for Triple-A Syracuse while being one of two Mets prospects selected for the All-Star Futures game.
On September 10th, the Mets called up Vientos, who struggled in his first taste of big-league action going just six for 36 with one home run and three RBIs.
The Mets sent the Florida native back down to Syracuse to start the 2023 season, and all he did was hit. In 38 games, Vientos batted .333 with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs while cutting his strikeout rate down from 28.5% in 2022 to 20.4% in 2023.
With the Tampa Bay Rays expected to start a left-handed opener tonight, Vientos could join the starting lineup tonight.
What does this mean for the Mets?
The hope is that Vientos can provide a jolt of pop into an offense that, besides Pete Alonso, has struggled to hit the long ball. What becomes truly interesting, though, is where Vientos will play.
On MLB.com, Vientos is listed as a third-baseman and first-baseman. Both those positions are pretty secure, with Alonso and Brett Baty playing daily. He could slot in as the designated hitter, but who does he replace in the three-person rotation of Daniel Vogelbach, Tommy Pham, and Eduardo Escobar?
Vogelbach has been quietly outstanding this season, hitting .250 with a .376 OBP, so he is probably safe, which leaves Escobar and Pham. While Escobar has hit slightly better than Pham, the latter’s ability to play the outfield will likely save his spot on the roster.
Of course, the more likely move would be to option back down Michael Perez, but that move could be reserved for calling up Gary Sanchez before his opt-out deadline on Friday, which still leaves the aforementioned Escobar as the odd man out.
Regardless of what roster moves the Mets decide to make to incorporate him, hopefully, Vientos can spark a lineup that has been dormant for the past few weeks.