PORT ST. LUCIE — Mark Vientos was less than two weeks from the top of the Mets’ 40-player roster when Major League Baseball locked out its players.
So when most of his fellow minor leaguers showed up for spring training in February, Vientos was still stuck at home, unable to practice at Mets facilities until owners and the union finalize a new collective agreement on March 10.
“It was definitely tough,” Vientos said Monday before going 0-for-3 in the Mets’ 3-0 loss to the Marlins. “I was looking forward to being here. I was waiting, counting the days, still on social media trying to figure out if this was going to end or not. But I’m just glad it’s over and we’re here.
Vientos felt the burn of the shortened big league camp later on Monday, when he was picked for the minor league camp just over a week after arriving. But before that, the third baseman was trying to make the most of his opportunity.
Of the Mets’ consensus top four prospects — along with Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio — Vientos, 22, is the closest to getting a taste of the major leagues. He made sure of that last year when he had a stellar season, hitting .281 with 25 homers and a .933 OPS in 83 games. He spent most of the year at Double-A Binghamton before being promoted late in the season to Triple-A Syracuse, where he is expected to start this season.
“Obviously I believe I’m capable of getting to the major leagues, but that’s something I can’t control,” Vientos said when asked about his goals for 2022. I’m just here to work hard, learn and improve.”
To give himself a better chance of reaching the big leagues sooner, Vientos added left field and first base to his repertoire last season. He worked with minor league outfield coordinator and former Met Matt den Dekker on positioning and reading balls early on, becoming more comfortable with left field by the end of the season. year.
“My goal is to be in this lineup, so if I can play any position they need that day, that’s better for me,” he said.
Although the 6ft 4in Vientos could prove to be a trade chip for the winning Mets now – he insisted he paid no attention to trade rumors – his bat could also help him find a way to Queens before long.
“Very impactful young man,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I can see why everyone is so excited about him. Very fluid, good batting skills and really defensive. He has a chance to be a hard hitting guy for us on the road.
New York Post