Buck Showalter had a tough time formulating a lineup Wednesday, with extra bats that he believes warrant enjoying time than there was enjoying time to dish out.
Upon the Mets calling up Mark Vientos, Showalter inserted the hot-hitting high prospect into the lineup at third base and gave breathers to lefty-hitting Jeff McNeil and Brett Baty.
After Vientos responded with a game-tying home run in his season debut, the lineup will change into more and more troublesome to fill out as a result of Vientos may not let Showalter sit him on the bench.
Vientos drilled a seventh-inning, two-run dinger to middle subject hours after the Mets known as him up in an 8-7, 10-inning win over the Rays at Citi Discipline.
“Feels good to get the primary one out of the best way,” Vientos mentioned after going 1-for-4, together with a homer in opposition to righty Ryan Thompson that tied the sport within the seventh. “First hit, first residence run. Now I can simply go on the market and play.”
A minimum of, he hopes he can play. In summoning the slugging Vientos, whose bat earned the promotion, the Mets created an odd roster alignment with two gamers (Vientos and Daniel Vogelbach) who don’t have a real place.
However they’ll afford to sacrifice flexibility if Vientos continues to hit like this.
The 23-year-old had demolished Triple-A pitching, posting a 1.104 OPS with 13 residence runs in 38 video games, which was particularly tantalizing for a Mets offensive assault that has struggled, significantly with energy.
Vientos arrived in Queens with a poor defensive popularity as a nook infielder.
Baty has dealt with third and Pete Alonso is entrenched at first base. Vientos’ finest wager for enjoying time will come at DH, the place Vogelbach has hit effectively in opposition to righty pitchers.
How a lot will Vientos play?
“We’ll see. It’s sort of as much as him,” Showalter mentioned of Vientos, who made an early assertion towards incomes extra enjoying time. “Play good and we’re all the time on the lookout for methods to get good gamers in there.”
What’s Vientos anticipating?
“To be enjoying,” Vientos mentioned earlier than the sport. “To be prepared.”
Vientos debuted on the finish of final season, when he primarily served as a DH or pinch hitter and nearly solely performed in opposition to lefties.
He earned his method to a debut as a big-time energy bat however one who whiffed too usually, hanging out 28.6 p.c of the time with Syracuse final yr.
He entered the offseason with a objective of slicing down on that quantity and has change into extra selective on the plate. He struck out in 20.5 p.c of his Triple-A plate appearances this season.
“As an alternative of chasing and swinging at pitches the pitchers need me to swing at, ready for my pitch and never attempting to overlook it,” mentioned Vientos, who hit .167 with one residence run in 16 main league video games final season. “I really feel like I’m in a greater spot, like I’m so much higher than I used to be final yr.”
The Mets are open to a savior, and Vientos certain appeared like one shortly. Their offense didn’t hit a house run of their total weekend, four-game collection cut up in Washington, and the assault had lacked an influence bat like Vientos’.However the place he finds time turns into a serious query across the membership.
Wednesday, he performed third base in opposition to an opposing lefty (Josh Fleming) as Baty sat and switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar performed second base. The Mets will see a righty Thursday (Taj Bradley), which usually would imply Baty performs third, McNeil performs second, both Mark Canha or Tommy Pham performs left subject and Vogelbach serves because the DH.
If Vientos continues to carry out, he might take away time from any of the above, aside from McNeil.
The win-now Mets possible will subject lineups quickly containing three extremely touted rookies in Vientos, Baty and Francisco Alvarez. The three overlapped loads going by way of the system and took batting apply collectively hours earlier than the sport.
Vientos and Alvarez then appeared like they have been taking BP with homers within the seventh and ninth, respectively.
“We’re mainly brothers,” Vientos mentioned of Alvarez and Baty. “It offers us that confidence that we go on the market and we simply do our factor, similar to we have been doing at Triple-A.”