The Mets traded for two left-handed hitters last week – Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin – and they remain in the market for a veteran right-handed hitter. But they feel they have an internal fallback if they fail to acquire a Trey Mancini or JD Martinez guy.
It is however not Francisco Alvarez.
The Mets used Mark Vientos more regularly as a Triple-A designated hitter to familiarize him with the role, just in case he was the option after the trade deadline.
Vientos wasn’t used as a DH until June 17 this season, but has been deployed to the position 10 times since. That includes six of his last 11 starts through Thursday. In the other five games, Vientos started at first base three times and third twice. And while the Mets would love his versatility if he were called up to the majors, they have other players in those positions they’re more likely to use.
Pete Alonso, obviously, is the primary first baseman. With the acquisition of Naquin, Jeff McNeil is set to see his outfield playing time reduced and become a much more consistent second baseman. Luis Guillorme will buy even more time at third base, especially against right-handed starters, working with Eduardo Escobar. Vientos would essentially take on the role of JD Davis, who could be used as a trade chip ahead of the 6 p.m. trade deadline on Tuesday.
Vientos is the Mets’ fifth prospect, according to MLB.com. At Triple-A this year, the 22-year-old right-hander entered the weekend hitting .261 with 18 home runs and an .855 OPS. If called up by the Mets, Vientos would receive much of his playing time against lefties, against whom he hit .322 for Syracuse with 10 home runs and 1,090 OPS.
Alvarez is the Mets’ highest-rated prospect, but in his first 13 games since promotion to Triple-A, he was hitting just .146, despite having had two homers and almost as many walks (13) as he had. strikeouts (17) . The Mets have been cautious about accelerating Alvarez’s progress due to his age (20) and concern about inserting him in the middle of a pennant race with all the hype that would ensue. .