PORT ST. LUCIE — Mark Vientos was less than two weeks away from the peak of being included in the Mets’ 40-man roster when Major League Baseball locked out its players.
When most of his minor league peers reported for spring training in February, Vientos was still stuck at home and unable to train at the Mets’ facilities until the owners and union struck a new contract on March 10.
“It was definitely tough,” Vientos said Monday before taking a 3-0 lead in the Mets’ 3-0 loss to the Marlins. “I really wanted to be out here. I’ve been waiting, counting the days, always on social media trying to find out if this will be over 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 voted into the minor league camp just over a week after arriving. But before that, the third baseman tried to make the most of his opportunity.
Of the Mets’ top four prospects — along with Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio — 22-year-old Vientos is the closest to the taste of the big leagues. He made sure of that last year when he put together a breakout season, hitting .281 with 25 homers and .933 OPS in 83 games. He spent most of the year at Double-A Binghamton before being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse in the late season, where he is expected to start this season.
“Obviously I think I’m capable of making it to the big leagues but I can’t control that,” Vientos said when asked about his goals for 2022. “I’m just here to work hard and learn and get better.”
To give themselves a better chance of reaching the big leagues earlier, Vientos added left field and first base to their repertoire last season. He worked with minor league outfield coordinator and former Met Matt den Dekker on positioning and reading balls at first go to become familiar with left field by the end of the year.
“My goal is to be in that line-up, so it’s better for me if I can play any position they need that day,” he said.
Though the 6-foot-4 Vientos could prove to be a trade chip for the win-now Mets — he insisted he doesn’t heed trade rumors — his bat could also help him find a way to Queens before long.
“Very hitter young man,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I can understand why everyone is so excited about him. Very fluid, good racquet skills and coming really defensively. He has a chance to be an effective guy for us later on.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/21/mets-prospect-mark-vientos-sets-major-league-goal-for-2022/ Mets prospect Mark Vientos sets major league goal for 2022