No. 7 prospect Vientos called up, but for how long?

September 11th, 2022

MIAMI -- In need of a spark amid a skid that has cost them their lead in the NL East, the Mets on Saturday called up infielder , their No. 7 prospect. He made his first Major League start in Sunday’s series finale against the Marlins.

Vientos is from the Miami area -- he was born in Pembroke Pines and was drafted by the Mets out of American Heritage High School in Plantation -- so his MLB debut will come in front of his family and friends. He's expecting more than 50 people at Sunday's game.

"Honestly, I couldn't have dreamt it any better," Vientos said Sunday. "It's awesome to be in my hometown and have a lot of people at the game, the home support. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to be here with the Mets right now and get my career started."

Vientos' callup comes as the silver lining to the placement of outfielder on the 10-day injured list with a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger. Marte, an All-Star this season, was hit in the hand by a 96 mph fastball from Mitch Keller in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. His placement on the injured list is retroactive to Wednesday, so the earliest he can return is Sept. 17. In the three days since he was injured, Marte has not been able to participate in baseball activities.

Vientos, 22, slashed .280/.358/.519 with 24 homers, 16 doubles and 72 RBIs in 101 games with Triple-A Syracuse this year. Defensively, Vientos has split time between third base and first base for Syracuse.

But even with Marte out for at least the next week, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Vientos will remain in the Majors over that stretch. Infielder Luis Guillorme (left groin strain) is nearing a return from his rehab assignment at Syracuse. Guillorme’s contributions have been one of many positive developments for the Mets this season, as he’s hit .283 over 86 games while providing key defense in the infield.

“I'm committed to him helping us win, hopefully,” manager Buck Showalter said on Saturday. “That type of stuff seems to take care of itself. So no, I'm not in a position to make any commitment to stuff like [Vientos staying up for a prolonged period].”

For Vientos, whom the Mets selected in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft, the key will be translating his Triple-A production (especially those RBIs) to the Major League level. Showalter is likely to slot Vientos into a corner-infield role, though the top prospect also has experience as a designated hitter.

“Good-looking hitter,” Showalter said, “and [he] has made improvements defensively. Driven in a lot of runs -- I like that. That's a lot of runs to drive in in a Minor League season. … I'm glad he's one of us and hopefully, he can help us.”

Vientos, who arrived in Miami around 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday, will bat eighth as the designated hitter in his big league debut. He got some advice from Francisco Lindor before the game Sunday.

"He told me, 'Hey, it's OK to have butterflies. It's OK to be nervous,'" Vientos said. "'Just embrace it -- you're never gonna have another debut again. So just have fun out there.'"