Mark Vientos the latest Mets prospect to show out with towering homers


March 4, 2023 | 6:46 p.m

JUPITER, Fla. — After Ronny Mauricio and Brett Baty came off the bench, it was Mark Vientos’ turn Saturday to run with the Mets sight stick and destroy opposing pitching.

“Swaggy V,” as the clubbies call him, blew up two home runs and became the Mets’ latest promising young hitter making noise.

In the early weeks of spring training, the team’s top talent behaved like top talent.

“Finally,” Vientos said after his first two things of spring. “The other day I was playing around with Brett and Ronnie. I was like, ‘You guys have some, I need to get one.’ Today I finally have two.”

In the Mets’ first nine Grapefruit League games, Mauricio, Baty and Vientos are a combined 18-for-47 (.383) with six home runs.

Vientos, a corner infielder who also gets his feet wet in outfield, got off to a slow start before crushing three of the game’s five hardest hit balls in a 15-4 win over the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Mark Vientos celebrates March 4 during the Mets spring training game against the Marlins.
Mark Vientos hit two home runs on March 4 in the Mets spring training game against the Marlins.

Against left-hander Jesus Luzardo, right-hander Vientos hit a 107.7-mile single to center in the first inning.

After striking in the third inning, he hit to dead center in the fourth and fifth innings against two right-handers, Justin Evans and Dylan Floro. His second in particular was a Doubtless, which covered an estimated 469 feet.

For Vientos, who has tremendous power in upfield, sending the pitches straight back to the middle was an encouraging sign.

“In the past two days I have tried to feel something with my approach. And obviously [going up the middle is] how work begins,” says the 23-year-old. “It used to be, ‘Okay, this is starting to feel good.’ … So I was just trying to feel something on my swing and today was good.”

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The beginning Mets infielders will all head out for Sunday’s World Baseball Classic, so there will be more opportunities for prospects like Vientos to prove themselves, though there are more questions about the slugger’s glove than his bat.

Of the 16 major league games Vientos played in September last season, only two came at third base.

He struggled at the spot in Triple-A and began moving to first base, then was promoted and consistently used as a DH or pinch hitter.

Vientos, leaning on Eduardo Escobar at camp, started on the third Saturday.

He said he’s been working on his first-step agility and speed this offseason and trying to improve defensively.

Mark Vientos, left, is one of the Mets’ top picks.

“My focus [this offseason] is to play in the big leagues every day,” said Vientos. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s first or third, I want to play every day and help this team as much as I can.”

Baty is also a third baseman, although Vientos’ true competition in camp may be Tommy Pham and Darin Ruf, both right-handers who made careers beating opposing left-handers.

Pham also helps in left field while Ruf, who was sidelined early with a wrist problem, could be the backup first baseman.

“We all know the hit tool has a chance to be pretty good,” manager Buck Showalter said of Vientos. “He works hard [defensively]. … I think he understands the importance of being someone you can trust on both sides of the ball.”

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