The New York Mets’ upper level farm system has some talent in it, but the majority of the team’s best prospects are in the lower levels of minor league baseball. One affiliate that is particularly stacked is the Columbia Fireflies, who we have already checked in on once this season with a look at shortstop Ronny Mauricio. We’ll take our second trip to South Carolina this week with a look at Fireflies’ third baseman Mark Vientos, who is the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.
Vientos, the Mets’ second round pick in 2017 out of American Heritage High School in Florida, has a boat load of offensive potential. In his first full season of professional ball, Vientos hit .287 with 12 doubles, 11 home runs, and 52 RBI’s for low-A Kingsport. The K-Mets are one of the lowest affiliates in the Mets’ system, but Vientos did fine against fellow rookies, posting an outstanding .878 OPS as his power potential flashed nicely.
The Mets bumped Vientos up a level to start this year with Columbia, and he is holding his own in the more competitive South Atlantic League. Vientos is hitting .244 over his first 53 games with the Fireflies, but he does have five home runs and 22 RBI’s along with another 11 doubles. It is worth noting that Vientos played only 60 games last year with a short season affiliate in Kingsport, so he will be pushed far beyond what he is used to as a pro at this point. One positive is that Vientos has gotten better every month, hitting only .227 in April with a homer and seven RBI’s before improving to a .253/4/12 slash line in May.
There are some defensive questions with Vientos, but his offensive potential is very exciting. The Mets won’t rush Vientos along, and he will likely spend this year with Columbia, perhaps earning a trip to High-A St. Lucie late in the season if he gets hot again. Vientos is part of a young collection of talent down at Columbia that could fortify the Mets’ big league roster in a couple of years, and tracking how the Fireflies do this season will be of interest to the more minor league focused fans of the Mets.