HomeTeamsMetsIs Baty's Early Season's Struggles a Reason to Keep Vientos up? 

Is Baty’s Early Season’s Struggles a Reason to Keep Vientos up? 

Mark Vientos is coming off a huge walk-off homerun on Sunday to help the Mets beat the Cardinals. He was rewarded with a start, playing third base on Monday. Although he went hitless, it was noticeable the Mets gave Vientos the start over Baty, facing a right-handedpitcher in Jameson Taillon.  

That got me thinking. With Marte coming back on Thursday, are the Mets considering keeping Vientos over Baty to play third? 

Baty had a hot start to the season and (me included) made a victory lap. We found our third baseman for the future! However, there were some underlying concerns. Baty still struck out too much and although the numbers were solid, he still didn’t hit the ball hard or for power.  Baty then missed some games with a hamstring issue and didn’t return great.  

Over the last 10 games, Baty has hit .143/.250/.179. Good for a .429 OPS. Overall Baty is hitting .256/.322/.317, not showing a lot of power.  

One thing that Baty has done well lately is limiting strikeouts. Over the last 10 games (before Monday), Baty has struck out just four times. An issue he has improved on mightilyso far. Another big plus this year is defense. Baty went from –4 Outs Above Average to Plus 1 so far. A major improvement which Lindor has helped him out with in the Off-season.  

Still, besides some positives, the Bat hasn’t played so far in his MLB career. Baty owns an expected slash line of .216/.278/.338 this year. His hard-hit rate is just 29.9%, lower than it was last season and also way below the league average at 36.3%. 

It seems like Baty is trying to limit the strikeouts, which is down to 16.7% from 28% in 2023. However, so far it cost him his hard-hit rate. Baty had an above average hard-hit rate in 2023 at 44.3%, but it’s all the way down to the aforementioned 29.9%. 

The Fastball isn’t the issue for Baty as he has a hard-hit percentage above 50% on that pitch. But for most young hitters, it’s the secondary stuff. Baty is hitting just .182 against Breaking stuff and .150 against Off-Speed stuff. It’s the same issue last year as he had a combined minus 11 run value against those types of pitches.  

Baty also hasn’t adjusted to not hitting the ball on the ground. After a season he had a Ground ball percentage of 50.4& (MLB Average is 44.9%), he is now having a Ground Ball rate of 55.2%.  

So how about Mark Vientos? Obviously, the major league stint is way too short to really compare the numbers with Baty. Obviously, Vientos won’t give you the defense Baty has given the Mets. Vientos has played 13 games at third base in his time in Syracuse and it’snot like Vientos has been a wizard at the position. Still, should the Mets keep the hot bat of Vientos in the line-up, it’s at third. J.D. Martinez and Pete Alonso aren’t losing at bats for Vientos, so third base is the only spot you can play him. 

Vientos’ bat has been tremendous in Syracuse. So far, he is hitting .302/.388/.535, good for a .923 OPS. Vientos has shown a lot of power, hitting five home runs in just 23 games. He also drove in 22 and he didn’t stop hitting when he was called up. Vientos had the big hit in Sunday’s win, hitting a walk-off homerun. He was 3 for 4 before getting the start on Monday and had hits against good pitchers (Helsley and Liberatore). On Monday Vientos went 0 for 3 with no strikeouts, something he has improved on in AAA too.  

So, the bat is red hot and performed well in Syracuse, but the glove is still a major issue. Vientos has always been seen as a defensive liability and besides the OAA being at minus one his career fielding percentage at third in the minors is .915. Now the fielding percentage is not the major defensive statistic to grade a defender, .915 is very low.  

So, it depends on what the Mets view as important. I know many want to see Wendle being DFA’d, but that’s not going to happen as he is the backup shortstop. If you want to keep Vientos on the roster, it’s probably Baty who will be optioned.  

If the Mets are going with the hot hand and right now the better bat, it’s Vientos. If they want to keep Baty and his defense improvements on the team and hope that Baty will get out of his slump soon, it’s Baty. Baty has lowered his strikeout rate, so now time to hit the ball as hard as his 2023 rate? Hard call for the Mets.

Corne Hogeveen
Corne Hogeveenhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mets fan from the Netherlands since 2006. As a European fan, trying to get to as many games as possible. Mets writer for MLBreport and Co-host of the Queens Connection Podcast. Author of Diary of a Dutch Mets fan


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here