2023 MLB Fantasy: Can Mark Vientos Be a Difference Maker with Pete Alonso Headed to IL?

Mark Vientos of the New York Mets

Injuries in Major League Baseball can be a curse for some, but a blessing for others. While the Mets will need to adjust with the temporary loss of Pete Alonso, infielder Mark Vientos may be able to benefit. But, should you snare Vientos given that the 23-year-old may see more playing time in the coming weeks? Let’s take a closer look at the young slugger.

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A Look at Vientos

The Mets called 1B/3B Mark Vientos up last month after the 23-year-old tore up with AAA with Syracuse. Vientos slashed .333/.416/.688 with 13 home runs, 24 extra base hits, and 37 RBI over 38 games and essentially forced his way up to the Majors and in turn, join fellow youngsters Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez.

Since that callup, things have been quiet on the Vientos front. The 23-year-old’s seen little time at the plate for a Mets team that’s struggled to receive production at the plate. Heading into play on June 9, Vientos saw just 39 plate appearances at the plate and hit just .162 at the plate.

There’s been much talk about why the Mets have been unwilling to give Vientos regular playing time. That’s fair, but Vientos has not been sharp at the plate. The 23-year-old owns poor Chase% (36.8%) and Whiff% (36.2%) rates, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s seen a steady diet of breaking balls.

Vientos has seen the breaking ball an extraordinary 46% of the time thus far, the same percentage that he’s seen fastballs. The 23-year-old can torch mistakes, but it’s a different story when pitchers find and exploit a weakness. Case in point came on June 9 in the fourth inning, when Braves RHP Spencer Strider made Vientos swing at two sliders out of the zone after beating him on a called three with the slider earlier in the game. Before that called strike, Strider fed him fastballs before the righty switched it up and fooled the slugger.

Vientos loves to beat up on fastballs, but MLB pitching is much different than AAA pitching. Hence, it’s not a shock to see pitchers set him up with the fastball, then go with a steady stream of sliders to catch Vientos out in front. This is something that he’ll need to adjust to at the Major League level, but it’s also hard when one is not seeing pitching at this level on a regular basis.

That will likely change in the coming days, as Pete Alonso is reportedly set to hit the IL. Now, the 23-year-old may get his first extended look in the bigs.

2023 Fantasy Outlook

Vientos didn’t have much in the way of fantasy value prior to Alonso’s injury, just off the fact that the 23-year-old hasn’t played much. The Mets corner infielder has only 39 plate appearances to his name, as Daniel Vogelbach‘s seen much of the action against right-handed hitters. Even though Vogelbach had a paltry .582 OPS in May and an even lighter .297 in June, he’s still been the primary DH option for the Mets thus far.

But with Alonso now slated to be out for at least a “few weeks,” Vientos has the opportunity to not only receive more playing time, but establish himself as the future DH of the Mets. However, the 23-year-old needs to make adjustments at the plate.

Until then, it’s best to wait on Vientos. But if he can get more comfortable at the plate with more reps, he could be an intriguing power source.

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