In the seven games since his recall from the minors after a one-game rehab, Mark Vientos sports a .318/.423/.682 line, thanks in part to a triple and two homers among his seven hits. The other part is that he’s required a .417 BABIP to produce that .318 AVG. But besides being lucky with his hits falling in, has there been anything different with Vientos this time, compared to earlier in the year? Let’s dig into the numbers.

My complaint with Vientos is that seemingly every PA, he was down either 0-2 and 1-2 and virtually no one does very good in those counts. In MLB so far this season, when the PA ends with an 0-2 count, the OPS for the hitter is .409 in 15,304 PA. And it’s not much better when it ends at 1-2, as hitters have a .424 OPS in 24,349 PA. For Vientos this year, the OPS numbers are .500 and .324, respectively.

The raw numbers are bad enough. But in MLB this year, the PA ends at 0-2 9.6% of the time and at 1-2 it ends 15.3% of the time. Together, that’s 24.9% of the time. With Vientos, it ends at 0-2 14.5% of the time and it ends at 1-2 24.3% of the time. Together, that’s 38.8% of the time.

Vientos has been up 26 times since his latest recall. Here’s how his PA ended among the 12 potential pitch counts:

0-0: 1X
0-1: 4X
0-2: 4X
1-0: 1X
1-1: 1X
1-2: 7X
2-0: 1X
2-1: 1X
2-2: 2X
3-0: 1X
3-1: 1X
3-2: 2X

Unfortunately, he’s still falling way behind in the count too many times. His PA ended after 0-2 15.4% of the time and after 1-2 26.9% of the time. If anything, Vientos has been slightly worse in this small sample.

Now, let’s look at his seven hits and see if anything jumps out:

8/29 – Single to LF on 0-0 count
8/29 – Homer to RC on 0-2 count
8/30 – Single to CF on 0-2 count
9/2 – Single to RF on 0-1 count
9/2 – Homer to CF on 3-1 count
9/5 – Triple to RF on 2-1 count
9/6 – Single to LF on 2-0 count

Three of Vientos’ hits came when he was ahead in the count, three came when he was behind and one when the count was even. In other terms, he was 3-7 when ahead in the count, 3-15 when behind in the count and 1-4 when even in the count.

Since his recall, Vientos has been ahead of the count when the PA ended in seven of his 26 trips to the plate, or 26.9% of the time. The MLB average so far this season is 32.8% of the time, so he’s running a deficit here. But in his previous 126 PA, Vientos was ahead in the count on 18.3% of his PA. So there has been some improvement. Is 8.6% a real jump or is it just noise, or statistically insignificant? Reasonable people can disagree here.

Perhaps the most interesting thing in this latest brief sample is that five of his seven hits were either up the middle or to the opposite field, while only two balls were pulled. Previously, 11 of his hits were to the pull side and 12 were either up the middle or to the right side. Neither of his two homers were pulled.

Vientos went on the IL with wrist tendinitis, possibly from when he collided with Francisco Alvarez on a foul pop. Maybe that 11-day break was just what he needed. Or maybe it’s just a young player now feeling like he belongs in the majors. Perhaps it’s nothing but a small-sample fluke. At this point, none of us knows. At the end of the day, Vientos’ total of 152 PA so far this year in the majors is tiny. And you’re asking for trouble if you slice that even further. But here’s what we have when we do that:

Stint 1 – First MLB promotion this year – 49 PA, .178/.225/.244 (5/17-6/14)
Stint 2 – Second MLB promotion – 77 PA, .206/.234/.315 (7/21-8/15)
Stint 3 – After IL/one-game rehab – 26 PA, .318/.423/.682 (8/27-9/6)

No one should think that Stint 3 is representative of Vientos’ true-talent level. But what if we add Stints 2 & 3 together? We get 103 PA with a .232/.282/.400 line with a .312 BABIP. A .682 OPS is nothing to get excited about – Jeff McNeil has a .692 OPS, which works out to a 92 OPS+. Yet it’s an improvement over what he did both in 41 PA in 2022 (.546 OPS) and a .469 OPS in his first 49 PA this year.

You have to hope that there’s at least another level of improvement that Vientos can reach. To do it, he’s going to have to quit falling behind in the count so often. Getting into better hitters’ counts will help with his 30.3 K%. Now, as a power hitter, Vientos should be expected to strike out a bunch. But he needs a significant improvement from his current 2023 MLB rates of a 30.3 K% and .136 ISO.

4 comments on “Digging into Mark Vientos’ performance since returning from wrist tendinitis

  • ChrisF

    Behind in the count, heart rate up, trying to do good, swing at anything

    its so classic Im sure Bob Dylan has a song about it

    • Brian Joura

      Ha! I love it.

      Well, there’s “Hard Times in New York Town” but I prefer this from “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

      Though you might hear laughing, spinning, swinging madly across the sun
      It’s not aimed at anyone
      It’s just escaping on the run
      And but for the sky there are no fences facing
      And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
      To your tambourine in time
      It’s just a ragged clown behind
      I wouldn’t pay it any mind
      It’s just a shadow you’re seeing that he’s chasing

      Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
      I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
      Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
      In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you

      And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
      Down the foggy ruins of time
      Far past the frozen leaves
      The haunted frightened trees
      Out to the windy beach
      Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow

  • NYM6986

    We have a lot invested in these baby Mets, and Vientos found a new level of play he wasn’t quite mentally ready for when he first came up. He’s got a great chance to shine and show some promise for 2024. He simply has to hit like he did at Syracuse. Getting behind in the count is no way to get on base. Sick of taking strike one and not being more aggressive – every Vogelbach at bat.
    Switching my attention to Mauricio. We Met fans need a young player to explode on the scene. Yes, I know it’s the Mets, but we are certainly due.

  • Metsense

    So far this year Vientos is a disappointment. I am glad that he is having a hot spell but his overall play is troubling. This year in the minors at Syracuse he has a great slash line of 306/387/612/999. In 269 PA he has 16 homeruns or a homerun for 16.8 PA. The the majors in his last 103 PA he has a homerun for 31 PA along with a .683 OPS. That is not a major league starter. Vientos has difficulty with pitch recognition and also recognition of strike zone. I would wonder what his chase rate is. His defense is suspect. The Mets shouldn’t rely on him in 2024 and he should work in the game in a minors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here