Mark Vientos admitted that he didn’t get much sleep Saturday night — or that there were some nerves ahead of his MLB debut with the New York Mets on Sunday.
Luckily Francisco Lindor wasn’t too far away to provide some words of encouragement.
“He just told me it’s OK to have butterflies. It’s OK to be nervous,” Vientos said of his chat with the star shortstop. “Just embrace it, you’re never going to have another debut again. Just have fun out there.”
Vientos, the organization’s No. 7 ranked prospect, finally got his call to the majors after a big year in Triple-A in which he slashed .280/.358/.519 (.877 OPS) 24 home runs, 72 RBI in 101 games, going 0-for-4 in his first game with the Mets on Sunday.
“Honestly, just looking at it as I’m trying to get better and better every day,” Vientos said of his way, especially after the Mets called up the currently-injured Brett Baty last month. “Just waiting for that call and once I get that opportunity, I’d come here and do my thing. I wasn’t trying to put any focus into it. I was just excited to get the call.”
The move came out of necessity after it seemed like the Mets would do everything in their power to keep the 22-year-old down in the minors for the remainder of the season. Starling Marte’s trip to the IL left New York desperate for a bat as its small-ball offense has been lacking consistency as of late while trying to fend off the Atlanta Braves atop the NL East.
Vientos can play third base and first base — with mixed reviews about his defense as is natural with most young prospects — but he will mainly be used as a designated hitter against left-handed pitchers.
“He is a good-looking hitter and he has made improvements defensively and driven a lot of runs, I like that,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “That is a lot of runs to drive in during a minor league season. We saw him a little bit in the spring and hopefully, he can help us. He has put together a good year statistically at the plate. We are proud of him and he’s got a chance to be a good one.”
As if his call-up couldn’t be any more special, Vientos joined the big club down in Miami against the Marlins — a stone’s throw away (less than 30 miles) from where he grew up and attended school in Plantation.
“I couldn’t have scripted it any other way better. It’s awesome to be in my hometown,” Vientos said. “I’m blessed to be here with the Mets and get my career started.”
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