Discover more from Just Mets
Mets clinch a losing record in gritty loss to Phillies, plus Mark Vientos may be starting to get it
Also, Jeff McNeil finished a homer shy of a cycle, and Starling Marte is inching closer to a late return to the Mets
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets fell to the Phillies 5-4 in the opener of their four game weekend series in Philadelphia (Box)
The loss was the Mets 82nd of the season, ensuring they will finish 2023 with a losing record and for the 35th time in their history
LHP David Peterson got the start and allowed four earned runs in four innings
Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos drove in four of Philly’s five runs
Jeff Brigham served up a solo homer to Castellanos in the 6th that proved to be the difference
Jeff McNeil collected three hits in the loss and finished a homer shy of the cycle
Mark Vientos homered again, crushing a 6th inning solo shot that at the time tied the game at four
Grant Hartwig contributed 2.1 perfect innings in relief
Francisco Lindor stole two bases to reach the nice round number of 30 on the season
Injury Updates 🏥
Starling Marte (groin) is expected to begin a rehab assignment next week, and could rejoin the Mets in the final series of the regular season
Over his last 18 games, Mark Vientos is hitting .303/.346/.606 with one triple, six home runs and 10 RBI
Brandon Nimmo has a five-game hitting streak. He’s hitting .435/.480/.696 with a homer and three RBI during that span
Over his last 52 games, Jeff McNeil is hitting .309/.351/.483 with nine doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 21 RBI
Prospect Watch 🌾
The Binghamton Rumble Ponies advanced to the Eastern League Championship Series with their sweep of the Somerset Patriots (Read)
RHP Dominic Hamel (no. 16 prospect, Double-A Binghamton): 7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K
RHP Mike Vasil (no. 9 prospect, Triple-A Syracuse): 4 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K
Mets Minor League Awards
INF Jett Williams is the Mets minor league player of the year
RHP Christian Scott is the Mets minor league pitcher of the year
All awards can be seen here (release)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (71-82) at Phillies (84-69)
Where: Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia, PA
Starting pitchers: LHP David Peterson (3-8, 5.22 ERA) vs. LHP Ranger Suárez (3-6, 3.80 ERA)
When: 7:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: Apple TV+
Mark Vientos’ power is starting to get more attention✍️
It took him a while, but buoyed by the opportunity to play each and every day, right-handed swinging Mark Vientos is starting to establish himself as a big-league run producer.
The Norwalk, CT born slugger was the Mets’ 2nd round pick in the 2017 draft, and his production at every level of the Amazins’ minor league system had the team excited about his future.
In 467 minor league games Vientos slashed .277/.347/.499 with 92 home runs and 325 RBI. He hit 24 or more homers in each of his final two full minor league seasons, and prior to being promoted this summer he was enjoying his best campaign yet, slashing .306/.387/.612 with 16 homers and 50 RBI in only 61 games.
Unfortunately, until recently, the sport’s highest level has been exceedingly difficult for Vientos to master. His small cup of coffee late in 2022 did not go well, and the early returns on his big league performance this summer were not encouraging.
As discussed ad nauseum on this platform and several others, however, Vientos’ spotty playing time could not have helped him figure out the Major League level.
That hypothesis is gaining more credence now, as once the Mets fell out of contention they essentially handed Vientos a full-time starting job, and he’s sure taking advantage of his opportunity.
Thus far in September, the 23-year-old is slashing .288/.333/.576 with five home runs, 9 RBI, and a triple. The tremendous raw power and ability he displayed coming up through Binghamton and Syracuse is finally showing itself at this level.
September in Queens has essentially turned into a tryout camp for several young players—-most notably the ‘Baby Mets’, of which Vientos is front and center.
Defensively he can play both corner infield positions but is not particularly skilled at either, and his best position is clearly hitter. And in the batters box, Vientos brings an element the Mets don’t really have enough of. Legitimate tape measure right-handed power. Outside of Pete Alonso, New York is not exactly a feared home run hitting team.
Heading into 2024, Vientos and fellow youngster Francisco Alvarez have the ability to change that in a hurry. Over the last two games alone Vientos has clobbered three long balls, and he’ll look to keep that going over the weekend in a good hitters park in Philly.
It’s obviously far too early to know what Vientos’ hot September will mean heading into 2024. You always hear to be careful about what you see in March and September. That said, a dominant four weeks in clearly better than a slugging slog to the finish, and I for one am excited to see what Vientos can accomplish moving forward.
Around the League 🚩
Tampa Bay got a strong outing from Zach Eflin and beat the Angels 5-4, pulling to within 1.5 games of the Orioles in the AL East
The Brewers got long balls from Blake Perkins and Victor Caratini in their 6-0 blanking of St. Louis
Max Fried was terrific across six innings and Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies both homered in the Braves 10-3 win over Washington
Gerrit Cole allowed only one run in eight innings in a Yankees win over the Blue Jays