The Mets have announced that they have optioned third baseman Brett Baty and first baseman Mark Vientos to Triple-A Syracuse. Both prospects were under consideration for the club’s Opening Day roster. Infielders Jose Peraza and Jonathan Arauz, catcher Michael Perez, outfielder DJ Stewart, righty Denyi Reyes, and lefty Zach Muckenhirn have also been reassigned to minor league camp.
Baty, 23, made his big league debut in 2022, though he struggled in his 11-game audition. Still, as a consensus top-25 prospect in the sport who had a torrid spring, posting an .885 OPS in 50 plate appearances during camp, Baty drew significant attention as a potential option for the Mets to open the season. Ultimately, with just 17 games of experience above the Double-A level and Eduardo Escobar currently entrenched at third base, the Mets decided Baty would be better served starting the season in the minors.
In the event that Baty comes up later in the season and plays his way into contention for the NL Rookie of the Year award, he could earn a full year of service time by finishing in the top two. If he places in the top three, the Mets will have missed an opportunity to acquire an extra pick in the 2024 draft by not placing Baty on the Opening Day roster. Vientos, meanwhile, has not met the prospect ranking requirement to earn the Mets an extra draft pick even if he had been added to the Opening Day roster, though a top two finish in Rookie of the Year voting could still earn him a full year of service time.
Vientos is in a similar position: also 23, the right-handed slugger struggled in his 16 game cup of coffee at the big league level last season, though with 112 games of experience at the Triple-A level over the past two seasons, and a clearly path to playing time as a DH alongside Daniel Vogelbach, Vientos seemed more likely to make the Opening Day roster than Baty. Nonetheless, he will join Baty at Triple-A to open the season, likely leaving the final spot on the Mets’s bench to either Darin Ruf or Danny Mendick.
While both youngsters seem all but certain to return to the big league roster at some point this season, the Mets have a deep position player corps that leaves the duo getting regular playing time at the Triple-A level until an injury (or under-performance by a big league regular) creates an opportunity in the majors.