Mets GM Billy Eppler says calling up Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio is 'definitely on our radar'
The Mets head into their three-game homestand against the Colorado Rockies after being swept by the Detroit Tigers and losing nine of their last 11 games. It's clear the offense has been struggling as of late, as they have been shut out in six of their 32 games this season -- tied for the most in the majors with the Kansas City Royals.
Many fans are begging for the team to call up one or both of their prospects, Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio, in the hopes they can help ignite the lineup.
Mets GM Billy Eppler was asked Friday why the team hasn't called up Vientos, as the 23-year-old is slashing .354/.431/.717 with a 1.148 OPS, nine home runs and 26 RBI over 27 Triple-A games, and said that it's "definitely on our radar and something we're thinking about." Eppler noted that Carlos Beltran will be heading to Syracuse to see Vientos and Mauricio play and a potential call up could happen after receiving feedback from the scouting group.
"You know one of the things that we do is always just solicit the opinions of the people that are going through," Eppler said. "So I'm talking to our Triple-A staff or our coordinator staff as they go through Syracuse. I actually talked to Beltran last night, going to send him through there right now too. You want to look at all of the objectives and all of the things that drive the player plan and what you need to see from the player.
"And there's also some other things that kind of come into the calculus, you know, how much can you play the guy, what kind of usage, what kind of roles would you have for him at the major league level. And you're trying to balance that with some loss development opportunity if they're not going to play all that much. It's just something that's definitely on our radar and something we're thinking about. I just wait for the feedback from the group as they go through Syracuse."
Mauricio is also having an impressive start to the Triple-A season, slashing .342/.377/.605 with a .982 OPS, six home runs, 10 doubles, and 17 RBI over 29 games. Naturally a shortstop and therefore blocked by Francisco Lindor at the major league level, the 22-year-old has started to transition to other positions, playing in seven games at second base since April 21. Eppler noted that Mauricio has been solid at second base so far, but the team doesn't want to move him around too much at this time so he can continue to develop.
"Well the feedback I got this morning, I was on a call with all of the player development coordinators, and the feedback I got from Miguel Cairo was really strong at second base," Eppler said. "Will there be a time where we introduce something else? Perhaps. Try to take a systematic approach to this and not give him too much, too soon because that can start to carry over in the offense.
"What we were seeing early with Ronny was really good decision making in the batter's box. Really low chase percentages for his accustomed level and swinging at balls when they're over the white. That's just really what we want to drive. When you introduce multi positions and things, that can start to pull away from that a little bit. We want to make sure it's a systematic approach. Ultimately, would we like to build more flexibility in him? Sure. But I think at some point in time I want to have that conversation with him 1-on-1 before we speak about it publicly."
Eppler went on to say that the team wants to "try to stay away from bringing a guy up and bringing a guy up too early, and then having to send them back down." That ideology has been displayed this season with waiting to call up Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez, as the two have remained with the Mets since being promoted. Eppler spoke highly of the two rookies' efforts so far this season, but made it clear that their development is still just as important as to when they were in the minors.
"I thought they've been great," Eppler said. "I thought they've really taken every opportunity they've been given. They're playing with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, they care, there's a lot of purpose behind what they're doing. Been very pleased with them so far."
Eppler added: "Ultimately, what we're trying to do is get them as much repetition and get them as much opportunity as possible. Because like I was saying earlier, you have to kind of weigh promotions with the opportunity cost and if they're not going to play regularly, you're losing development time and you're losing development opportunities. Because those objectives, they carry with you. You bring the same objectives that you had in Triple-A or Double-A. As players progress, they carry with you up here. They still have to be addressed, they still have to be worked on, they still have to be thought of. You want to make sure they're out there playing, so that's kind of top of the line for us."