What to expect from Brett Baty

What to expect from Brett Baty

The Mets needed a slugging third baseman. They happened to have the second best hot corner prospect in all of baseball at Triple-A, and now he’s going to the Majors.

New York plans to call up No. 19 general prospect Brett Baty for his major league debut, Anthony DiComo reported Tuesday. The 22-year-old joins the big club after injuries to Eduardo Escobar (left oblique pinch) and Luis Guillorme (left groin injury) left it thin at third base.

Baty’s promotion may seem aggressive at first, given he just joined Triple-A Syracuse on August 8, but the Mets probably couldn’t have gotten the left-handed slugger at a better time.

Between June 1 and August 7, Baty led all Double-A-hitters with 16 home runs and 131 bases in total, finishing fourth in average (.351), third in slugging (.630) and third in OPS (1,072 ) over 53 games with Binghamton. He also didn’t slow down after his promotion, hitting 8-for-22 (.364) over six games for Syracuse.

Drafted by the Mets with 12th overall pick in 2019, the Texas native has shown an above-average hit and power tool with a smooth swing from the left that allows him to take punches on all fields. He has standard strikeout percentages (about 25 percent) for someone with his pop, while impressive run percentages have helped him consistently produce solid percentages on base at every stop in the Mets chain.

The biggest point Baty has emphasized lately has been his ability to lift the ball and make the most of his at least impressive brute force. His 55.8 percent ball percentage was the highest among the Mets Minor League qualifiers in 2021, and with so many worm burners, he was limited to just 12 home runs between Binghamton and High-A Brooklyn. That number of home runs is already at 19 in 2022, as Baty has increased his fly-ball percentage from 21.6 percent to 30.4 percent.

“Last year I got a little jumpy,” Baty told MLB Pipeline in the spring. “I saw 95 on the radar and I thought, ‘I’m going to get this.’ Now I just let it come to me, let the ball travel and stay inside myself.”

A former high school football and basketball player, Baty’s athleticism has translated into a solid defensive third baseman, and he’s got the sideways footwork to cover enough ground in the infield corner. His arm strength gives him a third plus and will be Major League ready upon arrival. That casting ability has helped him during brief glances into left field in 2021 and 2022; in fact, last Friday, he registered an outfield assist on a play at the plate in his first Triple-A game on the grass.

That defensive versatility is enviable, but it’s not on the same level as Escobar or Guillorme. The former has played in all four infield-spots at various times in his 12-year career in the Dutch big league, while the latter has long been known as a defensive wizard in the field. Given his Minor League experience, it is highly likely that Baty will only be third base in Queens.

After all, New York’s No. 2 prospect is the future of the position. Even if they’re healthy, the Mets third basemen have batted for a collective 84 wRC+ (23rd best in MLB) this season, meaning Baty could also be an upgrade from the Mets hot corner gift – a gift that fights for an NL East title and the club’s first World Series crown since 1986.

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