What to expect from Brett Baty

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

New York plans to call 19th overall prospect Brett Baty ahead of his Major League debut, Anthony DiComo reported Tuesday. The 22-year-old joins the big club after injuries to Eduardo Escobar (left oblique tightness) and Luis Guillorme (left groin sprain) left him scrawny at third base.

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

In the period between June 1 and August 7, Baty led all Double-A hitters with 16 homers and 131 total bases and ranked 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, going 8-for-22 (.364) in six games for Syracuse.

Drafted by the Mets with the 12th overall pick in 2019, the Texas native showed above-average striking and power tools with a smooth left-sided swing that allows him to catch shots in all areas. He held standard strikeout rates (around 25%) for someone with his pop, while impressive walk rates helped him consistently produce strong on-base percentages at every stop in the Mets’ chain.

The biggest focal point for Baty lately has been his ability to lift the ball and make the most of his at least impressive raw power. His 55.8% rushed ball rate was the highest among the Mets Minor League playoffs in 2021, and with so many wormburners, he was limited to just 12 homers between Binghamton and High-A Brooklyn. That homerun total is already at 19 in 2022, as Baty increased his fly-ball rate from 21.6% to 30.4%.

“Last year I was a little nervous at prom,” Baty told MLB Pipeline in the spring. “I saw 95 on the radar, and I was like, ‘I’ll go get that. Now I let it come to me, I let the ball travel and I stay inside me.

A former high school football and basketball player, Baty’s athleticism has translated into making him a solid defensive third baseman, and he has the lateral footwork to cover enough ground in the corner of the infield. His arm strength gives him a third more tool and will be Major League ready when he arrives. That throwing ability has helped him during brief left-field looks in 2021 and 2022; in fact, he recorded an outfield assist on a home plate play last Friday in his first Triple-A game on grass.

This defensive versatility is enviable, but it is not at the same level as Escobar or Guillorme. The former played all four spots on the pitch at various points in his 12-year big league career while the latter has long been known as a defensive magician all around the land. Given his Minor League experience, Baty is very likely to be third base only in Queens.

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

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