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The 11 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 4, Brett Baty

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Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2019.

Brett Baty
Steve Sypa

Team: GCL Mets/Kingsport Mets/Brooklyn Cyclones

Position: 3B

Born: 11/13/99 (19)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 210 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/R

Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft, 1st Round

2019 Season: 51 G, 188 AB, .234/.368/.452, 44 H, 16 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 35 BB, 65 K, 0/0 SB, .310 BABIP (Rookie/Rookie/Short-A)

Date(s) Seen: August 12, (1-4, 2 BB, 3 K, E), August 13 (0-4, K), August 14 (1-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB, K, E), August 15 (0-5, 4 K), August 16 (3-4, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, RBI, BB), August 17 (1-6, R, 2 K), September 1 (0-4, BB, K), September 10 (0-3, R, BB, 3 K)

The Man

When Brett Baty started attending Lake Travis High School, the coaches of their baseball, basketball, and football teams are began licking their lips- especially their basketball coach, who just happened to be Baty’s father. He excelled in all three sports, and all three coaches could see Baty leading Lake Travis High to championships. He played all three in his freshman year, but dropped football in his sophomore year, despite the fact that coaches from both his and other schools were able to envision him playing on a Division I team in college. By his junior year, Baty abandoned the basketball court in favor of the diamond. Like his prowess in football, Baty wasn’t a bad basketball player, but his dominance on the diamond made it more and more apparent that his future was in baseball.

His junior year was the first in which he concentrated specifically on baseball, and while he was nowhere near bad in his freshman and sophomore seasons, his numbers trended up. As a hitter, he produced a .435/.622/.953 batting line with 12 home runs and as a pitcher, he posted a 1.35 ERA over 33.1 innings, allowing 16 hits, walking 13, and striking out 38. As good as Baty was in prior seasons, he really kicked things up a notch in 2019, his senior season. Helping lead the Cavaliers to a 37-4 record and the Class 6A regional tournament, Baty appeared in 39 games through draft day and is hitting .602/.737/1.306 with 49 walks, 9 strikeouts, 19 home runs, and 10 stolen bases. In addition, he spent time on the mound once again, posting a 0.92 ERA in 53.0 innings pitched, allowing 29 hits, walking 12, and striking out 96.

With their first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Baty, the twelfth player selected overall. He eventually signed for $3.9 million, $466,000 below slot and was assigned to the GCL Mets. His time there was brief, but productive, as he hit .350/.480/.650 in five games. He was then moved up to the Kingsport Mets, where he spent the majority of the season. In 42 games in the Appalachian League, Baty hit .222/.339/.437 with six home runs. In the final week of the season, he got a token promotion to Brooklyn, where he hit .200/.529/.300 in four games and 3-9 in their playoff run.

The Player

At the plate, Baty has a wide base, setting his hands up high and close to his body. Using a moderate leg kick and stride, the ball jumps off his bat with a crack when he makes solid contact. His swing is smooth and easy, generating power through a combination of his own raw strength, his quick bat, and the torque from his lower half. He has a natural feel for hitting and is able to use the entire field, a lesson Kingsport hitting coach Mariano Duncan tried to instill in him by working with him to use the opposite field more. He has a good eye, with an advanced recognition of breaking pitches, and comes to the plate with a plan. He is able to work the count, fouling away pitches, taking close ones, laying off borderline pitches, and generally dueling with the pitcher to get into a favorable count. He is, at times, too passive, and Duncan worked with Baty to be a little more aggressive at the plate during his time at Kingsport.

Defensively, Baty is currently capable third baseman. He is an athletic 6’3”, 210-pounds, possessing the body of the prototypical slugging third baseman. His strongest asset there is his arm, which grades out as well above-average and capable of hitting 90 MPH. His mobility is something of a concern, as he lack much quick-twitch muscle. He is slow to react and reach balls, resulting in balls getting past him, or errors when plays are rushed. Evaluators have concern that he will eventually be forced to move off of third base, either to first base or possibly left or right field, though his below-average speed will be of concern in the outfield as well.

Looking To 2020

Because Baty was held back a year while in the fifth grade, Baty is on the older side for a newly drafted prospect. Born on November 13, he will be turning 20 in a few days. At the age of 20, most comparable prospects have considerably more experience than a single season primarily spent in Rookie ball. While on one hand, throwing a prospect into the deep end can leave a lasting negative impact on their baseball development, they can step up to the challenge and respond. Brett Baty should start the 2020 season with the Columbia Fireflies, and while that is a steep hill to climb, he is an advanced baseball player and should be able to handle the adversity.

The List

5: Andres Gimenez

6: Jaylen Palmer

7: Shervyen Newton

8: Andres Regnault

9: Hansel Moreno

10: Wilmer Reyes

11: Luke Ritter