Name: Jesus Baez
Weight: 180 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, January 15, 2022 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
2022 Stats: 54 G, 186 AB, .242/.341/.403, 45 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 8/14 SB, 26 BB, 46 K, .286 BABIP (Foreign Rookie)
Sixteen-year-old Jesus Baez was signed out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on January 15, 2022, the first day of the 2022 international signing period. He turned 17 a few weeks later and was assigned to the Dominican Summer League a few months later. Suiting up for both of the Mets’ DSL squads, the infielder appeared in 54 games over the summer, hitting .242/.341/.403 with 7 home runs, 8 stolen bases in 14 attempts, and 26 walks to 46 strikeouts.
Jesus Baez doesn’t look like the kind of player who has massive raw power, but his big right-handed swing gets the most of his 5’10”, 180-pound frame. He stands slightly open at the plate, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head. Using a big leg kick, he has a big swing that has registered exit velocities over 100 MPH. The bat speed seems average at best and the swing is long, and he has had trouble catching up with mid-90s velocity, but he can punish pitches that he is able to make good contact on.
Defensively, Baez’s arm is well above-average, borderline plus. It gives him the ability to play shortstop despite only average range for a middle infielder and so defensive actions and instincts. Should he eventually be moved off of shortstop, his arm would fit at third base.
Another lottery ticket!
The most promising of the Mets’ recent crop of IFA signings, Baez posted a solid DSL performance and has the proverbial “buzz” as a name to watch. He’s likely a third baseman long-term but could hit enough where that shift down the defensive spectrum isn’t a problem. All the usual caveats about betting on recent IFA signings apply, but this is the name to bet on in this system at the moment
Perhaps the most interesting prospect to come out of the 2022 IFA signing period, Baez has shown glimpses of intriguing pull side power during his first taste of professional baseball with the DSL Mets in 2022. While he is likely to move from shortstop to third base as he gets older, the power potential he has shown to date suggests he may profile well there down the line. As with all DSL prospects, a lot will need to go right for Baez to make an impact at the big league level someday, Baez is certainly intriguing as a prospect, and will likely be coming stateside at some point in 2023. After coming stateside, we will know a lot more about Baez as a prospect, and what his potential as a prospect is.
Báez has an interesting base to build a prospect on. He’s shown an ability to do two things in the Dominican Summer League: an ability to play multiple positions and get on base. He had a .341 OBP, and (while playing the vast majority of the time at shortstop) saw time at second and third base too. A good eye and an ability to move around the diamond is a nice floor to build upon as a prospect, especially one that doesn’t turn 18 until February.