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Top 25 Mets Prospects for 2023: 3B Brett Baty (3)

Next up on our list is a third baseman.

Amazin Avenue Prospect List

Name: Brett Baty

Position: 3B

Born: 11/13/99

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 210 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/R

Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft, 1st Round (Lake Travis High School, Texas)

2022 Stats: 95 G, 420 AB, .315/.410/.533, 114 H, 22 2B, 0 3B, 19 HR, 49 BB, 104 K, 2/6 SB, .398 BABIP (Double-A/Triple-A)

Brett Baty was held back a year while in the fifth grade- a common practice among children who excel athletically at a young age- and had a leg up on his peers as a result. He excelled in baseball, basketball, and football at Lake Travis High to championships, but by the time he entered his senior year, he had abandoned the other sports to focus on baseball- much to the dismay of his father, who coached the Lake Travis basketball team. A two-way star who helped lead the Cavaliers to a 37-4 record and the Texas Class 6A regional tournament in 2019, Baty appeared in 39 games and hit .602/.737/1.306 with 19 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 49 walks to 9 strikeouts, and posted a 0.92 ERA in 53.0 innings on the mound, with 29 hits allowed, 12 walks, and 96 strikeouts.

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 went 3-9 in their playoff run.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, he did not get to play in 2020, but he was invited to the Coney Island alternate site and the fall instructional league, where he impressed many in the organization. When baseball resumed in 2021, the third baseman was assigned to Brooklyn once again, but this incarnation of the Cyclones was a full-season High-A squad, as opposed to the pre-2021 incarnation of the team, which was a Short-A short-season team. Appearing in 51 games, Baty hit .309/.397/.514 with 7 home runs, 24 walks, and 53 strikeouts. He was promoted to the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies in mid-July and hit .272/.364/.424 in 40 games there with 5 home runs, 22 walks, and 45 strikeouts, giving him a batting line of .292/.382/.473 on the season with 12 home runs and 46 walks to 98 strikeouts.

He began the 2022 season back with the Rumble Ponies and spent the majority of the season in Binghamton, hitting an improved .312/.406/.544 in 89 games with 19 home runs, 46 walks, and 98 strikeouts. He was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse in mid-August and only got into a handful of games with them, as the Mets purchased his contract and called him up to the major leagues. He made his MLB debut on August 17 and went 1-4 in his first game, his lone hit a two-run homer of Braves starter Jake Odorizzi to give the Mets a 4-0 lead in what would end up being a 9-7 win. The game would end up being his high water mark, as he struggled in the 11 games he appeared in, eventually tearing the UCL in his right hand while making a routine play, ending his season prematurely as the injury required surgery to repair.

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 speed, and the torque from his lower half. In his limited major league at-bats in 2022, he averaged a 91.1 MPH exit velocity and a maximum of 113 MPH. Swing-and-miss can sometimes be a problem for Baty, as his swing occasionally gets a bit long and uppercutty, but he generally works the count, fouls away pitches, and duels with pitchers. His hitting profile combined with his propensity to lay off borderline pitches and taking close ones have prompted some to label him too passive, but his ability to draw a walk raises his floor should the development of his hit tool stall.

Baty has a natural feel for hitting and uses the entire field, pulling the ball at a 40.3% rate, going back up the middle at a 26.6% rate, and going to the opposite field at a 33.1% rate during his time in Double-A and Triple-A this past season and pulling the ball at a 33.3% rate, going back up the middle at a 43.3% rate, and going to the opposite field at a 23.3% rate in his limited innings with the Mets. The third baseman generally employs a “go with the ball” strategy, pulling the ball when the pitch is in and going back up the middle or going to the opposite field when the pitch is away. Indeed, Baty prefers to think of himself a “hitter” rather than a “slugger”. Despite the nomenclature, hitting for power is and will be central to Baty’s value. While he uses the opposite field perhaps a bit more than one would want a slugger to use, his hits there are generally with authority, blasting mammoth home runs to center and right with regularity. Tappers resulting in weak grounders have been a problem for Baty, and his ability to adjust and lift the ball with more regularity will be a major key to his development as a major league hitter. He made strides in that regard in 2022, dropping his ground ball rate by almost 15% while hitting almost 10% more line drives and fly balls, and while the groundball issues popped back up again in his major league cup of coffee, it’s hard not to cut him some slack given the situation he found himself in.

Baty seemed seemed a bit bulkier this past season and showed actions at the hot corner that don’t necessarily eliminate him from manning the position for years to come but make his margin of error that much thinner. He has soft hands, good footwork, and an above-average arm that is accurate and has carry but does not have much traditional quick-twitch muscle, resulting in a stiff looking first step and limited range. Positioning eliminates and/or mitigates some of the problems, but there may come a time when even that doesn’t cut it. Baty does not have a quick first step or afterburners, but he is a solid runner once he gets going, making him a surprisingly effective outfielder in the limited innings he spent in left field in 2021 and 2022. His read off the bat and his routes need a lot of work, but as an infielder for most of his baseball career, this is understandable and can improve with more work and time in the field.

Steve Says:

Concern is a bit of a stretch, but the biggest concern regarding Brett Baty coming into the season was wondering how much of his power would manifest itself in-game, as we all knew it was there but it frustratingly was not tapped into enough given his approach at the plate. The third baseman silenced his critics- me chief among them- by tapping into more of that power while maintaining a high average and on-base percentage, dropping his ground ball rate, and hitting more balls in the air with authority. Oh, Brett.

Lukas Says:

Baty’s 2022 was a huge success, make no mistake. He showed the best power of his career at Double-A, reached the majors, and even launched his first two big-league home runs. Yet the ground-ball-hitting tendencies that have plagued him throughout the minors resurfaced in Triple-A and the majors, as he reverted to trying to “take what the pitcher gives him” rather than looking to do real damage. Maybe this is just something that requires an adjustment period, and the upside here is still sky high if Baty lifts and drives the ball more as we’ve seen his capable of.

Thomas Says:

The defensive side of the Baty’s game was never his forte, but regardless, he’s one of the top 20-ish prospects in baseball because of his bat. His sweet left handed swing has shown the ability to hit the ball hard and hit the ball for power the opposite way, and his continuance to eliminate ground balls has been a plus. He will likely make an impact with the 2023 Mets.