Baty has arrived: Hot start brewing confidence, results

April 13th, 2024

NEW YORK -- is feeling it. He looks like a whole new player for the Mets, from his sweet line-drive lefty swings in the box to the energy he's bringing to the game.

New York's young third baseman stayed hot in Friday's homestand opener at Citi Field, leading the Mets to a 6-1 win over the red-hot Royals that snapped Kansas City's seven-game winning streak.

"We're just having fun up there, man," Baty said in his postgame TV interview on the field, turning to address the home crowd. "Y'all are bringing the energy, and we're having fun out here."

Baty went 2-for-4 with a two-run double that broke the game open for the Mets in the fifth inning. With two outs and New York holding a 3-1 lead, Baty turned on a down-and-in changeup from former Met Michael Wacha and ripped a line drive deep into the right-center-field gap, over the head of Royals center fielder Kyle Isbel and to the wall.

The 24-year-old is now up to a .327 batting average on the season, with 16 hits in his first 49 at-bats of 2024. Baty leads the team in both of those categories.

"I think, as a team, we're winning ballgames and our confidence is growing," Baty said. "For myself, I feel like I'm gonna come in here every single day and just try to be the best player I can be."

Baty's attitude on the field right now tells you everything about how he's turned things around this season. The confidence is oozing off of him.

As Baty pulled into second base after his clutch double, he crouched down and banged three fingers against the side of his helmet -- the same "three to the head" celebration Carmelo Anthony made famous in New York during his days with the Knicks.

"It might have something to do with that," Baty said with a laugh after the game. "But we're gonna keep it under wraps."

And after the Mets got the final out of Friday's win, Baty raced in from third base, pumping his fist. He and Pete Alonso -- who crushed a home run in the eighth -- met in the center of the diamond, high-fived and then gave each other a jumping chest bump.

This is a different Brett Baty in 2024. This is the Brett Baty the Mets were hoping for when they drafted him in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft to potentially be the team's third baseman of the future.

"Confidence. We're seeing a player playing with a lot of confidence," manager Carlos Mendoza said before the game. "You see it in the box, you see it at the plate, you see it on defense. … There's a lot to like right now from Brett."

It was slow going for Baty in his first full season in the Majors in 2023. Baty hit just .212 with nine home runs and a .598 OPS in 108 games last year, while going through some struggles defensively at the hot corner, but he's continuing to prove he deserves to be the Mets' starting third baseman in 2024.

Baty's on a seven-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in four of those seven games. He's hit safely in 11 of his 13 games this season. And he's been playing equally confident defense at third base to go with his confident at-bats.

"It's just about the work that I've put in and the preparation," Baty said. "And then just getting comfortable and having fun with [Francisco] Lindor over there [at shortstop]. He's been really good to me, and he's taught me a lot, man."