ATLANTA -- Seeking a shot of offense as they look to maintain their NL East lead, the Mets on Wednesday called up their second-ranked prospect and MLB Pipeline's No. 19 overall prospect, Brett Baty. He will make his Major League debut on Wednesday against the Braves at Truist Park, batting eighth and playing third base behind Max Scherzer.
As recently as Monday, Mets officials were unwilling to call up Baty, mostly because they did not view him as a versatile enough defender to fill the hole Luis Guillorme left behind when he landed on the injured list with a strained left groin. But Eduardo Escobar’s continued struggles with left oblique tightness changed the equation for the Mets, who are likely to place Escobar on the IL before Wednesday’s game. That will open an everyday job at third base for Baty, who was in Double-A Binghamton barely a week ago.
As a reward for hitting 19 homers in 89 games at Binghamton, the 22-year-old Baty recently received an early August promotion to Triple-A Syracuse, where he hit .364 in six games before again earning a bump up the organizational ladder -- this time to the big leagues.
“Definitely putting emphasis on these last two months, it’s been really fun out there for sure,” Baty said after his promotion to Syracuse. “I’ve been going out there with so much confidence, and playing with confidence, you’re always going to have fun. I’m just looking to … be the best baseball player I can be to help the New York Mets in the future.”
That future is now for Baty, the organization’s 12th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. A high school standout in suburban Texas, Baty attended Lake Travis High School outside Austin, which is better known as the football factory that produced both Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and the Jets’ first-round pick in the 2022 Draft, Garrett Wilson.
Baty will now look to make the school just as well known for baseball. Since being drafted, he has thrived offensively at every level, including a .312/.406/.544 slash line this year at Binghamton. If there is a flaw to Baty’s game, it is his defense, which some scouts still peg as well below-average. The Mets have tried Baty in left field over the past two seasons, though they still view third base as his most likely long-term home.
“I’m just trying to get better,” Baty said.
Outside of 20-year-old catcher Francisco Álvarez, Baty is the most heralded prospect in the Mets’ farm system. The team could have called up fellow third baseman Mark Vientos, who has been in the organization since 2017 and has more experience than Baty in the upper Minors. But Vientos is striking out at a 30 percent clip at Syracuse, and his defense may be even more of a question. Baty is also left-handed and has been far more effective than Vientos against right-handed pitching, slashing .331/.431/.549 this season in those situations.
Baty will be the Mets’ highest Draft pick to earn a callup since Michael Conforto, the 10th overall selection in the 2014 Draft who arrived the following summer amidst similar circumstances. In 2015, Conforto hit nine home runs in 56 games to spark the Mets on their National League pennant run, plus another three in the postseason.
Time will tell if Baty can have the same sort of impact. He’ll at least have the opportunity, beginning Wednesday in Atlanta.