Top Draft pick Brett Baty signs, joins Mets for BP

June 15th, 2019

NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto’s eyes went wide as he described what he saw Saturday afternoon, watching Mets first-round Draft pick Brett Baty take batting practice. It was not so long ago that Conforto was in Baty’s shoes, taking batting practice after signing his first professional contract.

But even Conforto, an All-Star, did not put on this type of show. Spraying balls all over Citi Field, Baty drilled one onto the Shea Bridge, one above the entire right-field seating bowl and another into the second deck in left. A left-handed hitter, Baty gave Mets officials a tantalizing look at what he might be able to accomplish in the future.

“The power is obviously awesome,” manager Mickey Callaway said.

The BP show came hours after the Mets officially signed Baty to a $3.9 million deal, $466,000 below the No. 12 overall pick’s $4.37 million slot value. That discrepancy will help the club's pursuit of third-rounder Matthew Allan, a pitcher whom most Draft pundits expected to go in the first round. New York took a calculated risk in selecting Allan, intending to save enough money elsewhere in the Draft to meet his contract demands -- believed to be between $3 and $4 million. Allan is committed to attend the University of Florida on a baseball scholarship if he does not sign.

The Draft is structured so that all picks in the first 10 rounds come with slot values, which add up to an overall bonus pool. Teams that exceed their pools risk paying a tax on the overage or, in extreme cases, sacrificing future Draft picks.

To avoid exceeding their bonus pool in their pursuit of Allan, the Mets followed up that pick with seven consecutive four-year college seniors, who have less leverage than juniors or high schoolers and thus tend to accept lower bonuses. New York has already signed six of those seven to bonuses totaling $42,000, or more than $1.4 million below slot. That money, combined with the $466,000 the Mets saved on Baty and Allan’s own slot value of $667,900, brings them close to the neighborhood of what they’ll need to sign Allan -- a star pitcher featuring an upper-90s fastball and hammer curve. A source said the club is still confident in its ability to ink the third-rounder.

If the Mets do, Allan will join Baty as one of the top prospects in the organization. A high school star in suburban Austin, Texas, Baty led all prep players nationwide with 19 home runs. He came to New York with his parents, who explored the city Saturday while Baty took his physical.

“I couldn’t be more happy,” Baty said. “New York is an amazing place and an amazing city, the atmosphere and everything like that. … I can’t wait to get up here.”