PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Brett Baty was the Mets’ first-round pick, taken No. 12 overall, in the 2019 Draft out of Lake Travis High School in Texas. The third baseman saw time across three rookie and short-season levels during his professional debut, finishing with a .234/.368/.452 line with seven
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Brett Baty was the Mets’ first-round pick, taken No. 12 overall, in the 2019 Draft out of Lake Travis High School in Texas. The third baseman saw time across three rookie and short-season levels during his professional debut, finishing with a .234/.368/.452 line with seven homers and 33 RBIs in 51 games.
MLB.com: This is your first Spring Training as a pro. How excited were you to get here to get started?
Brett Baty: I was super excited. I’d just been working out back at home in Texas. Just doing my workouts and stuff made me want to get out here so badly, get out here with all the guys and start practicing baseball, really just get the feel of my first Spring Training.
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MLB.com: What were your takeaways from your summer debut in terms of what works and what you need to work on for your first full season?
Baty: The biggest thing was that I was just off on my timing. The biggest part about hitting is timing. Later in the season, I took a look at myself and I said, ‘Just be on time for these pitches and good things are going to happen.’ I worked with our hitting coordinator on some different moves to the ball and kind of got my timing back where it needed to be.
MLB.com: You had what I’d imagine was a fairly substantial break in between high school and going to the Gulf Coast League, didn’t you? Did that figure into it?
Baty: Actually, I only had about a week off because my high school team was in the state championship. We played after the Draft. I got drafted on that Monday and we played Friday. But it’s just a different level of competition, the players at the professional level are just at a different level.
MLB.com: So we can’t use that as an excuse.
Baty: We can’t. We can’t use not playing as an excuse.
MLB.com: I’m sure you heard as the Draft approached a lot of talk about how old you were, that you were old as a 19-year-old at the Draft. Was that something that bothered you that some teams weren’t interested in you because your age discounted you in their model?
Baty: It didn’t bother me, but I did see their side of it. I also saw the side of it that if I were to go to college, then they could draft me when I was 21 as a sophomore anyway. I saw their side of it, but I didn’t think it was as big of a deal as they did.
MLB.com: Farm director Jared Banner said you showed up for camp in really good shape. What were some of the things you did this offseason and how did it differ from what you were doing in the past?
Baty: I got invited to instructional camp and at instructional camp, my eyes really opened to this organization and the players we have in this organization because it was the top prospects, it was the best of the best. And they kind of pushed me. Leaving that instructs, I was like, ‘Man, I need to be at this place during Spring Training.’ So I went home, talked to my trainers, the head guy for the Mets even talked to my trainers. He came down there and saw me work out. I kind of turned it on because I knew I needed to be at a different level of physical ability. This offseason, it was a big offseason, and I’m glad I think it’s paid off so far.
MLB.com: Another thing leading up to the Draft people wondered about was if you could stick at third. How much has that motivated you to prove to people you can stay there?
Baty: I feel some of my Draft analysis was that I was kind of like low-key athletic, that people weren’t giving me enough recognition for my athleticism. I still think that’s kind of true. I may be a big guy and you might look at me and be like, ‘Oh, he can’t move.’ I feel I can stick at third and I think I can move a little bit better right now because I worked on it during the offseason. I don’t feel like it’s a big deal right now.
MLB.com: Even those who have been critical loved your bat. Where did your innate feel for hitting come from?
Baty: I always grew up as one of the bigger kids in the leagues I played in. I was always hitting balls super hard, hitting balls out of the park. It kind of stuck with me as I went on. I feel like I’ve worked harder at hitting than everyone else. It’s always kind of been there, but I definitely feel like I’ve outworked people at hitting.
MLB.com: It could’ve been easy, then, for you to sell out for power. But you’re an advanced hitter who has a lot of power, not a power hitter. Were there times you had to remind yourself to stay within your game that way?
Baty: Honestly, no. I kind of always didn’t try to hit home runs. I just let it come. All I’m thinking about when I’m at the plate is hitting the ball hard and hitting it where it’s pitched. I’m not trying to pull it or get it over the fence. That’s what I’ve thought about as I go up each level.
MLB.com: In a perfect world, what are your goals for the end of 2020?
Baty: Definitely the defensive ability, just getting better at third, getting more agile moving around. Also, my timing at the plate and being able to shorten up with two strikes and not have as many strikeouts.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.