Baty continues to scorch ball in the desert

October 18th, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. --  has been one of the top performers in the early goings of the Arizona Fall League and that trend continued Monday. 

Baseball’s No. 45 overall prospect scorched a couple of balls at the plate and doubled and scored in Salt River’s four-run sixth.  

The Rafters improved to 4-1 with the come-from-behind win, topping Scottsdale, 7-6, at Salt River Fields.

“We’ve got a great lineup,” Baty said. “We’ve got a great group of guys, really talented guys and we never really got down. We just fought our way back. It was a good team win for sure.” 

A homer by Matt Wallner, his second in as many games, and a trio of doubles helped Scottsdale jump out to an early 4-1 lead in the fourth, but Salt River bounced back in the sixth.

Baty led off the inning with a double to left-center field and scored when Joey Wiemer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Rafters rallied for three more runs in the inning -- via a run-scoring groundout, a balk and a sacrifice fly -- but relinquished the lead in the eighth when Rays No. 10 prospect Curtis Mead came through with a go-ahead single.

But the Rafters scratched across a pair of runs in the eighth and a single by Wilmer Reyes (Mets) ultimately proved to be the difference. 

A 1-for-4 afternoon may seem like a down performance of late for Baty, considering he’s been red-hot and is hitting .444 (8-for-18) in the early stages of the Fall League. However, the box score doesn’t always tell the story. 

Baty belted a pair of balls over 102 mph -- the double and a groundout to second -- and has already hit five balls over 100 mph in the three games he’s played at Salt River Fields, the only Fall League stadium where Statcast data is available. 

A first-round pick from the 2019 Draft, Baty has been a standout hitter since he was working his way through the Texas high school ranks, but said he came to the AFL looking to refine his approach and make consistent hard contact. 

So far, so good. 

“Both of those were really good swings,” Baty said. “Just got to have a better swing on that ground ball. I was happy with those two [at-bats] for sure, and then the other two, I’ve just got to stay within myself. Just tried to get too big. I felt like I had a good day.” 

The bat may be Baty’s carrying tool, but the former three-sport athlete has a plus arm and plenty of athleticism defensively. There haven’t been many balls hit Baty’s way at third yet, but the 21-year-old has been comfortable with his work at the hot corner.

“I feel like I’m doing a good job over there at third base,” Baty said. “Made all the plays that have come to me. It’s been a few, but I feel way more comfortable and am feeling way more confident so that’s good.”