The Mets needed a slugging third baseman. They just happened to have the second-best hot-corner prospect in all of baseball at Triple-A, and now, he’s headed to the Majors.
New York is planning to call up No. 19 overall prospect Brett Baty ahead of his Major League debut, Anthony DiComo reported on Tuesday. The 22-year-old joins the big club after injuries to Eduardo Escobar (left oblique tightness) and Luis Guillorme (left groin strain) have left it thin at third base.
Baty’s promotion might seem aggressive on its face, given that he just joined Triple-A Syracuse on Aug. 8, but the Mets likely couldn’t be getting the left-handed slugger at a better time.
In the period between June 1 and Aug. 7, Baty led all Double-A hitters with 16 home runs and 131 total bases and ranked fourth in average (.351), third in slugging (.630) and third in OPS (1.072) over 53 games with Binghamton. He didn’t slow down following his promotion either, going 8-for-22 (.364) over six games for Syracuse.
Drafted by the Mets with the 12th overall pick in 2019, the Texas native has shown above-average hit and power tools with a smooth swing from the left side that allows him to pick up knocks to all fields. He’s held standard strikeout rates (roughly around 25 percent) for someone with his pop, while impressive walk rates have helped him consistently produce solid on-base percentages at every stop up the Mets’ chain.
The biggest point of emphasis for Baty of late has been on his ability to lift the ball and make the most of his at least impressive raw power. His 55.8 percent ground-ball rate was the highest among Mets Minor League qualifiers in 2021, and with so many wormburners, he was limited to only 12 homers between Binghamton and High-A Brooklyn. That home run total is already up to 19 in 2022 as Baty has increased his fly-ball rate from 21.6 percent to 30.4 percent.
“Last year, I got a little jumpy at the ball,” Baty told MLB Pipeline back in the spring. “I saw 95 on the radar, and I was like, ‘I'm going to go get this.’ Now I'm just letting it come to me, letting the ball travel and staying within myself.”
A former football and basketball player in high school, Baty’s athleticism has translated to make him into a solid defensive third baseman, and he has the lateral footwork to cover enough ground at the infield corner. His arm strength gives him a third plus tool and will be Major League-ready upon arrival. That throwing ability has helped him during brief looks in left field in 2021 and 2022; in fact, he registered an outfield assist on a play at the plate last Friday in his first Triple-A game on the grass.
That defensive versatility is enviable, but it isn’t on the same level as Escobar or Guillorme. The former has played all four infield spots at various times in his 12-year big league career while the latter has long been known as a defensive wizard all around the dirt. Given his Minor League experience, Baty is highly likely to be third-base-only in Queens.
New York’s No. 2 prospect is the future of the position after all. Even when healthy, Mets third basemen have hit for a collective 84 wRC+ (23rd-best in MLB) this season, meaning Baty could also be an upgrade on the Mets’ present of the hot corner too -- a present that is fighting for an NL East title and the club’s first World Series crown since 1986.