Brett Baty was the Mets' first round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. And while he's years away from the majors, he has joined Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, and Matthew Allan as one of four blue chip prospects the Mets currently have...
Weight: 210 lbs
MLB Pipeline Mets Prospect Ranking: 2
2019 Statistics: .234 AVG .368 OBP with 16 doubles, seven HR and 33 RBI across 51 games
Baty attended Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, where he was a three-sport athlete playing baseball, football and basketball. Lake Travis is the same high school as Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, and as a freshman Baty was thought to be a future Division I quarterback if he so chose. But Baty decided after his freshman year that playing all three sports was too much and decided to focus on basketball and baseball as his two sports, with baseball clearly being the one that he excelled at.
As a junior at Lake Travis, Baty won the Gatorade Texas Baseball Player of the year when he hit .435 with a .622 OBP and .953 slugging percentage. Baty hit 12 home runs with 27 RBI and also pitched to a 1.35 ERA across 33.1 innings, touching 92 mph on the gun off the mound. At this point he really opened up the eyes of scouts with his power and barrel control in addition to his power arm, which translated to the infield.
As a senior leading up to draft day, Baty was putting up video game numbers. He hit .615 with a .736 slugging percentage and 19 home runs. Going into the draft, Baty was considered one of the best high school bats in the country by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and ESPN. MLB Pipeline ranked Baty as the 17th-best prospect in the draft, Baseball America ranked him 15th, and ESPN ranked him 17th.
Despite these rankings and the great numbers, there was still doubt as to where Baty might actually fall on draft day because he was an older high school senior at 19 ½ years old -- and the track record of older high school position players transitioning has been hit and miss.
Baty was held back in fifth grade not due to grades, but because his mother was the principal of the school. Baty is considered a great student who had a commitment to the University of Texas. And scouts who bought into Baty pointed out his stats and winning Gatorade Player of the year as a junior when he was the proper age for high school players.
When the MLB draft came, there was a lot of thought that the Mets would be looking more toward college pitchers with the 12th pick, but they instead went with Baty and agreed to a below slot bonus of $3.9 million. While not the plan at the time, that ended up being a benefit when it came to signing third-rounder Matthew Allan.
With the Mets
After signing with the Mets, Baty had a quick five-game stint with the Gulf Coast League Mets, where he hit .350 and posted an OPS of 1.130. He was quickly shifted to rookie level Kingsport which is a mix of 18-22 year old prospects and Baty struggled a bit, hitting .222 with a .339 OBP and 56 strikeouts in 42 games. But he did show the power that many raved about with 12 doubles and 6 home runs.
Baty ended his first pro season with a four-game stint in Brooklyn, where he displayed his plate discipline with six walks in that span. All in all it was a mixed bag in his first small stint in pro ball, but he did show the on-base and power skills that accompanied him going into the draft.
Baty's calling card as a prospect is his raw power. Some scouts say he has true plus raw power that is currently based on the center of the diamond and opposite field. As he develops he will need to learn to be quicker through the inside pitch and have that pull power. But having the all-field approach is only going to be beneficial to his development, as you don't want someone solely focused on pulling the ball.
The ability to hit with big power to the opposite field is also just a sign of Baty's pure strength, as when you go the other way you are probably a tick behind and don't get the full extension into the ball.
I don't believe Baty will ever be a big average hitter at the professional level, but if he can make more consistent contact as he develops he should have the ability to be a .250 average type hitter. I think plate discipline will be a strength for him, and he falls into the mold of prospects the Mets have often pursued with the on-base / power combination skill-set.
Defense will be a question long-term. Baty is not a tremendous athlete, but he is an incredibly hard worker and his actions at third base showed improvement at the instructional league this fall. He has more than enough arm strength to handle third or if he has to one day shift to a corner outfield spot. He is going to maximize his abilities defensively with his work ethic.
I ranked Baty as the No. 4 prospect in the Mets system in my top 20 list for SNY back in October. I like him as a potential 30+ home run bat down the road with a solid OBP. Back when Baty signed and took batting practice at Citi Field, then-manager Mickey Callaway said his swing reminded him of a mix between Aubrey Huff and Jay Bruce.
Baty should start 2020 with Low-A Columbia, but at 20 years old I would expect him to be pushed aggressively if performance allows it.