With the Mets’ brain trust and breakout slugger Pete Alonso looking on, first-round draft pick Brett Baty put on an impressive power show Saturday afternoon in his first round of batting practice at Citi Field.
The 19-year-old lefty slugger sent one ball soaring to the back row of the Coca Cola deck in rightfield and another crashing against the base of the Shea Bridge in right-center, drawing raves from those who witnessed it.
“He is a player with tremendous power, for those who had a chance to go out on the field today, he put that power on display,” Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said. “He was there with Pete Alonso, and Pete joked, ‘Wow, OK, you guys brought this guy in to take my position. ‘ We joked with Pete and said, “No, he’s a third baseman, but he’s got lefthanded power that can complement you.’ ”
That possibility is at least a few years away. Baty will start his professional career in Port St Lucie with the Gulf Coast League Mets, before possibly shifting to one of the organization’s short-season A-ball affiliates, Brooklyn or Kingsport, later this summer.
“I’m so happy that I’m a Met,” Baty, who was accompanied by parents Clint and Leslie and his sister Lauren, said after donning a No. 19 Mets jersey. “It was just an amazing feeling and an amazing atmosphere out there on the field . Getting to talk to Pete Alonso was pretty cool. He’s an awesome guy and I’m just so happy right now.”
Baty was the 12th overall selection in the amateur draft earlier this month out of Lake Travis High School in Texas – the same school that produced Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. He bypassed a scholarship offer to the University of Texas and agreed to a $3.9 signing bonus, nearly a half-million below the projected slot ($4.37 million) for that draft position.
The Mets are hoping those savings enable them to sign their third-round pick, pitcher Matthew Allan, who was considered a first-round talent before falling in the draft because of a commitment to the University of Florida.
“[Baty] is a player that’s important to us and this is a player that we have lots to look forward to,” Van Wagenen said. “We feel like he can make an impact with his bat and we feel like he can be a player that’s a part of our future, sooner rather than later.”
The 6-3 Baty added that he’d taken batting practice on a major-league field before, but it admittedly was “nerve-wracking” to do so in the ballpark he hopes to call home to start his career. “Once I started hitting, it just kind of came out,” he said.
Both Mets VP of scouting Tommy Tanous and manager Mickey Callaway likened Baty’s swing to that of former major-league third baseman and outfielder Aubrey Huff.
“Really awesome power,” Callaway said. “He kind of sets up like Aubrey Huff to me, with a finish like Jay Bruce. The power is obviously awesome. He hit balls that I haven’t seen lefthanders hit in our field.
“But it looks like he’s got a pretty good approach, he’s got good bat-to-ball skills, it looks like. It’s BP, you can’t tell a ton. But the power is there, the swing looks great, the path looks great. He looks quick to the ball and I love the way he holds his hands. There’s a lot to like. The few swings I saw, it’s pretty impressive. And just the size of the kid is pretty impressive for that age.”
Mets' No. 1 pick in 2019 draft out of Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas
Born: Nov. 13, 1999, in (age 19)
High school positions: 3B/1B/OF
Height, Weight: 6-3, 210
Bats: L Throws: R
+Texas Gator Baseball Player of the Year
+Batted .615 with 19 HR, 50 RBIs
+Had committed to the University of Texas