Mets Notes: Carlos Mendoza trusts Brett Baty against lefties; Francisco Lindor's impact on team

Left on left

Prior to the start of this season, Brett Baty's numbers against lefties were not good. One could even describe them as bad.

In 100 at-bats in 2022 and 2023, the lefty-swinging third baseman had just 17 hits (.170 average) versus southpaws. However, this season Baty, who has looked much more confident for the Mets at the plate and in the field, already has four hits -- including his only home run of the season -- in 14 at-bats (.286 average) against left-handers.

The stark improvement, albeit in a small sample size, has already given manager Carlos Mendoza the confidence to start his third baseman against a tough, veteran left-hander like Martin Perez on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"He’s shown the ability to hit lefties," Mendoza said before the game. "I like the at-bats, left on left, the way he’s staying in there, going the other way and laying off some tough pitches. For him to be an everyday player at the big league level, he’s gonna have to face lefties and I’m comfortable with it.

"Yeah, there’s gonna be times where I’m gonna pick my spots and give him a day or maybe bring a righty in there if we need to, but as we speak right now I like where he’s at offensively against righties and lefties so that’s why he’s in there today."

Overall, Baty is slashing .315/.362/.389 this season and is batting fifth, behind Pete Alonso.

Mr. Smile

It hasn't been the start to the season offensively that Francisco Lindor had hoped. After all, he's batting .129 (8-for-62) 15 games into the year.

Despite his slow start at the plate, Lindor hasn't let it affect his attitude or energy on the field or in the dugout with his teammates as he's constantly seen cheering them on and engaged with every pitch.

One of the players that Lindor has had the biggest impression on has been Baty, his mate on the right side of the infield.

"It’s impactful and this started back in January when Baty visited [Lindor] and they started working together," Mendoza said about Lindor and Baty's relationship. "And then you saw it in spring training the way they were talking, the communication, the conversations, the content whether it was hitting, defense. But at the end of the day [it was about] having fun playing the game and believing in yourself."

Mendoza continued: "Look, for Lindor he’s going through it right now and he’s still the same guy. He’s still supporting not only Baty, but [the] energy that he’s bringing from pitch to pitch, you see the celebrations when we either get a big hit, we score, somebody gets out of a big inning, that says a lot [about] who Lindor is and the influence [he has] not only on Baty but on the whole team."

Jackie Robinson Day

This year on Monday, April 15, MLB celebrates the 77th anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he became the first Black player to take the field for any team in the league on April 15, 1947.

"It means a lot. When you look at the baseball calendar, you look for this date," Mendoza said. "For me, you can make a case [that] he was one of the most important [people] in history, not only for this country but for the world.

"Not only what he did in sports, but what he did for African Americans and for a person like me, a Latino person, I don't know if [without him] I'd be sitting here where I'm at today. So this is a special day for me and for all of us. What an honor and what a privilege that we get to celebrate today."