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At the time, MLB Pipeline ranked Baty as the No. 17 best prospect in the draft in their Top 200 list. His power and approach at the plate were his lauded tools, while there were some questions defensively, and because Baty was held back in fifth grade, he was an older high school draft pick at 19 years old.
Being held back was done by design, not due to any academic issues at a school where his mother became the principal. His family made this decision when Baty was 11 years old, and they certainly were not thinking that this could possibly be a ding to him in a professional baseball draft years down the road.
One of my favorite things to learn about is each prospect's draft story; almost every one has a different experience. Baty was one of the few prospects to actually be in person at MLB Network studios for the 2019 draft, so he got to do the whole jersey, hat, pictures experience that some others didn’t have.
Baty knew of the Mets interest.
“The Mets were on me, they were coming to my high school games," Baty said during Mets Prospective, presented by Verizon. "I actually didn’t know how interested they were until draft night where my agent told me we are looking at a few pick ranges where I could get drafted. One of them was the Mets, and when the pick came around I got a text from my agent telling me to get ready, and I just had a big grin on my face. When they picked me I was super happy and it was an awesome experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better one.”
Baty was impacted like all minor leaguers when COVID-19 knocked out the entire 2020 minor league season. Baty was able to participate a bit at the alternate site in Brooklyn last summer, and then he was a part of the fall instructional league in Port St Lucie for a little over a month.
One of the things Baty said he missed most was simply being able to play a different team.
“I got to play instructs during the quarantine period, but there is nothing like getting out there between the lines playing a different uniform," Baty said. "It gets the competitive juices going. It is just a really great atmosphere and I am happy to be back.”
Right now, Baty is joined in Brooklyn by fellow top prospects Francisco Alvarez, whom we profiled on Episode 1 of Mets Prospective, and Ronny Mauricio. That gives the Cyclones three of the Top Five prospects in the system in their lineup.
Baty certainly recognizes the level of talent that he is playing with.
“They are really great talents and I love sharing the field with them," he said. "Whether it is supporting each other on or off the field, they are just really great to be around.”
Baty’s game is anchored by his bat, where he shows plus pitch recognition skills and plus raw power to all fields. Often early on in a player's development as a power hitter, he either has pull side power or opposite field power and it takes time to develop both. Baty had both coming out of high school, and he is showing plenty of contact ability, as he leads the High-A East in batting (.372) and his pitch recognition skills have lead to him also leading the league in on-base percentage (.468).
Defensively he has plenty of arm for third base. As a former pitcher who was up to 93 mph on the gun, he is more than equipped for the throws across the diamond. He has worked very hard with Tim Teufel on his footwork and quickness, and I do believe Baty profiles to be able to stick at third base defensively.
We asked Baty to put on his scout hat and give a scouting report of himself as a player.
“An all-around good, solid player. He’s got the hit tools, he’s got the plate discipline, he’s got the power when he needs to show it off," Baty said. "His arm over at third is plenty, and he’s gotten really good with his quickness and footwork over at third base on the defensive side of the ball. He is becoming an all-around solid player.”
I am a big fan of Baty’s game, and his skill set to me is a bit reminiscent of Kyle Seager from the Mariners. If he is able to mature as expected, I think Baty could be a 25-30 home run bat at the big league level.
Check out our full feature on Baty on Episode 2 of Mets Prospective.