The Mets have now selected 63 first-round picks in their illustrious drafting history. Sometimes these selections yield a franchise guy like David Wright or Michael Conforto, sometimes they are less fortuitous and yield a Lastings Milledge or Reese Havens and sometimes we get the baseball player version of a ‘shruggy’ emoji, Matt Harvey and Ike Davis come to mind. This year’s MLB Amateur draft took place on Monday night and with the 12th overall selection the Mets selected high school third baseman Brett Baty from Texas.
Even the most optimistic projections won’t have Baty arriving in the majors (if ever) until 2022 the earliest. However it’s never too early to bone up on your future prospect crush. Since I’m not too up to date with Texas high school athletics, let’s see what the experts have to say about him. Heading into the draft, MLB.com had Baty as the 19th overall prospect, Fan Graphs had him 8th and ESPN’s Keith Law split the difference at 17. Depending on who you trust, this was either a nice get or a bit of a reach at 12. I’m sure that everybody will remember there isn’t necessarily an industry-wide consensus on the guy and not overreact at all to the pick (hint, they will overreact.)
Well, what kind of player did we get? How does one with good power, an above average hit tool, a very strong arm and sneaky athleticism sound to you? That sounds like a best case scenario of a more athletic Pete Alonso. That comparison just made every Met fan swoon. Of course it also sounds like a worst case scenario of a poor man’s Rico Brogna. Every Met fan just threw up a little.
What was the biggest knock on him coming into the draft? It was actually his age, at 19.5 years old he was older than almost all of the competition he faced in high school. Most elite guys by that time are tearing up the SEC, Big 12 or ACC while he was feasting on guys who will be pre-med in four months. High school players are notoriously challenging to project, with a high variance of outcomes. Scouts were worried they couldn’t gauge how much of his success was talent and how much was beating up on inferior competition.
Truthfully, it may not matter. In about a year or two, Baty will be facing competition his age and older and we will get a clearer picture of his future. In the meantime, let’s focus on some fun tidbits about him. For starters, can you imagine the back page headlines? “Mets Go Baty”, “Baty, Baty Baty” or “Baty Bats Around”, puns are fun! Not a fan or puns? Ok how about this, Brett Baty’s idol growing up was David Wright. You love David Wright? Of course we love David Wright.
Prospects are like lottery tickets, sometimes you hit big, most of the time you end up discarding them and sometimes you trade them for Mike Hampton. I for one am excited to follow the minor league exploits of Brett Baty and dream of the day when he gets to take his idol’s place at third base in Flushing.