Brett Baty enters 2024 with a lot of questions surrounding both his present and future roles for the New York Mets. Baty was a consensus top-40 prospect in baseball each of the last two preseasons, and so far he has not delivered, hitting just .210 in his brief major league career.
With the Mets unlikely to add a third base option from outside the organization before the season, it will be up to Baty to earn some playing time, both in spring training and the beginning of the season. He will compete with Mark Vientos for playing time at third base in spring training.
The opportunity is there, partly thanks to Ronny Mauricio's ACL tear. That position is the least set-in-stone position for the Mets, both offensively and defensively. Baty showed the talent that made him a highly regarded prospect in the minors, but the Mets will need him to start translating that to big league success.
New York Mets third baseman Brett Baty will begin the season as the backup third base option, but his numbers will be better in 2024.
Baty had a ton of problems last season, with much of it having to do with a lack of confidence in himself to execute both offensively and defensively. But what is most concerning was how he ended his season. From August onward, sandwiched by a stint in the minors, Baty hit just .161 with 31 strikeouts in 93 at-bats, with many of his at-bats non-competitive.
2024 has got to be a year where the Mets cleanup the contact issues that plagued him last year, which were the root of all his offensive worries from a year ago. He had a 31.5 percent whiff rate and a 28.0 percent strikeout rate, which ranked below the 20th percentile for each. The lack of plate discipline was that alarming.
And look, the raw power is there, and Baty hit some impressive home runs throughout the season, especially down the stretch. But If Eric Chavez can work his magic from 2022 and have him reduce his whiff and strikeouts rates by not chase at pitches outside the strike zone, his 2024 season outlook will be significantly more positive. I don't know if the turnaround will be that dramatic for him to win the third base job in spring training.
Defensively, it was a nightmarish season for Baty, especially how some of them influenced the results of games the Mets lost. He will need to be better making plays, and who knows if that will happen. And with David Stearns recognizing how successful his Brewers teams were thanks to defense, time is ticking.
2024 stat predictions: .240 AVG, 9 HR, 35 RBI, .650 OPS