Mets are nearing a familiar place with Brett Baty and need to act on it

What can the Mets do about Brett Baty?
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets / Luke Hales/GettyImages

What happens when you have two young players battling for one position? In some cases, one player wins the job outright and the other fades into oblivion. It’s happening with the New York Mets. Mark Vientos is hitting his way into becoming one of the most important members of the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Brett Baty twiddles his thumbs in Triple-A mashing those pitchers.

It wasn’t long ago when Baty was one of the best prospects in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, he was demoted in two consecutive seasons. His glove finally looked major league ready in 2024, but the bat wasn’t nearly as capable of handling the pitchers he’d face on a daily basis.

We’ve seen it before. Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso never had a real competition at first base. Alonso won the job outright and Smith attempted to play left field. It never worked and the Mets failed to capitalize on the trade value he built in the shortened 2020 season.

What can the Mets do with Brett Baty?

Baty’s trade value hasn’t completely tanked. Would an average middle reliever on an expiring or year and a half-long contract be worth trading Baty away? He has a minor league option left after this season. He isn’t even eligible for arbitration until 2026. Teams looking to rob a once top 25 prospect shouldn’t fear adding him.

A terror on pitchers in Triple-A, Baty’s lifetime .215/.282/.325 slash line in 602 big league plate appearances leaves a lot to be desired. Less power than an average hitter, he has been a one-dimensional player on his best days with the Mets. He can field the position at an average or even above rate. Beyond that, there’s little intriguing about him other than him rediscovering his ceiling.

Baty has always been prone to strikeout a lot. In every minor league stint, he finished with more strikeouts than games played. He overcame it with some impressive OBPs. Even when he hit .234 back in 2019, Baty reached base at a .368 clip.

The power explosion seems to go away as soon as he reaches the majors. Slugging percentages over .600 in his last two years when in Triple-A and a .533 in 420 plate appearances back in 2022 showcase the potential. Other teams know better than to buy into the hype. Back-to-back seasons have included a demotion for Baty. One was in a 2023 season where they had nothing but time to let him figure it out.

Smith ended up non-tendered by the Mets and the same sad ending is something we’d like to see the Mets avoid with Baty after a long, drawn-out attempt to make him a major leaguer. Adding second base to his positional versatility does little to satisfy. It’s the lame stick he swings that put him back in the minors and has the Mets in a spot where patience runs thin.