Brett Baty can look at Phillies rival for some inspiration

The Phillies third baseman created a blueprint for Brett Baty to try and follow.
May 6, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  New York Mets third baseman Brett Baty (22) fields a ground
May 6, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; New York Mets third baseman Brett Baty (22) fields a ground / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a whole lot the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies share in common with each other. The distance between these two clubs is pretty large in the standings. Their offseason approach was entirely different with the Phillies re-signing Aaron Nola and extending Zack Wheeler to keep things in place. The Mets added a lot of new faces on shorter deals.

With opposing expectations entering the year, one thing they do share is a homegrown third baseman on a path toward figuring it all out. The Mets have gotten much better defense from Brett Baty at the hot corner. A similar thing is happening in Philadelphia with the continued growth of Alec Bohm into one of the best at the position in baseball. Although a little overconfident with his glove at times like he was on Monday, Bohm is no longer an accident-prone liability.

Mets third baseman Brett Baty can learn a lot from Phillies rival Alec Bohm

Bohm’s reputation as a butcher at third base is getting rewritten. Although the year is young, he rates well in fielding run value. He’s one of ten third basemen with a positive number so far this season. Baty happens to be right there with him.

Meanwhile, the Mets have seen their young third baseman grow as well. The bat is a little behind where Bohm was even at this point of his career whether you want to look at age or experience in years. Baty is, most notably, struggling to make good contact with a league-worst among qualified players 18% balls being squared up. Bohm is way up at 41.4% and ranks 15th in Major League Baseball.

Heading into this season, the Mets had a whole lot of questions about whether Baty was indeed the solution at the position. As of mid-May, he has at least shown the position is one he can handle on a major league level. There was never much of a question about his bat. Although a little behind where we’d like it, we can look at the Phillies and Bohm to see how much better things can still get with Baty as long as he puts the work in and the team has enough patience.

Something with Bohm in his early seasons was finding a balance between hitting for power and average. He hit .338 as a rookie in 2020 and followed it up with a .247 batting average in his first true full season in the majors. All the while, the power dropped tremendously. From a .481 slugging percentage in year one down to .342 and then .398 in the next two seasons, Bohm finally found the balance in 2023 when he slugged .437 with a .274 batting average. 

He’s posting even more ridiculous numbers this year thanks to the great contact he’s making. He leads the league with 15 doubles and has a .329/.394/.520 slash line. It helps to have such a potent lineup around him and a weaker list of opponents to roll through. Nevertheless, Bohm’s growth into a legitimate threat at the plate is noteworthy.

Baty’s ability to hit for power hasn’t been a regular occurrence just yet. Three home runs this year is the headline but buried is the fact that he has only a pair of doubles. Now a full 157 games and 566 plate appearances into his MLB career, we have essentially a full season. The result: a .216/.279/.325 slash line and 14 doubles and home runs each.

How patient will the Mets be with Baty? It’s now less of a question about his glove and more about what his bat can do. Some early soft hits have saved him from more atrocious numbers on the year. It is now catching up. The strikeouts are coming, too. He has only one game, the first one, in May where he didn’t go down on strikes at least once. Not only is he making soft contact, far too often is he making none at all.