Brett Baty and other third basemen the Mets have taken in the first round of the draft
By Alan Karmin
One of the most baffling storylines in New York Mets history is the constant search for a third baseman. For years it was a revolving door with management trying to solve the problem by sending promising players away simple to get washed-up has-beens or hopeful never would bes.
There would be a multitude of third basemen manning the position each and every season. As a matter of fact, Wayne Garrett would lead the Mets in games played at third base – 711 – and yet he was never given a vote of confidence to be handed the job on a full-time basis. Even when he stepped up and became the team’s lead-off hitter and hit 16 dingers in 1973.
There was always going to be someone better. And, yet, the Mets never thought it important enough to draft a third baseman in the first round of the Major League Baseball free agent draft until 1983. The Mets have only selected four third basemen in the first round in the team’s history.
The latest to be taken in the first round was Brett Baty in 2019 with the 12th selection out of Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas.
Baty was having a phenomenal season at AA Binghamton (.312 BA, .406 OBP, 19 HR, 59 RBI) before being promoted last season to AAA Syracuse where he continued his success (.364 BA, .406 OBP in 22 AB). He started out slowly upon his call up to the parent club, hitting .184 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in 38 at bats.
Baty is now tearing it up in spring training with a .342 average and .468 OBP in 47 plate appearances.
But is he ready? And how does he compare to the other three third basemen who the Mets tabbed at first round draft picks?
Eddie Williams was the first third baseman selected in the first round by the New York Mets
Eddie Williams was taken with the 4th selection in 1983 – the highest selection of any third baseman in Mets history - out of Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego, California, the same school famous for producing some fairly well-known Major Leaguers like Ray Boone (father of Bob, grandfather of Brett and Aaron), Mike Davis (A’s and Dodgers), Mark Davis (Padres), and the immortal Ted Williams.
Williams, a right-handed power bat, would never play a game for the Mets, never get above A-ball with the organization. He was included as part of a three-player package for pitcher Bruce Berenyi from the Cincinnati Reds.
Although he wouldn’t make it to the Reds, Williams would have a somewhat lengthy stay in pro ball, spending parts of 10 seasons in the Majors with six different teams (Indians, White Sox, Padres, Tigers, Dodgers, and Pirates).
Williams best stretch in the Majors came with the Padres in 1994 and ’95 after having been out of the Big Leagues for three years, when he played in 49 and 97 games respectively, hitting .331 with 11 HR in ’94 and .260 with 12 HR in ’95.