When Carlos Correa’s contract fell through and Correa ended up back in Minnesota, the Mets were back to square one at third base: Eduardo Escobar as the incumbent and Brett Baty knocking on the door after his MLB debut was shortened by injury last year.
Baty is already at the team facility in Port St. Lucie working on his game, and while his biggest knock is his defense, Baty apparently worked this offseason on that – reaching out to two-time Gold Glove shortstop Troy Tulowitzki over the winter.
And Tulo didn’t hold back on his critique, according to Baty in an article published in The Athletic Thursday.
"He’s not going to beat around the bush about anything and he’s not going to sugarcoat anything," Baty told Will Sammon of The Athletic . "If he doesn’t see something he thinks will play at the next level, he will tell you straight up.”
That, Baty said, it exactly what he needed.
"I love that in people. I don’t really like people who are just there to tell you how good you are, tell you how good you look and stuff like that,” Baty said. “I like the people that are actually going to be honest with you, and help you get better."
The Athletic piece quotes Tulo as saying Baty “needs to get better,” but “he’s got all the tools, he just needs some reps,” and in a previous write-up from the outlet, Keith Law noted how Baty has been working hard on his D, which is “more than just playable there."
With Jeff McNeil locked up to a contract extension, the hot corner and left field are the Mets’ biggest concerns beyond 2023; Escobar and Mark Canha, the two incumbents at those positions, have club options for 2024, while recently-signed Tommy Pham is on just a one-year deal.
Baty initially came up because Escobar was banged up and struggling, and could easily usurp third base, as the switch-hitting Escobar had a significant platoon split that was better as a right-handed hitter last year, and his .240-20-69 line was propped up by hitting .321 with eight homers after September 1.
The 23-year-old has also gotten some play in left field in the minors, however, and held his own there, and with the Mets having another top prospect, Ronny Mauricio, bubbling below the surface but blocked by Francisco Lindor and McNeil capable of three positions, the Mets have a Miguel Andujar-esque question with Baty in terms of position and where he plays it.
In his recent comments, Law said the Mets should give Baty “500 MLB at-bats this year because there's nothing left for him to learn in the minors,” but it’s going to be up to the Mets whether or not that’s feasible.
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