Mets Hall of Famer turned SNY broadcaster Keith Hernandez didn’t need to see much of Brett Baty before notching the hype machine up a few more clicks.
“By Jove, I think we’ve got something here, folks.”
The Mets very well might, though it’s far too early to tell now. But the 22-year-old’s MLB debut could not have gone much better on Wednesday night in Atlanta.
On just the second pitch he saw in his first-career MLB at-bat, Baty pulled a 1-0 curveball from Braves starter Jake Odorizzi and parked it into the right-field seats to extend the Mets’ early lead to 4-0. They would go on to win 9-7.
“I was just looking for a pitch to drive. He left one over the plate,” Baty, the Mets’ No. 2 ranked prospect this year, said. “I was just looking to get it up in the air so it was awesome… Just pure joy. To be able to help this ballclub out in my first at-bat and then just to look up and see my family up there and be able to celebrate it with them. Just pure joy for sure.”
Baty’s first contributions come at a perfect time for a Mets team that suddenly found itself shorthanded to the point of calling upon minor-league reinforcements. Both third basemen Luis Guillorme and Eduardo Escobar are now on a suddenly-growing injured list that came at a time in which the Mets were held to one run or fewer in four of their previous five games.
After scoring a combined one run in their first two games of a pivotal four-game set against the Braves, they scored four in the first two innings behind home runs from Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, and Baty.
“I feel like I’m just scratching the surface,” he said after going 1-for-4, including a 113-mph groundout, and fielding his position at third base cleanly. “I can do a lot more for this ballclub.”
Wednesday night provided a simple glimpse as to why Baty shot up the Mets’ minor-league rankings since he was drafted 12th overall in 2019. Beginning the year in Double-A Binghamton, he posted a .950 OPS with 19 home runs in 89 games before a quick six-game promotion to Triple-A Syracuse where he batted .364.
“To go out there and hit a homer, that’s just great,” Max Scherzer, who was the starting pitcher receiving support from Baty’s blast, said. “To be producing at the plate gives him a lot of confidence to continue to play and he probably thinks he belongs here now. So that’s a good thing. That’s what we need out of this team.”
Of course, Mets fans will be hoping that Baty can provide the same kind of spark that Greg Jefferies supplied when he was called up in 1988 — or when Michael Conforto was introduced down the stretch in 2015.
But Wednesday night will forever be its own separate entity for Baty, his rowdy family that was on hand at Truist Park in Atlanta, and even for Mets manager Buck Showalter.
“You think about not only Brett but all the people that got some joy out of it,” Showalter said. “Regardless of what happens, there is a moment that you kind of step back and take it all in from a baseball fan standpoint and put yourself in their shoes for a little bit.
“You do kind of live through it with them and hope that things go well for them.”