Brett Baty reflects on first MLB stint: ‘I didn’t really know what I was running out to play in front of’

As comfortable as Brett Baty felt at the plate last August, nothing could have prepared him for running out of the visitor’s tunnel at Truist Park and seeing more than 40,000 fans in the stands as he made his MLB debut.

The minor leagues and spring training might prepare players for the next level of baseball in many ways, but you can’t truly understand what it’s like to play in a big league game until you’re actually playing in one.

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Now that Baty has played in 20 of them, he’s much more used to the routines, the travel and especially the crowds.

“In Atlanta last year, I didn’t really know what I was running out to play in front of,” Baty told the Daily News on Friday before the Mets began a four-game series against the Braves at Citi Field. “Now I’m kind of comfortable with it and I know what to expect.”

This is what Baty predicted last week when the Mets brought him up from Syracuse to Los Angeles for two road series against the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. Baty had been absolutely crushing Triple-A pitching and the Mets’ offense was not producing at the same rate it did last season. The club wasn’t sure what they could get from their second-best prospect but they knew they had to explore all internal options to jumpstart the offense. What they’re getting is a more confident, mature hitter.

Coming into Friday’s series against the Braves, Baty is hitting .321 with a .851 OPS with a double, a home run and three RBI.


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“I think it’s made a huge difference,” Baty said about his 11-game Major League stint in 2022. “But at the end of the day, I’m just trying to go up there and swing at the right pitches and hit the ball hard. That’s what I’m going to do no matter where I’m playing. I feel like it’s been good.”

Baty’s first home run of the season and the third of his Major League career came Thursday night against the Washington Nationals in the Mets’ 9-8 comeback victory. Baty went 3-for-3 with a walk for the first time at baseball’s highest level. The “right pitch” was a curveball on the slower side by former Mets right-hander Trevor Williams that broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning.

The 23-year-old third baseman had started somewhat slow since his call-up, going 2-for-13 over his first four games last week. But the Mets saw a patient approach and felt that he was still swinging the bat well enough to warrant a longer look. The Mets think he could be part of the solution to producing more runs. He has also warranted a look against a left-handed pitcher Friday night against Max Fried, weather permitting.

“Brett brought a healthy respect and a quiet confidence,” manager Buck Showalter said.

General manager Billy Eppler somewhat infamously said that he wanted Baty to master to Triple-A level when the decision was made to start him Syracuse. But the Mets have seen enough of a mastery of his ability to hit Triple-A pitching and enough progress in the Major Leagues to continue increasing his role.

“When you’re good at something, there isn’t a whole lot of anxiety, but I think it comes from not being sure about the level that you’re going to,” Showalter said. “A lot of times what happens in the minor leagues now is that the guys don’t master a level before they get promoted. That’s been a change. But I feel good about our guys, whether it be [Francisco Alvarez] and Baty because of what they did at the level behind them. When you have that doubt about that level and then you put them in another level, some of these guys think that all they’ve got to do is spend a year at each level and it’s our responsibility to promote them, but it doesn’t work that way.

“You’ve got to show us that you’re good enough at that level to try the next level.”


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