PORT ST. LUCIE — When spring training begins next year, a key question could be whether Brett Baty is ready to become the Mets’ starting third baseman.
The organization’s top pick in the 2019 draft, Baty progressed last season as team officials would have hoped. Along the way, Baty (along with top prospect Francisco Alvarez) represented the Mets in the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend, before he participated in the Arizona Fall League.
“Last year was my first full season, so I am ready to get another taste of another full season,” Baty said Sunday after a workout at Mets minor-league camp. “I’m looking forward to playing more games hopefully this year. I am looking forward to the journey.”
The 22-year-old Baty played 91 games last season for High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton and produced a .292/.382/.473 slash line overall with 12 homers and 56 RBIs.
In 25 games in the Arizona Fall League he owned a .292/.373/.405 slash line with one homer and 15 RBIs. Included were Player of the Week honors to start his Fall League.
“There’s so many talented guys out there and for me to get named like that, it was just a really big honor,” Baty said. “I swung it well early, then kind of got into a little slump, but it was awesome, great exposure out there, great talent.”
Baty has competition just ahead of him at third base. Mark Vientos enjoyed a breakout season offensively, with 25 homers in 83 games for Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse. Because of the overlap, the Mets have dabbled with Vientos and Baty in the outfield.
But Baty is regarded as the stronger defensive player at third base, even as the organization works with him to improve his lateral movement.
“We have put emphasis on it, just moving laterally because third base is such a quick position,” Baty said. “You have got to be ready for anything.”
Baty considers it a friendly rivalry with the 22-year-old Vientos, a right-handed slugger who could be ready to help the Mets at some point this season.
“We are great friends on and off the field,” Baty said. “The competition is there for sure, but we push each other in a real good way and get each other better.”
Alvarez (No. 10), Baty (No. 45) and Ronny Mauricio (No. 53) all cracked MLB Pipeline’s list of the Top 100 prospects for this season.
“We have got a great group of young talent here,” Baty said. “We all can swing it. We all can play defense and we really push each other too, and we’re great friends on and off the field. It’s just awesome to have that core unit right there and we’ll just see what happens.”
Alex Ramirez and Jaylen Palmer are among the next wave of prospects in the farm system.
A 19-year-old outfielder, Ramirez received a $2.05 million signing bonus on the international market from the Mets in 2019. Last season he slashed .258/.326/.384 with five homers and 35 RBIs in 76 games for Low-A St. Lucie.
“First, it’s working on that attitude, but also working on my hitting just to have efficient movements,” Ramirez said.
Palmer, 21, was drafted as a shortstop from Holy Cross High in Flushing, but has begun receiving reps in the outfield. Last season he slashed .244/.354/.368 with six homers and 39 RBIs in 105 games for St. Lucie and Brooklyn.
“The outfield has grown on me a little bit, I am not going to lie,” Palmer said. “But any way I can get my bat in there.”