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Brett Baty: Champ or Chump for Fantasy Baseball?

Brett Baty - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Prospects, Draft Sleepers, Wavier Wire Pickups

The Braves (and fantasy managers) are enjoying the production of Vaughn Grissom following injuries to Ozzie Albies and Orlando Arcia, so the Mets decided to try the same trick by promoting top prospect Brett Baty in the wake of injuries to Eduardo Escobar and Luis Guillorme. Like Grissom, Baty has relatively little experience in the high minors but has hit everywhere he's been assigned.

Unlike Grissom, Baty hit a homer on the first pitch he saw at the MLB level but has otherwise struggled with a .136/.208/.273 triple slash line and several questionable plays in the field. Baty has the better prospect pedigree between the two, but the 38% of fantasy managers who currently roster him in Yahoo! leagues want to know if that will translate to production down the stretch.

The 22-year-old has elite raw power that could play well in fantasy, but the smart money suggests that he won't be able to access it in games immediately. The third baseman still has a solid future in Flushing, but he looks more like a post-hype sleeper in 2023 or 2024 than an immediate add.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Brett Baty's Huge Potential Not Yet Ready

Baty's raw power is immediately apparent whenever you read a scouting report on him. FanGraphs assigns him 70-grade raw power both now and in the future, adding 60-grade game power in the future. Unfortunately, his scouting report notes that a swing change will be necessary to access that power in games and his 40-grade current hit tool (50 in the future) represents a potential batting average risk. Overall, they rank Baty as the 26th best prospect in the game.

MLB Pipeline likes him more, giving Baty 60-grade hit and power tools and ranking him 19th overall. However, his scouting report includes the following passage, "[Baty is] capable of putting on a powerful show in batting practice, but it hasn't translated into eye-popping slugging numbers. A 50-plus percent ground-ball rate has kept him from making the most of that strength, but there's hope that more upper-level experience could iron out those issues."

That passage was startling to this author because MLB Pipeline is typically extremely optimistic about top prospects. It seems to be advocating for the same type of swing change the FanGraphs scouting report mentioned, indirectly saying that he needs more time against advanced pitching to mature. The future potential is great, but an immediate impact seems unlikely.

 

Brett Baty's Batting on the Farm

Baty has posted strong batting lines throughout his MiLB career, but the huge HR totals that you would expect from a guy with 70-grade raw pop have been noticeably absent. He began 2021 at High-A (Brooklyn), hitting a robust .309/.397/.514 but with just seven homers over 209 PAs. The raw pop was there with a 28% HR/FB, but his 19.5 FB% was way too low to maximize it. The low fly ball rate contributed to a .402 BABIP, but no one consistently runs BABIPs that high in the majors.

Baty also struck out at a 25.4% clip with a 12.9 SwStr%, suggesting some swing and miss in his game that isn't immediately apparent by looking at his season numbers. He knows how to work a walk if his 11.5 BB% is any indication, but a high strikeout rate and low FB% will be difficult to overcome. The Mets liked what they saw though and promoted him to Double-A (Binghamton) mid-season.

The result was a muted version of the same production as Baty hit .272/.364/.424 with five homers in 176 PAs. His raw power looked great with a 20% HR/FB, he didn't consistently access it with a 24.3 FB%, he posted an elevated .350 BABIP, and he struck out (25.6%) and walked (12.5%) a lot. His SwStr% fell to 10.3 and he improved his FB% slightly, but he didn't solve any of his issues.

That earned him a second trip to Binghamton to begin the 2022 campaign and again, little changed. His surface stats were better with a .312/.406/.544 line and 19 HR over 394 PAs, but a lot of that can be attributed to his .390 BABIP and 26% HR/FB. Baty's flyball rate was still low (though improving) at 30.8% and his 13 SwStr% was higher than anything he posted in 2021. He kept his 11.7 BB% and 24.9 K% effectively constant.

To be fair, both of Baty's home parks were pitcher-friendly. Per Baseball America, Brooklyn was in the 23rd percentile for runs, 13th for HR, and 8th for BABIP in 2019. Binghamton had a 95 HR factor and 101 BABIP factor from 2017-2019. Still, Baty is supposed to have the kind of pop where the environment doesn't matter.

Baty received 26 PAs at Triple-A (Syracuse) before making his major league debut, so the statistics above are all we have to work with. He doesn't hit enough flies to generate the prodigious HR totals fantasy managers expect when they read his scouting report, he doesn't have great contact skills, and his high BABIPs don't involve sustainable skills like speed or line drives.

Baty swiped a handful of bases on the farm, but his success rates are nowhere near high enough to grant him a green light in the Show. He went 4-for-7 for Brooklyn and at Binghamton if you combine both years, so speed isn't part of his game. His glove is also a work in progress, with the Mets giving him outfield reps at Double-A just in case.

 

The Final Verdict on Brett Baty

Baty has consistently cracked the Mets lineup since his debut, but he has without exception hit 8th: a role that offers no fantasy value. His 18.8 FB% at the MLB level suggests that his biggest bugaboo still exists in full force as well. The 12th overall pick in the 2019 Amateur Draft has a bright future, but 2022 isn't the year to roster him. He's a Chump in redraft leagues.



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