On Saturday, we spent some time talking about whether Brett Baty or Mark Vientos had a better shot at making the Mets’ Opening Day roster. We settled on Vientos after looking at each prospect’s situation.
As it turns out, it’s neither of them. The Mets announced on Saturday night that both Baty and Vientos were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse to start the 2023 campaign.
This isn’t a huge shock. After all, we haven’t seen either in the starting lineup much since players returned from the World Baseball Classic. Plus, having vets like Eduardo Escobar, Tommy Pham, and potentially Darin Ruf start the year in their expected roles allows New York to put off making a tough decision.
That said, the leash for each of these players better be short. Especially if they’re not performing and Baty and/or Vientos are in the minors. So, why did general manager Billy Eppler and Co. make this decision? Eppler spoke with the media on Saturday night. He talked about Baty getting more defensive work at third base but also tried to compare his situation to other star third basemen currently in the big leagues.
The names will sound familiar, too. Guys like Nolan Arenado, Rafael Devers, and Austin Riley:
"While he had a great camp, we're really excited about his future, there's just some more development markers left for him to reach"
Billy Eppler explains the decision to send Brett Baty to triple-A Syracuse: pic.twitter.com/6mxs3hQG7l
— SNY (@SNYtv) March 26, 2023
Look, I get it. But this sounds like bologna. Entering this year, Baty has played just over 230 games in the minor leagues. Outside of 11 games in the big leagues last year, only six have been above the Double-A level.
Could he benefit from more time in Triple-A? Well, sure he could. But it’s not like getting more time down there will better guarantee long-term success. Everyone is different, and there’s no magic number that says a player should be ready. I suppose it’s a good barometer to have in mind. It also shows how much they hope Baty will be the answer at third base for the long haul in New York.
However, there’s no doubt as to who had the better camp between him and Eduardo Escobar. He even knows his days as the starting third baseman are numbered. And unlike Omar Narvaez and Tomas Nido, he’ll probably have to do some looking over his shoulder this year.
Eppler’s answer was predictable. What else was he going to say? When it’s all said and done, it’s probably the best thing for Baty’s long-term development. But still, that doesn’t mean it’s not bologna.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.