Brett Baty is one of the top prep hitting prospects in the 2019 MLB draft. The left-handed hitter possesses as much raw power as anyone in the draft class.
His ability and potential at the plate are reasons why he’s a well-regarded draft prospect and has a strong chance at being selected in the first round when the draft begins June 3.
He’s part of a Lake Travis High School team that features three draft prospects. Besides Baty, right-handed pitcher Jimmy Lewis and outfielder Austin Plante also could be top-five round selections.
“Me and Jimmy talk about it all the time,” Baty said. “It helps in practice too with being competitive. We know we are making each other better in practice. It’s been good to have prospects on my team because we can talk about it and help each other.”
Baty, an Austin, Texas native, committed to the University of Texas at Austin in the summer leading up to his sophomore year in 2016. He grew up a Longhorns fan and regularly attended games, he said.
Once he went on an official visit, the quality baseball facilities and strong connection to the coaching staff played a large part in his decision. He chose his hometown university over Texas Christian and Texas A&M, he said.
Baty may never attend Texas as a student-athlete, especially if he’s selected early in June’s draft. He would be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2021, if he’d opt to join Texas instead of embarking on a professional career.
“I honestly feel that the decision will make itself when it comes time for the draft,” Baty said. “I am in a win-win situation either way. Texas is a great place to go and the draft would be amazing way to go as well.”
Baty, who’s 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, has improved his plate discipline this spring. He is hitting .639 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs in 72 at-bats. He also has drawn 31 walks while striking out six times.
He has a short, compact left-handed swing and makes consistent, hard contact. His top trait is his hitting ability.
“My plate discipline is really good right now,” Baty said. “I’m seeing the ball really well. Also, the power obviously because I can get the barrel to the ball and it will probably go a long way. Hitting for contact and average are strengths too.”
The biggest question mark in Baty’s game is his future defensive position. He currently plays third base, but pro scouts aren’t convinced he will remain at that position in pro ball.
He has a strong arm, as he also pitches for his high school team, but his athleticism and footwork could push him across the diamond to first base.
He’s dedicated significant time since last summer to improving his footwork, agility and quickness. He believes he can stick at third base in the future.
“If I put my mind to it, I really think I can,” Baty said. “I need to get more agile at third base and get a little quicker and faster running for out in the outfield, maybe.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for four years. He’s interviewed 133 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.