The Mets won a game! Plus, a discussion about Brett Baty and mental preparedness
The Mets demoted Baty to Triple-A after struggling badly at the big league level in 2023
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets routed the Cubs 11-2 in their return home on Monday night (Box)
Kodai Senga gave the Mets six strong innings on the mound, allowing just two runs with six strikeouts
Pete Alonso hit two home runs and drove in six - it was the second time in his career he has driven in six runs in a game (August 15, 2019 against the Braves)
Danny Mendick also had a big night at the plate, driving in three runs along with his first home run of the season
Brooks Raley, Drew Smith and Jimmy Yacabonis combined to give the Mets three innings of scoreless relief
Roster Moves 🗞️
Optioned INF Brett Baty to Triple-A Syracuse
Selected the contract of INF Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Syracuse
Recalled INF Jonathan Arauz from Triple-A Syracuse
Placed OF Starling Marte on the injured list (Groin strain)
Pete Alonso… 💣
Is hitting .333/.384/.742 with four doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 21 RBI over his last 17 games
Recorded his fourth multi-homer game of the season and the 18th multi-homer game of his career
His 18 multi-homer games are the third-most in franchise history behind Darryl Strawberry (22) and David Wright (21)
His 18 multi-homer games are the second-most such games since 2019 behind Aaron Judge (24).
His 179 career home runs are the fourth-most through a player’s first five seasons in the majors behind Ralph Kiner (215), Albert Pujols (201) and Eddie Matthews (190) - stats courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info
Monday was the third time in the last 14 days Alonso has had two homers and five RBI in a game, becoming the first player in major league history to accomplish the feat three times in a span of two weeks or less - stats courtesy of StatsPerform
His 30 career RBI against the Cubs are the fifth-most by an opposing player against Chicago during that span.
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (51-61) vs. Cubs (58-55)
Starting pitchers: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-6, 6.60 ERA) vs. LHP Jameson Taillon (6-6, 5.36 ERA)
Where: Citi Field – Flushing, NY
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
What happened with Brett Baty? ✍️
Well, the Mets won a game on Monday!
It was their first win since the front office dismantled a chunk of their roster, their first win with, as Buck Showalter essentially put it on Sunday, a lot of minor leaguers on their roster too.
Pete Alonso had one of his trademark monster days, which was really nice to see considering he was in a prolonged slump since pretty much mid-April until his bat finally woke up a couple of weeks ago.
There was also Kodai Senga who was once again solid and continues to show he will be a dependable, mid-rotation piece for the Mets going forward.
They at least know they have these pieces going for them, assuming they don’t get traded of course over the next six months and these days, I suppose you never really know who is coming and going.
There was some pretty unfortunate news though with the Mets yesterday, and it surrounded Brett Baty which ultimately led to his demotion back to Triple-A Syracuse.
We all have witnessed the struggles and, quite frankly, the regression of Baty over the course of the season on both sides of the ball. The numbers tell the physical story - he has hit just .195/.270/.294 over his last 71 games. He was also hitless in 18 at-bats on the club’s last road trip through Kansas City and Baltimore.
But apparently, there’s more than meets the eye here with Baty.
There was a report in the New York Post yesterday about the struggles Baty has encountered mentally at the big league level and, according to the Post, Baty admitted to struggling to meet the concentration and focus requirements to play at the big league level.
“You’re under a microscope up here, so you have got to be engaged from Pitch 1 to the end of the game,” Baty said, according to the Post. “That is something I have got to work on and something I have got to learn, so I am going to do my best at it.”
The suggestion a player is taking pitches off is disturbing to me. After all, when I am teaching at the youth level, one of the things I tell my hitters and pitchers is that every pitch has a purpose, and every pitch matters. So, for a pro to be saying this is a loud alarm bell.
Look, on the one hand, a player can’t experience the grind of the majors until that player actually gets here. Team officials will insist that can’t be taught or theorized, rather the player has to be tested, and there’s only one way to find out.
I agree, but only to an extent.
Part of the teaching process in the minor leagues and player development process is to prepare them for not just the quality of play in the major leagues, but the life and world of a big leaguer as well. Everyone from Port St. Lucie on up knows the lights in New York are bigger, everyone who is in that room is under a bright microscope from the moment they’re put on that roster, and there are going to be growing pains for everyone who gets there.
But that’s part of the preparation process, and part of the process I believe needs to improve. Like I said the other day, the game has been so dehumanized by statistics and metrics that these players - who are each unique human beings - have been reduced to resources and assets with a number on their back only, that we forget that, in this case, we are dealing with a young kid from Texas who’s emotional and might have been brought here before he was mentally ready.
And whether you agree or not, the world we live in is different than it was, and the teaching methods need to evolve as well. I think MLB does a much better job today addressing this than they did before, and that process starts in their youth academies and education curriculums they’ve built even at that most fundamental level.
Again, there’s only so much teaching and preparing a club can do for a player. And yes, there’s a reason these are the big leagues and why so many players don’t make it, or make it for a cup of coffee only never to return. At some point, its on the player but at the same time, the organization needs to better recognize the mental preparedness of the player too, and not simply go by his most recent slash line.
Yes, he was certainly raking at Triple-A, and everyone and their mothers and fathers were calling for the Mets to promote Baty to the big leagues. While hindsight is certainly 20-20, the mental maturity part was obviously forgotten with Baty. Now, he’s a mess mentally and he’s gone. Hopefully some time in Triple-A helps clear his head, he can get back to what got him to the big leagues in the first place, and will come back a better player if not this season, then in 2024.
But who knows? Sometimes these trips back to the minors are a one-way ticket.
That brings me to the 22-year-old Ronny Mauricio. On the surface, it would seem unacceptable the Mets promoted the 34-year-old Abraham Almonte yesterday while leaving Mauricio in Triple-A once again.
Statistically speaking, there was no reason for this to happen. Why is a top prospect still sitting in Triple-A while a 34-year-old journeyman gets the call instead? Forget the fact that he hasn’t seen reps at third base yet. That’s a physical preparation issue which isn’t on him.
There was a report over the weekend Mauricio appeared to be bored or indifferent at Triple-A because he was waiting for a call-up to the Mets. That indifference might have led him to being benched last Thursday at Triple-A Syracuse.
Doesn’t that seem like a mental maturity issue? Does that sound like someone who is mature enough or even deserves to be in that clubhouse at Citi Field? Should the Mets simply promote a player because the stats say they should? That’s the very essence of the dehumanization argument.
That’s not a knock on Mauricio. All signs point to Mauricio already possessing an impact bat for the middle of this lineup from both sides of the plate. Yes, he has work to do defensively but so did Baty, and Mark Vientos continues to be an adventure.
But if that’s all it was, don’t you think he’d be here, especially now that the Mets have completely mailed in the 2023 season?
Perhaps Baty’s case is a lesson learned.
I’m not at all saying Mauricio won’t be here soon and shouldn’t be here in 2024. What I am saying, rather, is the organization must remember that these prospects - who once again have been statistically ranked and almost none of their player profiles talk about whether or not they’re mentally prepared for pro ball - are people, and people with their own world of issues, and people with varying degrees of maturity.
And before these “people” get here, they need to make sure the maturity level matches the statistical outputs.
Around the League 🚩
Yankee manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the midst of a 5-1 loss at the hands of the White Sox on Monday
The Giants sent the Angels to their seventh loss since the trade deadline with an 8-3 win in Anaheim
The Reds sent the reeling Marlins to their fifth loss in a row with a 5-2 win at Great American Ballpark
The Pirates edged the Braves 7-6 at PNC Park on Monday thanks in part to a six-run third inning