ATLANTA — Brett Baty’s first major league at-bat was one for the Mets history books.
The rookie third baseman hit a home run over the right field fence at Truist Park against the Braves’ Jake Odorizzi in the second inning Wednesday. He is the fifth player in Mets history to homer in his first major league at-bat.
Mike Jacobs (2005) was the most recent Met to homer in his first major league at-bat.
Baty, 22, was selected from Triple-A Syracuse before the game after Edurado Escobar was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain.
After Baty missed a flight from Charlotte, N.C., a day earlier, which delayed his major league debut by 24 hours, he was in the lineup batting eighth for an August pennant-race game against the Braves.
“What every kid dreams of for sure,” Baty said.
Escobar’s injury has left third base wide open for Baty, the organization’s No. 2 prospect, for at least the next 1 ½ weeks and perhaps beyond. Earlier this week, the Mets placed their other third baseman, Luis Guillorme, on the IL with a left groin strain that will likely sideline him for at least a month.
Baty impressed team officials during spring training for the manner in which he responded to constructive criticism.
“[Teammates] were all kind of giving it to me a little bit, just being one of the younger guys,” Baty said. “But I trust the way I play baseball and trust myself out on the field so they were getting on me, but I was kind of responding.”
The Mets’ top pick in the 2019 draft, Baty was only promoted to Syracuse last week. In 95 games between Double-A Binghamton and Syracuse, he had a .315/.410/.533 slash line with 19 homers and 60 RBIs.
“[The big leagues] wasn’t on my mind at all,” Baty said. “I was just worried about winning games for Syracuse, but now I am here to win ball games for the New York Mets.”
Baty said he was approached by Brandon Nimmo (a 2011 first-round pick by the Mets) and received a welcoming message.
“Nimmo took me aside and said, ‘Hey man, slow it down. It’s going to be a pretty big atmosphere for sure, but we all trust you out there and we have your back.’ That is what I wanted to hear,” Baty said. “He is definitely a leader in this clubhouse, so for him to say that to me was real big.”
Manager Buck Showalter said Baty’s makeup impressed him during the spring.
“You can see why he was thought of so well,” Showalter said. “I like the fact that he responded to constructive criticism. He is a big boy. He understands what is ahead of him. He’s got a good support group here with his teammates and the organization and this is a big moment for scouts and player development people when they come up here.
“I have had the good fortune to manage some guys that ended up in the Hall of Fame that went up and down. It’s not always perfect right out of the shoot.”
The biggest concern about Baty might be his defense — he has committed 15 errors in 72 games at third base this year — but Showalter expects a gradual evolution.
“I have gotten a lot of input about it and he has gotten better every year and like all of us it’s probably not as good as it’s going to be,” Showalter said. “I don’t expect anything negative about it. … He is playing on better fields. I saw his last 35 defensive plays in the minor leagues and I can tell you this: The fields are better here.”
At the plate, Baty has made a concerted effort to get the ball airborne more often.
“I have always tried to hit the ball hard just all over the field,” Baty said. “I figured it was going to come soon enough and this year it kind of showed a little bit. I think I am just scratching the surface, though. I feel I can do a lot more for this ballclub.”