Mike Baxter came up big in last night’s Met game, hitting a clutch double in his first at-bat as a Met, driving in two runs, and giving the Mets a chance to come back and win the game.Granted, Kyle Blanks should have caught the ball, but it was great to see a 26 year-old”rookie” get hit first hit as a Met, in a big spot, in his hometown, in front of his friends and family.
Baxter, 26, a Queens native, played his first five years of pro ball with the Padres organization, bouncing back and forth in the upper levels of the farm system, until being claimed by the Mets off waivers this season. Baxter was hitting .297 in 28 games this season, with Lake Elsinore, St. Lucie, and Buffalo, where he just came from.
Baxter, a native of Queens, grew up in Queens, and led his high school, Archbishop Molloy High School, to the New York City championship in 2002. The game was played at… you guessed it, Shea Stadium. Baxter was a star shortstop at the time, but has converted to a first baseman and outfielder.
After graduating Molloy, Baxter attended Columbia University, where .368 as an 18 year-old, before transferring to Vanderbilt, where he recorded 162 career hits in 121 games. Baxter was drafted by the Padres in the fourth round of 2005 draft, where he spent five sub-par years before coming to the Mets earlier this year.
Terry Collins told reporters yesterday that Baxter will mainly be used as a situational hitter and a backup outfielder. He has some speed, hitting ten triples in Triple-A Portland last year. He could definitely contribute to this team going forward and maybe deliver a few hits like last night. We’ll just have to wait and see…