If there’s one more roster move that San Francisco Giants could make, it would be to provide more defense. In a normal baseball season, someone like Joey Bart would have played Triple-A. This year, that’s not the case as Bart, the most-watched player in camp, didn’t make the 30-man roster. Promoting the club’s top catching prospect features apparent upsides, there’s little reason to keep the Giants top prospect at the alternate site in West Sacramento.
When the Giants selected Bart No. 2 in the 2018 MLB Draft, it was a sign of the future that still holds hope today. However, Buster Posey’s decision to sit out led the Giants to start veteran catcher Tyler Heineman on Opening Day.
Now, this is where people would think Bart would become the Giants backup catcher. However, that’s not the case as Chadwick Tromp made the roster. Together, both Heineman and Tromp arrived at camp as minor-league free agents.
It’s not a bad thing, but Tromp may have bought Bart another year. Bart could become a lethal weapon behind the plate. There is a lot that Bart can learn from Posey, who has afforded the Giants a decade of success. The catcher’s resume includes six All-Star teams, four Silver Slugger Awards, and he was a cornerstone piece for the Giants World Series championship teams.
The Giants are past the point where Bart could earn a full year of major-league service. That’s already pushed back his ability to become a free agent six years from now. There’s a lot of room for Bart to develop. He’s only played 22 games above A-ball, and he hasn’t dominated any minor-league level.
When will we see Joey Bart behind the plate for the Giants?
Last season, Bart missed time due to a fractured hand, and when the Giants sent him to the Arizona Fall League, he sustained another injury. However, in those ten games in Arizona, Bart held his own when he hit .333 with four home runs in 42 plate appearances. Bart’s power should translate well in the majors. Although the Giants don’t lack home run power against left-handed pitchers, another right-handed threat couldn’t hurt.
Bart is still fairly young too. At 23-years old, he’s 17 months younger than Cody Bellinger. He’s a year older than Ronald Acuna Jr. too. Baseball today is to develop players as quickly as possible while they’re young at the height of their athletic prime.
The major leagues offer the best opportunity to develop Bart this year. The Giants are doing everything they can to create a meaningful experience for their prospects and pool players at the alternate.
Bart is doing that with most of his fellow prospects. He’s been working with the Giants top pick from the 2020 MLB Draft, Patrick Bailey. Bart has been practicing every day, even spending some at first base. Marco Luciano, Luis Toribio, and Will Wilson are the fellow prospects at the alternative site.
It’s becoming more evident that Bart is the best option they have at the position. This shortened season provides a rebuilding franchise like the Giants with a creative opportunity to compete. Farhan Zaidi, Giants president of baseball operations, believes that Bart needs to more time to develop. He’s not wrong as Bart has had fewer than 100 plate appearances above Single-A. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited his opportunities.
What the Giants need to figure out sooner than later is a plan as to who they’ll have behind the plate next season. Posey isn’t getting any younger; he’ll be 34-years old who hasn’t played in over a year. It’s harder than ever to know what to expect from Posey in 2021 and beyond. The time to call up Bart is now, not in 2021.