TITLE: It’s Happening: Giants Promoting Joey Bart
The San Francisco Giants have called up one of their top prospects, Joey Bart, and he will make his debut tonight.
First reported by Andy Baggarly of The Athletic on Thursday morning, the call-up is one of the most anticipated moves of the 2020 Giants baseball season. The catcher is hoped to be a major foundational piece of the Giants future.
Bart, 23, was the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft by the San Francisco Giants and has been one of their most anticipated prospects of the next wave of young players. In 2 seasons in the minors, Bart has hit .284/.383/.532 over 130 games, hitting 29 doubles, 6 triples, and 29 home runs in 517 at-bats.
Giants PBO Farhan Zaidi has indicated that the plan is that Bart will play regularly, and will not be subject to the platoons that other players have seen. As a catcher, of course, he will still have regular rest days.
The young catcher has been given high plaudits around most parts of his game. His biggest strength is his strength, the plus power he has, particularly to left field. He’s also praised for his ability to call his own games, which he has been doing since college (a rare trait), and his arm strength for throwing out baserunners. There is concern about his ability to hit for an elite average, and he does strike out a lot, but they are not massive holes in his game.
Bart is ranked as the #1 prospect in the Giants system by MLB Pipeline and Fangaphs, and #2 by Baseball America behind Marco Luciano.
He is the highest pick in the draft the Giants have had since Will Clark was also picked with the second overall pick in 1985. Buster Posey was the 5th overall pick in the 2008 draft, ten years prior to Bart’s selection.
Bart has had some injury issues, suffering two broken hands during the 2019 season, one in April and another in September during the Arizona Fall League, both with his hand being hit by pitches while batting. However, Bart showed he was healthy in March, batting .389/.476/.778 in 11 games during the original spring training, with one double and two home runs in 18 at-bats.
Many fans, frustrated with the team during 2020, have spoken up on social media about wanting to see the many young players the Giants have in their system, to let them get work in the Majors since there are no minor leagues going on. Bart in particular has been at the top of those requests since he was closest to the Majors and many had expected him to make his Major League debut in 2020 even before the pandemic.
The player drafted ahead of Bart, pitcher Casey Mize, made his debut for the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, one day before the announcement by the Giants of Bart’s call-up.
Questions about the future will wait. All-Star catcher Buster Posey opted out for the 2020 season due to the pandemic and his newly adopted daughters being vulnerable. Posey is signed through 2021 with a club option for 2022. Whether or not Posey or Bart might share time at other positions is a possibility. The Giants have talked about putting Bart at first this year, but he has only taken reps there at the Giants Alternate Training Site this summer. Posey has played 229 games at first in his 11 year career. If the NL keeps the Designated Hitter for 2021 and beyond, that could also be how the two players share at-bats.
As of publishing time, no corresponding roster moves have been announced. Bart is not on the 40-Man roster, so moves will need to be made to get him on both the 40-man and 28-man rosters.
UPDATE 2:30 PM PT: The Giants optioned Tyler Heineman to the Alternate Training Site to make room for Bart on the 28-Man roster. The 40-Man roster has not been announced.