Patrick Bailey, C
BATS: S / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2020, 1st Round
LAST LEVEL: Low-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #2 Catcher, #11 Overall
Performance: Patrick Bailey was given an aggressive promotion for his first assignment, debuting at High-A after what would’ve been his rookie season of 2020 was cancelled. Although Bailey spent a lot of 2020 in the team’s alternate site, Bailey struggled at Eugene to start the season. He struggled a bit with back stiffness in June as he ended up with a .185/.290/.296 batting line in Eugene after 33 games played.
The good news is that after taking some time off and getting assigned to Arizona to make adjustments, the adjustments worked. Bailey finished the season in San Jose, where he hit .322/.415/.531 in 47 games. He improved in all aspects, especially in dropping his strikeout rate (26.5% K rate from 31.9%) and in-game power (16 doubles and 7 home runs in San Jose, after just 9 doubles and 2 home runs in Eugene).
Bailey did show off his defensive skills, especially in Eugene where he was aggressive with showing off his strong arm, sometimes even attempting to pick off runners at both second base and third base after pitches. He caught just 22.4% of baserunners in Eugene, but that was in a league where pitchers had to completely step off the rubber to attempt pick offs. But in San Jose, he caught 47.5% of baserunners, where pitchers were limited in their pickoff attempts.
Bailey did make four appearances at first base while he was with Eugene, but that was the extent of his time at the position.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Bailey profiles as a defense-first catcher, and nothing changed about that after his first season playing. He’s received a lot of praise both for how he plays behind the plate, including how mobile he is there as well as his strong arm, but also how he handles pitchers. There have been rumblings of moving him part-time to first, as the team needs to balance his use with Joey Bart, but that clearly would reduce the impact of his biggest strength.
Offensively, the questions are bigger. Bailey is a rare switch-hitting catcher, which was discussed a lot after he was drafted. That was one of his big problems in Eugene, however. He was just 2-for-21 (.095) with one home run as a right-handed batter in Eugene. However, in San Jose, he hit .322 as a LHB and .321 as a RHP, so the adjustments he made for the second half clearly had huge effects.
Bailey does profile more as a power hitter than a hitter for average, particularly when he’s a hitting from the left side.
2022 Outlook: Bailey will return to High-A to see if the adjustments he made in the second half can hold up. If he does, the Giants will probably continue to be aggressive with his promotions to see how he can handle Double-A. But Bailey will also likely have a hug impact on some of the team’s young pitchers, from Kyle Harrison to Will Bednar and Matt Mikulski.
Future Profile: With his defensive ability, Bailey clearly has the potential to be an everyday catcher. Whether his offensive profile can come close to its ceiling will determine whether he’s a regular catcher or potentially an All-Star at the spot.