The first question that came to mind from fans and outsiders when the Giants selected North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey with the No. 13 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft was, "why?"
The Giants drafted Joey Bart with the No. 2 overall pick just two years ago, so there's no reason to grab another catcher so high. Right?
Well, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it quite clear when talking with Bay Area reporters Wednesday night.
"You don't draft for need -- I won't even say need, but perceived need -- and you can never have too much catching," Zaidi said.
Yes, and yes.
Both statements couldn't be more true. The MLB draft is nothing like that of the NFL or NBA. This isn't about team needs or immediate impact. And as Zaidi said, you can never have too much catching.
Whether you like it or not, the DH likely is coming to the NL in the near future and rosters already have expanded to 26 players. Zaidi also is infatuated with positionless baseball and defensive versatility. All the above reasons make it more understandable why the Giants took Bailey with their top pick.
So, how does Bailey compare to Bart? Let's take a look at their college careers.
Bart (144 games): .321/.407/.544, 30 HR, 35 2B, 112 RBI, 115 R
Bailey (131 games): .302/.411/.568, 29 HR, 28 2B, 106 RBI, 115 R
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Bart exploded his junior year, batting .359 with 16 home runs. Bailey was on his way for a huge junior season as well before it was shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic). He had a .296 batting average with six homers, 20 RBI and a .685 slugging percentage in only 17 games.
Both powerful catchers played in the same conference, tearing apart ACC pitchers. Bart won the Johnny Bench Award, given to the top catcher in the country, his final year in college. Bailey was a semifinalist for the newly-named Buster Posey Award after his sophomore season when he hit .288 with 10 homers.
While he's seen as one of the best defensive catching prospects in baseball, Bart is much more imposing and physically advanced compared to Bailey. Bart stands 6-foot-3 and is listed at 235 pounds. Bailey, listed at 6-2 and 207 pounds looks like a prototypical catcher.
Bailey entered college as one of the most well regarded defensive catchers in the country. He came to NC State with some questions about his offensive impact, but quickly answered those. The newest Giants prospect was named ACC Freshman of the Year when he broke an NC State freshman record of 13 home runs while batting .321 with a .604 slugging percentage.
As Giants fans have been begging for more power hitters, Bailey and Bart certainly have plenty of that. They also can get a little too strikeout-happy at times. Bart struck out 56 times in 57 games as a junior and Bailey had 18 strikeouts -- but also 17 walks -- in 17 games this season.
Prior to their draft years, Baseball America ranked Bart as the fifth-best prospect in the 2018 draft class and Bailey as No. 14 this year. They have similarities at the plate and strong arms behind the dish.
Giants fans drool every time Bart bashes a deep blast. They dream of him soon doing so at Oracle Park. Bailey should bring the same hopes as well.
Before being drafted, both prospects had college track records that would make any front office more than happy adding them to their farm system.