Through 13 games this season, the Giants have surprised many. Their offense looks great at times, their defense not so much. They're a game under .500, and have been competitive in most of their losses.
Fans are excited, maybe even more excited than they expected. Patience still isn't their strong suit, though. As every day goes by, the want for catching prospect Joey Bart's arrival only grows. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi understands your feelings, he also wants to pump the brakes. He knows, more than anything, the Giants can't screw this up.
"We felt very strongly he's a guy who needed more minor league reps," Zaidi said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto and Kolsky" show. "The ability to handle major league pitching on a day-in, day-out basis is a huge challenge, and a lot of guys get rushed and struggle and they never get over that hump.
"So, for someone like him who's so important to the future of this organization, we want to make sure we push the button at the right time."
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Bart looks the part of a major league player. He's listed at 6-foot-2, 238 pounds, and might be even bigger. The former No. 2 overall draft pick has big league power and a rocket for an arm. He also doesn't have that much experience at high levels in the minor leagues.
Throughout Zaidi's interview, he hammered Bart's lack of experience. The catcher lost time during the regular season when he fractured his left hand, and then fractured his right thumb early on in the Arizona Fall League. Between Single-A San Jose and Double-A Richmond, Bart hit .278 with 16 homers last year, and hit .333 with four home runs in 10 Fall League games.
But the reality is, Bart only has 79 at-bats in Double-A, and none higher than that. He always was destined to start the season in Sacramento, which is exactly where he is with the minor league season canceled. Bart is part of the Giants' group at their alternate site, and is working on very specific parts of his game.
"We feel really good about the setup we have in Sacramento," Zaidi said. "If you look at the pitchers that we have there, they're all basically major league depth. We have some quality depth in the organization. He's getting to face those pitchers on a day-in, day-out basis and frankly, however people want to describe the alternate site that we have, Joey Bart until now has never even faced that kind of Triple-A, major league-quality pitching on a day-in, day-out basis."
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Zaidi has a strong point there. The Giants aren't able to have full intrasquad games in Sacramento. It's extremely hard to make it a game-like environment there. At the same time, they're doing their best to simulate as many situations as possible.
The pitching group in Sacramento isn't full of young prospects. Instead, it's more established players like Dereck Rodriguez and Trevor Cahill. Bart is facing pitchers who have been there and done that. Now, when will he face pitchers who currently are in the big leagues?
That remains the big question.
"We haven't set timelines," Zaidi said. "We're just continuing to evaluate it, and there reports out of there have been really good so far on what he's done."