Giants

Farhan Zaidi wants Giants top prospect Joey Bart to learn new position

Giants

The Giants find themselves in a tough situation when it comes to their future behind the plate. What will they do with Buster Posey and top prospect Joey Bart? 

Posey, 32, doesn't become a free agent until 2022 and still is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Bart, 22, has impressed behind the dish and his bat could have him in the bigs in no time. 

Simply placing Posey at first base, where he's played sparingly the past two seasons, doesn't make much sense if his offensive production isn't there. Posey only has six home runs this season and 11 throughout the last two years combined. He has career lows across the board including batting average (.258), on-base percentage (.324) and OPS (.719). 

Meanwhile, Bart has 12 home runs and a .792 OPS in Class A Advanced for the San Jose Giants. While he likely won't be an everyday player in the majors until 2021, the Giants already are rethinking how they view catchers on their roster. 

“More and more nowadays it’s not like, ‘Let’s have a starting catcher and let’s have a backup catcher,’” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said to The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly. “It’s, ‘Let’s have two catchers where it’s a difficult decision to take one of them out of the lineup. Let’s create an opportunity to get both bats in the lineup when we can.’

“I would not view it as someone’s going to be the starter and someone’s going to be the backup. It’ll be more of a nuanced situation than that.”

 

Zaidi always has preferred positional flexibility with his roster. If you look at his catchers in the past on the Dodgers, it's clear he wants those that can do more than just get in the squat. He and the rest of the front office are thinking of ways Bart can increase his versatility. 

“As time goes on, we’d like to find another spot where we can put Bart when Buster or the other catcher is back there,” Zaidi said to Baggarly. “It’s always a good idea for a player to have somewhere else they can play to give the manager more options to put them when they’re not catching.”

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Aside from occasionally serving as the team's DH, Bart has only played catcher throughout his minor league career. He never played another position in college at Georgia Tech, either. 

Bart, 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, moves very well for his size. He also has a rocket of an arm. While he's been impressive as a catcher -- throwing out 19 baserunners this season -- it will be very interesting to see if the Giants begin experimenting with him at first or even third base in the future.