Giants' Joey Bart named second-best catching prospect in baseball

Giants' Joey Bart named second-best catching prospect in baseball

When the Giants drafted Joey Bart second overall in 2018, they envisioned him taking the reins from Buster Posey one day and giving the organization another run with a franchise catcher. That plan still is right on track.

Bart, who is preparing for his second full professional season, was named the No. 2 catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. He is listed behind only Adley Rutschman, who was taken with the top pick in last year's draft by the Baltimore Orioles. 

Bart was a top 30 overall prospect on multiple lists last offseason and should be even higher after a strong 2019. He hit 12 homers in 57 games for the San Jose Giants and then posted a .316/.368/.544 slash line in 22 games for Double-A Richmond in the tough Eastern League.

Bart destroyed the Arizona Fall League and for much of his time there was the best prospect in a league full of good ones -- he batted .333 and hit four homers in 10 games before an injury shortened his year. 

"I'm just going in there and being competitive and being ready to hit and just trusting my eyes," Bart said on The Giants Insider Podcast earlier this offseason. "That's kind of what's gotten me to where I am now and that's where I'll move forward. Through the offseason I can make adjustments and do drills and stuff to hopefully make me lay off pitches or be on time for other pitches, but mainly it's just been coming out here, keeping a clear mind, and trying to have fun."

[RELATED: What Baseball America's new Giants top 10 prospects means]

MLB Pipeline listed Bart among three prospects with the "most power" from this group of young catchers, noting he "has huge pull-side power -- the product of bat speed, strength and leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame."

Bart, 23, will be a non-roster invitee in Giants camp and is expected to get plenty of starts behind the plate in the Cactus League. While he's not in the plans for Opening Day, the Giants expect Bart to start the season in Triple-A and make his debut during the summer.

Gabe Kapler-Brandon Crawford 'misunderstanding' deemed 'bulls--t'

Gabe Kapler-Brandon Crawford 'misunderstanding' deemed 'bulls--t'

Gabe Kapler didn't exactly have glowing things to say about veteran Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford when he spoke to the media on Dec. 10.

But nearly three months later, the new Giants manager and his shortstop have cleared the air.

In a conversation with The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly, Kapler addressed his comments from December.

“We understand that there’s some real misconceptions out there about Brandon, and some misunderstandings that I think, frankly, are bulls--t,” Kapler told Baggarly. “I think he’s motivated. I think he wants to be really, really good. He’s working really hard both in the cage and on defense. And he’s really accepted and embraced a lot of the feedback that we’ve given him.”

Back in December, Kapler had this to say about the three-time Gold Glove winner:

Crawford told Baggarly that he was confused by Kapler's comment, and they addressed it in a phone conversation.

“He actually loved that I brought it up,” Crawford told Baggarly. “He’s all about open communication. He loved that I saw it and asked him about it. That was one of the first things we talked about. And it was actually something really small. Like, it wasn’t a big deal. I think he was excited to talk to you (reporters) about it because they were picking everything apart and that stood out as something to work on. He didn’t mean it in a way, like, ‘That guy is not good defensively anymore.’ They were just excited to find something that we can work on together.”

[RELATED: Zaidi loves Dubon's versatility]

As Kapler begins his first season with the Giants, it's good that he was able to smooth things over with Crawford. The new skipper is going to need all the veterans to buy into what he's selling.

Farhan Zaidi knows Buster Posey's backup is big decision for Giants


Farhan Zaidi knows Buster Posey's backup is big decision for Giants

Joey Bart is not making the Giants' Opening Day roster, no matter how well he does this spring in big league camp. It's simple as that. 

San Francisco's top catching prospect likely will start the season in Triple-A Sacramento. He might be the Giants' most talented catcher behind Buster Posey, but the backup job will have to go to someone else. 

The Giants' battle to be Posey's backup currently consists of 30-year-old Rob Brantly and 28-year-old Tyler Heineman. Both players spent the majority of last season in Triple-A and haven't played many games in the big leagues. That's a huge step down from Stephen Vogt, who had a great season for the Giants last year. 

And Farhan Zaidi knows it. Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations, recently showed belief in the two catchers but made it clear the front office might make another move. 

"That backup catcher role, if you're playing once or twice a week -- having a guy who can give you quality at-bats is really important," Zaidi said Monday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show." Both of those guys can do that. 

"They both have legitimate shots, but we also told those guys, 'Hey, we may go out and get somebody else. Either somebody else who's in the competition or maybe even jumps to the front of the line.' So those guys are aware of that, and we'll keep an eye out. We'll keep looking for the best possible option."

With only a handful of spring training games in the book, it seems a move isn't imminent. 

"I don't want to diminish the in-house chances that these guys have to win that job," Zaidi continued. "Again, they're not necessarily the most proven options at the big league level, but we like what we've seen so far." 

[RELATED: Bochy praises Bart, will have large role in minor leagues]

Posey caught 101 games last season, and 88 the year before. He still is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, but as he turns 33 years old in one month, manager Gabe Kapler would be wise to limit Posey's innings behind the plate. Quietly, backup catcher is one of the most important positions on the Giants. 

Bart, meanwhile, is expected to be in San Francisco at some point this season. That won't be right away, though. Either Brantly or Heineman figure to be on the roster next month. That is, unless the Giants make a move. 

Help eventually is on the way, but the Giants have a big decision to make in order to get the best out of Posey and the rest of their roster right now.