Giants

Giants prospect Joey Bart not expected in Sacramento 'that much longer'

Giants

Giants fans are running low on patience. They want Joey Bart in the big leagues, and they want him now. 

Through the first five games of the 2020 MLB season, San Francisco's top catching prospect has been training at the Giants' alternate site in Sacramento. Good news could be on the way, though. Bart should be with the Giants sooner than later. 

"Joey needs more time to make sure he's ready, and I don't think it's gonna be that much longer," Kyle Haines, the Giants' director of player development, said to NBC Sports Bay Area over the phone on Wednesday. "His physical talent, obviously it's there. But at the same time, it's much easier to send people up than it is down." 

When Buster Posey opted out of the season to be with his family and recently adopted twins, the thought of Bart making the Opening Day roster became much more of a possible reality. The Giants, however, kept with their original plan and sent Bart to Sacramento, where he always was set to start the year if the minor league season hadn't been canceled. They instead went with catchers Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly to start the season. 

Brantly was designated for assignment on Tuesday. In a corresponding move, the Giants called up Chadwick Tromp, a different powerful, young catcher.

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Bart once again showed star potential throughout spring training with the big league club. Between the spring and two exhibition games against the A's, he hit .389 with two home runs and a 1.254 OPS in 11 games. And he opened eyes in Summer Camp when players arrived at Oracle Park after months away from baseball. 

Haines also reiterated a reality when it comes to Bart. He really doesn't have that much experience in the minor leagues. Bart dealt with two hand fractures -- one with the San Jose Giants and one in the Arizona Fall League -- last year, and only has 79 at-bats at Double-A. 

"With Joey, Joey's really good," Haines said. "There's no denying that. But at the same time, sometimes we -- even myself -- we lose track that Buster got called up after having 400 at-bats in the minor leagues, and Joey's not even at that point yet. Buster was one of the most extreme timelines we've ever seen as a catcher in the minor leagues.

"In theory, he's still, game experience-wise, ahead of where Joey has been." 

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Bart turns 24 in December. Posey was just 22 when he made his debut in 2009. The former NL MVP also only hit .118 (2-for-17) in the majors that season, before winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2010. 

There's a business side to this, too. The Giants only needed to keep Bart off their major league roster for the first five games of the season to fall short a year of service time, keeping him under team control for an extra season. That time now has passed, with the sixth game of the season taking place Wednesday night against the San Diego Padres. 

The Giants don't want to rush Bart. They expect him to be a huge part of their future and don't want any missteps in his development. There also has to be a time to take the training wheels off one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball. 

It appears that time could come very soon.