Giants

Giants prospect Patrick Bailey joins Joey Bart in learning first base

Giants

Joey Bart isn't the only Giants top catching prospect learning a new position right now. Add Patrick Bailey, the No. 13 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, right there with Bart. 

Both prospects currently are at the Giants' alternate training site in Sacramento with the minor league season canceled. And both have added a new glove to their gear bags. 

"Basically, Joey and Patrick are on the same kind of routine right now," Kyle Haines, the Giants' director of player development, said to NBC Sports Bay Area over the phone on Wednesday. "Both take ground balls at first. Both are catching a lot, and they've done a nice job of working together and motivating each other."

The Giants' buzz word of choice this year is "versatility." Take a look at their major league roster, and it's full of players that can be moved all over the field. 

Mauricio Dubon might play shortstop, second base and center field all in one game. Wilmer Flores can be slotted anywhere around the infield. The same goes for Donovan Solano. Darin Ruf could go from a first baseman's mitt to an outfielder's glove in a hurry and Austin Slater just defines himself as "right-handed hitter" with all the different roles he has.

That's omitting plenty of players, too. 

Down on the farm, the Giants are looking to groom versatile players as well. That's just part of what made the decision to select Bailey with their top pick in the draft just two years after taking Bart second overall so perplexing. Both prospects only caught in college. That already has changed in Sacramento. 

 

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Bart, 23, was voted as the best defensive catcher in the California League last season by coaches when he was with the San Jose Giants. Known more for his power potential, Bart does have a rocket of an arm and is athletic behind the dish despite his 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame. But the Giants have made it clear for quite some time now they want him to learn a new position

Bailey, 21, was considered an even better defensive prospect than Bart coming out of NC State. He has a more slender build at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, and his defense has been praised by evaluators since high school. But just like Bart, the Giants want to keep his bat in the lineup once he reaches San Francisco, and make sure he isn't tied to only getting in a squat. 

For now, the two only are learning first base as they continue to grow in their catching duties as well. But crazier things have happened. 

"Right now, no on anywhere outside of catcher and right now just introducing first base," Haines said. "I don't anticipate trying to teach them somewhere else, but I don't think any of us ever expected Travis Ishikawa to play left field in the World Series, so you never know what's gonna happen."

[REALTED: Giants' Bart not expected in Sacramento 'that much longer']

Bart and Bailey easily could have gone about this the wrong way. They played in the same conference in college, battling each other back in 2018. They play the same position, with dreams of one day becoming a star catcher in the big leagues. So far, though, so good. 

What has encouraged Haines the most early on in Sacramento is how the duo has worked together, constantly pushing each other. 

"It's been really fun to see two former ACC rivals coming together, and working as Giants now has been really fun," Haines said. "... It's been fun to see these guys grow together."

The Giants firmly believe Bart and Bailey can co-exist. From Summer Camp at Oracle Park to the alternate site in Sacramento, that's exactly what has happened. If all goes right, they will be in the same Giants lineup in the near future, too.