Giants

Giants

Giants top prospect Joey Bart knows baseball is full of ups and downs. Just look at his batting average. 

The catcher had been struggling at the plate since being promoted to Double-A Richmond, batting just .208 through his first 15 games. Everything can change with one big night at the plate, though. 

Bart went 4-for-5 with a double, RBI and two runs scored in the Flying Squirrels' 7-6 win over the Erie SeaWolves on Monday. In just one day's work, his average jumped 51 points to .259. 

"Obviously the arms are better [than High-Class A]," Bart said Tuesday to Richmond's broadcaster Jake Eisenberg. "The ball doesn't fly here like it does back West." 

The power-hitting catcher has three homers in Double-A, but he also has struck out 17 times to five walks. However, he says the biggest difference in the higher level is dealing with his pitching staff, not facing the other team's arms. 

"The hardest adjustment's been getting on page with the pitchers," Bart said. "Not that it hasn't gone well, it's just two weeks isn't a whole lot of time to get to know the staff. That's definitely been the biggest thing, just trying to get everyone on page and trying to figure out what everyone does to ultimately pitch the best."

Bart goes over charts and scouting reports on opposing hitters. Data helps, but there's no comparison to the feel of the game and seeing how the ball moves out of each pitcher's hand. 

 

"Ultimately it's about competing and hopefully whatever [pitch] I put down, they're with it," Bart said. "If they're not, they'll throw what they want and I'll block it up or do whatever I have to do to get the out." 

This is Bart's first full season in the minor leagues. He played 51 games last year after being taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. This season, he's already played 124 games -- catching 61 -- between the San Jose Giants and Richmond. Bart says there's no comparison between college and the grind of the minors, even though he played in the competitive ACC at Georgia Tech. 

Richmond has seven games left in its regular season and won't make the playoffs. For Bart, the season will continue for him after the Flying Squirrels are done. The 22-year-old will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. 

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"There's gonna be a lot of studs out there," Bart said. "Just go out there and show those guys what I'm made of and just have fun and play the game the right way, and I think everything will take care of itself."

Bart has bashed 15 homers between two levels while dealing with injury and the adjustments in jumping up to a league in Double-A that can chew up hitters and spit them out. The AFL will be his next adjustment, but he seems up to the task.