For minor league baseball players, the season comes to an end in early September. But for a handful of the best prospects in the game, it continues just a few weeks later.
The Arizona Fall League begins September 18 this year, and the Giants' top prospect is scheduled to be there. The league announced Tuesday that Joey Bart will suit up for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Talks of Bart playing in the AFL this year became more evident after the catcher missed time with a fractured hand. The Giants would like him to get more at-bats, and he'll do just that against some of the best young talent in the desert.
Bart already has tackled two levels in the minors this year and the AFL will be another big test for the No. 2 pick from the 2018 MLB Draft. In 57 games with the San Jose Giants, Bart hit .265 with 12 homers, 10 doubles and a .793 OPS before being promoted to Double-A Richmond.
Through 10 games in Double-A, Bart is batting just .206 in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League. But he did snap an 0-for-11skid Monday and hit his 14th long ball on the year.
Bart has impressed behind the dish this season and minor league coaches named him the best defensive catcher in the California League while he was in San Jose. The AFL could be the perfect time to experiment with his defense, though.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently told The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly that he wants Bart to add another position to his arsenal besides catcher. The 22-year-old has served as either catcher or DH in his entire minor league career. The same goes for his time at Georgia Tech.
[RELATED: When will Giants call up red-hot power prospect Davis?]
Could the Giants get Bart some time as a first baseman this fall? What about third base? Bart seems like San Francisco's catcher of the future, but adding versatility to his game will only get him to Oracle Park faster.
For every Bart Bomb at the plate, keep your eyes on if he's playing anywhere else but behind it.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are hoping to see a youth movement in their lineup over the next couple of seasons. They're apparently going with the same approach on their coaching staff.
Cincinnati Reds assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker will be named the Giants' hitting coach, according to Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. The Giants did not immediately confirm the hire. They are expected to announce their staff next week at the Winter Meetings. Ecker, 33, is just five years removed from being the baseball coach at Los Altos High, his alma mater.
The Giants have spent the last month putting Gabe Kapler's staff in place, and they have not looked in traditional corners. They have worked to surround Kapler with coaches who take a more modern approach and can help develop the next Giants contender, and Ecker certainly qualifies as an interesting hire.
Ecker spent just one season as assistant hitting coach in Cincinnati. In 2018 he was the Triple-A hitting coach for the Angels, and before that, he coached in the minors for the Cardinals for three seasons. Ecker's coaching career began in 2013 when he took a job at Los Altos High, where he was a two-sport star in baseball and football. Ecker was a 22nd-round pick of the Rangers in 2007 but got just 97 minor league at-bats.
Ecker certainly is a bit of an out-of-the-box hire, but that might be just what the Giants need after years of struggling to put together a lineup that can hit at Oracle Park. Ecker's bio with the Reds stated that "his teaching methods incorporate human movement research and technology-based applications to the body and swing." He is described as someone who is an "integrated movement specialist."
[RELATED: Where Giants' core players stand as Winter Meetings near]
Once confirmed, Ecker will join third base coach Ron Wotus as members of Kapler's staff. The Giants also have hired Brian Bannister as Director of Pitching but it's unclear if that role will have him in the dugout.
The Giants' coaching staff under manager Gabe Kapler is starting to take shape.
The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly reported Sunday that San Francisco was in negotiations with Indians defensive coordinator Kai Correa, and sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic on Wednesday that Brian Bannister, a former big leaguer who spent the previous five seasons with the Red Sox, will join the Giants as their director of pitching.
Speaking of pitching, the Giants appear to be on the hunt for a new pitching coach. And their search seems far and wide.
D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers reported Wednesday that the Giants targeted the University of Georgia's pitching coach Sean Kenny for the same role in the big leagues. But, UGA made sure Kenny stayed in Athens.
Kendall says the Giants have looked at several candidates from college and the pros, and Kenny looks like a prime coach on the rise. The former 17th-round pick of the Mets became Georgia's pitching coach before the 2018 season and instantly made a huge impact.
Georgia's pitching staff lowered its team ERA 1.05 points to 3.97 in Kenny's first year on the job, and set a school record with a .236 opponent's batting average. That number dropped to a lowly .200 last season, as UGA's ERA fell to 3.24 while setting a school record with 601 strikeouts.
[RELATED: Report: Twins, White Sox 'heaviest suitors' for MadBum]
The Giants haven't formally announced that Curt Young will not return for a third season as their pitching coach, but it was expected that Kapler would bring in several new coaches. The only known coach to come back next season is Ron Wotus, who will be in his 33rd year with the Giants organization.
Bench coach Hensley Meulens has joined the Mets, and hitting coach Alonzo Powell accepted a job in Japan in the same role.