No matter what happened in the 2020 MLB Draft, this was going to be a huge year for Patrick Bailey.
The young catcher is engaged and will marry Leigha Bruce on Nov. 15. She sat right next to him during the draft Wednesday, and after the commissioner announced his name, Bailey stood and immediately embraced his fianceé.
The wedding will cap a year that didn't go nearly as expected, but still led to Bailey accomplishing a lifelong dream of being drafted to play in the big leagues. The Giants took him with the 13th pick in the draft, feeling the switch-hitting catcher was too good to pass up, even with Buster Posey and Joey Bart already in the organization.
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Their hope is that Bailey one day teams with Bart to form the best catching duo in the majors. Giants fans already know all about Bart. Here are five more things you should know about Bailey:
He was destroying the ACC
NC State played just 17 games before the coronavirus shut down the sports world, going 14-3. Bailey was a huge part of that success, homering six times in 54 at-bats and posting a .466 on-base percentage and .685 slugging percentage. Half of those homers were grand slams, coming over an 11-day span from Feb. 22 to March 4.
Bailey simply was adding to an already stacked résumé. He was a finalist for the Buster Posey Award as a sophomore and was ACC Freshman of the Year. Bailey also has been on Team USA three times. He played for the U.S. Collegiate National Team the last two years and was on the 18U team that won a gold medal at the 2016 COPABE Pan Am Championships in Mexico.
He has a history with the Giants
Specifically, they broke his heart a decade ago. Bailey said he grew up rooting for the Texas Rangers. He mentioned the 2010 World Series on a conference call with reporters.
"When the Giants beat us I was crushed," he said, smiling. "But that's alright."
Bailey's current hometown is Greensboro, North Carolina.
What the experts think
Baseball-America had Bailey ranked 14th overall and MLB Pipeline and The Athletic's Keith Law both had him 17th on their big boards.
Baseball-America particularly was complimentary of his defensive skills, saying he gets plus grades for receiving and throwing, "giving pitchers tremendous confidence that they can rip off their best breaking ball without having to worry about it trickling to the backstop." They rated him as having above-average raw power from both sides of the plate, though they noted that he has "swing-and-miss tendencies." Per BA, Bailey was the best defensive catcher in the draft class.
Law was less enthused about the defense but also less concerned about the swing-and-miss. He projected Bailey as a safe pick in the top 20 because of his ability to stay at catcher and produce at the plate.
It's bat-flip season
We love a good bat flip around here, but the Giants haven't exactly taken part in recent years. They've had a pitching staff that, uhh, discouraged them, you might say. The game is changing, though, and Bailey's college career includes an all-timer:
Here's the newest Giant, Patrick Bailey. A catcher and Bat Flip King. pic.twitter.com/20syCdpiaa— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 11, 2020
"That was interesting," he explained. "We were down in Charlotte at the Knights' stadium and I remember we were down 4-1 with two guys on and it was a 3-1 count. It was the first time I've ever been like, if I get this then I'm going to ... I don't know. As soon as I hit it, I don't even remember reacting. It went and I was like, oh, that probably wasn't the most classy thing. But it was fun."
He has a strong nickname
The Giants already had Pat the Bat. Now it appears they have Patty Barrels, at least according to NC State teammate and current Giants prospect Will Wilson.
They couldn’t keep us apart for long! #PattyBarrels— Will Wilson (@wbw_12) June 11, 2020
The Giants loved Wilson in last year's first round but selected Hunter Bishop. They doubled up in December, acquiring Wilson from the Angels by taking on Zack Cozart's contract. In a normal year, Wilson would be at least a couple of levels ahead of Bailey in the minors, but it's hard to say what 2021 will look like. They could at some point be working their way to San Francisco at the same affiliate. Bailey said the first call he made after the draft was to Wilson.
"We were pumped when we found out that we were hopefully going to be able to play together at certain levels for a long time," he said.