Patrick Bailey: Five things to know about Giants' 2020 first-round draft pick

Patrick Bailey: Five things to know about Giants' 2020 first-round draft pick

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:

"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."

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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.  

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. 

Dereck Rodriguez impressed by top Giants prospects at alternate site

Dereck Rodriguez impressed by top Giants prospects at alternate site

There wasn't a player at the Giants' alternate site in Sacramento who had a better feel for high-upside talent than Dereck Rodriguez. He's the son of a Hall-of-Fame catcher and grew up in big league clubhouses. 

Rodriguez, then, was the perfect person to ask about the top prospects who are spending their summer getting reps against more experienced pitchers like him and Trevor Cahill, both of whom were called up Wednesday. He gave a glowing scouting report, too. 

"(Joey) Bart is unbelievable. Bart, he's a big league player if I could say it. He's awesome to throw to," Rodriguez said. "He's awesome calling games, and he looks like a veteran at the plate

"Heliot Ramos, that dude has some pop like no other, and Luciano, for how young he is, he is really disciplined at the plate. He takes some pitches that are tough. Him and Ramos were tough at-bats down there. I don't think I got Ramos out once, and Luciano, man, Luciano was good. He was battling. He would walk here and there. I would have to throw him pitches and he would sit on them. Usually younger guys -- 2-0, 3-0 counts are usually fastball counts -- but to him you have to treat him pretty much like a veteran. He makes good adjustments, it's pretty cool. He's a big boy, man, he can hit."

Bart, Ramos and Luciano are the organization's top three prospects, and are among the 30 or so players working out in Sacramento every day. When the minor league season was canceled, the Giants brought most of their top prospects to Northern California, hopeful that they could accelerate their development with daily reps against guys like Rodriguez, a breakout star in 2018 who has seen an uptick in velocity and is back in the big league mix after a down 2019. 

Luciano hasn't even played Low-A ball yet, so this summer is all about learning. But Bart should debut at some point this year, and Rodriguez said he didn't think Ramos would be overmatched. Like Bart, Ramos reached Double-A last season, and as an outfielder he could have an easier adjustment to the big league level. 

"He's a great runner, he reads the ball well off the bat, he has a really good arm, and he sees spin really well. He's a good, disciplined hitter up there," Rodriguez said. "In my opinion I think he could be up here at any moment. And Bart, everybody loves Bart. I think a lot of the guys up here (in the big leagues), a lot of the pitchers that threw to Joey in camp were really impressed and are excited honestly. 

"We're really excited to try to get him up here at some point, either by the end of the year or next year.  It's going to be a lot of fun seeing him up here and throwing to him."

Zack Greinke calls pitch out loud, reaches new level of Giants ownage

Zack Greinke calls pitch out loud, reaches new level of Giants ownage

Zack Greinke was so good Wednesday night that the Giants couldn't make contact when he told them what pitches were coming.

No, seriously.

Greinke signaled his pitch to Astros catcher MartÍn Maldonaldo in the top of the seventh inning of Houston's 5-1 win ... with runners on first and second, nobody out and Giants shortstop Mauricio Dubon stood in the batter's box.

Dubon then flew out to center on the pitch Greinke called.

“Today, there was a man on second base and it got all messed up and it took longer than I was hoping it would take,” Greinke told reporters on a video conference call (H/T's Brian McTaggart). “It’s 50 percent my fault and 50 percent Maldy’s fault. ... I don’t like taking a long time with a man on second base especially. I’m trying to find a way to speed that up. So far this year, it's been good. It got messed up today.”

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Greinke wasn't just showing off, but he had every right to with Wednesday's performance. The longtime thorn in the Giants' side struck out seven and allowed just one earned run 6 1/3 innings of work. Greinke picked up his first win of the season, improving to 14-3 in his career against the Giants and lowering his all-time ERA versus San Francisco to just 2.18. The 36-year-old has now won more games against the Giants than all but one other team.

Ownage is ownage, but signaling your own pitches ownage? That's something else entirely.