In a matter of two days, the Giants quickly became the NC State of San Francisco.
After using their top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft on catcher Patrick Bailey, then selecting pitcher Nick Swiney No. 67 overall with the Madison Bumgarner compensation pick and trading for infielder Will Wilson at the Winter Meetings, the three former college teammates all could be among the Giants' top 15 prospects. But the real question is, how high should Bailey be ranked?
Bailey was taken by the Giants with the 13th pick in the draft just two years after making catcher Joey Bart the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft. The newest Giants top draft pick actually compared well to Bart in college as both power-hitting catchers crushed pitching in the ACC. But he certainly won't leapfrog Bart when it comes to the team's top prospects.
By most outlets, Bart, or shortstop Marco Luciano, is the Giants' No. 1 prospect. Their top four starts with Bart and Luciano, and is followed by outfielders Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop. It will be hard for Bailey to immediately be ranked higher than any of those four prospects.
Baseball America ranked Bishop as the seventh-best prospect in the 2019 draft before the Giants called his name with the 10th pick. They ranked Bailey as the 14th-best prospect, one spot below his actual draft slot. MLB Pipeline has Bishop with 60-grade power on the 20-80 scouting scale and a 55 overall grade. Bailey, who was ranked as MLB Pipeline's 17th-best prospect in the draft, has 50-grade power and an overall 50 grade.
Bishop made tweaks in his swing and approach before his junior year and it paid off big time. He hit .342 with 22 homers and had a .742 slugging percentage his final season at Arizona State. Before Bailey's season was cut short this year due to the coronavirus, the switch-hitting catcher was hitting .296 with six homers, 20 RBI and had a .685 slugging percentage in only 17 games.
While Bailey and Bishop only were selected three picks apart, Bishop has a higher ceiling than Bailey and still should be above him on prospect rankings.
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Following Bishop on the Giants' top prospects list is pitcher Seth Corry, outfielder Alexander Canario, third baseman Luis Toribio and outfielder Luis Matos. Bailey might not have as much high upside as any of the above names. Corry, 21, is seen as a top 100 prospect by some and Canario, 20, isn't too far behind him.
There's no doubt Bailey has raw power. He broke the NC State freshman record by hitting 13 home runs his first year on campus, and knocked 29 over the fence despite his college career being shortened. His pop stands out more than his overall hit tool, and while he did draw a solid number of walks, he also is prone to striking out a bit too much.
Even if he isn't a star at the plate, Bailey's defense should keep him around for a long time. He has a strong arm, is athletic behind the plate and was regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the country.
On the high end, he could be the Giants' new No. 5 prospect behind Bishop and ahead of Corry. On the low end, he falls to nine, below Matos and ahead of pitcher Sean Hjelle. Personally, I would place him somewhere between No. 5 and No. 7, right around where Corry and Canario are ranked.
Bailey at worst has a solid floor as a powerful switch-hitting catcher who is strong defensively. The reality is, like any other prospect mentioned, we won't know what Bailey is as a player at the highest level for quite some time.
With Bailey leading the way, the Giants' rising farm system just became even stronger. And patience still must be preached.