Giants

Why Giants picked Patrick Bailey, another catcher, in 2020 MLB Draft

Why Giants picked Patrick Bailey, another catcher, in 2020 MLB Draft

Farhan Zaidi watched the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft from a suite at Oracle Park, with two Giants mugs a couple of feet away and "Black Lives Matter" signs on either side of him. As the Giants went on the clock, Zaidi leaned back against a sectional and looked out at the field with his cell phone in one hand and a tablet on his lap.

The Giants' president of baseball operations looked very much like a man who knew all of the mock drafts had been wrong. He also looked very much like the relaxed executive who has tried to buck conventional wisdom since being introduced three floors down a couple of years ago.

The Giants took hitters with nine of their first 10 selections a year ago, and they now boast one of the best collections of slugging prospects in the game. They desperately need high-upside pitching talent, arms that can grow with Joey Bart, their first-round selection just two years ago. There were plenty of pitching options when the Giants came up at No. 13 in the MLB draft, a spot they hope they're nowhere near in future years.

So naturally, with that coveted pick, they chose Patrick Bailey, a catcher from North Carolina State.

This was a reminder of two things. First, in the MLB draft, you always, always go with the best player available according to your draft board. You get into trouble if you stray from that plan. 

It also was a reminder that Zaidi, scouting director Michael Holmes and the rest of the Giants' front office don't really care about what the outside world thinks they should do. They are building a big league roster that will be flexible and a better fit for the modern game.

Mauricio Dubon is learning how to play center. Austin Slater carried half a dozen gloves around all spring. There will be openers. There might not be a set closer. There will be four-man outfield alignments. Bart, when he arrives, will do work at other defensive positions. 

The thought always has been that would allow Bart to split time with Buster Posey, but there's life after Posey, too. The Giants hope to enter that scary world with two of the best catchers in the game, as Bailey should soon join Bart atop prospect lists. They know more than anyone how important a strong catcher is, and they now have two shots at replacing Posey's presence for years to come. 

This is where Posey, who still has barely any grays in his sideburns, would point out that he just turned 33, not 43. And you know what? If he's still an All-Star-caliber catcher in three years, Bart is a star and Bailey is ready for the big leagues, the Giants will have a hell of a good problem on their hands. 

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You never can have enough catching, something Zaidi's Los Angeles Dodgers focused on as they built the National League's perennial front-runners. The Dodgers had Yasmani Grandal behind the plate and Austin Barnes as a good option coming up, but they still took Will Smith in the first round of the 2016 draft. He looks like a budding star, and the Dodgers have two more good catching prospects still coming through their system. 

The Giants are trying to chase them down in the NL West, and Bailey will join a farm system that now is loaded with offensive talent and could be top-five within a year. He gets plus grades from scouts for his defensive work, and has been calling games since high school, a trait that also stood out to the Giants when they drafted Bart second overall. Bailey has a solid eye and above-average raw power from both sides of the plate.

Oh, also, he does things like this.

[RELATED: Watch Giants' Bishop celebrate with No. 1 pick Torkelson]

A new generation is coming to Oracle Park. There will be bat flips and youth, and that's what the organization could use after some stale years. But there also will be a reminder of the path that led to three titles.

You can never have too much good catching, and the Giants now are as well-stocked as anyone.

Watch McCovey Cove Dave lose two baseballs during Giants-Rangers game

Watch McCovey Cove Dave lose two baseballs during Giants-Rangers game

Global pandemic or not, some Giants fans refuse to give up one of the organization's most unique traditions.

A group of fans has continued taking kayaks out into McCovey Cove, just over the right-field wall at Oracle Park, hoping to snag one of the elusive splash hits off the bat of a Giants slugger.

However, even if the home run comes off the bat of an opponent like Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, fans will go to great lengths to secure the ball.

[RELATED: Aruba Prime Minister wished Tromp well after Giants call-up]

You can see one of the Giants' more prominent fans, McCovey Cove Dave, jump (or more accurately slide) out of his kayak in an effort to secure Choo's two-run home run. Not only does he not get the home run ball from Choo, but another ball that slips out of Dave's kayak ended up in the hands of a female fan.

As you can see from Dave's Twitter account Sunday, social distancing did not seem to be a priority for those who flocked to McCovey Cove for the final time before a 10-game road trip.

Nevertheless, it's good to see Giants fans trying to make the most of the 2020 season, one in which no fans will be admitted to any MLB games as the league tries to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

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Chadwick Tromp got text from Aruba Prime Minister after Giants call-up

Chadwick Tromp got text from Aruba Prime Minister after Giants call-up

Chadwick Tromp has had a whirlwind week. The Giants rookie made his MLB debut on Wednesday, got the first two hits of his MLB career on Friday and hammered his first big-league home run on Sunday. Tromp also made history in the process, as he became just the ninth player from the tiny island nation of Aruba to play in MLB.

The young catcher helped the Giants win an important home series against the Texas Rangers at Oracle Park. Following Sunday's loss in the series finale, Tromp discussed the reaction to his promotion to the Giants' active roster in Aruba.

"So when I got called up," Tromp told reporters via Zoom Sunday. "The Prime Minister of Aruba texted me, and also our Minister of Sports also texted me and congratulated me. That was nice, it makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing and moving in the right direction."

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Tromp's first MLB home run was an absolute rocket and came at a critical moment in the game, tying the game up in the bottom of the sixth inning.

He's been in the minor leagues since 2013, beginning his professional career within the Cincinnati Reds organization. Playing just 26 games in Triple-A last season with the Sacramento River Cats, Tromp impressed the Giants' staff enough in Summer Camp to earn a spot on the 2020 active roster once his sore hamstring healed up.

[RELATED: What you might've missed in Giants' 9-5 loss vs. Rangers]

Tromp discussed more of how the people back home in Aruba celebrated his MLB debut following Friday night's game.

"The community back home, they're going nuts, I'm going to be honest with you," Tromp said. "It's crazy, people are celebrating, the whole island is basically celebrating. I love it. We're such a small island and this is very important to them because it puts us on a bigger scale and shows the world that a small island can also do big things in life."

Aruba's population is just over 100,000 total. Along with fellow native and Boston Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts, Tromp is representing the island nation with pride in this bizarre 2020 season.