Giants

Why Bart's early struggles don't worry Giants GM Harris

Giants

Joey Bart didn't wait long to make his presence felt in the big leagues. The Giants' top prospect crushed a double for his first major league hit in his first professional game. 

Bart actually doubled in his first three games with the Giants. Since then, however, he only has two more hits. Entering Tuesday, the 23-year-old is batting a lowly .161 and has struck out 15 times in his first 31 at-bats.

Giants general manager Scott Harris isn't worried about Bart's early struggles, though. Not at all. 

"Joey's ups and downs so far in the big leagues remind us how difficult it is for these young players," Harris said Monday night on KNBR's "Mark Willard Show." "They just get thrown into the fire and they kind of have to learn on the fly, that's the phase that Joey's in right now.

"But it hasn't affected our confidence in Joey moving forward. He's just too talented to not reach his ceiling."

Bart is considered the second-best catching prospect in all of baseball. Just two years ago, the Giants drafted him No. 2 overall. They know how talented he is, and he'll continue to be in manager Gabe Kapler's lineup on a regular basis. 

The stats aren't on Bart's side so far in his big league career. The Giants, however, aren't measuring success just by the numbers.

"Joey's been a pro up here," Harris said. "We get access to our players before the game and after the game, so we're constantly evaluating how they're assimilating to the big leagues and Joey has really impressed his teammates and his coaches so far, and he has embraced the huge expectations that this city and fan base have for him." 

 

The expectations certainly are huge for Bart. Nobody believed the Giants would be in the playoff hunt right now, and fans were begging for Bart with each passing day. But the reality is, star hitters are having a hard enough time adjusting this 60-game season. Christian Yelich, last season's NL MVP, is hitting .197 right now. 

It's impossible to think Bart is going to hit .400 and go yard every game. That's the territory that comes with being a top prospect. Harris isn't worried about the high expectations placed on Bart, and knows he'll be just fine.

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"His first taste of the big leagues serves as a powerful reminder to us that development is rarely linear," Harris said. "I think it reminded us how hard it is to be a young player in the modern era. I don't think people realize how much the game has changed for the young players. Before you have your first at-bat the national baseball audience knows your name, they've already ranked you in publications, they're already shouting at you on Twitter, they're already asking about you on the radio.

"They basically expect you to emerge as an All-Star in your first major league at-bat."