The San Jose Giants' game Monday was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Excite Ballpark. Perhaps for the first time ever, the whole Giants organization must be wishing a game was postponed by rain.
Instead, the tarp came on, and the game was delayed an hour with first pitch at 7:30 p.m. Field conditions remained wet, and the worst scenario occurred for Giants top prospect Joey Bart in the fourth inning, when a fastball hit him on his left hand and fractured the second metacarpal.
Bart will be in a cast and is expected to miss the next 4 to 6 weeks. The Giants are disappointed in the news, but they believe there's still plenty of positives for the catcher to take away off the field.
“It’s a setback, and it sets him up for a great comeback," Giants farm director Kyle Haines said to Joe Ritzo on Tuesday on the Inside The San Jose Giants Podcast. "It’s something that he’s gonna have to go through a lot of adversity, and this is something that will set him back and challenge him mentally. It gives him opportunities to maybe grow in other ways off the field, just with his knowledge and maybe take a step back.
"Maybe we can take some positives from this and teach him some things that aren’t necessarily between the lines and help his development there."
The talent is there for Bart. The Giants knew that long before taking him with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. His mental makeup, however, is what's really impressed Haines and the rest of the Giants’ front office.
“He came here really eager to show people what he could do on the field,” Haines said. “Joey stepped on the field, and from Day 1 has wanted to be a leader and key part of this team and help this team win.”
At the time of his injury, Bart was batting .270 with two home runs, eight RBI and an .882 OPS. He's also already thrown out seven base runners and picked off several more. How he's handled San Jose's pitching staff is what really encourages Haines.
"It’s fantastic to watch him interact with the pitchers and learn them,” he said, “because he takes a lot of pride in his defense and his ability to work with pitchers, which is such a rare thing to see with someone who has such stardom to him.”
Bart's arm strength stands out right away. It's been a real weapon in his first nine games behind the dish this season. Though his defense is highly regarded, Bart's receiving skills can use work at times. And he's done just that, constantly seeking advice and reviewing film on his defense.
Haines said Bart's receiving alone saved runs for San Jose in the team's opening series in Visalia.
“He takes a lot of pride in saving his team extra base runners and runs with his receiving alone," Haines said. "It’s a rare quality to have because everyone goes to the batting average and things that look a little flashier, but he loves diving in deeper and asking, ‘Hey, how can I help this team?’ “
There's no doubt Bart still is on the fast track to the big leagues. Giants manager was Bruce Bochy admitted Wednesday, though, that he doesn't expect Bart to make his big league debut this year, in part because of his injury.
To make up for lost at-bats, Haines said Bart could be given an Arizona Fall League assignment after the season.
For now, the Giants will play it safe with their top prospect. From his skills to his intangibles, though, it's clear a healthy Bart will be in the bigs in no time.