Why Giants GM Scott Harris wants Joey Bart to learn another position

Why Giants GM Scott Harris wants Joey Bart to learn another position

Buster Posey still is mulling over his plans for the 2020 MLB season, but the Giants do have a young catcher on the cusp of the majors in Joey Bart.

The top catching prospect was expected to start the season in Triple-A Sacramento, however, with the minor league season canceled, Bart is a part of San Francisco's 60-man roster. 

That doesn't mean he will start in the big leagues, though. No matter what Posey decides, the Giants don't want to force Bart up

Before the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft makes his debut, general manager Scott Harris would like to see two key parts of development grow for Bart.

“A couple of developmental priorities for him will be first to improve the game calling," Harris said Thursday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. "Not that we’re at all concerned about his game calling, I just think there is a critical mass of games you need to catch at the minor league level before you’re fully prepared to call a game in the big leagues."

Bart actually called games at Georgia Tech, something that even Matt Wieters wasn't allowed to do from the same college coach. Harris is right, though. Calling games is a skill that catchers must continue to grow and the Giants hoped that would happen for Bart in Sacramento. 

The second part to Harris' answer might be even more important for Bart and the Giants.

“The other thing we talked about quite a bit is we want to expose him to other positions on the field," Harris said. "Not because we are concerned about his catching at all, we already think he is a plus receiver and thrower, but because one of the main tenants of our developmental philosophy is versatility.

"We want to give our major league manager as many opportunities as possible to get our best bats in the lineup. We think the demands of the catching position are such that that it is a benefit of both the player and the team to be able to play multiple positions.”

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Since the Giants drafted Bart, he hasn't played anywhere on the field other than behind the plate. The same goes for his college career. Learning a new position would have been a perfect opportunity for Bart in the Arizona Fall League, but he fractured his thumb hitting in the AFL.

Now Bart will have Summer Camp to learn a new skill, making the name of spring training 2.0 that much more fitting. He will be in camp with Patrick Bailey, a fellow catcher who the Giants took in the first round of the draft this year. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Giants had Bailey work on another position as well. 

[RELATED: Why Bart, three Giants pitchers are intriguing Kruk, Kuip]

Versatility is the name of the game for the Giants and the rest of baseball right now. Bart currently is lacking it, though that soon could change. He has a strong arm behind the plate and moves well for his 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame. It will be interesting to see if the Giants simply hand him a first baseman's mitt, or if he learns another position like third base or the outfield.

“The more that Joey can move around, the more options that his major league manager is going to have to get his bat in the lineup, and I think that’s really important for his career and for the future of the Giants," Harris said. 

Bart could find his way to a major league game during this 60-game season. The Giants will make sure they feel he is 100 percent ready first, though. There's no doubt he holds a key to San Francisco's future success, and there's no reason to rush and open that door too soon.

Minor League Baseball season canceled for 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

Minor League Baseball season canceled for 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

The inevitable happened. After months of waiting, there will be no Minor League Baseball season in 2020, the official MiLB Twitter account announced Tuesday.

"These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization and this is the first time in our history that we've had a summer without Minor League Baseball," MiLB President and CEO Pat O'Conner said in the statement.

While the regular MLB season will begin with players reporting to Summer Camp workouts this week, the minor leagues will not. According to the official statement, MLB informed MiLB of the decision.

The Giants’ Single-A affiliate San Jose Giants followed suit and announced they will shelve the season:

[RELATED: These 51 players initially comping to Summer Camp]

The home of the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento will host the big league team's alternative training site where players who are not on the Opening Day roster will train, hosting scrimmages throughout the summer.

This is a tough loss for smaller communities who enjoy minor league games, and those who depend on jobs associated with the teams and the season for income.

Where Joey Bart, Marco Luciano rank on Baseball America's new top 100

Where Joey Bart, Marco Luciano rank on Baseball America's new top 100

With the 2020 MLB Draft a thing of the past, Baseball America has updated its top 100 prospects list. Top draft pick and Petaluma native Spencer Torkelson already comes in at No. 11, while none of the Giants' draft picks made the list. 

Three Giants prospects -- Marco Luciano, Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos -- did make the update. 

Luciano, 18, is seen as the Giants' top prospect by Baseball America. He went from No. 19 to No. 21 in their latest top 100, and is the fifth-highest ranked shortstop. But Gavin Lux and Carter Kieboom, who are ranked ahead of Luciano, actually don't primarily play shortstop.

Last season, Luciano hit .322 with 10 home runs and a 1.055 OPS in the Arizona Rookie League before finishing the year in Class A Short Season with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. If the Giants do have a young star like what Ronald Acuna has been for the Atlanta Braves, Luciano is their man. 

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Bart comes in behind Luciano at No. 34, down from No. 32. The second-overall pick in the 2018 draft made it all the way to Double-A Richmond last season and appears right on the cusp of the big leagues. Between Single-A San Jose and Richmond, Bart hit .278 with 16 homers, but he also dealt with a wrist injury in San Jose and again in the Arizona Fall League. 

Recovered and healthy, Bart tore up big league camp in spring training by batting .438 with two homers in nine games.

Rounding out the Giants' trio is outfielder Heliot Ramos. Yes, he fell in the update, but it was a nice change. Ramos went from No. 63 to No. 69.

[RELATED: Winners, losers from MLB's abbreviated 60-game season]

Ramos also might have been the Giants' most impressive minor leaguer last season. After a down 2018 season, he hit .306 with 13 homers for San Jose before hitting three more bombs in Double-A. And he did all this while spending the season at only 19.

The future is bright in San Francisco, it certainly starts with these three.