MLB Draft

Giants prospect Patrick Bailey joins Joey Bart in learning first base

Giants prospect Patrick Bailey joins Joey Bart in learning first base

Joey Bart isn't the only Giants top catching prospect learning a new position right now. Add Patrick Bailey, the No. 13 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, right there with Bart. 

Both prospects currently are at the Giants' alternate training site in Sacramento with the minor league season canceled. And both have added a new glove to their gear bags. 

"Basically, Joey and Patrick are on the same kind of routine right now," Kyle Haines, the Giants' director of player development, said to NBC Sports Bay Area over the phone on Wednesday. "Both take ground balls at first. Both are catching a lot, and they've done a nice job of working together and motivating each other."

The Giants' buzz word of choice this year is "versatility." Take a look at their major league roster, and it's full of players that can be moved all over the field. 

Mauricio Dubon might play shortstop, second base and center field all in one game. Wilmer Flores can be slotted anywhere around the infield. The same goes for Donovan Solano. Darin Ruf could go from a first baseman's mitt to an outfielder's glove in a hurry and Austin Slater just defines himself as "right-handed hitter" with all the different roles he has.

That's omitting plenty of players, too. 

Down on the farm, the Giants are looking to groom versatile players as well. That's just part of what made the decision to select Bailey with their top pick in the draft just two years after taking Bart second overall so perplexing. Both prospects only caught in college. That already has changed in Sacramento. 

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Bart, 23, was voted as the best defensive catcher in the California League last season by coaches when he was with the San Jose Giants. Known more for his power potential, Bart does have a rocket of an arm and is athletic behind the dish despite his 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame. But the Giants have made it clear for quite some time now they want him to learn a new position

Bailey, 21, was considered an even better defensive prospect than Bart coming out of NC State. He has a more slender build at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, and his defense has been praised by evaluators since high school. But just like Bart, the Giants want to keep his bat in the lineup once he reaches San Francisco, and make sure he isn't tied to only getting in a squat. 

For now, the two only are learning first base as they continue to grow in their catching duties as well. But crazier things have happened. 

"Right now, no on anywhere outside of catcher and right now just introducing first base," Haines said. "I don't anticipate trying to teach them somewhere else, but I don't think any of us ever expected Travis Ishikawa to play left field in the World Series, so you never know what's gonna happen."

[REALTED: Giants' Bart not expected in Sacramento 'that much longer']

Bart and Bailey easily could have gone about this the wrong way. They played in the same conference in college, battling each other back in 2018. They play the same position, with dreams of one day becoming a star catcher in the big leagues. So far, though, so good. 

What has encouraged Haines the most early on in Sacramento is how the duo has worked together, constantly pushing each other. 

"It's been really fun to see two former ACC rivals coming together, and working as Giants now has been really fun," Haines said. "... It's been fun to see these guys grow together."

The Giants firmly believe Bart and Bailey can co-exist. From Summer Camp at Oracle Park to the alternate site in Sacramento, that's exactly what has happened. If all goes right, they will be in the same Giants lineup in the near future, too.

Where Patrick Bailey ranks among Giants prospects by Baseball America

Where Patrick Bailey ranks among Giants prospects by Baseball America

Once the Giants selected catcher Patrick Bailey with the No. 13 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, fans naturally questioned how he would fit two years after San Francisco took Joey Bart with the second pick in the draft. But I had a different question. 

Where does Bailey fit among Giants top prospects?

The Giants' top four has seemed set in stone since last year's draft. Wherever you look, Marco Luciano, Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop round out the Giants' future. It gets a little questionable after that. 

Bailey, Alexander Canario, Seth Corry and Luis Toribio are seen as the Giants' best prospects behind Bishop. By my guess, I had Bailey sitting somewhere between No. 5 and No. 7. Baseball America released their latest top 30 Giants prospects and they placed the catcher smack dab in the middle at No. 6. 

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By Baseball America's rankings, Bailey is behind Canario but ahead of Toribio (No. 7) and Corry (No. 8).

"The Giants’ first-rounder from the 2020 draft, Bailey brings a powerful, switch-hitting profile along with stellar defense behind the plate," Baseball America's Josh Norris wrote. "Defensively, he’s ahead of where Joey Bart was when he was drafted."

That last part is where things get interesting. The Giants have emphasized that while they believe Bart is advanced as a catcher, they want him to learn another position. Bailey seems more likely to stick behind the dish. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has said you can never have too much catching, and that certainly is true. The Giants have learned firsthand that stark reality with Buster Posey opting out of the 2020 season to be with his family and twins he and his wife recently adopted. If they can get Bailey and Bart in the same lineup in the near future, that's a win-win.

[RELATED: Top prospect Luciano excites Giants for his defense, too]

Three other Giants draft picks made the top 30. Left-hander Kyle Harrison, who was a third-round pick, comes in at No. 15, lefty Nick Swiney, taken No. 67 overall with the Madison Bumgarner compensation pick is No. 22 and third baseman/right-handed pitcher Casey Schmitt, a second-round pick, is No. 25.

Baseball America says "there really aren’t many weaknesses in this system," and this year's draft class clearly helps make that true.

Tyler Soderstrom, A's top MLB draft pick, signs big rookie contract

Tyler Soderstrom, A's top MLB draft pick, signs big rookie contract

The A’s wouldn’t have drafted Tyler Soderstrom at No. 26 overall if they didn’t think they could sign him.

That’s scientific fact.

The elite prospect was committed to UCLA and asking for significant freight, which was part of the reason why he slipped down to the A’s late in the first round.

The Turlock High product signed a contract worth $3.3 million guaranteed, well above the slot estimation.

The best A’s catching prospect won’t long for work. He will be part of the A’s 60-man player pool, though he’ll be part of the squad not expected for a call-up, according to ESPN. Gaining experience will prove invaluable for a young player worthy of such amateur attention, especially for a high school player.

[RELATED: Projecting A's initial 30-man roster for 60-game MLB season]

The A’s generally don’t venture down those roads -- they generally prefer college players -- which speaks to the value of such a talent.

The A’s soon will complete a 60-man roster loaded with talent, using numbers that will train in Oakland and others in a to-be-determined location.