From Joey Bart to the Giants’ final pick of the 2018 MLB Draft — Lucky No. 1,186 — Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and co. are rolling the dice. Nobody, even the smartest of the baseball brainiacs, knows the future of athletes before they pick up a ball or swing a bat on a professional field. Has this stopped you from reading any further? No? Ok, let’s continue.
The hope with Bart, the Giants’ highest draft pick since selecting Will Clark in 1985, is that he will have a more successful career than the next 1,212 players picked.
“Looking at the players available in this draft, the pool of players you’re evaluating, with this pool of players, to be able to get Joey Bart and be able to select him for the Giants, it was really good for us,” John Barr, the Giants’ vice president in charge of scouting, said after the team selected Bart.
The Giants envision Bart as a future bat in the middle of the order. Despite Buster Posey being signed through 2021 with a team option for 2022, the team did the right thing and drafted talent over need with the Georgia Tech catcher. So, before Bart plays his first minor league game, where does the No. 2 pick in the MLB Draft rank among the Giants’ top prospects?
I asked the same question on Twitter — a land full of rational sports fans — and the hopeful cheering section believes Bart should be a top-five Giants prospect right away.
Where should Joey Bart rank among #SFGiants prospects?— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) June 6, 2018
Currently, the most up to date prospect rankings are MLB Pipeline’s — the prospect news website of MLB.com. The Giants’ top five prospects by their rankings are Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Tyler Beede, and Austin Slater.
Anywhere you look, the Giants will be ranked near the bottom in prospect rankings. Ramos is the one prospect with untapped potential, Shaw has MLB power right now and Duggar can be a big-time player if his bat is ever even close to his glove. Dear Twitter, you may be right on this one.
Ramos will rightfully remain the Giants’ No. 1 prospect for a while even with down numbers this season. His potential is simply too high. Though Ramos is hitting just .239 this season, he is only 18 years old going up against players who have been able to buy scratchers for years now.
Shaw, currently on the shelf with a groin injury, has shown a hole in his swing this season at Triple-A with 61 strikeouts to seven walks. At the same time, he’s proved his power is for real for the second straight season. Shaw hit 10 home runs in the River Cats’ first 36 games.
Duggar needs room in his trophy case for his future Gold Glove awards and is hitting .325 over his last 10 games. His spot too is secure, bringing us to Beede and Slater.
The last two seasons have been a disappointment for Beede. Due to a groin injury, Beede’s season was cut short in 2017, putting his MLB debut on hold. Before his injury, he was 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA. And this year hasn’t been better in the box score. Beede did make his MLB debut this year, but his tendency to miss the strike zone was on full display.
Beede’s command isn’t on par with control. In two starts with the Giants, Beede struck out nine and walked eight, earning an 8.22 ERA in 7.2 innings. And in Sacramento, he has a 5.60 ERA in nine appearances. Take a look at Beede’s last start, the essence of who he is right now — seven strikeouts and five walks in six innings. The former first-round pick has an arsenal to make major league bats whiff. What he will be for the Giants in the future has become an even bigger and murkier question.
Slater proved to be a productive bat for the Giants last season when he hit .282 in 34 games. His bat is clearly ahead of Triple-A competition, hitting .368 with a 1.057 OPS this season in Sacramento. He has only played six games for the Giants in 2018 and where he fits on the current roster remains unknown. Slater’s game is solid all the way around and his defensive versatility makes him even more interesting. No one part of his game jumps out, but plenty of teams could use his service.
This all brings us back to Bart. Where does he fit? We have already eliminated the top three spots. With his upside, we’re bumping Slater down and Bart into the top five. Can he jump Beede, the Giants’ top pitching prospect, too?
As either a part of the starting rotation or a possible move to the bullpen down the road, the 25-year-old Beede can still play a big part of the Giants’ future. Beede is staying in the top five, as No. 5.
At Georgia Tech, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Bart gradually improved from Year 1 to Year 3. Here’s his rise as a freshman to a junior — Freshman: .299/.351/.382, .733 OPS, 1 home run; sophomore: .296/.370/.575, .945 OPS, 13 home runs; junior: .359/.471/.632, 1.103 OPS, 16 home runs.
“I don't know where he's going to start (in the minors) but you look at the size of the kid and his success and intangibles...you would think someone like this would be on the fast track,” Bruce Bochy said after the Giants picked Bart.
After going from the Yellow Jackets’ catcher for three years, to the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Bart immediately becomes the Giants’ No. 1 catching prospect and No. 4 overall.