What Happened?

Big news out of San Francisco today as the Giants are promoting their highly ranked catching prospect Joey Bart to the big league club.

Just a few years ago, the Giants had one of the worst farm franchises in all of baseball, but have since rebuilt their list of prospects to become quite a promising group of talent. Now, their top prospect gets the call to join the big league club and show them that he is their future and it is bright.

Bart comes to the Giants with an average hit tool, but some nice power in his bat. He’s someone who has done well with the bat, but with the potential for even more. Last season, over two levels of A+ and AA ball, Bart posted a .278/.328/.495 line with 16 home runs, 48 runs batted in and five steals. While most of his offensive damage was done in A+, he held his own in AA, batting .316 with four home runs over 87 plate appearances.

  • – the above chart displays Bart’s numbers over his four levels of professional ball: Rookie, A-, A+, AA

More specifically, Bart shows decent plate discipline during his at bats with a nice strikeout rate, showing that he puts a good amount of contact to the ball. While his K%BB% rate in AA is promising, he wasn’t there long enough to see any sort of possible regression. If there is going to be regression with respect to that, it will unfortunately have to be while with the Giants in 2020.

I do like the fact that he can spread the ball around the field, specifically with those high rates towards Center Field and Right Field. The Park Factors for Oracle Park show that it is primarily a pitcher’s ballpark, but it plays well to those that can hit the ball all over the field. Just look at what it’s doing for Mike Yastrzemski and his .351 home batting average. I’m not comparing the two by any means, but I am saying that the ability to spread the ball all over the place can be helpful at Oracle Park.

Who’s Stopping Him?

In 2020, the Giants have started the following players at catcher at some point or another over 89 combined at bats:

Chadwick Tromp – .178/.188/.333, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 16 K
Tyler Heinemann – .195/.283/.220, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 6 K
Rob Brantly – .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0K

Needless to say, there’s not much standing in the way of Joey Bart and some consistent playing time. His bat should be much better than any other option the Giants have instead, so he should slot right in there and play. Added to that is his defense. If the above scale rating is to be believed, and I would dare say it is, he’s got the ability to be an even better catcher behind the plate than anyone else on the Giants too, meaning he should get the most amount of playing time going forward. Needless to say, he’s ready for this.

What about fantasy teams?

Bart needs to be added, especially in two catcher leagues where playing time is golden. With the catcher landscape being so wide spread speculative and volatile, picking up and starting a catcher that looks guaranteed to play with an offensive hitting tool such as his seems logical. There’s potential for greatness here, and, though it may not happen in 2020, his worst case scenario is probably better than their other options. Right now, I would put him in my Top 15 overall at the position, given the opportunity, the talent and the defense.

Words of Advice

  1. If you own Yadier Molina, Jorge Alfaro or Francisco Mejia, and are waiting for a return, I wouldn’t hesitate to make the switch for Bart.
  2. If you own Roberto Perez, Jason Castro or Danny Jansen, I would make the switch in an effort to rejuvenate your lineup instead of waiting for things to click for the scuffling catchers.
  3. Go out and pick him up now. If he’s available in FAAB, I would see which other teams might need a catcher too, and would spend 25% of my remaining FAAB budget on him.
  4. In dynasty leagues, he is a must own right now but is probably already owned.