Highly regarded San Francisco Giants catching prospect Joey Bart ended his first full professional season at the Double-A Richmond.
He hit .294/.364/.588 with 15 doubles and 13 home runs in 51 games after signing last year, reaching Low-A Salem-Keizer in the process.
The 22-year-old was sent to High-A to open the 2019 season and he got off to a hot start before missing time with a fractured hand. It took him some time to shake off the rust upon returning, but that didn’t stop the Giants from promoting him to Double-A on Aug. 9.
He was hitting .265/.315/.479 with 10 doubles and 12 home runs in 251 plate appearances at the time of the promotion, and it was unclear how he would respond to a higher level of competition.
After hitting just .186/.234/.326 with two home runs and four RBI in 47 plate appearances over his first 12 games at Double-A, it looked like his 2019 season would end with a whimper.
Instead, he caught fire.
Starting with a 2-for-4 performance that included a home run on Aug. 23, Bart hit .472/.525/.806 with four doubles, one triple and two home runs in 40 plate appearances over his final 10 games to close out the MiLB season.
While the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels season has come to a close, it’s not the end of the line for Bart this year.
He’s one of eight San Francisco Giants prospects ticketed for the Arizona Fall League, where he will have a chance to prove himself even more MLB-ready against high-level prospect talent from around the league.
With incumbent catcher Buster Posey under contract through the 2021 season, there’s no clear path to the starting job for Bart at this point.
However, a trade of first baseman Brandon Belt and a position change for Posey could quickly change that. That’s purely speculative, but something the front office could consider.
One way or another, Joey Bart is going to be wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform sometime soon, and his blistering finish to the 2019 season has only furthered the excitement surrounding the dynamic backstop.