The San Francisco Giants appear to have a long-term building block in prospect Joey Bart. Is he baseball’s best catching prospect?
During his junior season at Georgia Tech, Bart hit .359/.471/.632 with 12 doubles and 16 home runs while also showing the defensive prowess to be a standout behind the plate.
He didn’t miss a beat after signing for a $7.025 million bonus, which represented a club record for a position player. In 51 games after signing between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a .952 OPS with 15 doubles and 13 home runs in 228 plate appearances.
Expectations were high entering the 2019 season, and he was sent straight to High-A San Jose to begin his first full season in the organization.
After posting an .882 OPS with five extra-base hits in his first 10 games, he missed roughly six weeks with a fractured hand, and it took him some time to shake off the rust once he returned to action.
Still, he wrapped up the 2019 season with an .824 OPS in 338 plate appearances, slugging 14 doubles and 16 home runs along the way and earning a late promotion to Double-A where he went on a tear to close out the year.
The 22-year-old was sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up for some of the time he missed, and he continued to rake with a .333/.524/.767 line that included four home runs and more walks (9) than strikeouts (7) in 10 games. However, his AFL stint came to an abrupt halt when he was again hit on the hand with a pitch, this time resulting in a fractured thumb.
The two injuries aside, it was an overwhelmingly positive season for Bart, who now looks to be well-positioned to make his MLB debut in 2020.
So where does he rank among the best catching prospects in baseball? I’ve assembled my rankings on the next slide.