The San Francisco Giants selected North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey with the 13th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Whatever the teams did was going to be somewhat a surprise given how little consensus had emerged with the Giants selection, but the final pick was still unexpected.
After the Detroit Tigers selected Petaluma, Calif., native Spencer Torkelson, the draft went off the rails pretty quickly. When Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad and Minnesota pitcher Max Meyer went with the second and third overall picks everyone’s mock drafts were quickly blown up.
Kjerstad and Meyer were both expected to go in the backend of the top ten and their jump had a domino effect that pushed consensus top three prospects Austin Martin and Asa Lacy down to the fourth and fifth picks. That displaced prep outfielder Zac Veen to the Colorado Rockies with the ninth overall pick.
Turlock, California catcher Tyler Soderstrom was tied to the Giants more than anyone else and was only tied to the Rockies above San Francisco. Once the Rockies selected Veen, it seemed highly likely that the Giants would have the chance to pick Soderstrom. UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell and high school righthander Mick Abel have both been hotly discussed as potential top 10 picks in their own right and were both on the board for San Francisco as well. In the end, they went with a different catcher, selecting Bailey.
Ironically, Bailey was not really a big surprise if you looked at MLB draft boards. Baseball America ranked him the 14th best prospect, FanGraphs had him at 12, and MLB.com had him at 17. However, most mock drafts and pundits hadn’t tied Bailey to San Francisco making the move unexpected to most fans.
Who is SF Giants’ MLB draft pick Patrick Bailey?
Bailey’s premium tool is his work behind the plate. A plus defender with a plus arm, Bailey was the best defensive catcher available in the draft. A switch-hitter, Bailey shows above-average power from both sides of the plate, but concerns about his hit tool remain. His offensive profile is a poor man’s comp of Joey Bart with a ceiling for his hit tool around 50 and power at 55 that probably ends up as a 45/55 profile (Bart is more around 55/60 and likely 50/60).
Swing-and-misses remains a concern for Bailey. His strikeout rate was always a bit high at NC State and last summer with Team USA Bailey led the team with 12 strikeouts. Bailey’s strong approach at the plate gives reason to believe he’ll be able to overcome some contact concerns.
Over his career at NC State he walked 86 times in 578 plate appearances alongside 93 strikeouts. In fact, his career triple-slash line of .302/.411/.568 is quite comparable to his former teammate and recently acquired Giants prospect Will Wilson when he played at NC State.
One wrinkle that hasn’t been discussed with Bailey is the potential for him to play elsewhere. Since he’s a consensus great defensive catcher scouts never really questioned whether he’d have to move positions, but with Joey Bart already in the organization it remains an open question.
Bailey is considered a good athlete for a catcher, but it’s unclear if that translates elsewhere on the diamond. It’s worth noting that last year the Giants suggested they thought their second-round pick (Logan Wyatt) could handle the outfield when almost everyone considered him a first-base only prospect, implying they may have faith in their ability to teach positional flexibility.
Still, Bailey does not have star ceiling. This is the reality with catching prospects. Giants fans were spoiled by Buster Posey and seem likely to be in great shape again with Bart. Bailey has the offensive and defensive ability to be a very good MLB starter that might be able to contribute on other parts of the diamond. That does seem a bit disappointing given guys like Soderstrom, Abel, and Mitchell were all on the board.
However, the draft is not over yet. The Giants will be one of the most active teams tomorrow with six picks (one in rounds 2-5 and two compensation picks following the departures of Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith) and there’s reason to believe Bailey might have agreed to take a below-slot signing bonus.
While Bailey ranked around where he was selected by the Giants, FanGraphs prospect reporter Eric Longenhagen reported “two other players were in the mix til late.” That seems to imply that the Giants had a few players in mind and allowed them to negotiate against each other and selected whoever agreed to the lowest signing bonus number.
With that said, the signing bonus mechanics are all conjecture at this point. Regardless, Bailey immediately receives a 45-future value grade and ranks as the ninth-best prospect in the Giants system slotting behind Mauricio Dubon and ahead of Wilson.
"The Giants’ best MLB draft picks in the first five rounds"
The first day of the Giants draft is done, but stay tuned to Around the Foghorn for analysis on updates on the rest of the team’s picks tomorrow.
For deeper reading on the Giants system and prospect grades check out these rankings following last season.
SF Giants’ Top 10 Prospects as of this pick
10. Will Wilson
9. Patrick Bailey
8. Mauricio Dubon
7. Logan Webb
6. Hunter Bishop
5. Seth Corry
4. Alexander Canario
3. Heliot Ramos
2. Joey Bart
1. Marco Luciano