Catcher Joey Bart
This has been Joey Bart’s camp. With Buster Posey’s decision to opt-out, all attention has shifted to the catcher position.
Every intrasquad game the Giants play, Bart finds a way to make a highlight reel play whether with the bat or behind the dish.
When he was drafted, Bart was known not only for his bat, but his defensive acumen at catcher. He had been calling his own games at Georgia Tech, which is a rare trait among college catchers, so his game-calling is well developed.
Given that Bart has been a catcher for much of his life, the argument could be made that he is more advanced behind the plate than Posey was at the same age. Posey did not become a full-time catcher until the middle of his collegiate career at Florida State University.
On top of this, Bart continues to show off a hose:
This is not the type of play catchers are expected to make since the pitcher was so far out of the zone, but Bart found a way to record the out with ease.
In the batter’s box, he has consistently generated some of the loudest contact. The Giants are not recording official box scores after each game, so we do not have a way to measure how each player is doing.
Despite this, we do know that the right-handed bat is bludgeoning the ball:
The one reservation I will add is that I do not like putting too much weight into Spring Training performances. This year is unique since there will be no minor league baseball season, so it is all we have to analyze.
Now, Bart’s performance has put the Giants’ front office in a bind. He is the best catcher in camp, but questions about starting his service time come into play as well. That is a good problem to have, and one the Giants will need to address in the coming days.
Outfielder Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence already has a spot on the Opening Day roster, so he is not in the same position as Joey Bart.
The Giants brought back the fan-favorite on a one-year, $3 million deal to serve as a left fielder and designated hitter, especially against left-handed pitching. This is an area where the Giants struggled last season as they posted a paltry .692 OPS while facing southpaws.
In 2019, Pence hammered lefties with a 1.015 OPS and eight home runs across 119 plate appearances.
The 37-year-old looks like his old self at the plate, especially in terms of his unorthodox quirkiness.
He has blasted several home runs, including one against relief prospect Sam Wolff:
As with Bart, I caution against putting too much stock into Spring Training performances. However, I cannot recall the ball coming off of Pence’s bat in this swing at the end of his first tenure with the Giants in 2018. Whether that was due to injuries or faulty swing mechanics is up for debate.
Regardless, the ball does not lie, and it looks like he is showing off good power. The Giants will need it as their lineup is still thin on power hitters.
Catcher Chadwick Tromp
Chadwick Tromp has emerged recently as a candidate to win a spot on the Opening Day roster.
The Giants brought in the catcher on a minor league pact this past offseason. Tromp spent the first seven seasons of his professional career with the Cincinnati Reds organization, where he reached Triple-A on two separate occasions.
In 2019, Tromp was on a tear in Triple-A until injuries put him on the shelf. Across 90 plate appearances, the 25-year-old generated a .286/.389/.610 line with seven home runs and 21 RBI.
As his career has developed, so has his plate discipline, and that is likely one quality that appealed to the Giants. Tromp was very aggressive earlier in his career, but his walk rates have improved as he has risen through the minor league ranks.
In camp, Tromp has knocked several home runs, including one against right-handed hurler Jeff Samardzija:
I expect Tyler Heineman to make the Opening Day roster given the fact that he is a switch-hitter, but Tromp is certainly making a case as well.
Several players wish they could have a redo on the final week including Andrew Suarez, Dereck Rodriguez, and Jeff Samardzija.