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SF Giants: Clarity Emerges at Key Position

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 31: Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants at bat against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on August 31, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 31: Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants at bat against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on August 31, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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SF Giants
While SF Giants prospect Joey Bart got his chance to debut at catcher this season, he’s not the primary option right now. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

The SF Giants will enter next season with Buster Posey, Chadwick Tromp, and Joey Bart all on the 40-man roster, but it is clear who the primary backstop will be once the season begins.

SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler spoke to the local media on Tuesday and indicated what everyone already knew: Buster Posey will return next year and be the team’s primary catcher.

This is not the most surprising nugget as the 33-year-old is under contract for one more season and the Giants hold a team option for 2022. Posey opted out of the 2020 season as his family adopted twins that were born prematurely. With the risk of COVID exposure being high, he decided to take added precautions for his family by stepping away to minimize the risk.

As the longtime Giants catcher enters next season, the question will be how much he has left in the tank. Posey had major hip surgery at the end of the 2018 season and spent much of that offseason rehabbing so he could be ready for 2019.

However, 2019 was not a good year for the former first-round pick. Posey slashed .257/.320/.368 with only seven home runs and 38 RBI while being worth 0.9 WAR across 445 plate appearances. The bat never fully returned to form, but that could have been a product of not having a normal offseason.

With that being said, the backstop demonstrated his usual strong marks behind the plate as he graded out as an above-average pitch framer while nabbing 32 percent of would-be base stealers.

On the other hand, the 2020 season was a year of learning and growth for Joey Bart. Bart, originally selected second overall in the 2018 draft, was tabbed as the heir apparent to the catching throne.

The 24-year-old was promoted to the big club in the middle of the 2020 season. He registered a .233/.288/.320 line (69 OPS+) with no home runs, seven RBI, and an unsightly 36.9 percent strikeout rate. As the lack of home runs might suggest, Bart struggled to get the ball off of the ground as he recorded a ground ball in 51.6 percent of his batted ball events.

Given that he only had a total of 87 plate appearances above Single-A when the year began, it is fair to wonder if he was rushed too soon. However, since Kapler tabbed Posey as the starting catcher as the Giants head into next season, it seems likely that Bart is destined for Triple-A once the season begins, while recently re-signed catcher Chadwick Tromp is likely to serve as the primary backup.

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At that point, Bart can gain that extra seasoning that he missed without a minor league season in 2020 and Posey can potentially put the finishing touches on an extraordinary career with the SF Giants.

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