Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.Com revealed his top-10 catching prospects and SF Giants catching prospect Joey Bart continues to be regarded as one of the best prospects at his position.
According to Rosenbaum, the SF Giants catcher was the no. 2 prospect backstop, only behind Baltimore Orioles prospect Adley Rutschman.
This is hardly surprising given Bart’s draft pedigree and skill set, but it remains encouraging to see evaluators outside of the organization continue to give high praise to the right-handed bat. Bart, who was selected second overall out of Georgia Tech in 2018, had a rough rookie campaign, but this might become a positive experience in his development.
In two minor league seasons, the 24-year-old slashed .284/.343/.532 with 29 doubles, six triples, 29 home runs, and 88 RBI. This includes a six percent walk rate against a 20.8 strikeout rate, so there were some concerns regarding his approach at the plate. These concerns may never fully go away.
That said, Bart earned a promotion to Double-A at the end of 2019 where he posted a .912 OPS in 87 plate appearances. Since the minor league season was canceled in 2020, Bart had no chance to get more seasoning before his eventual promotion to the major league roster last year.
It was a much-anticipated promotion, and perhaps expectations were unusually unfair given his lack of minor league experience. In 103 at-bats, Bart registered a .233/.288/.320 line (69 OPS+) with five doubles, two triples, zero home runs, and seven RBI. This came with a concerningly high 36.9 percent strikeout rate.
However, the catching prospect will get additional development time next season as he is expected to begin next year in the minors. With Buster Posey returning and the signing of Curt Casali, there may not be a lot of at-bats for Bart in 2021 and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Nevertheless, Rosenbaum is still a believer in Bart and not phased by his struggles in 2020:
"“Bart struggled in his first Major League audition, batting .233 with a .609 OPS with strikeout and walk rates of 36.9 and 2.7 percent, respectively. But the former 2018 first-round Draft pick (No. 2 overall) had hit well up to that point, having shown the type of advanced hitting ability and game power in college and the Minor Leagues that inspires optimism that he will rebound in ’21.”"
The Georgia Tech product will take over the helm at some point soon. It is fair to say that he was rushed, but his struggles could become a positive experience in his development. San Francisco is counting on him to help open up a new competitive window shortly.