SF Giants prospects position preview chat with Wrenzie & Marc: Catcher

Joey Bart #21 of the SF Giants looks on walking back to his position against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on September 07, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Joey Bart #21 of the SF Giants looks on walking back to his position against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on September 07, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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SF Giants, Patrick Bailey
SF Giants 2020 first-round pick Patrick Bailey at the alternate site in Sacramento last summer. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /

Around the Foghorn is excited to welcome Wrenzie Regodon to the team as a new contributor. Many fans will know him from his previous work over on the Giant Prospective Blog, Prospects Worldwide, and his Patreon. You can follow him on Twitter @GiantProspectiv.

To kickoff Wrenzie’s prospect coverage, he and co-site expert Marc Delucchi are beginning a series of chats to discuss the players in the SF Giants farm system at each position. They got things started behind the plate, discussing the franchise’s catcher.

SF Giants prospects position-by-position chat: Catcher (Part 1)

Marc Delucchi: Hey Wrenzie! First of all, welcome to the team! I’m really excited to bring you aboard and can’t wait to work together and coordinate some great work on the draft and Giants prospects in the coming month.

Wrenzie Regodon: I’m excited to be a part of this! It’s a long time coming.

Marc: Alright so let’s not bury the lede. Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey are the two “stars” of this group. How do you compare and contrast the two?

Wrenzie: They look oh so similar, right? Both from the ACC, both of them have power in their game, both have the defensive chops to play at the position for a long time. The most obvious contrast between the two is that Bailey can hit left-handed while Bart, but it really comes back to plate approach.

Last year, Bart didn’t look good out there at the big-league level, while Bailey started to shift towards that OBP-SLG approach that the Giants do look for. It will be an interesting thing to talk about for years to come (assuming both stay with the Giants).

M: Agreed. While Bart was considered the better prospect out of college, I actually much preferred Bailey’s prospect profile at the time of the draft. Bailey struck out less, walked more, and was far more consistent as an amatuer. Of course, Bart took a huge step forward his junior year, something the Giants have clearly tended towards. Of course, Bart’s minor-league and spring training performances (this year and last) both put him noticeably ahead for me.

W: Yep. Bart’s definitely looked like “the man” when he was playing against minor leaguers. In the squat, he is in charge out there. At the plate, he is a threat to go deep in every single time. Last year did not look good. But I said it before and I’ll say it again, Bart is not ready yet. His hit tool is not advanced, like Buster Posey coming out of college.

Bart’s disappointing 2020 definitely stirred the pot rather uncontrollably from the outside looking in. I would still have Bart over Bailey but it can definitely change once we see Bailey play in competitive games or if Bart’s struggles carry over this season.

M: Yeah, Bailey is weird because as good as the numbers were in college there are still real concerns about how his hit tool would translate to pro ball. It’s obviously too little to draw any conclusions, but he has not looked great this spring.

Let’s simplify this, though, if Bart and Bailey meet expectations (don’t exceed or regress) what kind of players do you think they are?

W: Bailey’s first two years in NC State would not tell you that he is a power-over-hit guy but a couple of swing changes later and boom, he is. For Bart, it feels like it’s still close to an All-Star caliber player, while Bailey should still be a league-average starter.

M: I’m a bit lower on both of them than you are. I tend to lean more into hit than power tools, but there’s no doubt some Gary Sanchez-type upside for Bart exists. I think right now, though, I expect him to be a 18-22 HR guy with a .245/.320/.480 triple-slash. For Bailey, there is just so much unknown. His 50th percentile outcome is probably more like .220/.320/.420 with 12-15 homers for now. I think he’ll walk more than Bart, which will give him more latitude if his hit tool doesn’t develop as well, but I don’t see close to the same power upside.

W: Yep, I agree with those stat lines. But for me, I kind of look at catchers as how they are on the field, the “intangibles” of the position. The ability to handle a pitching staff, the ability to play through the wear and tear at the position.

My big worry for me about Bart is that he struggled building rapport with the pitchers in the rotation last year. The most well-known case is that he struggled to catch Johnny Cueto. And this is the guy who was catching these players in the intrasquads so you have to think that he will be ready once he gets called up this year (we know he’s coming up). Sorry I went on a bit of a tangent there.

M: All good. I totally agree actually on that end. Bart has all the tools to be an above-average or elite defender and my biggest questions at this point are about his ability to form a rapport with pitchers and do it well consistently.