Keith Law: SF Giants "might not have that hope anymore" that Joey Bart can be everyday catcher

San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Baseball prospect guru Keith Law joined Matt Kolsky and F.P. Santangelo on KNBR last week to discuss a number of topics relating to the SF Giants farm system including where the team stands with Joey Bart. Law holds out hope that Bart can become an everyday catcher, but speculates that the Giants may not see him as that anymore.

Keith Law: SF Giants "might not have that hope anymore" that Joey Bart can be everyday catcher

Law admits that he has been skeptical of Bart's offensive upside since before the Giants drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Georgia Tech. He does laud Bart's power and defensive prowess while holding out hope that the young backstop can become more than a solid backstop:

""I never saw a chance for him to become anything more than just a solid regular, which is great. Obviously a very valuable player, but he would have had to be a completely different hitter to be a star. And, I still hold out hope that he can be somebody's regular but I get the sense that the Giants might not have that hope anymore."

Keith Law

If you read between the lines with how the front office has quietly operated at catcher, that last phrase may not be too terribly surprising. It is no secret that the Giants coveted Oakland A's catcher Sean Murphy before he was shipped to the Atlanta Braves in a three-team trade this winter.

This was not the first time they had done so as they expressed interest prior to the 2022 season as well. However, a trade of that magnitude with the A's always seemed unlikely.

San Francisco pursued other veteran catchers this offseason as well including Gary Sánchez and Omar Narváez. Sánchez likely would not have chipped away at Bart's playing time if they signed him, but the left-handed-hitting Narváez would have potentially been the starter with how Giants manager Gabe Kapler leverages platoons.

The Giants did bring in a lefty bat in Blake Sabol, who only has 94 games of catching experience as a pro across three minor league seasons. Plus, Roberto Pérez, who has a strong defensive reputation, is in camp on a minor league deal. It is likely that the Giants begin the season with some trio of Bart, Sabol, and Pérez.

Where they go from there is anyone's guess as Sabol is a Rule 5 pick, so he cannot be optioned to Triple-A. On the other hand, Pérez has appeared in 97 games, including just 21 games in 2022, over the last three seasons due to a variety of injuries. He has appeared in over 100 games just once in nine seasons, so can the Giants expect him to carry a heavy workload?

Despite the question marks of the alternatives at catcher and Bart's draft pedigree, Kapler has labeled it an open competition at catcher. The 2022 campaign was a mixed bag for Bart as he showed flashes of improvement, but he finished the year slashing .215/.296/.364 (86 OPS+) with 11 home runs, 25 RBI, and 34 runs in 291 plate appearances.

He graded out as a below-average backstop and Austin Wynns became the preferred catcher for both Logan Webb and Carlos Rodón down the stretch last season.

If the Giants do not see Bart as the future starter, it would not be too surprising given that he was a holdover from the prior regime. Still, Law speculating on it is odd to hear given that the 26-year-old has tallied a total of just 408 plate appearances in his young career. One way or the other, the Giants will have the answer to what Bart can offer by the end of the season.