The SF Giants made a surprising move on Friday by promoting top catching prospect Patrick Bailey to the active roster. It was initially expected to be a temporary move while Joey Bart is on the injured list, but is that the plan?
Patrick Bailey's promotion to the SF Giants is temporary. Or is it?
Bailey began the season in Double-A and received a quick promotion to Triple-A after he posted an impressive .882 OPS in 60 plate appearances to start the year. He had not found as much success in Triple-A yet but he was beginning to warm up. That said, jumping two levels before June is unexpected for pretty much any propect, but the Giants had a clear need.
The organization had burned much of its catching depth earlier in the year. They parted ways with Gary Sánchez and Austin Wynns while Roberto Pérez underwent season-ending surgery. The Giants opted to add Bailey rather than Ricardo Genovés because they were likely going to add him at some point this season anyway.
According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, Giants manager Gabe Kapler poured cold water over any idea that this is a temporary promotion for Bailey:
Incumbent starter Joey Bart has gotten off to a slow start in 2023. There have been some positives as his pitch-framing has improved but the bat has been surprisingly light this year. He has improved his strikeout rate to 25.0 percent, which is an encouraging sign, but he has only five extra-base hits, including no homers, in 84 plate appearances.
Despite his improvements on defense, he has not produced consistently overall. In reading between the lines of what Kapler said, it feels like there is an opening for Bailey if he performs. What that means for Bart remains to be seen.
Bailey is, by far, the best defensive catcher in the organization. He is an excellent framer, blocker and thrower. He understands pitchers well and has received positive reviews from the pitching staff. His work behind the plate will be his carrying tool, but because he is so competent defensively, the floor is relatively high.
He is a switch-hitting-catcher with his left-handed swing being his natural side. The offense might take some time to develop, but the Giants have a strong enough lineup to have a soft spot or two if it means better defense at a key position like catcher.
If Bailey is able to produce, especially against right-handed pitching as a lefty bat, he can pretty quickly turn into a key player on the roster. That conversation is for another day. At the moment, Bailey is adjusting to the major league rhythm while notching some important firsts with his family in attendance.