The Joey Bart experiment is over for the SF Giants - at least for now.
Following Buster Posey's sudden retirement last November, Bart was going to be given "a lot of rope" as the main catcher to start the 2022 season, according to team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. With a .156/.296/.300 line featuring just four home runs and 49 strikeouts in 36 games, that rope has reached its end. The Giants announced Wednesday morning that Bart had been optioned to Triple-A Sacramento following Tuesday's loss to the Colorado Rockies.
By the team's tweet, it appears the Giants are going to give native Californian Austin Wynns a shot in the Major Leagues while Bart gets more seasoning in the Minors.
Wynns, from San Diego, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 10th round of the 2013 draft out of Fresno State, where he played with current MLB stars Aaron Judge and Taylor Ward. In fact, while he was in Fresno the city's MiLB team, the Grizzlies, was still the Triple-A affiliate of the Giants.
After making his MLB debut with a .255 average and four homers in 42 games in 2018 at the age of 27, Wynns played a combined 73 games for Baltimore in 2019 and 2021, batting .195 in 200 at-bats. As a free agent this past offseason he signed with the Phillies and was mashing to the tune of .365/.504/.500 with more walks than strikeouts in 33 games with their Triple-A team at Lehigh Valley.
The player heading back to Philadelphia, Michael Plassmeyer, was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021 and had shown good strikeout numbers (47 in 46 1/3 innings) with Sacramento, but 15 home runs allowed (almost 3.0 per nine innings) helped cause a 7.38 ERA. He was originally drafted in the fourth round in 2018 by Seattle and has never made the Major Leagues.
Bart was expected to be the SF Giants catcher of the future
Bart, the second-overall in the 2018 amateur draft out of Georgia Tech, had been hailed as the Giants' catcher of the future as Buster Posey's career was appearing to wind down. After struggling to a .233 average with no home runs in 33 games while Posey sat out the abbreviated 2020 season, Bart received much-needed time in the minors during Posey's bounce-back 2021.
The Giants might give Curt Casali more time as the main catcher, seeing as the veteran backup is batting .244 with four homers in 88 at-bats. Bart will get time to work on making more contact while dealing with less pressure. The Giants will likely also want him to work on his defense - Bart had thrown out just three of 20 runners attempting to steal in 2022 (15%; the league average is closer to 25%), and he has allowed 14 wild pitches to skip by after just nine escaped his grasp in a similar number of innings in 2020.