SF Giants power-hitting catcher begins rehab assignment

Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The SF Giants are getting ready to welcome back a power-hitting catcher. Joey Bart began a rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats on Friday night, registering one hit in four at-bats with two strikeouts.

SF Giants power-hitting catcher begins rehab assignment

Bart hit the injured list in the middle of May after sustaining a groin strain. It was his second trip to the injured list this season. He did not miss an extended period of time, but a lot has changed since he last played.

Prior to landing on the injured list, the right-handed bat was struggling at the plate. That said, he has made some nice improvements defensively, especially as it relates to pitch-framing. We suggested that the Giants just allow Bart to work through his offensive struggles because they just did not have a lot of depth at catcher.

Of course, Patrick Bailey was just one call away after a quick promotion to Triple-A earlier in the year. Bailey still is a little green in terms of experience in the upper minors, but his performance thus far has likely changed the dynamic at catcher.

In the early going, the switch-hitter has been fantastic, slashing .310/.326/.524 (129 OPS+) with two home runs, 12 RBI, and four runs in 44 plate appearances. Those numbers will regress at some point. Though, he has quickly become a top option for pitchers and has flashed a good arm, throwing out four base stealers in 11 opportunities.

It is hard to ignore the fact that Bart was drafted by the prior front office, whereas Bailey was drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft by the current regime. The front office likely wants to see both catchers excel, but they are likely partial to Bailey. And, Bailey has made a quality first impression.

On the other hand, Bart has posted a .581 OPS in 84 plate appearances in 2023. The good news is that his strikeout rate has improved to 25.0 percent compared to a career rate of 35.8 percent. However, the power numbers have dipped considerably as he has only five extra-base hits (all doubles) this season.

One way or the other, Bart is going to get playing time with the Giants in 2023. He should be back soon enough, and the Giants hope that he can show more than he has so far this season.