Top 3 SF Giants questions that need to be answered in spring training

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Joey Bart, SF Giants
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Top 3 SF Giants questions that need to be answered in spring training

2. What are the SF Giants doing at catcher?

The likely outcome is that Joey Bart and Roberto Pérez are the two top catchers heading into the season. However, the Giants will have Blake Sabol and Austin Wynns in camp as well.

Sabol is a Rule 5 pick from the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco appears motivated to see what he can do. The left-handed bat is light on catching experience, but he can play the corner outfield spots as well. At the very least, the numbers pointed to Sabol being a competent catcher in the minors last year.

Plus, he experienced a spike in power last year, blasting 19 home runs in 513 plate appearances split between two levels. The Giants are hoping that he is a late bloomer.

On the other hand, Wynns was the best defensive catcher among the group last year. He was a preferred backstop for some pitchers down the stretch. With the addition of Pérez, Wynns likely falls a little lower on the depth chart as Pérez is a glove-first receiver as well.

I guess there is no question about who the top catchers are. I guess the question is if Pérez pushes Bart for playing time. It is no secret that the Giants targeted several veteran catchers this winter and it is fair to say that one or two of them could have supplanted Bart as the starting catcher.

Pérez has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons. He appeared in just 21 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year before sustaining a season-ending hamstring injury.

If the 34-year-old catcher finds a way to stay on the field, it would not be surprising if he pushes Bart for playing time. He is a two-time Gold Glove winner at catcher and has received positive reviews behind the dish.

The nine-year veteran has posted a 75 OPS+ throughout his career, but teams are willing to make the tradeoff between subpar offense at catcher if he can contribute defensively. That is Pérez's profile.

Bart's 2022 campaign was a mixed bag both at the plate and behind the dish. San Francisco likely will not make another addition at catcher and they want to see him succeed. That said, if he struggles to establish himself next year, the front office will be more active on that market.