Will SF Giants second-year catcher be able to sustain early offensive production?

Will Patrick Bailey be able to avoid a second half slump like 2023?
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants look like they have their catcher of the future in Patrick Bailey. We saw him impress on defense last season, but his bat has been a question mark. Thus far in 2024 he is hitting great, but can he avoid a repeat of last season's second half slump?

Will SF Giants second-year catcher be able to sustain early offensive production?

As of this writing, Bailey is slashing .280/.341/.467 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI. This is a very impressive start to the year. Plus, Bailey has already had two of the most memorable moments of the early season with his home run into McCovey Cove that landed in a kayak. Plus, last week he hit a three-run walk-off home run to send Giants fans home happy.

This is a promising start to the year as Bailey has been thought of as a glove-first catcher. This makes sense because he was a finalist for the Gold Glove last season and was one of the best catchers in the game when it came to throwing guys out on the basepaths. The general consensus was that his glove made him one of the best catchers in the game and whatever he did at the plate was just a bonus, sort of like how we thought of Brandon Crawford earlier in his career.

His hot start at the plate leads one to wonder whether Bailey may actually end up being very valuable due to his bat and not just his defense. Yet, if we look back to last year Bailey also got off to a hot start but cooled off considerably throughout the year.

If one can recall back to the end of June last season, Bailey hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning against the New York Mets which helped them win that game and cap off an incredible month. At the end of that game, Bailey was slashing .322/.347/.557. By the end of the season, he was slashing .233/.285/.359.

What is to blame for this steep drop off? It seems like the main culprit may have been fatigue. Even though he was a rookie, Bailey was having to play a lot last season due to his indispensable defense behind the plate. It is possible that both the mental and physical toll that a catcher must endure may have led to his lackluster hitting as the season wore on.

Why should we expect anything different this season? For one, Bailey bulked up in the offseason for this very reason. He did not want his body to wear down physically and wanted to ensure that he can still produce at a high level throughout the year. Also, the Giants have a much more astute backup catcher in Tom Murphy this season. Last year, Blake Sabol was essentially having to learn the position on the fly and the Giants may have been more reluctant to mix him in behind the plate. They can be more confident giving Bailey a rest every few days this year since Murphy is a proven veteran.

In sum, Bailey's hot start should not be viewed as a flash in the pan. Given the fact that he bulked up in the offseason and that he has a backup that will allow him to rest more, Patrick Bailey may prove this season that he is a threat both in the batter's box and behind the plate.