The Giants lost three straight to the Oakland A’s, two of them were in brutal fashion. In one of those defeats, the Giants led by five runs going into the ninth inning. In the next game, the Giants blew a four-run lead in the ninth. Nothing is more demoralizing to a ball club than giving away ninth inning leads and losing games.
Joey Bart Should Get His Chance Right Now
Losing, 10 of their last 13 games, it’s time for the Giants to make some changes. They need to inject some life into their ball club. With only 42 games left on the schedule, now is the perfect time to bring up their top prospect, catcher Joey Bart. Bringing Bart up now would be similar to a late-season, September call-up in a normal season. If he were to join the team now, he would simply get a few more games to get used to the big leagues.
Bart was the second overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft. In two years of minor league baseball, Bart has 517 at-bats, but only 79 of those came at the Double-A level. That is a concern of Giants’ management, as the rest of his at-bats were below Double-A. Nevertheless, Bart is the Giants’ prospect that’s closest to the Major Leagues at this stage.
Over those two minor league seasons, Bart had a slash line of .284/.343/.532. He hit 29 home runs and had 88 RBI over those 517 at-bats. Defensively, Bart has room for improvement, but in this pandemic-shortened season, now is an ideal time for the Giants to really tutor him at the big league level.
Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ President, and Gabe Kapler, Giants manager, have repeatedly said that Bart is not ready. Certainly, he still has a lot more to learn, but with no actual minor league games this year, there is only so much Bart can learn in simulated situations.
The Giants were wise to make sure that Bart’s service time clock will not start ticking this year. However, that is no longer a consideration.
It appears the Giants are afraid that if Bart is not successful, he will lose confidence and that will take time to rebuild. Frankly, if a player is not mentally strong enough to fight through adversity, he will never become a star.
Patrick Bailey is Drafted With the 13th Overall Pick
The only other reason Bart may not be called up is if the Giants aren’t fully sold on him. It was interesting and a bit curious that they drafted another catcher, Patrick Bailey, with their top pick in the amateur draft this year. Bailey was selected only two years after the Giants selected Bart. As a top prospect, MLB.com lists Bart as the 14th ranked prospect in the game. This means Bart also has tremendous trade value. Alternatively, if he is exposed as having too many flaws, his trade value could decline. This trade strategy is unlikely, however, as it’s way too early to give up on such a high draft pick.
If Bart is called up, the benefits far outweigh the risks. He will be able to face Major League pitching and also confirm what areas he needs to work on most over the winter. Having these next 40 games to learn will also help Bart learn the speed of play at the Major League level.
Tyler Heineman and Chadwick Tromp Are Not the Answer
Tyler Heineman and Chadwick Tromp are doing the best they can, but they are not solid Major League caliber players at this stage of their careers. Heineman is currently hitting .212/.316/.242, while Tromp is at .211/225/.395. In a combined 71 at-bats, the pair has two home runs, both by Tromp, and only six RBI.
Defensively, Heineman is more advanced than Tromp, but neither is a top defensive catcher. They have also committed four catcher’s interference errors in only 23 games. Contrast that to Buster Posey, who in 987 games behind the plate has only committed three of the catcher’s interference mistakes.
Posey has opted out this season citing family health concerns. In addition, Heineman and Tromp are not long-term solutions. It stands to reason that now is the time to give Bart an opportunity. The cardboard cutouts who are watching every inning deserve to see it!
The Giants have very little to lose in bringing up Joey Bart at this time and there’s a big upside. The team is in a rebuilding mode and based on their talent level will likely not contend until 2022 at the earliest. They currently have the second-lowest winning percentage at .348 in the National League. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates have a worse record at 4-14. Even with the expanded playoffs this year, to expect the Giants to jump over six teams to make the post season is unrealistic. More importantly, getting Bart into big league games now will accelerate his learning curve. His addition will also inject some much needed life into the Giants lineup when they need it most.
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