Is Joey Bart the Subsequent Massive Prospect Bust?

Joey Bart catching within the 2019 All-Star Futures recreation; CC by License 2.0

Joey Bart was drafted second general within the 2018 MLB draft. 5 years later, Bart has produced 0.7 fWAR in simply 132 video games for the San Francisco Giants. Bart has the flexibility to supply at a really above-average stage within the minor leagues. As quickly as the brilliant lights of the large present shine on him, nonetheless, he merely can’t replicate that manufacturing.

Bart’s spot on the big-league roster for the Giants is up within the air. In reality, the Giants entrance workplace said that the beginning catching job was up for grabs in the course of the 2023 Spring Coaching. Bart, a revered catching prospect, is shaping as much as be one of many larger prospect busts in current historical past. He has completely all the pieces to show in 2023. His spot within the group might, very nicely, rely upon his 2023 season.

Joey Bart has been a little bit of a journeyman, however not within the regular approach. His journeys have been between San Francisco and Sacramento AAA. Bart debuted with the Giants a bit prematurely after the beloved Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 COVID season. Within the 60 video games performed by the Giants that 12 months, Bart performed in 33. It was in these 33 video games that the main points in Bart’s recreation have been realized. He mustered a 0.1 fWAR whereas hanging out 36.9% of the time in 111 plate appearances. His wRC+ clocked in at 68, 32 factors under the league common. These numbers change into extra hanging when in comparison with his minor-league stats from 2019. In that season, Bart put up a .278/.328/.495 slash line in 313 at-bats throughout A+ and AA ball. After being promoted to AA, his stats, though small in pattern measurement, actually started to shine. He put up a 163 wRC+ whereas solely hanging out 24.1% of the time. You can’t blame Giants followers for being enthusiastic about this child after he put up these numbers within the minors. With the face of their franchise out for the 12 months, Bart had a serious alternative to step up and fill these footwear. Sadly, he didn’t stay as much as these hopes. 2021 and past would certainly be his 12 months.

The 2021 season for the Giants was filled with surprises, none of which involved Joey Bart. Baseball followers know the story of how the 2021 Giants shocked the game by going out and successful 107 video games, setting their single-season win file. These wins largely got here on the backs of resurgent, productive seasons by veterans, together with star catcher Buster Posey. This season was not all unhealthy for Bart, despite the fact that he needed to miss out on the enjoyable, enjoying most of his 12 months in AAA Sacramento. In 67 video games in 2021, Bart had one other spectacular offensive 12 months. His strikeout fee remained at a manageable 29.4% whereas he walked 7.5% of the time. He ended up with a 107 wRC+ after his time in AAA ended, but once more leaving the entrance workplace with a very good style of their mouths about the way forward for the catching place. The damage bug started to go away its mark on Bart this season, as he would play these 67 video games in AAA and simply two MLB video games when the season ended. He spent numerous time battling hand, foot, and quadriceps accidents. These accidents basically ended Bart’s 2021 season, however the entrance workplace was nonetheless enthusiastic about his future based mostly on the above-average offensive 12 months he put collectively.

After the 2021 season, Buster Posey retired. He ended his profession on an especially excessive observe after he put up certainly one of his finest offensive seasons since his MVP in 2012. Joey Bart was up subsequent, however the Giants didn’t totally belief him simply but, confirmed by the signing of veteran catcher Curt Casali. 2022 would definitely be the 12 months of Bart, proper?

Joey acquired numerous probabilities in 2022. He performed in 97 video games on the MLB stage for the Giants. Nevertheless, these probabilities additional proved that he was unprepared for MLB pitching. The strikeout numbers jumped even increased than his final prolonged stretch within the majors. He struck out 38.5% of the time. That fee was among the many worst within the league. His strikeout-prone strategy noticed him optioned to AAA. In reality, within the 90 at-bats Bart had earlier than being despatched down, he struck out in 49 of them. His optioning was paired with a commerce for Austin Wynns of the Phillies group. Wynns and Casali ended up having much better seasons than the previous prospect in Bart. By taking probabilities on different catchers, the Giants established a sample of mistrust in Bart that may find yourself carrying on to the current day,

Flash ahead to the beginning of the 2023 Spring Coaching. The entrance workplace and supervisor Gabe Kapler made it clear that there was nobody reply for the catching place coming into the 2023 season. Bart must show himself but once more, this time being maybe essentially the most important for his profession. When the tip of preseason ball got here round, Bart had made the opening-day roster. Nevertheless, Roberto Perez, a veteran coming from the Pirates, and Blake Sabol, a Rule-5 draft decide the Giants additionally acquired from the Pirates, have been listed as catchers on the opening-day roster, too. The Giants, once more, bolstered the catching place with a purpose to decrease the potential of a Bart implosion. They’ve formally unfold out their eggs into many catching baskets. To additional show this level, the Giants lately agreed on a minor-league contract with Gary Sanchez, one other catcher. The Giants should not assured in Bart. They’ve acquired three different catchers previously few months in case one thing unhealthy have been to occur to Bart in 2023. And wouldn’t you already know it, Bart was scratched from his first begin at catcher due to a again pressure. Bart would find yourself on the injured listing later that day, too.

Joey Bart is headed down a darkish path. The as soon as highly-respected prospect had all the pieces set in entrance of him: An early promotion in 2020 and the retirement of the man who was blocking his beginning job within the huge leagues after the 2021 season. Joey Bart has performed little to reassure the Giants that he’s the following reply for them at catcher. That is made clear when taking a look at how the Giants have closely bolstered the catching place for the primary time because the Buster Posey days. Bart might go down as a bust, or he might lastly play on the ceiling he’s able to. One factor is definite: Bart completely can tear the duvet off of a baseball. His solely notable percentile rating from 2022 was his ninety fifth percentile in Max Exit Velocity. Giants followers in all places are rooting for him. Bart’s 2023 must be productive or he may discover himself being shipped off for a prospect haul.

Sources:

Fangraphs

Mlb.com

Baseball savant