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Joey Bart named league’s top catching prospect by MLB

The San Francisco Giants selected Joey Bart with the second overall pick in last year’s draft, and it hasn’t taken the catcher long to make an impression.

Bart enters the 2019 offseason as the top catching prospect in all of baseball based on rankings released by MLB Pipeline on Wednesday. Bart was not included on last year’s list as he had yet to be drafted when the rankings were released.

Bart, 22, crushed the ball with short-season Single-A Salem Kieizer, posting a .298/.369/.613 slash line with 13 home runs in 45 games. Bart has the highest “power” ranking of all the catchers on the list, with MLB pipeline projecting that he has the “potential to hit at least 25 home runs annually.” Bart had double-digit home runs as a sophomore and junior at Georgia Tech.

Bart, along with 2017 first round pick Heliot Ramos, is likely to start the season with Single-A San Jose.

“That would be a treat for, quite frankly, us in the office, to be able to drive over to San Jose and see these guys play,” Giants head of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’m excited to see those guys play because even though San Jose, relatively, is a pitchers’ park in the Cal League, the Cal League is a terrific environment for position players. I think those guys really have a chance to take off starting the year there.”

The belief is that if Bart dominates at the minor-league level this season, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he gets a September call-up.

“You want to find the right balance between moving guys aggressively and challenging them, versus creating too much pressure and moving them too quickly, where you can have a negative impact on their careers,” Zaidi said. “We’re going to try to walk that tightrope a bit with those guys, but we’re certainly not going to hold them back if they show dominance at that level early in the season.”


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