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Jon Miller makes case for Joey Bart starting season with Giants

Ron Holman-Visalia

When the Giants sent Joey Bart back down to minor league camp March 10 — earlier than they had to — Farhan Zaidi cited a need to ensure the young catcher could get all the at-bats he would need for his development.

There is a significant chance the only way to get Bart those at-bats this year is at the major league level.

Major League Baseball is fighting for an avenue that leads to even a partial season this year, a possibility that is much dimmer at the minor league level. Perhaps minor leaguers will be able to stick around spring training complexes — and even that’s an uncertainty — as they try to avoid a whole year being wiped away from development. If an MLB season is played, though, there will be additional spots to ensure teams can be fielded and players get rest time, which is where Bart can come in.

The league is reportedly considering a 30-day daily roster of available players, with a roughly 20-man taxi squad hanging around and ready to be swapped in the next day. Additionally, National League teams would be embracing the designated hitter because there would be so much interleague play.

A lot of the fallout from a coronavirus-impaired season is pointing at Bart’s time being now.

“I can’t see anything other than he’s gotta be there,” Jon Miller said on KNBR on Wednesday. “And I haven’t talked to Farhan Zaidi about it or Gabe Kapler about it, maybe they have different ideas, but I would think that he’s gotta play somewhere. In this kind of a season where you have the DH, Buster [Posey] could do a lot of DH’ing and catching, and [Bart] could learn from Buster himself. Sit alongside Buster, pick his brain, get tips from Buster about how he’s calling a game.”

The strong bat of the 23-year-old prized prospect would make for an intriguing DH. And as MLB would be squeezing in as many games as possible, backup catcher(s) would be imperative. The Giants had fliers Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly competing in the first spring training, neither of whom has the ability of the 2018 No. 2-overall pick.

Besides, if Bart isn’t playing with the Giants, where would he be playing?

“Would it set him back offensively?” Miller said on “Papa & Lund.” “Would there be more failure? That’s a risk, and that’s something you don’t want to do when a guy’s a prized young prospect, do anything to risk that future and hurt him emotionally, his confidence, things like that if he’s not ready to be there.

“But I think under these circumstances, there would be a very good chance he would be on that list.”


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