In the brief period between the Giants drafting prospects and the Giants trying to recruit undrafted prospects, Farhan Zaidi felt the need to make sure one of his top prospects understood.
In drafting Patrick Bailey out of NC State, the Giants were not sending a message to Joey Bart, the second-overall pick in 2018. Both are catchers, but the MLB draft is not the time you start projecting years down the road.
The Giants president of baseball revealed he talked with Bart on Friday to make sure he knew that selecting another catcher is not a reflection of the top-catching prospect they already have.
“[Bart is] an ACC catcher, just like Patrick is, so he knows the abilities that he brings to the table. We’ve talked about it a lot — we want talented players, we want guys who can potentially move around to different positions and give the manager different options,” Zaidi said on “Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks” on Friday. “One of the things I said to Joey is we reached such a point of comfort with Buster [Posey] at the major league level and with Joey being in the system that we probably neglected the catching position, and it was actually a pretty thin position for us in the organization beyond those two.”
At the major league level, the Giants brought in Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly to compete for a backup job, which Aramis Garcia would likely have won if he stayed healthy. They also signed 25-year-old Chadwick Tromp, who likely would have opened the season in Double-A Richmond, a reflection of the dearth of catching depth. Before Bailey, the catcher with the highest ceiling besides Bart was Ricardo Genoves, who’s 21 and only just reached Class-A Augusta.
So, Zaidi says the Giants were not drafting for need, yet, with a closer look, there indeed is a catching need.
“When you actually look at it and you think about the totality of our depth at that position, it was a little light. That’s why we felt comfortable doing it. Plenty of things can happen,” Zaidi said on KNBR. “It’s a grind getting through the minor leagues, and Joey’s made it look easy, but it’s not that way for everybody. These things have a tendency to work themselves out. You’ve never heard of an organization that has too much catching, and I don’t anticipate that being an issue for us.”
Zaidi said Giants scouts have compared Bailey with former Dodgers switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal, whom the White Sox signed for four years and $73 million. Being a catcher strong on offense and defense is such a rarity that the Giants could not pass up Bailey.
Even if it meant needing to have a conversation with Bart, who took it well.
“We expect Joey to have a great career with us,” Zaidi said. “One of the things that came up in our conversation is this is not at all a reflection of how we feel about you, we’re as confident and excited about you as we’ve ever been.
“It wasn’t that long ago he was lighting it up in spring training, looked like one of the best catchers in the game even today.”