Giants fans probably aren’t looking forward to a pennant race in 2020, even in an abbreviated 60 game season. Right now the most exciting thing about the club is the future, and the handful of recent draft picks that are working their way towards the big leagues.
2018 first-round pick Joey Bart is both the closest to cracking the roster, and unsurprisingly, the player whose debut is most hotly anticipated. There’s even buzz that with a designated hitter in the NL this season, Bart might be included in the Opening Day roster come late July.
Giants General Manager Scott Harris pumped the brakes on that narrative when he joined Murph & Mac on Thursday, however, citing that while it’s possible, Bart is still developing.
“I think it’s important to remember he’s only had something like 87 plate appearances above A ball right now,” Harris said. “I think the last thing we want to do is short circuit anyone’s development by rushing them too quickly to the big leagues. We think Joey is going to have a bright, long career in San Francisco, and we just want to make sure that we have given him every opportunity to reach his ceiling before we throw him out there.”
Harris then cited two things the club is looking for before Bart gets the call up.
“A couple of developmental priorities for him will be first to improve the game calling. Not that we’re at all concerned about his game calling, I just think there is a critical mass of games you need to catch at the minor league level before you’re fully prepared to call a game in the big leagues.
“The other thing we talked about quite a bit is we want to expose him to other positions on the field. Not because we are concerned about his catching at all, we already think he is a plus receiver and thrower, but because one of the main tenants of our developmental philosophy is versatility, ’cause we want to give our major league manager as many opportunities as possible to get our best bats in the lineup. We think the demands of the catching position are such that that it is a benefit of both the player and the team to be able to play multiple positions.”
In two seasons in the Giants’ system, Bart hasn’t played an inning of baseball at any position other than catcher. With the drafting of another first-round catcher earlier this month, defensive wizard Patrick Bailey, it’s quite possible Bart’s future with San Francisco may not be behind the dish.
“The more that Joey can move around, the more options that his major league manager is going to have to get his bat in the lineup, and I think that’s really important for his career and for the future of the Giants.”
Listen to the full interview below.