© Ron Holman
Nothing has been a hotter subject of debate surrounding the San Francisco Giants than the development of Joey Bart, the organization’s top prospect and one of the best prospects in all of baseball. Bart has been showing out in training camp, but, due to a fractured hand last season, is severely limited in the amount of Minor League experience he has. At his highest level of Minor League play, with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, he has just 87 plate appearances, and 251 plate appearances in High-A ball with the San Jose Giants.
With that in mind, Giants manager Gabe Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have thrown a bit of cold water on the Bart express (don’t excuse the pun). With Buster Posey opting out, many view this abbreviated season as the perfect time for the Giants to let Bart get MLB experience with very little downside. Still, the team points to Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly as the more experienced first two options, with Chadwick Tromp’s exciting play making him seem like the No. 3 at the moment.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, nor has the team been suggesting that Bart won’t play at the MLB level this season, but rather that they want to be careful with his development and avoid him losing confidence, both at and behind the plate.
Ron Wotus, the team’s third base coach, joined KNBR on Friday and said it’s a matter of time before Bart is not just practicing with the club once the season is underway, but playing in genuine games.
“Young players are evaluated in the moment, but they’re also evaluated on last year, and at this point in time in his career, it would not hurt him to gain more experience,” Wotus said. “Now having said that, anything’s possible. I don’t know what’s being said out there whether he’s gonna be on the club or not be on the club, but he certainly has the ability, and it’s right at the plate, to help this ball club, so I anticipate whether he starts with us or he doesn’t, he’s gonna be with us very, very soon and help this ball club.”
When that is, Wotus said, is a matter of performance against guys like Heineman, Brantly and Tromp.
“He’s maturing,” Wotus said. “He’s progressing just the way the organization wants him to, and it’s gonna boil down to performance, not just with him, but with the other guys on the club, on where and when he fits in with this ball club.”
Listen to the full interview below: