The youth movement has begun at 3rd and King, but there might not be room for every one.
After third baseman Casey Schmitt dazzled in his first week-plus with the big league club, 2020 first-round pick Patrick Bailey did the same last weekend, both at the dish and behind it.
In his first three games as a big leaguer, the 23-year-old looked like a seasoned veteran, and wasted no time tallying his first big league hit and home run in consecutive days.
For those keeping track at home, that’s one more home run than fellow catcher Joey Bart has with the Giants this year. Bart started spring training on the hot seat, with manager Gabe Kapler publicly saying it was time for Bart to show he was ready to be the team’s everyday catcher. Bart hasn’t done that so far this season while slashing an ugly .231/.286/.295 and is now on the Injured List with a groin strain.
So, what does Bailey’s call-up mean for Bart?
“You better kick it in gear,” Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow told Murph & Mac on Monday. “That’s what you’re thinking. Bailey’s got what, seven at-bats, and he’s got a home run? That’s more home runs than Joey Bart has this year. And that hurts, because Bart’s a guy with power that you would project when you see him. Especially when you’re scouting this guy you’re thinking ‘that’s 20-25 home runs a year behind the plate from your catcher,’ and he hasn’t delivered. So, what does he take from this weekend watching Bailey? He better kick it in gear.
“That is the greatest motivator on the planet in the world of professional baseball.”
The original thought was that Bailey was called up in order to spell Bart. Bailey has only played 14 games at Triple-A Sacramento, and doesn’t have much seasoning. If he looks like a much better player than Bart, however, that will hardly matter.
“We don’t know,” Krukow said of if Bailey will stay up when Bart is healthy. “[Bart] has to make a contribution, he has to settle in. Given the little, small sample size we had over the weekend, you’re thinking, ‘okay, look what he did with the team. Look how he relaxed everybody. Look how much better this team was defensively with him behind the plate.’
“There’s your answer. It’s hard to turn your back on that. Joey’s going to come off the IL and have a decision to make. What are you going to do? Who is going to play?”
Bart could return by the end of May. If Bailey continues to play like he did last weekend, it might be a return to the bench.