Sunday, April 14, 2024

Giants designate Joey Bart for assignment: Former top prospect’s offense never developed as expected

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The San Francisco Giants have designated catcher and former top prospect Joey Bart for assignment. The team announced that move in relation to another: the purchase of right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies‘ contract from Triple-A Sacramento.

Bart, 27, was selected by the Giants with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft. He was expected to develop into Buster Posey’s heir apparent. That never took. Instead, Bart may finish his Giants career with a .219/.288/.335 slash line (75 OPS+) in 162 games. The Giants will now have to either waive or trade Bart, who doesn’t have any minor-league options remaining.

CBS Sports wrote the following of Bart earlier this spring:

Bart always had some swing and miss to his game, resulting in threatening strikeout rates dating back to his Double-A days. The expectation was that he would slug and defend well enough to make it work anyway. Alas, that has not happened. Bart has appeared in a full season’s worth of big-league games, 162 on the nose, and has 11 home runs to speak of — and all of those were contained to 2022. He’s underwhelmed on the defensive side, too, grading as a well-below-average goalie. 

The Giants had been carrying three catchers: Bart, along with future Gold Glove Award winner Patrick Bailey and veteran free-agent signing Tom Murphy. Drafts don’t work this way, but if the Giants could do it all over again, they would likely opt to draft either lefty Shane McClanahan or righty Logan Gilbert with the aforementioned No. 2 pick. (The best player drafted in close vicinity to them has been Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India.)

Jefferies, 28, is a former first-round pick himself. He’s made 14 appearances in the majors to date, amassing a 5.75 ERA (68 ERA+) and a 2.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s missed significant time because of arm trouble during his career, but he had an impressive camp with the Giants. He’s scheduled to start on Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

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