John Shea reported last week that the Giants had agreed to terms with their 1st pick of the MLB Draft (#2 overall), Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart, and just last hour, NBC Sports’ Alex Pavlovic finally reported those terms.
It’s the biggest bonus ever given to a position player draftee at $7,025,000. In recent years, #1 or #2 position player picks have signed well under slot or those picks have simply been pitchers because of the belief that top pitchers develop and contribute to the major league team faster, so it wasn’t going to take much for a position player to finally set the record.
If you remember, MLB instituted a bonus slot system and bonus pool a few years back based on draft positioning and the #2 overall pick has averaged a bonus of about $7.5 million. This year it was slightly under at $7,494,600, so the Giants saved a little money for their overall pool of $11,747,500, but they paid him what they thought he was worth, which is more than any other batter in his position has ever received.
So, what do the Giants expect from Joey Bart? With the amount of money they just paid, it’s clear they think very highly of him. He’s in line to replace Buster Posey, which suggests he has “face of the franchise” potential, and he’s their highest pick since Will Clark, another face of the franchise. They’ll say that all they want is for him to run out there and play the very best baseball possible, but he’s on the radar now. The pressure couldn’t be greater.
But Bart’s list of accomplishments suggests he can handle it. A brief rundown:
· 2018 Johnny Bench Award finalist (winner announced June 28)
· 2018 Dick Howser Trophy finalist (finalist announced June 15)
· 2018 Baseball America first-team all-America
· 2018 Collegiate Baseball first-team all-America
· 2018 NCBWA first-team all-America
· 2018 Perfect Game/Rawlings first-team all-America
· 2018 D1Baseball second-team all-America
· 2018 ABCA/Rawlings Atlantic all-region first team
· 2018 NCBWA District 4 Player of the Year
· 2018 Golden Spikes Award semifinalist
· 2018 ACC Player of the Year
· 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
· 2018 all-ACC first team
His full name is Joseph Andrew Bart. He was born in 1996. He’s the highest draft pick in Georgia Tech history. He played 144 games for the program with a career OBP of .407 and a slugging percentage of .544. This season, he had 24 multi-hit games and hit 16 home runs in 272 plate appearances (.632 slugging percentage).
The consensus is that he was the best catcher in the draft by far, and that his power is a legitimate threat. He does so many things well defensively and his power plays to all fields. FanGraphs already ranks him as the Giants’ best prospect and he hasn’t played a game yet.
Bart sounds very much like he could be the next Buster Posey and the deal they made indicates he’ll be given every chance to move through the farm system just as quickly (Posey was drafted in 2008, debuted in September 2009, won the World Series in 2010), not because they need him, but because he’s special.
Here’s video of him as a human being, just to get a sense of what he’s like when he’s not annihilating baseballs and breaking the hearts of daring baserunners.
Expect a press conference Monday night to get a better sense of who he is and to see him wear a Giants hat for the first time. After that, you can follow his exploits through our Minor Lines section, which posts each and every day right here on this site.
Special thanks to Kevin Davis and Danny Karnik of Georgia Tech Athletics Association Communications & Public Relations and Georgia Tech Athletics, respectively, for granting use of the photo and providing additional information.