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It’s okay to get excited about Joey Bart

The Giants’ #1 pick is already #1 in the system and could be, very soon, #1 in our hearts.

Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A week after last month’s MLB Draft, the Giants’ top pick (and #2 overall), catcher Joey Bart from Georgia Tech, was rated their best prospect. Not much has changed since then — he’s still rated best in their system, but last week, MLB Pipeline declared him to be one of the Top 100 prospects in the entire sport. They added 10 new players to their Top 100 rankings. 2018’s #1 overall pick, Casey Mize, is #20, #4 overall pick Nick Madrigal is #33, and #2 overall pick Joey Bart is #36.

On this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast, Jim Callis explained where these rankings come from: “We’re going on a combination of where they were drafted and where we had them ranked... and on long-term value and how their tools will play in pro ball.”

If you listen to the rest of that section of their podcast, you’ll realize that they’re really just flinging their imagination at the wall for all these players and seeing what sticks. Very little baseball has been played since the draft, so all they’re really doing is going off of the limited performances they’ve seen or heard about and comparing it to what they already decided about the player(s) in their pre-draft report(s) and arriving at an adjusted conclusion.

On the one hand, this goes back to the William Goldman adage about Hollywood: “Nobody knows anything”, but on the other hand, these are national baseball writers who track prospects for a living who’ve decided that the Giants of all teams actually have a consensus top prospect in the fold. Forgive me for taking a paltry ego groom, but... I’ll take it. The Giants need all the luck they can get with the draft. And the end of that Goldman quote is “Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, it’s an educated one.” The folks at MLB Pipeline get paid to make educated guesses, and even if you and I might not always agree with their assessments, their years of experience makes them as qualified as anybody else.

After 23 professional games, they’ve decided that Joey Bart is the #2 catching prospect in the entire sport of baseball. He’s behind only the Padres’ newly acquired Francisco Mejia, who’s currently in Triple-A and expected to get a call-up this season. Meanwhile, in about 25 professional games, Bart has 9 home runs in 77 at bats. He’s hitting 447-foot bombs and homering in bunches.

That’s just exciting power potential we’re not used to with any Giants prospect at any point in recent history. You might want to throw Mac Williamson and Chris Shaw into this mix, but I’ll do you one better by saying no #1 pick by the Giants has hit the ground running quite like this. Buster Posey, for instance, had 14 home runs in his first 90 professional games.

This is not to suggest that the heir apparent is the heir imminent, but I am proposing that in light of the major league team’s performance, we consider other avenues of our rooting interest relating to the Giants. While the past decade or so has produced many notable prospects who’ve wound up impacting the major league team in tremendous ways (Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Bumgarner, Crawford, Belt, Panik), there’s not yet been a HOLY CRAP AMAZING power hitter in that bunch. Why do I think it’s worth getting excited over a dude hitting home runs in Single-A?

MLB Pipeline has made it easy to track preseason top 10s for the Giants over the past several years thanks to this handy graphic:

I don’t count many home runs on those lists. I see a lot of trade fodder, disappointments, solid contributors, and the current best hitter on the team, but not someone who made a loud splash quite the way Bart has. And when you consider that Bart and Ramos really are the two brightest stars in the prospect part of the organization —

(clears throat)

— my bizarre proposal that we get excited about a prospect doesn’t sound quite so bizarre, right? The Giants are going through some things right now, and their steadfast commitment to drafting low ceiling/high floor talent who can get through the minor leagues quickly to be able to contribute singles up the middle and decent defense to the big league team has put them in a spot where they will have to spend all their competitive balance tax space on one good hitter who will be made average by their stadium and hope like hell that they can get one or two surprises on offense out of their farm system and fast.

Rather than wait for the Giants to tell us who this next hope will be, or take a wait and see approach that winds up having the unintended consequence of making the Giants think it’s okay to trade a prospect for a veteran player who makes a lot of money, let’s jump on the bandwagon his performance has already created: Joey Bart is here, because why not?