Bailey is 21.0 years old, 6’2, and 192 pounds. He ranked 11th on ESPN’s big board, 12th on Fangraphs’, and 17th on The Athletic’s.
He’s a switch-hitter who slashed .302/.411/.568 in his ACC career. He has some strong defensive tools, and is seen as a player who can move up the ranks pretty quickly, and contribute at the MLB level before too long.
He’s also the second catcher that the Giants have taken in the first round in the last three years, as the team took hot prospect Joey Bart second overall in 2018. But taking another catcher shouldn’t be surprising. Either player could move off their position, and either player could be traded. And it’s quite possible that by the time Bailey is ready to make his MLB debut, the National League will have adopted the designated hitter.
Here’s what ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel had to say about Bailey:
“The best consensus catcher in the class has above average power, defense and arm strength, but fringy contact skills in an effort to get to his power in games.”
Coming out of high school in Charlotte in 2017, Bailey was seen as a defense-first catcher who might have a chance to hit. Three years with the Wolfpack have flipped that on its head, as now Bailey is seen as a bat-first catcher who’s good enough to stay at the position but not more than that on defense. He’s a switch-hitting catcher with enough power to profile as an asset to any lineup for that position. He’s more balanced right-handed with some leakage when he hits left-handed. Behind the dish, he’s an adequate receiver with a quick transfer that helps his grade 50/55 arm play up. It hurts Bailey a little that he’s never really hit for high averages — .288 last spring and .296 this year before the shutdown — but he doesn’t strike out too often and has consistently posted strong walk rates. He seems like a safe top-20 pick because he’s going to catch, and he’s going to produce something with the bat.
Some might be surprised that the Giants opted for Bailey when Northern California prep catcher Tyler Soderstrom was still on the board. No name was linked to the Giants in mock drafts as much as Soderstrom, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi mentioned in the lead-up to the draft that the Giants didn’t want to be outscouted in their own region.
But Bailey was apparently the guy they had their eye on, and now he’s in the organization.
Welcome to the Giants, Patrick Bailey.