Next up on our list of San Francisco Giants reviews is someone who didn’t play very much at all: catcher Joey Bart.
6 plate appearances, 2-6, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 0.0 fWAR, 0.0 rWAR
I will forever be grateful for Joey Bart’s 2021. He started exactly one game, but it came on the same day, and at the same time, as a very large and painful tattoo I was receiving.
The Giants were good this year (and they handily won that game), so in theory they provided me the distraction I needed. In reality, the brain does silly things when processing pain, and I found myself seeking out checkpoints to look forward to.
Bart served as those checkpoints. When the needle dipped towards my kneecap, or did a tenth pass on an already abraded piece of skin, I could think “only one more inning and then I get to see what Bart can do.”
He rewarded me that game with a pair of hits and some quality catching. I’m grateful. Thank you, Joey.
And that was his season, really. He appeared in only two games, had only six plate appearances, and caught only nine innings worth of pitches. It’s way too small of a sample size to do anything with, though the two strikeouts in six plate appearances are right in line with his Minor League numbers and his 2020 MLB numbers.
Instead, the Joey Bart review that matters is the AAA review, where he hit for great power (albeit with lots of strikeouts) before suffering an injury, and never looked the same afterwards.
But that’s for another day, when we start recapping the Minor League teams.
Until then, we’ll remember Bart as one of the Giants who played this year, but only in the most literal sense of the definition. Most fans probably don’t remember watching him play; many probably don’t even remember that he did play.
But I remember, vividly. So thanks again, Joey.
Role in 2022
Bart’s role on next year’s team is one of the biggest question marks of the offseason. Before the 2021 season began, it was assumed by many that Bart would take over as the Giants starting catcher in 2022 or 2023, due to Buster Posey’s decline.
Instead, Posey had one of the best seasons of his career this year, and the Giants became surprise contenders. Posey is clearly the superior catcher to Bart, and the Giants are in no position to prioritize prospects over stars.
But Bart will be 25 when Spring Training starts, and many people still view him as a starting catcher. Prioritizing him over Posey would be a waste of wins; using him as a backup would be a waste of talent; keeping him in the Minors would be a ... look, he’ll be 25, he can’t stay there forever.
The simplest way to solve the conundrum is to trade Bart, but it’s unclear what his value is there.
So, in conclusion, prepare for Bart to be the backup catcher, or back in Sacramento, or the Opening Day catcher for some other team. Simple, yeah?