clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Joey Bart is back

A Curt Casali injury has forced the team’s top catching prospect back into action.

Joey Bart in the batter’s box Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

One of the San Francisco Giants top prospects is back. Ahead of their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, the Giants recalled catcher Joey Bart from AAA Sacramento.

To make room on the active roster for Bart, third baseman Evan Longoria has been placed on the Injured List.

Bart, who has been one of the team’s top prospects since being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, was the starting catcher on Opening Day. He opened the season with a bang, homering in the first game, and finishing April with three home runs and a slash line of .214/.340/.452.

But when May came, Bart hit a wall. From May 1 until June 4 (his final game before being optioned), Bart hit just 5-48 with 26 strikeouts. He had just one extra-base hit — a home run off of 42-year old designated hitter Albert Pujols.

With a slash line of just .156/.296/.300 on the year, and a gaudy strikeout rate of 45.4%, Bart was optioned to Sacramento to work on making contact. He’s spent most of the last month working with the coaching staff rather than actually playing in games, but has appeared seven times for the River Cats. His numbers there won’t make your eyes pop — he’s hitting .286/.355/.393, which in the offense-inflated Pacific Coast League results in a wRC+ of just 91 — but he’s cut his strikeout rate by more than half, to 19.4%. It’s a tiny sample size, but something to feel optimistic about.

Even with the struggling bat and massive strikeout numbers, Bart is, at worst, a serviceable MLB catcher due to his very strong defense. He’s hitting just 79% as well as the average MLB hitter by wRC+ (69% as well by OPS+), but has still been worth +0.2 Wins Above Replacement, per Fangraphs.

Starting catcher Curt Casali, who began the year as Bart’s backup, was placed on the 10-day Injured List on Tuesday. The Giants played Tuesday’s game with Austin Wynns as the only full-time catcher on the roster, though designated hitter Yermín Mercedes has spent plenty of time at catcher in his career, including some stints this year in Sacramento.

In other roster news, outfielder Luis González is nearing a return, and is starting a rehab assignment tonight in AAA.