SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Regardless of what Joey Bart accomplished this spring, there was little doubt the Giants’ top prospect would open the season in the minor leagues.
Despite going 7-for-16, posting a 1.401 OPS and hitting two home runs in Cactus League play, Bart couldn’t change the minds of the team’s top decision-makers.
The Giants announced Tuesday that Bart and infielder Cristhian Adames have been reassigned to minor league camp while reliever Enderson Franco and outfielder Joe McCarthy were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. The club also announced that it claimed outfield prospect Jose Siri off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and assigned him to minor league camp.
To clear a 40-man roster spot for Siri, the Giants transferred catcher Aramis Garcia to the 60-day injured list.
Bart was in uniform and in the clubhouse on Tuesday prior to the team’s Cactus League matchup with the Chicago Cubs, but he was informed of the team’s decision prior to the Giants’ morning workout. The timing of the decision coincides with the start of minor league spring training games, so Bart will now have an opportunity to play more regularly as the season approaches.
Bart has only played 22 games above High-A in the minors, but it shouldn’t be long before the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft works his way to the major leagues. The catching prospect out of Georgia Tech has impressed Giants executives and coaches in each of the past two springs with his raw power and advanced approach at the plate while also showcasing refined defensive skills behind it.
After finishing last season with Double-A Richmond, it’s likely Bart will open the year with Triple-A Sacramento as the Giants want their top overall prospect on the fast-track to the big leagues.
The Giants never seriously considered Bart for an Opening Day roster spot because they don’t view him as a candidate to back up starter Buster Posey at catcher. When Bart does earn his first call-up, the Giants anticipate he’ll be ready to play on an everyday basis, which could lead to an interesting dynamic given the fact that Posey is under contract through the 2021 season.
The competition for the backup catcher role will continue as left-handed hitting veteran Rob Brantly and switch-hitter Tyler Heineman are the top candidates to secure the job. The Giants also have former Reds catching prospect Chad Tromp in camp, but Tromp’s playing time has been limited compared to Brantly and Heineman.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has indicated the team would be comfortable exploring other options for the backup catcher job when they present themselves. As Opening Day approached last spring, the Giants made a flurry of late transactions at the position that included cutting veteran Rene Rivera, trading for Erik Kratz and acquiring minor league depth through the addition of Francisco Peña.
The team’s primary backup last season, Stephen Vogt, opened the season with Triple-A Sacramento before debuting in early May. Vogt signed a free-agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks over the offseason.
Published at Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:44:46 +0000