JUNE 17: Bart’s signing is now official, per an announcement from the Giants. He signed for $7.025MM, the largest upfront bonus given to a position player in the history of the draft, Callis tweets.
JUNE 13: The Giants are closing in on a deal with No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The former Georgia Tech catcher needs only to pass a physical, per the report, before the deal is official. An announcement from the team could come as soon as Friday, according to Shea, who adds that Bart is expected to sign for a bit south of the $7.494MM value of the No. 2 overall slot.
Bart, 21, obliterated college opposition this season, hitting .359/.471/.632 with 16 homers and a dozen doubles in 220 at-bats. While he has a fair bit of swing-and-miss in his game at present (56 strikeouts), he also drew 41 walks in that time and was hit by another eight pitches, contributing to his robust OBP.
It seemed fairly certain for much of the spring that Bart would go in the top few picks, and in the weeks leading up to the draft, virtually every mock draft from major outlets pegged Bart within the top three (most frequently going to the Giants). Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs rated Bart as the third-best prospect in the class, while the Baseball America staff pegged him fifth, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked him sixth, and ESPN’s Keith Law slotted him in as the draft’s 10th-best talent.
Bart’s arm draws rating of 60 to 70 on the 20-80 scale, and he draws frequent praise for his hands, footwork and athleticism behind the dish. He’s expected to stay behind the plate and hit for plenty of power as a regular catcher down the line, though his strikeout tendencies might suppress his average. That said, an above-average defensive catcher who can get on base and hit for power is a rare commodity in Major League Baseball, and if Bart realizes that potential in a few years, he’ll more than justify his selection near the top of the draft.
Shea notes that San Francisco GM Bobby Evans scouted Bart in person on multiple occasions and effused praise for Bart both as a player and a leader. “Joey just has this drive to be the best,” said Evans. “He’s a leader on his team, somebody guys look to on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. You love to see a guy love his craft the way Joey loves being behind the plate.”