8:40pm: The Giants further announced that Bart has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture that will not require surgery. He’s expected to be recovered within four to six weeks. That’ll put an end to his AFL run but should allow him a mostly normal offseason.
5:40pm: Top Giants catching prospect Joey Bart suffered a fractured right thumb during last night’s Arizona Fall League game, the Giants announced Wednesday. The injury came during Bart’s eighth game in the AFL, where he’d batted .400/.559/.920 with four homers and a double in 34 trips to the plate.
There’s no indication that the injury will impact Bart’s readiness for the 2020 season. He’s meeting with a specialist today, per the team’s announcement. But the broken thumb certainly figures to put an end to bring an early end to Bart’s 2019 Fall League stint and comes on the heels of a season that was shortened by a fracture in his other hand. Bart sustained a broken left hand back in April and missed nearly two months as a result of the injury. Both fractures were sustained when he was hit by a pitch.
The two hand fractures notwithstanding, the 2019 campaign has to be considered a success for Bart, whom the Giants selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft. The former Georgia Tech star reached Double-A as a 22-year-old, closing out the season with 22 games at that level and hitting .316/.368/.544. In a combined 338 plate appearances between Class-A Advanced and Double-A — both pitcher-friendly settings — Bart slashed .278/.328/.495 with 16 homers, 14 doubles and three triples.
Bart ranks prominently on most top prospect lists at this point, sitting 19th on MLB.com’s midseason update, 15th on Baseball America’s Oct. 1 update and 17th on Fangraphs’ latest rankings. A promotion late in the 2020 season doesn’t seem out of the question, though this season’s injuries have perhaps slowed his trajectory a bit. A 2021 arrival at the MLB level might be a safer bet. That would mark the final season of franchise icon Buster Posey’s nine-year, $167MM contract and present Bart with ample opportunity to learn from one of the best backstops in recent memory.