Home Baseball Patrick Bailey is All of a sudden the Giants’ Catcher of the Future — and the Current

Patrick Bailey is All of a sudden the Giants’ Catcher of the Future — and the Current

Patrick Bailey is All of a sudden the Giants’ Catcher of the Future — and the Current


Patrick Bailey
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Joey Bart Period, such because it was, could have already got led to San Francisco. Struggling to fill the sneakers of Buster Posey — admittedly, a ridiculously tall activity for anybody — the 26-year-old backstop strained his groin in mid-Might; by the point he was wholesome sufficient to return, the Giants had shifted their focus to a youthful catcher they had been even happier with in Patrick Bailey. After ending final season in Excessive-A, the 24-year-old Bailey rocketed by the minors this spring, and upon arrival has hit and fielded properly sufficient to assist flip the Giants’ season round.

Recall that Posey retired abruptly after the 2021 season, at age 34. The transfer shocked the complete baseball world, not simply the Giants, who had simply gained 107 video games and deliberate to debate retaining him upon the expiration of his nine-year, $169 million contract, whether or not by selecting up his $22 million choice or by hammering out a longer-term deal. But Posey, who had opted out of the 2020 season so as to spend time along with his household, which had expanded to incorporate two adopted twin daughters who had been born prematurely, felt the pull of residence. Having checked each field for a Corridor of Fame resumé besides the padded profession totals, the unhappy decline, and the lengthy goodbye, he hung up his masks.

The Giants pivoted to Bart, who had regarded just like the inheritor obvious when he was taken with the second choose of the 2018 draft out of Georgia Tech. In Posey’s absence, he had carried out the majority of the work behind the plate within the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, however his inexperience confirmed, and he spent most of ’21 within the minors. Whereas he started the 2022 marketing campaign with promise by homering off Sandy Alcantara on Opening Day, he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento in early June. Although he performed considerably higher upon returning a month later, he completed with only a .215/.296/.364 (90 wRC+) line and an astronomical 38.5% strikeout price in 297 PA, with -3.7 framing runs and a meager 0.6 WAR.

After making a two-inning cameo on Opening Day of this season, Bart landed on the injured record attributable to a mid-back pressure. He moreover missed time in late April attributable to proper groin tightness, then was recognized with a Grade 1 left groin pressure in mid-Might. In between the entire accidents, he hit simply .231/.286/.295 (63 wRC+) in 84 PA; whereas he trimmed his strikeout price to 25%, he walked simply twice (2.4%). He began 22 of the group’s 43 video games earlier than touchdown on the IL a second time, with Roberto Pérez making 5 begins earlier than struggling a season-ending rotator cuff tear and rookie Blake Sabol beginning 16 video games.

Enter the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Bailey, who was chosen with the thirteenth choose of the 2020 draft out of North Carolina State. He entered final season at no. 76 on our Prime 100 record as a 50 FV prospect however was downgraded attributable to his early-season struggles at Excessive-A Eugene, the place he had completed the 2021 season. Whereas he completed with a decent .225/.342/.420 (113 wRC+) line with 12 homers, he missed the Prime 100 — not simply ours, however each main prime prospect record of observe all through the trade. Baseball America, for instance, ranked him twenty seventh amongst Giants prospects, calling him a plus defender with “sound footwork and fast launch” but additionally “a switch-hitter with an inconsistent method [who] will get in hassle when he begins chasing energy.” The publication noticed his ceiling as that of “a defense-minded backup catcher.”

It wasn’t till final week that Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin printed the Giants’ Prime 49 Prospects record right here. Rating Bailey third behind Luis Matos and Kyle Harrison, they started the entry with a mea culpa: “Time to eat double crow right here, as Bailey was simply outdoors the Prime 100 when he was drafted and all through 2021 earlier than we rounded his FV grade down throughout an uneven 2022. After we put collectively the prolonged Giants Imminent Massive Leaguers piece, Bailey was not included, as we didn’t anticipate he’d spend simply two weeks every at Richmond and Sacramento earlier than the membership determined to insert him as their major huge league catcher.”

Certainly, Bailey moved rapidly this spring, hitting .333/.400/.481 (143 wRC+) with two homers in 60 PA in Double-A and .216/.317/.353 (61 wRC+) in 60 PA at Triple-A. He bought the decision when Bart hit the IL, debuted with a late-inning cameo on Might 19, and went 1-for-3 in his first begin the subsequent day, singling off the Marlins’ Tanner Scott. The day after that, he clubbed a solo homer off Jesús Luzardo and added one other RBI later in a 7–5 win. Every week after his debut, on Might 26, he went 4-for-5 with three RBI in a 15–1 rout of the Brewers; three days later, he went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer, and 4 RBI in a 14–4 shellacking of the Pirates.

The hits preserve coming, and the Giants preserve profitable. Bailey is batting .302/.336/.512 for a 128 wRC+ — second on the group behind LaMonte Wade Jr.’s 139 — with 5 homers in 139 PA. The Giants, who had been 20–23 earlier than he was referred to as up, are 27–17 since; they gained 9 straight from June 11 to 21 and shortly after pulled to inside 1.5 video games of the NL West lead. They’ve since fallen again to 3rd place within the division behind the Diamondbacks (50–37) and Dodgers (48–38) and are three video games out at this writing, although they’re in a digital tie with the Phillies (46–39) for the third NL Wild Card spot.

The one win throughout the group’s latest 1–6 skid was one thing of a Bailey showcase. Final Friday (June 30), within the eighth inning of the opener of a three-game collection towards the Mets at Citi Area, he hit a 432-foot three-run homer to middle discipline off David Robertson, turning a 4–2 deficit right into a 5–4 lead. With heat-throwing nearer Camilo Doval issuing a one-out stroll within the ninth, Bailey then made an ideal throw to nab pinch-runner Starling Marte trying to steal, thus ending the Mets’ franchise-record streak of 35 straight stolen base makes an attempt. On the subsequent pitch, Doval struck out Brandon Nimmo to protect the win.

“That was nearly as good because it will get,” supervisor Gabe Kapler mentioned afterwards. “That was superstar-caliber stuff.”

Getting again to our prospect group’s analysis of Bailey: whereas placing a 40 current and 50 future grade on his general protection and a forty five grade on his throwing, they famous, “He’s a talented one-knee’d receiver, nice at beating the pitch to the spot in all components of the zone, typically subtly shifting his physique to assist him obtain borderline pitches with strike-stealing stillness.” The numbers again this up; by FanGraphs’ measure, Bailey is 4.8 runs above common in framing in simply 302 innings behind the plate, and by Statcast’s measure, he’s 4 runs above common. He’s carried out an incredible job towards the operating sport, with pop instances to second base averaging 1.87 seconds. He’s thrown out 12 out of 31 stolen base makes an attempt for a 39% success price, practically double the league common of 20%; Statcast charges him as two runs above common in that division, however one run under common in blocking.

On the offensive facet, whereas Bailey hit properly from either side of the plate in school, he struggled mightily towards lefthanders within the minors, albeit in a relatively small pattern, a mean of lower than 50 PA per yr. “A pure righty, he seen the splits as being partly due to a scarcity of alternative — he had simply 61 at-bats towards lefties final yr — and made changes this spring to his swing and method,” wrote NBC Sports activities’ Alex Pavlovic. “The Giants despatched Bailey off to Double-A with a plan to spend extra time on his right-handed swing throughout batting apply since he gained’t get as many alternatives in video games.”

The apply appears to be paying off, as a result of Bailey has not solely been efficient towards lefties inside a really small pattern, however he’s additionally put up insane numbers because of a BABIP that’s practically double what it was within the minors — and fairly unsustainable. These have propped up a righty efficiency that’s barely above the league common for a catcher (86 wRC+) however hardly distinctive, with strikeout and stroll charges that price as issues.

Patrick Bailey Platoon Splits

Minors (2021–23) PA HR BB% Ok% BA OBP SLG BABIP wRC+
vs RHP as LHB 663 23 13.7% 22.2% .268 .370 .459 .319
vs LHP as RHB 149 2 12.8% 28.9% .173 .289 .268 .241
vs RHP as LHB 103 2 2.9% 30.1% .260 .294 .427 .359 94
vs LHP as RHB 36 3 5.6% 19.4% ..424 .457 .758 .478 228

SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

Contact-wise, Bailey’s bought sufficient whole batted ball occasions that he’s previous the purpose the place the numbers begin to stabilize. Whereas the person platoon splits haven’t totally reached that time, his precise numbers from either side are near his anticipated numbers — and fairly strong:

Patrick Bailey Statcast Profile

Break up BBE EV AVG xBA SLG xSLG wOBA xwOBA Brl% Arduous%
vs RHP 67 88.3 .260 .276 .427 .450 .309 .335 10.4% 44.8%
vs LHP 27 92.4 .424 .418 .758 .700 .512 .491 18.5% 48.1%

Bailey actually is hitting the ball a lot more durable from the appropriate facet of the plate, not that anybody ought to count on him to take care of Rogers Hornsby’s 1924 numbers.

Getting again to the stroll and strikeout stuff: Bailey’s charges are out of stability, nevertheless it’s not as if his 44.7% swing price, 29.1% chase price, or 9.9% swinging-strike price stand out as egregious or as marks that may’t be hooked up to cheap manufacturing. Contemplate, for instance, this record of gamers who’re inside 0.2 share factors of his general swing price, two factors of his chase price, and one level of his swinging-strike price:

Patrick Bailey Plate Self-discipline Comparisons

Participant OSw% Sw% ZCon% Con% SwSt% CSt% BB% Ok% wRC+
Corbin Carroll 29.1% 44.8% 86.2% 81.3% 8.4% 17.5% 9.0% 19.8% 147
Patrick Bailey 29.1% 44.7% 89.7% 77.8% 9.9% 19.7% 3.6% 27.3% 128
Jason Heyward 31.1% 44.7% 87.7% 80.4% 8.7% 17.3% 11.3% 18.7% 127
Donovan Solano 30.8% 44.6% 89.6% 79.4% 9.2% 19.2% 11.3% 21.4% 125
Michael Conforto 28.9% 44.9% 84.2% 75.7% 10.9% 16.2% 11.8% 25.0% 102
JJ Bleday 27.2% 44.7% 87.3% 78.3% 9.7% 15.3% 13.9% 20.0% 101
Taylor Ward 28.1% 44.9% 91.5% 81.2% 8.4% 15.7% 8.8% 19.9% 93
Nicky Lopez 28.0% 44.5% 85.1% 78.8% 9.4% 18.0% 12.6% 17.2% 92

Minimal 120 plate appearances

These are largely productive hitters, and the largest distinction appears to be that they’re taking fewer referred to as strikes than Bailey en path to extra balanced stroll and strikeout charges. However once more, it’s not like he’s terribly passive or aggressive. Word his -1 run ranking within the Statcast shadow zone; he’s taking barely extra pitches in that zone than the league common (52% to 47%) and barely greater than common within the coronary heart of the zone (31% to twenty-eight%) as properly:

Anyway, for now as he’s making his manner across the majors for the primary six weeks of his profession, Bailey has been exceptionally productive. I might warning that whereas he seems to have taken a big leap ahead from his minor league stats and pre-2023 scouting profile, the Posey comparisons he’s drawn — comparisons to a franchise pillar and future Corridor of Famer (significantly, struggle me) who started his profession by profitable NL Rookie of the Yr honors in 2010 — are excessive. “Hey, let’s pump the brakes slightly bit,” mentioned Kapler in response to that line of debate previous to Bailey’s huge sport in New York. “It’s a month into his profession. Let’s let issues unfold.”

As for what this implies for Bart, he hasn’t precisely been Pipped out of a job given his struggles, nevertheless it’s powerful to see him getting it again. For the close to future, he could also be blocked by Sabol, a Rule 5 choose from the Pirates who’s hitting .251/.313/.438 (104 wRC+) and placing up respectable defensive numbers whereas splitting time between catching (26 begins and a complete of 228 innings) and left discipline (183.2 innings). Along with his versatility, the Giants may carry three catchers, however doing so solely to have Bart sit on the bench as an alternative of working to enhance at Sacramento in all probability isn’t in his finest curiosity. For the long run, he could also be a change-of-scenery candidate — a participant whose worth is at the moment on the decrease finish of its vary however one who was beforehand judged to have the makings of an on a regular basis catcher, who has fewer than 500 PA underneath his belt, and who nonetheless has 5 years of membership management remaining. If he doesn’t get one other look in San Francisco, someone on the market will give him a shot.

Because the Giants method the August 1 commerce deadline, it is going to be fascinating to see if Bart’s title comes up as they store to fill their wants. Within the meantime, we should always in all probability count on Bailey to chill off and may hope that people cool it with the Posey comparisons; he casts a protracted sufficient shadow over the Giants’ group as it’s. Nonetheless, it’s thrilling for any rookie to reach, put his declare on a beginning spot, and assist flip his group’s fortunes. Let’s see the place Bailey goes with this subsequent.



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