SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants believe that catcher Joey Bart and right-hander Shaun Anderson will form the battery of the future. Make that the near future.Bart and Anderson were selected as the Giants' Minor League player and pitcher of the year, respectively, by MLB.com. Though Anderson, who reached Triple-A this
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants believe that catcher Joey Bart and right-hander Shaun Anderson will form the battery of the future. Make that the near future.
Bart and Anderson were selected as the Giants' Minor League player and pitcher of the year, respectively, by MLB.com. Though Anderson, who reached Triple-A this season, conceivably will arrive in the Majors more quickly than Bart -- the Giants' No. 1 selection (second overall) in this year's MLB Draft -- the organization might not have to wait too long before they unite in the big leagues.
Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.
Bart, 21, is expected to ascend to the Majors quickly -- akin to fellow catcher Buster Posey, who played 172 games in the Minors before reaching the big leagues to stay in 2010. Already, Bart rose from 35th to 23rd in MLB Pipeline's recently revised list of baseball's Top 100 prospects.
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Bart's physique alone (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) excites talent evaluators. Those dimensions merely hint at the skill that's rarely found in such abundance among catchers.
The prodigious hitting ability that Bart displayed at Georgia Tech, where he captured Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year honors, was in evidence during his 51-game professional trial, which featured 45 games at Short-Season Rookie-level Salem-Keizer. Bart slashed .294/.364/.588 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs this season.
"He has 'plus' power to all fields and ability to drive the ball," said former Giants catcher and Minor League manager Steve Decker, who's now a special assistant in San Francisco's baseball operations department. "He handles the breaking ball and triggers on the mistake breaking ball up, which is a good sign for a young hitter. That's one thing that stood out when I went to watch him in college and watched him over the summer."
Decker made special mention of the right-handed-hitting Bart's raw power, "especially to right-center field."
This is partly the product of maintaining a consistent hitting approach.
"When you see a young hitter go up there and he has a plan and he has an ability to do different things, he's just advanced," Decker said. "Whoever worked with him, whoever his offseason hitting guru was in high school or college, did a nice job with him."
Bart also showed promise on defense, which is every catcher's top priority. Decker praised Bart's apparent physical durability and flexibility, as well as his receiving and pitch-blocking techniques.
"I mean, there are things he's going to have to clean up through player development to get to the other end," Decker said. "But the skillset is there."
The same could be said for Anderson, 23, who joined the Giants in the July 2017 deal that sent utility man Eduardo Nunez to Boston.
Just as the Giants benefited from this year's emergence of Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez, who bolstered the starting rotation, the club hopes that this process of replenishment continues next season with Anderson.
"I would imagine he'd be right there, putting himself in position in Spring Training to battle for those spots," Decker said.
With Double-A Richmond, Anderson posted a 6-5 record with a 3.45 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts). He faced somewhat of an adjustment with Triple-A Sacramento, finishing 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA in eight starts. Overall, the right-hander accumulated 127 strikeouts in 141 1/3 innings in 2018.
"He has a polished approach," Decker said. "He's aggressive with his fastball and in off the plate, which I really liked. He commanded the outside corner with the slider and expanded with his breaking stuff. ... He's a younger guy. But he did have a maturity on the mound and an [ability] to adjust, which I liked."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.