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Giants add another catcher with 1st-round pick

Switch-hitting Bailey lauded for leadership, power, defensive skills
@mi_guardado
June 11, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two years after taking Joey Bart with the second overall pick of the 2018 Draft, the Giants used their top selection Wednesday on yet another highly touted college catcher. With the 13th overall pick of the 2020 Draft, the Giants selected North Carolina State’s Patrick Bailey, a

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two years after taking Joey Bart with the second overall pick of the 2018 Draft, the Giants used their top selection Wednesday on yet another highly touted college catcher.

With the 13th overall pick of the 2020 Draft, the Giants selected North Carolina State’s Patrick Bailey, a switch-hitter who was ranked as the top catching prospect in this year’s Draft class by MLB Pipeline.

Draft Tracker: Complete pick-by-pick coverage

Bailey -- known as “Patty Barrels” for his hitting prowess -- was a known commodity for Giants scouting director Michael Holmes, who used to live 15 minutes from where the 21-year-old attended high school in North Carolina. That familiarity took on increased value this year, as teams were forced to head into the Draft with less information than usual after the coronavirus pandemic shut down high school and college leagues across the country in March.

“I’ve seen Patrick grow into a real leader, a very confident player who believes in himself,” Holmes said in a conference call Wednesday. “I’ve seen him go from a very talented high school player to a two-time Team USA player and the leader of that team at N.C. State. I’ve seen his skillset really, really take off.

“In high school, he was a guy that could always catch and throw. To see the bat develop the way it has and the trajectory it’s on right now, I still think it’s pointing north. I still think there’s a lot of room for him to continue to grow offensively. And he’s got the defensive skill set that you look for at the Major League level.”

2020 Draft Central

Bailey slashed .302/.411/.568 with 29 home runs and 106 RBIs over 131 career games at N.C. State. A product of Greensboro, N.C., Bailey was selected by the Twins in the 37th round of the 2017 Draft out of high school, but he turned down the opportunity to sign and honored his commitment to N.C. State, where he was a teammate of No. 10 prospect Will Wilson, a 2019 first-round Draft pick of the Angels who was traded to the Giants alongside Zack Cozart in December.

The Giants have now used their top selections on collegiate hitters in each of their first two Drafts under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and Holmes. They drafted power-hitting Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop with the 10th overall pick in 2019.

Bailey’s selection came as a mild surprise given Bart’s status as the club’s No. 1 prospect and heir apparent to Buster Posey, but Zaidi said two old baseball adages ultimately convinced the Giants to continue to shore up their depth behind the plate.

“You don't draft for need,” Zaidi said. “And I won't even say draft for need, but perceived need. And you can never have too much catching. ... Bailey may have been the guy that just had the broadest consensus in our group, from Holmesy, to the rest of his scouting group, to our analytics department, which loved the power, the patience and defensive skills. It's a really strong consensus pick for us as an organization, so we were obviously thrilled that he was there. It was actually a pretty easy decision for us.”

Bailey was named Atlantic Coast Conference freshman in the year in 2018 after setting an N.C. State first-year record with 13 home runs. A switch-hitter since age 11, Bailey homered from both sides of the plate in the same game twice in his collegiate career -- first against William & Mary as a freshman, then against Iowa this February. He became the first player in program history to accomplish the feat, earning his nickname from teammates.

Get to know Giants' top pick "Patty Barrels"

“I’ve always considered myself a defense-first catcher,” Bailey said. “That’s something I’ve always prided myself in. Getting to N.C. State, I was able to mature a little, my body, and I was able to produce a little power.”

Bailey said he took up switch-hitting at the advice of Houston Summers, one of his former coaches at the North Carolina Baseball Academy.

“I don’t know if he was jokingly saying it, but he said, ‘The second-fastest way to the big leagues is as a switch-hitting catcher,’” Bailey recalled. “And I was like, ‘Well, I want to play in the big leagues one day. I want to be there quick. Might as well try hitting left-handed.’ It started from there, and the rest was history.”

(The fastest way? As a left-handed pitcher, per Summers.)

Bailey grew up rooting for the Rangers and said he was “crushed” when his childhood team lost to the Giants in the 2010 World Series. He no longer begrudges San Francisco, though.

"We had conversations before the Draft, and they said that they were taking the best available talent, and I guess that was me at that point," Bailey said. "I'm fortunate and really happy to be with this organization."

The Giants will make their six remaining selections in the 2020 Draft on Thursday. They will have a pool of $9,231,800 to spend, including a slot value of $4,197,300 for the No. 13 pick.

The Draft continues on Thursday with Rounds 2-5. The MLB Network preview show begins at 1 p.m. PT, with live coverage on MLB Network and ESPN2 beginning at 2 p.m. PT. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on the Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.