LOS ANGELES -- The Giants officially launched the Joey Bart era Sunday. The first order of business for the Georgia Tech catcher is to loosen up.Bart, San Francisco's top selection in the MLB Draft earlier this month, signed for a $7.025 million bonus, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis. The
LOS ANGELES -- The Giants officially launched the Joey Bart era Sunday. The first order of business for the Georgia Tech catcher is to loosen up.
Bart, San Francisco's top selection in the MLB Draft earlier this month, signed for a $7.025 million bonus, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis. The figure represents the largest upfront bonus ever given to a position player.
• Draft Tracker: Every Giants pick
Bart's bonus wasn't disproportionately high, since his pre-Draft slot figure as the No. 2 overall pick was $7,494,600. The Giants are banking on Bart to be worth the expenditure.
History is on the Giants' side.
Their previous No. 2 overall pick, first baseman Will Clark, helped transform the franchise after he was plucked from Mississippi State in 1985. The last catcher they drafted in the first round, Florida State University product Buster Posey, played a major role in the Giants' trio of San Francisco-era World Series-winning seasons.
First things first, however. General manager Bobby Evans pointed out in a text message that Bart hasn't performed competitively since May 23. So the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder will join San Francisco's other draftees in a mini-camp at the organization's Scottsdale, Ariz., training facility. Once Bart's again game-ready, he'll join the Giants' Class A Short-Season Salem-Keizer affiliate.
Though Bart is projected as a catcher, Giants scouting director John Barr said the right-handed hitter possesses the athleticism to switch positions if necessary.
This season as a junior, Bart led the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting average (.359), finished second in slugging percentage (.632) and hits (79) and ranked among the league's top 10 in home runs (16), runs scored (55) and on-base percentage (.471). Defensively, he had a career-best .992 fielding percentage.
Bart was named the ACC Player of the Year, the first Georgia Tech player to win the award since Mark Teixeira in 2000. He was also named first team All-America and first team All-ACC, as well as ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Including Bart, the Giants have come to terms with 23 of their first 25 selections and 29 of their first 33.
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.