The No. 2 overall pick from the 2018 draft has performed well in the early part of his professional career, but has had a little bit of trouble staying on the field and has been the subject of questions as to whether his long-term home might still be behind the plate.
So, again, what does the selection of Bailey mean for Bart? Could a position change be in the works?
“That was something that was already in the conversation,” Giants GM Farhan Zaidi said in a post-draft Zoom call. “Because I think, when we look at what our ideal team and our ideal roster looks like, the dream scenario is to have two catchers who can impact the game offensively and defensively. If you’re lucky enough to have that, there are going to be times when you want both guys in the lineup.
“Who knows what the future holds in terms of whether we go to a universal DH, but I think it’s something that we want all of our catchers to do, all of the guys in the system to be able to play a different position. We’ll be going to the 26-man roster here, and I think it’s possible that teams carry three catchers during major chunks of the season as well. We’ve talked a lot about versatility and guys being able to play multiple positions, and I think that’s going to be a theme for us with catching.
“From a development standpoint, any catcher needs to focus on that because the demands of the position are so great, but having that versatility, I think, speaks to, aspirationally, what we want the roster to look like.”
No matter how the internal depth chart shakes out, however, the Giants made it clear that their love of Bailey was based on his well-rounded skill set and a long history with him based on Holmes’ proximity to Bailey’s high school.
“There were some terrific players at the top of this draft, but Bailey may have been the guy who just had the broadest consensus in our room,” Zaidi said. “From Holmesy to the rest of his scouting group to our analytics department—which loved the power and patience and defensive skills—it was a really strong consensus pick for us as an organization.”
Bailey ranked as the No. 14 player in the class for his blend of skills on both sides of the ball. He’s long had a reputation as a stellar defender behind the plate and earned plaudits for calling his own game. He also spent two summers with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, with whom he was afforded a chance to catch some of the best pitching prospects in the country.
At the plate, the switch-hitting Bailey has shown above-average raw power both righthanded and lefthanded. He’s a better hitter for average from the left side.
“Simply put, (Bailey) was in a spot on our board where we’re in the business of best available player, and it was just too good of a talent not to be in play on,” Giants scouting director Michael Holmes said. “Everybody that we sent in to see him, despite the fact that it was a shortened season, every guy that came out of there felt really good about his ability both on the offensive and defensive side.
“We really think we got a guy who can impact the game on both sides of the baseball. Guys like that, you never can have too many of them in the system.”