After much speculation today we learned that the Giants’ Buster Posey has elected to opt out of playing in 2020. It’s a decision you have to respect in this current environment, whatever the reason was that he came to it. Here’s the tweet from Andrew Baggerly in regards to the news:
Buster Posey and his wife are adopting identical twin girls. That is why he has missed time in camp. The twins were born prematurely and stable but will be in NICU for some time. He is opting out of the season.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 10, 2020
From a fantasy perspective the decision creates an interesting situation. The only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Aramis Garcia, is on the IL working his way back from offseason hip surgery. So where does that the leave the team? There are five other catchers included as part of the 60-man player pool:
- Patrick Bailey
- Joey Bart
- Rob Brantly
- Tyler Heineman
- Chadwick Trump
Obviously Bart is the big name of the group, but knowing Posey is coming back in ’21 would the team want to start his service clock prematurely? Let’s look at all the names:
Patrick Bailey – As the team’s first round pick in the 2020 draft, his inclusion is obviously just to gain some experience as opposed to being a factor.
Joey Bart – Obviously the biggest name of the group, we gave him a “B” grade prior to the season and ranked him as the fourth best catching prospect. While there often is much hype, here’s what we had to say about him:
Considered the heir apparent to Buster Posey, the second overall selection in the 2018 draft could arrive at some point this season. Regardless, you have to wonder exactly how high the offensive ceiling is. After missing time due to a broken hand in ’19, Bart spent his time at High-A (234 AB) and Double-A (79 AB) combining to hit .278 with 16 HR and 5 SB.
There is some power in his bat, though having added 14 doubles and 3 triples it’s questionable how high that ceiling is (think 20-24 HR). That’s fine, though a questionable approach further clouds the issue (strikeout rate // walk rate):
- High-A – 19.9% // 5.6%
- Double-A – 24.1% // 8.0%
His 9.5% SwStr% at High-A isn’t terrible, though it ballooned to 12.8% at Double-A. While it was a small sample size, the lack of walks helps to show that he could get exposed by more advanced pitching. It’s not to say that he’ll be a bad option at the highest level, as he could be one of the better offensive catchers in the game, though the stock is down slightly.
Besides those concerns, Maria Guardado of MLB.com also added this:
“The Giants also have their No. 1 prospect, Joey Bart, in camp, but they had expressed a desire to give him an opportunity to develop more before promoting him to the Majors. Bart, 23, missed time with two separate hand fractures in 2019 and hasn’t played above Double-A.”
There are a lot of reasons why the team will want to be conservative with Bart, given the questions in terms of performance as well as service clock, and not force him up to the Majors.
Rob Brantly – He’s the veteran of the group and always appeared to be the most likely to make the team in a reserve role. A career .229 hitter with 7 HR over 388 AB he’s nothing to get excited about, however.
Tyler Heineman – Playing for two different Triple-A teams in ’19 Heineman hit .336 with 13 HR over 244 AB (and also got a cup of coffee in the Majors). At 29-years old he obviously isn’t thought of very highly, but he did show a solid approach (7.8% SwStr%) and is a career .285 hitter. There generally hasn’t been much power, though with the spike around the game could he contribute 4-5 HR in a short season? As a switch-hitter, he’s an intriguing name to watch for those in two-catcher formats.
Chadwick Tromp – He’s similar to Heineman, though he’s a career .257 hitter who hit .286 with 7 HR in 77 AB at Triple-A last year. A little younger, he also posted a 13.4% SwStr%. The outlook isn’t as promising and he likely wouldn’t make much of an impact.
- Tyler Heineman
- Joey Bart (though he’s unlikely to make an impact)
- Chadwick Tromp
- Rob Brantly
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com
Make sure to check out all of our Updated 2020 preseason rankings: