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2018 MLB Draft Preview: Joey Bart

A catcher who can actually field the position? Doesn’t sound very White Sox! But he is in play at No. 4

Joey Bats: The ACC Player of the Year is ready to be a Top 5 pick in the 2018 draft.
Golden Spikes Award

Who is Joey Bart?

The six-foot-three, 225-pound catcher is a mammoth power hitter and above-average fielding catcher. His batting average did not start out well his first two seasons at Georgia Tech, but he has reached new heights in his junior season. In 2016, Bart slashed .299/.351/.382 with one home run and 34 strikeouts, as he was getting acclimated to the ACC. The next season, Bart’s power blossomed; he slashed .296/.370/.575 with 13 homers and 50 strikeouts, but his best season is currently ongoing. So far in 2018, Bart is slashing .361/.474/.639 with 16 home runs and 54 strikeouts. His walks have also increased each year, from eight to 16 and now 41. As a catcher, his caught stealing percentage has beein in the high 30% to low 40% range each year, and his career passed balls is only nine in 143 games.

How does Bart rank?

Jonathan Mayo Mock: Second to the Giants

Jim Callis Mock: Second to the Giants

FanGraphs: Second to the Giants

What is Bart’s game?

He was selected in the 27th round coming out of high school because of his power potential, and that translated very well in the ACC over his last two seasons. His power grades out to a 55 per MLB Pipeline, but their blurb states that he does not need to sell out for power. It is safe to assume his raw power would be near 65 or 70. His hitting tool is a tick behind, at 50, but with a batting average better than .360 in the ACC, that may need to be higher. What sets Bart ahead of other catchers is that he is also above-average behind the plate. FanGraphs reports that Bart calls his own games, and MLB Pipeline gives his arm a 60 along with a 55 fielding grade.

What does Joey Bart look like?

Why would the White Sox draft him?

The Sox have three, possibly four catchers who could make it to the bigs in Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Evan Skoug, and Jose Colina. With that in mind, sans Colina (who does not have much experience yet), defense is the major drawback for each catcher. Bart, who can hit for average and power on par or better than those catchers, also has the ability to be productive behind the plate. Bart could be a complete catcher, something the Sox have not had for a very long time.

Why wouldn’t the White Sox draft him?

There is really no reason. Nick Madrigal and Travis Swaggerty play positions that are more pertinent to Chicago’s need, but Bart has the tools to be a mainstay behind the plate for years to come.