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The San Francisco Giants have to replace Buster Posey on the fly. Thankfully, they already have a plan in place.
Despite ranking as one of the top-20 prospects in all of baseball, Joey Bart got just six at-bats for a team that won 107 games in the 2021 regular season. Much of that was due to the continuing presence of catcher Buster Posey, who returned to the team after taking the 2020 season off.
Posey was as dominant as ever, with a slash line of .304/.390/.499. He was a regular behind the plate, as well, playing 106 games at the catcher position.
So, there wasn’t much playing time for Bart to access. That all changed on Wednesday, when it was reported that Posey will retire with a year left on his contract, at the age of 34.
Joey Bart stats: Is he ready?
Bart is a former top MLB Draft selection out of Georgia Tech, and the Giants have invested heavily in him. He’s performed well at every level so far.
In 2020 — his first full year of MLB action with Posey sidelined — Bart slashed .233/.288/.320. Those numbers leave much to be desired, but he’s still just 24, and a rapidly-improving catcher getting used to the professional level. Bart spent most of 2021 in Triple-A, as there wasn’t room for him at backstop behind Posey. There, he had a .294/.358/.472 slash line with 10 homers.
That sort of improvement speaks volumes for what Bart could be capable of this coming year in Posey’s place.
Last year’s backup catcher, Curt Casali, is arbitration-eligible. Bart should be considered the favorite to start at the position given his status in the organization.