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2018 Phillies Draft Preview: Joey Bart, C

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New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Phillies rumors have settled solidly on Alec Bohm. In the interest of getting in a few other previews in the event they’re playing a high stakes bluff I’m tackling some quick summaries of other players likely to go top 10, but with less breakdown and analysis.

Joey Bart is a 6’3”, 225 lbs 21 year old Catcher who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Georgia Tech grads Jason Varitek and Matt Wieters. Like his fellow alums the biggest concern about Bart revolves around the fact that he’s pretty big for a Catcher and may be better moved to First Base or Left Field where he can focus on his bat, like Kyle Schwarber. Joey Bart isn’t Kyle Schwarber though (for better and worse), he calls most games for Tech, per his coach, and his Defense looks good enough to stay behind the dish. Taller catches sometimes struggle to block pitches in the dirt, but scouting reports seem pretty optimistic on his ability to block.

Also helping Bart’s Defensive potential is that his arm is at least plus and his pop times are consistently sub 1.90 seconds (MLB average ranges between 1.90 and 2.00). He’s a very good pitch framer already, so his Defensive floor is already pretty high. He runs like a Catcher though, consistently posting times in the 40-45 range on the scouting scale. He’s a pretty smart baserunner though, squeezing the most out of what is, at best, fringe average speed with a surprising (if infrequent) success rate with his basestealing.

Bart has plus power to all fields, though he has some pull tendencies. He’s a good low ball hitter and struggles more with high pitches. To his benefit College Pitchers are not very good at throwing high in the zone. They’ve been taught to work low, but pro Pitchers are taught to work a bit higher as well to counter uppercut swings. Something else Bart will run into in the pros more is that Pitchers will almost certainly pitch him backwards. Bart is a bit of a free swinger with a very high volume of first pitch swings. That may still work in short season leagues, but Low-A and certainly High-A Pitchers will start him with breaking balls and he’ll need to adjust.

If I was going to comp Bart, I’d say he might be a lot like Alfaro. He has a tendency to swing freely, but carries big power and potential for plus defense. Bart has boom or not quite bust potential. The bar for Starting Catcher offense is low and I think he can hit that. A lot of mock’s currently have Bart going second to San Fran (talk about not drafting for need), but if I took a guy 2nd overall (or 3rd) and he turned into a league average player I’d be a bit disappointed, but it’s still a solid floor.