Joey's parents are Thomas and Karen Bart. Thomas played baseball at the University of Miami and Penn State University. Joey has two older brothers, Danny and Mikey.
Bart's brother, Mikey, played defensive end at the University of North Carolina and signed with the Arizona Cardinals out of college.
Bart graduated from Buford High School in Georgia, hitting .437 with 35 RBIs his senior year.
Bart was drafted coming out of high school as he was selected in the 27th round by the Tampa Bay Rays. Instead of signing, Joey accepted a baseball scholarship to Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall has long had an eye for catchers—and not just good catchers. The transformative kind. The kind that win you championships. In 1994, a young man by the name of Jason Varitek would lead the Yellow Jackets to the College World Series and win BA’s College Player of the Year award. Ten years later, Varitek helped lead the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years. He finished off his career by being named the historic franchise’s third-ever team captain and earning yet another ring in 2007.
That same year, the Orioles drafted 6-foot-5 switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters out of Georgia Tech with the fifth overall pick. Wieters appeared in four All-Star Games as an Oriole, won two Gold Gloves and signed with the Nationals prior to the 2017 season.
In 2018, Hall and the Yellow Jackets have another elite catching talent primed to go in the first round. That is Joey Bart. But can he be an impact big leaguer like Varitek and Wieters.
"I think he’s right there with them,” Hall said. “I think, No. 1, he’s a really, really hard worker. He has a high baseball IQ. And if you look at a Varitek or a Wieters, I think it’s why those guys hang around for a long time—because they understand the game. And I think they understand how to get the best out of the pitchers that they’re catching.
“And I think Joey’s right there.”
Hall has known Bart since he was about 12 years old, so there’s been plenty of time to build that trust. Bart played for the same teams growing up as Hall’s son, Carter, who was also a junior at Georgia Tech in the spring of 2018.
The top catcher in this year’s draft class, Bart presents the rare, highly sought-after combination of power at the plate and defensive prowess behind it. (Michael Lananna - Baseball America - 5/04/2018)
Joey played for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League for the summer of 2016.
The young catcher has surrounded himself with some of the brightest catching minds in the game and has made every effort to learn from them. He played for renowned catching instructor Jerry Weinstein in the Cape Cod League the summer before his sophomore year—his first year as Georgia Tech’s full-time catcher.
While at Tech, Bart has studied under the tutelage of assistant coach Mike Nickeas, a former big league catcher and a Tech album. Bart has also had the opportunity to get to know Matt Wieters, who still lives in Atlanta and works out with the Jackets during the offseason.
Bart said the lessons he picked up from Wieters this past offseason have already proven invaluable.
“A lot of mental stuff, nothing to really do with the actual game physically, just the way you approach batters. Pitch-calling is huge,” Bart said of his conversations with Wieters. “Another thing is the way he maintains his body. Those little secrets in there are very important because being a catcher, catching every game, if you don’t take care of yourself, stuff’s gonna happen. It’s happened to me. I’m just trying to stay on top of that kind of stuff."
Joey has top notch leadership ability.
June 2018: The Giants chose Bart with the second overall pick, behind only Casey Mize, in the first round, out of Georgia Tech.
He signed for a $7 million bonus, via scout Luke Murton, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis. The figure represents the largest up-front bonus ever given to a position player. But the bonus wasn't disproportionately high, since his pre-Draft slot figure as the No. 2 overall pick was $7,494,600. (Haft - mlb.com)
2018 season: Bart had one of the better pro debuts of any 2018 first-rounder, with a .294/.364/.588 line, 13 homers and 40 RBIs, mostly in the short-season Northwest League. He also threw out 39 percent of potential base-stealers.
In 2019, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Bart as the #1 prospect in the Giants' organization. He was at #2, behind only SS Marco Luciano, in the winter before 2020 spring training.
He was at #2 in the spring of 2022, also.
Jan 2019: Bart is perhaps the Giants best prospect since Buster Posey, and so far he's following in Posey's footsteps. Bart has been named the best catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline of MLB.com. The honor comes less than two weeks after Bart was named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.
The 22-year-old packs the kind of power the Giants have been badly lacking. Bart combined for 29 home runs between his sophomore and junior years at Georgia Tech and his knack for the long ball followed him to the minor leagues.
After starting off slow with six games in the Arizona Rookie League, Bart was sent to Salem-Keizer (Short-Season Class A) and took the league by storm. In his first month with the Volcanoes, Bart hit nine home runs through 21 games in July with a 1.126 OPS.
He understandably slowed down after a long year of college ball plus 51 games in the minors, but overall, Bart hit .294 with 13 home runs and a .925 OPS between the two levels. As the top catching prospect in the game, Bart has also been tapped with the best power by any minor leaguer behind the dish. On the 20/80 scouting scale, he is a 60 by MLB Pipeline's measure.
What's most impressive with Bart's bat is his power to all fields. He routinely launches home runs and extra-base hits to the opposite field and has an easy approach at the plate. The only downside to Bart's offense so far is his strikeout rate—23 percent in the minors and 25 percent his final year in college.
Bart is slated to skip the Augusta GreenJackets and start the 2019 season with Heliot Ramos on the San Jose Giants in Advanced Single-A. Even if they move him along slower than Posey, it's not inconceivable to see him in San Francisco at some point in 2020. (D Johnson - Mlb.com - Jan, 2019)
Joey was elected the winner of the 2019 Barney Nugent Award in a landslide vote from teammates, coaches and training staff. The honor is given annually to the player who impresses most in his first big league camp with the Giants. (Guardado - mlb.com - 3/17/19)
July 2019: Bart represented the Giants at the Futures All-Star Game.
2019 Season: Joey Bart entered the Arizona Fall League with one of the hottest bats in baseball, at any level. His stick stayed scorching hot in the desert, too, until an injury kept him out of the lineup.
Bart, the Giants' top prospect, was named the Eastern League Player of the Week to end the regular season. He hit .538 with a homer, four doubles, a triple and six RBI in his final seven games of the regular season to end a 22-game stint in Double-A.
Coming into the AFL, Bart had a chance to compare himself with some of the best young talent in all of baseball. All it took was one game to show the Giants could truly have a star in the near future. Bart went deep not once but twice in his Fall League debut.
MLB debut (Aug 20, 2020): “I was really uptight about making the collegiate national team [as a sophomore at Georgia Tech],” Joey said. “Moving down through the stretch of that year, I put a lot of pressure on myself. It was something I really wanted to achieve, and it didn’t work out for me. I didn’t end up making the team. I think that experience has really helped me be patient and just understand that things all happen for a reason. My time is going to come, and when it is here, I’m going to make the most of it.”
That moment finally arrived when Bart made his highly anticipated debut in the Giants’ 10-5 win over the Angels at Oracle Park. Bart started behind the plate and went 1-for-4, doubling off right-hander Julio Teheran in the sixth inning for his first career Major League hit.
Bart’s rocket down the left-field line flew off the bat at 109.5 mph, the highest exit velocity on an extra-base hit by the Giants this year.
“I wasn’t really stressed about getting a hit,” Bart said. “I knew I just had to keep going up there and trying to make good selections, do what I do and try to hit the ball hard. I got a good pitch to hit and I hit it hard. I was really happy about that, but the defensive side is really what stays in my mind more than what I’m doing at the plate.”
Well wishes awaited Bart after the game, with the bulk of them coming from his friends and family back in his hometown of Buford, Ga. Bart said he was determined to respond to each message to show his appreciation for everyone’s support.
“I come from a small town, and I think that’s been the real eye-opener to me,” Bart said. “I think I’m going to be the first one from my town to take the field tonight. If you know me, you know I’m really passionate about where I come from. I love everyone back there. I play for my teammates, myself, but also where I come from, and that’s really important to me.” (Guardado - mlb.com - 8/21/2020)
Growing pains are to be expected with any young prospect who is navigating the Major Leagues for the first time. The Giants are learning that Joey Bart is no exception. Ten days after he made his highly anticipated debut, Bart received a day off on August 30, 2020, to reset following an up-and-down week in the big leagues.
“It just felt like he's endured a lot, from getting introduced to the Major League level not that long ago, to catching one leg of the doubleheader on the 27th, DHing the other and dealing with some offensive struggles,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It's been a lot, and a pretty big challenge, for Joey thus far, so I wanted to kind of show some respect for that.”
“People have done that [found him vulnerable at the plate by pitching inside] to me for a while,” Bart said. “I know if I can stick to my game and not worry about what they're going to do to me and just do what I do, then I'll be fine. But yeah, that's definitely what they're going to try to do. It’s pretty evident.”
Several Giants pitchers have praised Bart for his work behind the plate.
The jump to the Majors is a big one, particularly for someone like Bart, who logged only 87 plate appearances above Class A Advanced San Jose last year. The Giants committed to making Bart their primary catcher when they promoted him, but the past 10 days have served as a reminder that his inexperience will show at times.
“I'm here to learn,” Bart said. “I have a lot of stuff I have to work on in my game. I take every day as a learning day, 100 percent. That's what I like about the game. I love learning, I love trying to get better and trying to figure things out. It's definitely a learning experience.” (Guardado - mlb.com - 8/30/2020)
2020 Season: Top position prospect: Joey Bart, C (No. 2 on Giants Top 30)
After Buster Posey elected not to play this season, Bart impressed the Giants' veteran pitchers so much in Summer Camp that they clamored for him to make the Opening Day roster even though he had just 130 games of pro experience, including just 22 above Class A Advanced. The front office viewed the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft as a not-quite-finished product, however, so he spent the first month of the regular season at alternate camp in Sacramento.
As San Francisco lost 16 of its first 26 games with Chadwick Tromp and Tyler Heineman handling the catching duties, Bart worked on adding some polish by hitting against and handling better pitching than he had ever seen before. His power and arm strength are obvious, though his plate discipline and framing still need some refinement. He joined the Giants in late August, and while he hit just .233/.288/.320, the club won 15 of his 28 starts and narrowly missed out on the playoffs.
"In alternate camp, Joey really handled things well and checked all the boxes in terms of what we wanted to see out of him," San Francisco farm director Kyle Haines said. "When he got called up, there was a lot of excitement, even among our veteran players. He gave us a quick jolt of energy in our Major League locker room.
"I thought he did a nice job transitioning to catching advanced pitching and hitting. He learned some lessons in the Major Leagues. He enters 2021 in a good spot." (J Callis - MLB.com - Oct 1, 2020)
2021 Season: For the Giants, Bart appeared in only two games, had only six plate appearances, and caught only nine innings. It’s way too small of a sample size to do anything with. At Triple-A he produced an excellent .294/.358/.472 batting line in his 279 plate appearances, hitting ten homers and 15 doubles. However, his strikeout numbers were again higher than one would want to see, as he was set down on strikes 82 times.
Feb 17, 2022: Giants best prospect drafted out of college - Joey Bart, C (No. 2, MLB No. 16)
Bart took home the Johnny Bench Award as college baseball's best catcher in 2018, when he also was the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and defensive player of the year and became the highest pick in Georgia Tech history (No. 2 overall).
Buster Posey's heir apparent in San Francisco, he posted an .830 OPS with 10 homers in 67 Triple-A games last year and features both 25-plus homer potential as well as Gold Glove upside. (Mayo, Callis, Dykstra - MLB.com - Feb 17, 2022)
- 2022 Season: Last spring, Bart wasn’t anointed the starter. He won the role, and when the Giants broke camp, the post-Buster Posey era appeared to be off to a rollicking start. Bart showed off his light-tower power on opening day, but the ensuing 161 games were mostly downhill. There was a demotion, a promotion and a swing change.
|Home:||N/A||Team:||GIANTS - IL|
|Birth City:||Buford, GA|
|Draft:||Giants #1 - 2018 - Out of Georgia Tech|
Bart is a power-hitting catcher—a 60 grade, on the 20-80 scouting scale. And he puts up a solid batting average, getting a 50 grade. Joey has the ability to impact the game in a variety of ways. At the plate, he projects for plus all-fields power that should translate to 20-25 or more home runs annually.
Joey has worked on closing a hole on the inside part of the plate. He made strides in that regard this season, hitting .280 on pitches on the inner third. That’s a steep drop from the numbers he produced on balls on the outer third, but a respectable number nonetheless. He shows plenty of impact potential when he connects and is likely to be a power-over-hit player once he reaches San Francisco for good. (Josh Norris - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2022)
Joey has tightened the holes in his swing and did a better job taking advantage of mistakes. But he is still prone to chasing sliders down and away and needs to improve his plate discipline, (Sept., 2021)
Bart's bat speed, strength and the leverage in his 6-foot-2 frame give him well above-average raw pop, more than most catchers possess. The right-handed hitter didn't do much damage in his big league debut, however, as he got too pull-conscious and aggressive and didn't catch up to quality fastballs while posting alarming strikeout (37 percent) and walk (3 percent) rates in 111 plate appearances. He had more success in the Minors when he displayed more patience and let his power, which plays to all fields, come naturally. (Spring 2021)
Joey is a big, strong hitter who can impact the ball with tremendous force, but he still needs refinement. He struck out nearly 37% of the time in the majors as pitchers quickly learned to attack him with hard stuff inside before finishing him with breaking balls out of the zone. Bart has trouble catching up to velocity inside because of the way he moves his body while loading his swing. (Josh Norris - Baseball America - Spring, 2020)
Bart has more raw power than most catchers, the product of bat speed, strength and leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame. Though most of the righty-hitting slugger's homers come to his pull side, he has legitimate pop to all fields. While he doesn't get caught up swinging for the fences, he'll need to be more selective at the plate in order to hit for average.
Scouts were impressed with Bart’s ability to tap into his raw, mostly pull-side power, without completely selling out in games.
He has a hole on the inner half that he’ll need to close if he’s to be an average big league hitter. If he does that, he could be an all-star. (Josh Norris - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2020)
Joey has an easy swing with exceptional barrel control that allows him to hit dingers. He especially impressed scouts by crushing pitches without having to sell out for power. There were some evaluators, however, who believe he might be best served by toning down a sizable leg kick. (Spring, 2018)
Joey has nice leverage in his swing, along with very good bat speed. So, he has easy power. But at times, Bart falls in love with his home run stroke. Normally he displays an impressive hit tool. He also has a good eye and knowledge of the strike zone.
Bart has made tweaks to his batting stance and has shown an overall improvement in his approach at the plate. He now has a far more upright posture at the plate, standing taller and looser, allowing him to tap into his plus raw power more often in games. Also, Bart is chasing fewer breaking balls, and his improved strikeout rate would seem to support that. He displays strong plate discipline.
Scouts grade Bart as at least an average hitter with plus power, but he’s made gains as a pure hitter, and he spends hours at a time in the batting cage working on just that. (Spring, 2018)
Joey would not use the term "power hitter" to describe himself. "I think I learned how to hit before I learned how to hit for power,” said Bart, “I’m not naturally good at lofting the ball. It kind of just happens in the game.”
October 2018: Bart was named the MLB Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year for the Giants. He was also named MLB's top catcher prospect.
Sept 25, 2019: Joey was the Arizona Fall League’s first Hitter of the Week for 2019 after a dominant three-game stretch, during which the Giants’ top prospect went 5-for-9 (.586) with two homers, a double and four RBIs for Scottsdale.
Bart, MLB Pipeline’s No. 20 overall prospect, led all Fall League hitters in all three triple-slash categories (.556/.667/1.333). He also finished tied atop the leaderboard in home runs and total bases (12) and posted three walks to zero strikeouts.
Oct 8, 2019: Bart was forced to depart the game against the Peoria Javelinas after being struck on the right hand by a 96-mph fastball from Pirates prospect Blake Cederlind. It was another tough break for Bart, who also suffered a left-hand fracture on a hit-by-pitch during the regular season and had been hoping to recoup some at-bats by playing in the AFL.
Bart had emerged as one of the top players in the AFL before the injury, batting .333 with a 1.290 OPS and four home runs over 30 at-bats for Scottsdale. He was selected to represent the Scorpions in the Fall Stars Game.
Joey Bart, C (No. 1/MLB No. 19)
Bart missed time during the regular season because of a fractured right hand and then it fractured again in the Arizona Fall League when he was hit by a pitch. However, when Bart was on the field, he showed why he was considered one of the best hitters in the 2018 Draft and why the Giants grabbed him No. 2 overall. Bart, who reached Double-A this season, hit .278 with 16 homers in 79 games then hit .333 with four homers over 10 games in the AFL.
- Spring 2020: Giants: Joey Bart, C (No. 1/MLB No. 14): The No. 2 overall pick in 2018 out of Georgia Tech, Bart has the tools to star offensively and defensively. He has produced everywhere he has gone in pro ball, including the Cactus League, where he batted .438/.526/.875.
- Aug 21, 2020: Joey Bart, San Francisco's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, achieved a notable milestone, working a 10-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to collect his first career RBI. He added a 103.4 mph double off the bricks in right field in the second, giving him two extra-base hits in his first two big league games.
Joey has outstanding catching ability and tools. He fearlessly blocks balls in the dirt, displaying soft hands. Most scouts grade his defense at 50. He is very flexible. and he has a knack for framing. And he has a 60 grade arm.
Evaluators both internally and externally saw improvement from Bart on defense, especially when it came to receiving. He allowed just six passed balls all season and caught 32.6% of attempted base-stealers. Opposing evaluators noted he could stand to show better leadership qualities and body language behind the plate. (J. Norris - BAPH - Spring, 2022)
Bart has progressed from a high schooler with questions as to whether he could stay behind the plate to a potential Gold Glover. He has worked hard on his defense and has become a quality receiver who blocks balls well and displays a strong, accurate arm. He moves well for a big catcher and San Francisco pitchers praised his game-calling ability and leadership.
Bart has a strong 60 grade arm and quick release but threw out just 18% of base-stealers in the majors, which can be somewhat attributed to learning a new pitching staff on the fly. He’s a strong blocker and receiver. (Spring, 2021)
There were questions about Bart's ability to stay behind the plate when he was in high school, but he continually has improved and now has Gold Glove upside. He has worked diligently to become a quality receiver, possesses a strong and accurate arm and blocks balls well. He also has a knack for calling pitches and the leadership qualities desired at his position. (Spring 2020)
Defensively, Bart has a plus arm, and it grades out even better for its accuracy than it does pure arm strength, of which there is plenty. He routinely records sub-2.0-second pop times on throws to second base. It is a 60 grade arm. It is very accurate, too.
Bart threw out 33 percent of base-stealers in 2021 at Triple-A Sacramento.
Joey has a quick exchange and release and plus arm strength that should help him erase would-be base-stealers. He also shows strong abilities to block and receive and call games.
Bart has just fringe-average speed, but he showed the athleticism and lateral quickness needed to be considered an above-average receiver with the ability to routinely block tough pitches in the dirt.
Bart should have a long big league career as a catcher—a mainstay behind the plate.
Joey called his own games when he was at Georgia Tech. That is a true rarity at the college level, where pitch-calling is often micromanaged.
Joey runs the team, receives the ball well, and can hit in the middle of the order.
Bart likes the thinking man component of catching.
"What a great catcher does is make his pitcher better," Joey said.
- Joey is a 40 runner.
May 2017: In college, Bart missed the last few weeks of the season with a hand injury.
April 16-June 4, 2019: Joey is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering a fracture in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch. He didn’t fully regain his grip strength for another month after he returned.
He began feeling 100 percent in mid-July and hit .315/.358/.584 in his final 20 games before a promotion to Double-A.
Oct. 8, 2019: In an Arizona Fall League game, Bart was forced to leave the game against the Peoria Javelinas after being struck on the right hand by a 96-mph fastball from Pirates prospect Blake Cederlind. He suffered a fractured right thumb.
2021 season: Joey missed time in May with a groin strain and was out most of August with a quad strain.
Aug 9, 2022: Manager Gabe Kapler said Bart was unavailable during the Giants’ 7-4 walk-off loss to the Padres after hurting his ankle on a swing the previous day. An MRI exam revealed an ankle sprain.
Aug 29, 2022: Bart departed the Giants’ 6-5 loss to the Padres after taking a foul ball off his mask in the top of the third inning. Bart initially stayed in the game, but he was replaced by Austin Wynns in the fifth inning.
“This was sort of a precaution move,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He told the doc after the game that he had some pressure, so we’re going to evaluate him.
Aug 30, 2022: Joey was on the IL concussion protocol.
March 31-April 10, 2023: Bart was on the IL with a mid-back strain.
April 24, 2023: Bart ended up coming out of the game after tweaking his groin while hustling to second base. Bart was expected to be evaluated by team doctors after the game.
April 26, 2023: Bart has not been in the Giants' starting lineup since he tweaked his groin in the 4-0 win over the Cardinals. He ended up coming out of the game after hustling to second base. Bart underwent an MRI exam, though he said it didn't reveal anything significant, stoking optimism that he'll be able to avoid landing on the injured list. "The only time I feel this thing is when I'm running or turning," Bart said. "It's been tight for four or five games now, and I've been able to get through it. It's just trying to be proactive and not irritate it too much."
- May 18, 2023: Joey was on the IL with left groin strain.