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MLB Draft prospects: A first look at Georgia Tech’s Joey Bart

Joey Bart is the best catching prospect in the 2018 MLB Draft. After watching him once, it’s clear to see why.

Joey Bart tees off for an opposite field home run (Sunday, February 18, 2018).
Wayne Cavadi

Georgia Tech’s catching star Joey Bart has been on the radar since he stepped foot into Russ Chandler Stadium. Watching him just once, it’s plain to see why.

Bart is a hulking presence, listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. That’s pretty much the same frame that Zack Collins was listed at, which some felt may give him trouble behind the plate as he advanced. It doesn’t seem to be an issue for Bart at all.

The junior catcher made play after play behind the plate. He was able to block several balls, and never looked like he was straining or working to do so. He also threw out two runners on the day, both with laser-like precision. Bart definitely has a canon, the ball traveled quickly to the second base, and it was a strike both times. He nearly tried a first base pickoff attempt, but wound up holding back. I’ll be interested to see how quickly he can get it down the line.

At the plate, Bart is aggressive, and attacks at any pitch he sees. That led to a 50-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season, and can definitely see it leading to a little swing-and-miss throughout his career. He does make contact, and it is seemingly always hard.

Bart swung at the first pitch in the four at bats I saw. He took the first pitch he was offered on the day over the right center wall, so clearly his power is to all fields. Later in the game he roped a ground ball that hugged the third base line and went into left field. He legged out a double, and can really move for someone his size (he was a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases last season). Even when he struck out in his final at bat, he worked for it.

There is plenty to like about Bart and there is little reason to think he won’t be the first catcher off the board in June. He’s the top catcher in college baseball right now. Should he continue to show this blend of a solid hit-tool and sound defense, he’ll likely be a Top 15 pick in the MLB Draft.

(author’s note — this was just a first glance. I’ll have video, pop times and hopefully some times on more doubles as the season progresses.)

ONE TO WATCH

Oscar Serratos, Freshman, 3B/RHP, H: 6’3”, W: 183 — Serratos made his first start on Sunday and impressed plenty a person watching. The freshman from Grayson High School (Ga.) started the game at third and pitched the last out in the tenth inning.

While Serratos, batting in the seven-hole did pick up his first career collegiate hit, it was his glove that wowed us watching. He showed great range to his left and made some balls scorched to his right look like child’s play. Also a pitcher, his arm is a rifle, throwing a runner out from his knees on a diving stop.

He only threw three pitches to close out the game, so I hope to see some more of him before I report anything on what he’s capable of on the mound. As of now, he’s perfect, facing one batter and retiring him via fly out.

Georgia Tech has some youth on its side, the lineup full of sophomores and freshman on Sunday. Serratos impressed in his first start, so it will be interesting to see how he progresses. If the glove and defense at third is for real, the Jackets have a nice piece on their hands.