Somehow it's a bit controversial, but San Francisco Giants manager reiterated what should be clear: Joey Bart has not done enough yet to be the presumptive No. 1 catcher heading into 2023. Bart's struggles at the plate (and occasionally behind it) have been well documented. There's been too much swing and miss, too many strikeouts. Bart enters camp in a pure competition with Rule 5 pick Blake Sabol and non-roster options Roberto Pérez and Austin Wynns.
David Villar, meanwhile, showed enough in 2022 to warrant being the presumptive favorite to start the season at third base. Villar generally has some of Bart's same issues, but Bart takes those issues a bit further into unacceptable territory (e.g., Bart had a 38.5 K% in 2022, compared to 32% for Villar). Villar dominated in Double-A in 2021 and Triple-A in 2022, and showed an ability to adjust to some early struggles in the majors. Bart had a hot August but came crashing down in September; Villar finished strong with a great September/October.
The Giants provided some injury updates yesterday, and the headliner was that top prospect Marco Luciano sustained a lower back stress fracture during winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Luciano missed a bunch of time during the minor league season with a low back strain, and the fracture was an aggravation of the issue. The SF Giants are hopeful that Luciano fully recovers and is a full go for the upcoming season, but back injuries are never something you want to see from a top prospect.
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The best daily San Francisco Giants podcast. Whether the Giants are winning championships or retooling for another title run, Locked On Giants host Ben Kaspick—a lifelong Giants fan and former contributor for RotoGraphs and Beyond the Box Score—breaks down every game, rumor, and transaction in a way that's data-driven and rational but also simple, passionate, and accessible to all.
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