Joey Bart, who was selected second overall by the Giants in 2018, was traded to the Pirates for Minor League pitcher Austin Strickland. Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2024; Surprise, Arizona, USA; San Francisco Giants designated hitter Joey Bart (21) reacts after striking out against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Bart, once one of the top prospects in not just the San Francisco Giants organization but in all of Major League Baseball, is on the move.

The Giants are sending Bart. a catcher, to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In exchange Pittsburgh is sending Minor League pitcher Austin Strickland to San Francisco.

Robert Murray of FanSided reported the deal on Tuesday night.

Bart was selected by the Giants second overall in 2018. It looked for a while as though he’d be the heir apparent to Buster Posey. But while Bart generally hit well during his time in the Minors, he never completely clicked at the Major League level.

He made his MLB debut in 2020, playing 33 games in the COVID-19-shortened season, which Posey sat out. Bart hit .233/.288/.320 with no home runs that year. Posey returned in 2021 and Bart spent the entire year in the minors. Bart came up again in 2022 after Posey’s retirement. He found more power, hitting 11 home runs in only 97 games. Despite that, Bart still struggled at the plate, slashing .215/.296/.364.

The writing was on the wall for Bart entering spring training. Not only had he struggled in his MLB career but Patrick Bailey, San Francisco’s first-round selection in 2020, finished seventh in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2023 and assumed the role of the team’s catcher of the future.

Strickland was an eighth-round selection of the Pirates in 2023 out of Kentucky. He’s yet to make his professional debut. Strickland was used primarily as a relief pitcher in college, striking out 124 batters in 102.1 innings. There’s certainly potential but his control will need to get a lot better as he had a 3.7 BB/9 rate in college.

[Robert Murray on Twitter/X]

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