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Joey Bart could be an early pick in the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft

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Catcher Joey Bart is really starting to make a name for himself.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
Georgia Tech had another catcher end up being a pretty good MLB player.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Being just over a month removed from the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft, talks have already started about some of the top players that will be selected in next year’s draft. Baseball America recently released a list of the top 10 college and high school prospects for next year’s draft. On there, is a familiar name in catcher Joey Bart.

Bart was drafted in the 27th round of the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft, but opted to come to Georgia Tech instead. Since he’s been here, I would say he’s been pretty solid.

Joey Bart Batting Stats

Season Average At-bats Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Total Bases Slugging % On-base %
Season Average At-bats Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Total Bases Slugging % On-base %
2016 0.299 157 24 47 10 0 1 31 60 0.382 0.351
2017 0.296 186 36 55 13 0 13 43 107 0.575 0.37

Based on the progression from his freshman to sophomore seasons, it’s clear to see why some teams are starting to take a liking to him. Here’s what Baseball America had to say about his prospects in next year’s draft:

Catchers with power who can catch generally fly off the board. He led Georgia Tech with 13 home runs.

I think what’s really crazy about the numbers he put up this year was that he also missed the last 11 games due to an injury.

What does Joey Bart need to do this year to stay on course?

I doubt we’ll see the same kind of jump in numbers we saw from his freshman year to his sophomore year, but I certainly think his numbers will continue to improve.

Something that adds to his value is the fact that he isn’t a liability defensively. He doesn’t have the best fielding percentage (0.989), but it’s still pretty solid, and he’s also really good at throwing out would-be base stealers (0.404). That number dipped a little last year as he had more attempts, but I’m confident he could get it back up.

The area offensively that I think he needs to improve most on is his batting average. Sure, he’s been almost a .300 hitter since he started at Tech, but he will need to improve that (or at least maintain that as he progresses). Looking at the college hitters selected in the first round of this last year’s draft, the lowest batting average was .307, with most players having a batting average of .330 or higher. Also, just as a note, that one player also hit 15 homers last year. If Bart can get his average up to even the .315-.320 range, I think that would improve his draft stock dramatically.

What are your thoughts? Could Joey Bart be selected early in the the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft?