Giants rookie Patrick Bailey has left little to be desired in his 21 MLB games played so far, earning the pitching staff’s confidence behind the plate and exceeding the front office’s expectations in the box.
Starters like Logan Webb and Anthony DeSclafani have spoken publicly about the young catcher’s veteran-like presence, and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently said the 24-year-old’s pitch-calling ability has produced a full-circle impact among the staff.
“I definitely feel when [Bailey’s] behind the plate that he has really done his work ahead of time, but then he adjusts the game plan based on what the opposing hitters are doing,” Zaidi said Thursday on KNBR. “… We love what’s happening because it’s really a positively reinforcing cycle.
“When pitchers have that kind of confidence in the catchers, they’re going to pitch better. That’s going to create more confidence [for the pitching staff], and he seems to be benefiting from that as well.”
A perfect example of Bailey’s in-game adjustments came during a 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on June 2, when Webb was on the mound. The Giants ace decided in the middle of the game he and Bailey were so in sync, he would turn pitch-calling duties over to the rookie.
“There were a couple of times I shook him off, but it was good. It was awesome,” Webb told reporters after the game. “… He’s earning the trust of all our pitchers right now, and I trust him 100 percent.”
That trust comes courtesy of Bailey’s preparation, Zaidi said, noting the rookie’s demeanor and ability to slow the game down are comparable to some of the greatest catchers in the game.
“He’s definitely a really calming presence behind the plate, and, I can’t emphasize enough, he really does his homework and his preparation beforehand,” Zaidi said. “And that’s really what enables you to make adjustments on the fly, when you have a firm grounding to start with.”
Bailey also displayed his studious habits during a 14-4 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 29, made evident during an in-game conversation between the catcher and DeSclafani. When the rookie called timeout to approach the hill and apologize for a PitchCom issue, he and DeSclafani decided a slider would be the best pitch to throw during the 2-0 count after Bailey noted the Pirates’ aggressive plate approach.
“Bailey’s like, ‘They’re fairly aggressive. What do you want to throw?’ and I said, ‘Slider,’ ” DeSclafani told reporters after the game (h/t San Francisco Chronicle). “He was like, ‘Perfect, slider, groundball to [Casey] Schmitt, double play.’ And that’s exactly what happened. So that was cool.”
Zaidi explained the Giants chose to call up Bailey last month instead of signing some of the veteran options available on the free-agent market. The main factor in that was Bailey’s familiarity with the pitching staff, Zaidi said, along with his all-around defensive capabilities.
“… We just felt like this guy knows our pitchers, we know we’re going to get high-end defense from him, and he’ll figure it out with the bat,” Zaidi said.
Figure it out he did — Bailey’s .311 batting average certainly is an added bonus to his defensive prowess and the staff’s ERA drop of over a run (4.40 to 3.18) since his May 19 debut.
“Pat’s really exceeded expectations with his offense,” Zaidi continued. “You can see the patience and power he has. I wouldn’t have guessed that he’d be hitting over .300 at this point.”
With a pitching staff who believes in him, a top executive ecstatic about what he has shown so far and a hungry Giants fan base eager for more, it’s safe to say there’s plenty more to come from Bailey and the rest of the team’s young future.
Source: Yahoo Sports