As the 2018 MLB Draft quickly approaches, it’s time to take an in-depth look at some of the top prospects in this year’s cla s.Next in line is Joey Bart, a power-hitting catcher from Georgia Tech who is likely to be the first backstop taken off the board in June.MORE: MLB Mock Draft 2018 Who does Joey Bart land with?The skinny:After being picked in the 27th round of the 2015 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays as a high school senior, Bart declined the opportunity to turn pro and instead enrolled at Georgia Tech, where he’s been the Yellow Jackets’ starting catcher ever since.Bart burst onto the college baseball scene during his freshman season in 2016, when the 6-3, 225 pounder batted .299 with 31 RBIs, while starting 42 games behind the plate.He was named to the ACC All-Freshman team that year, as well as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honoree.Bart backed up those honors with an outstanding summer in the Cape Cod League,batting .309 with a pair of home runs and 21 runs driven in for the Wareham Gatemen. As a sophomore in 2017, Bart was again very good at the plate, batting .296 for the season, but seriously upped his power output by launching 13 home runs and driving in 43 runsin 44 games played.He was named to the All-ACC Second Team, ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Second Team, a Johnny Bench Award Semifinalist, and was invited to Team USA’s College National Team Training Camp. However, this season Bart has taken his game to another level, as the junior is currently batting an ACC- https://www.bluejaysedge.com/toronto-blue-jays/dalton-pompey-jersey leading .368, with 16 long balls, 38 RBIand a .651 slugging percentage heading into the postseason.MORE: Everything you need to know about the 2018 MLB DraftThe pros:It’s fairly obvious why scouts love Joey Dalton Pompey Jersey Bart.He is a traditional power-hitting catcher in a game that has seen that prototype slowly fade away. He has consistently performed well against some of the best college competition in the nation, improving each season at Georgia Tech, and has a good track recording using wooden bats, something that many draft prospects lack.He has what is known as easy power from the right side, meaning his natural swing creates enough bat speed and loft that he doesn’t need to gear up and swing for the fencesto get the ball out of the park. While his power numbers alone are impre sive, as he’s hit 30 home runs and counting in three years in college, Bart has also evolved his approach at the plate, upping his walks and on-base percentage each season in Atlanta.Because of this evolution, clubs now view Bart as a complete hitter and not simply a boom-or-bust power threat.Scouts also really like Bart’s arm behind the plate, as he’s thrown out nearly 40 percent of baserunners in his career.MORE: Learn more about potential No. 1 overall pick Casey MizeThe cons:As is the case with nearly every catcher taken in the draft, the main question surrounding Bart is how well he projects defensively.While that concern includes things like footwork and receiving ability, it also consists of how well a player can manage an entire pitching staff or scout an opposing lineup, things profe sional catchers are expected to do every day.Though Bart certainly has had experience in calling his own game behind the plate, it’s likely that experience is limited and his first few seasons in the minors will demonstrate how adept he is in learning that area of his craft.Offensively, even though he has hit for average and power in his career, he has also struck out his fair share, whiffing 50 or more times in each of the previous two seasons. If it turns out that Bart becomes a liability behind the plate and his raised batting average and OBP come crashing down as a profe sional as his strike outs rise, it’s po sible whichever team drafts him could move him from catcher to first base.MORE: Recap the first two rounds of the 2017 MLB DraftThe projection:Though the list of talented catchers who fell off after being drafted is long, scouts are confident that Bart will not be counted among them after signing this summer. He has a validated track record of power https://www.bluejaysedge.com/toronto-blue-jays/jesse-barfield-jersey and has shown the makings of an advanced approach at the plate that should see him hit for a solid average as a pro.While he’s clearly valued more for his bat than his defense, he should be able to stay at catcher as a profe sional, following in the footsteps of Matt Wieters and Jason Varitek, who also attended Georgia Tech.Different mock drafts have Bart going anywhere from the San Francisco Giants at No. 2 to the Miami Marlins at No. 13, but don’t be surprised if he ends up being taken by the New York Mets at No. 6. It’s a been a while since the Mets have had a backstop with the power that Bart po se ses in their lineup and their farm system currently features no catcher that comes close to his offensive profile.Should he fall past New York, don’t expect Bart to be on the board for much longer, as he’s clearly the best catcher in this year’s draft cla s.

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