Bart slugs his way through AFL opener

Top Giants prospect homers twice, drives in three for Scorpions

Joey Bart hit .307 with four homers during 21 games in August in the Eastern League. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

By Andrew Battifarano / | September 19, 2019 1:05 AM

Even though Joey Bart hadn't seen game action in over two weeks, he still got off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League.

The top Giants prospect mashed two homers and drove in three runs to lead Scottsdale to a 5-4 win over Mesa in the first game of the AFL season Wednesday at Sloan Park.

Gameday box score

Bart ended his regular season on a high note, hitting .316 with a .912 OPS in his 22 games with Double-A Richmond after a promotion to the Eastern League on Aug. 9. 

"I came to Double-A trying to play my butt off, as usual," he said with a laugh after the game. "And that's kinda what happened, we had a lot of fun as a team. I'm just trying to bring it to the Fall League as well."

It didn't take the 2018 first-round pick long to make an impression on the showcase circuit with a chance to produce in the first inning. Eighth-ranked Phillies prospect Mickey Moniak started the frame with a single to center field off No. 20 Tigers prospect Anthony Castro. Three batters later on a 1-0 pitch by the right-hander, Bart smoked a two-run shot over the fence in left-center. 

In the seventh, Bart led off against Oakland's Jesus Zambrano. He battled the count to 2-2 and slugged the righty's sixth pitch over the wall in left-center. 

"They were more like cutting fastballs, the guy's got a little natural cut -- both of those guys [Castro and Zambrano]," Bart said of the pitches he homered on, "so I was just looking for it in that spot and I put a good swing on it."

The 22-year-old backstop is no stranger to multi-homer games with four thus far in his Minor League career. He notched two this year with Class A Advanced San Jose, the latter of which came on July 18 against Rancho Cucamonga. 

Offseason MiLB include

In his first full professional season, Bart was limited to 79 games between San Jose and Richmond due to a hand fracture after getting hit by a pitch on April 14, causing him to miss about two months. But when he did suit up, the Georgia Tech product batted .278/.328/.495 with 16 homers and 33 total extra-base hits across the two levels. 

"I'm out here playing as hard as I can, I feel like maybe a lot a of people gave up on me when I went down with an injury," Bart said. "Yeah, I'm here to make up for lost time, but I'm also here to compete and get better and play as hard as I can every single day to prove to myself and prove to everyone else that my season's not over. I'm coming out here trying to have a lot of fun with these guys and win games."

No. 18 Braves prospect Trey Harris also collected two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Scorpions. Third-ranked Mets prospect Andres Gimenez delivered the go-ahead hit in the ninth with a run-scoring double.

On the other side, No. 2 Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs for the Solar Sox. 

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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