San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: 2018 Hitters of the Year

San Francisco Giants (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
1 of 7

The minor league season has ended for San Francisco Giants’ affiliates, so it’s time to recognize the best hitters in the system for 2018.

san francisco giants
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 18: Joey Bart, the number two overall pick in the draft by the San Francisco Giants, waves to the crowd during the Giants game against the Miami Marlins at AT&T Park on June 18, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Catcher: Joey Bart

It was a fairly weak year for catchers in the Giants’ system, and then Joey Bart came along. The number-two overall pick in this year’s draft lived up to the hype, crushing pitching in his first taste of professional ball.

After six games in the Arizona Rookie League, Bart moved up to Salem-Keizer and wasted no time making his mark. He hit two home runs in his first game with the Volcanoes on July 4th, and went on to win the Northwest League’s Player of the Month in his first full professional month. He was also named the League’s starting catcher in the All-Star Game, and hit a home run in his first at-bat.

He finished the season in Salem-Keizer hitting .298/.369/.613 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs,  and 39 RBI. His home run total ranked him tied for third-most in the league, while his RBI were tied for fifth. Bart fell just three plate appearances shy of qualifying for the batting title, but if he had gotten those extra three, his .613 slugging percentage and .315 ISO (slugging minus average, a measure of extra-base power) would have easily led the league.

Among players with at least 200 plate appearances in the Giants’ farm system, Bart’s .588 slugging (including his time in the AZL) and .294 ISO both paced the field. His .294 average tied him for eighth and he was tied for ninth with 13 home runs, despite playing only 51 games.

The future is extremely bright for the number-two overall draft pick, and Giants’ fans should be very excited.

Honorable Mentions:

Another 2018 draft pick that made a strong first impression was Fabian Pena. The Giants’ 25th-round draft pick was fantastic in limited time for the AZL Orange team, hitting .309/.376/.588 in just 28 games. He hit five home runs, tied for fourth-most in the AZL, along with 10 doubles in 110 plate appearances.

Ronnie Freeman was thisclose to being called up by the Giants in early August, but didn’t quite make it. Still, he made the most of things in Sacramento, where he spent the majority of his year after being acquired as depth from the Diamondbacks in Spring Training. Pitchers were quite complimentary of his abilities behind the plate, and he added a .264/.304/.353 slash-line to go with seven doubles and 29 RBI in 61 games.