Sometimes, a change of scenery can do wonders for a player. It's something that rings true in every sport and has even come into play for some Milwaukee Brewers players in recent years.
Just last year, Bryse Wilson went from average seasons at best with the Braves and Pirates to being one of the most effective relievers in the Brewers bullpen. Prior to that, first basemen Daniel Vogelbach and Rowdy Tellez were other notable examples who both saw surges in their numbers after being acquired by the Crew.
All three of those players were acquired from other teams at low prices due to their production at the time and roster situations making them expendable. Recently, a player for the San Francisco Giants fell into this category and it wouldn't be a bad idea if the Brewers checked on his availability.
The Brewers should check in on recently expendable Giants catcher Joey Bart.
Giants catcher Joey Bart is a classic example of a top prospect who has yet to live up to expectations. Drafted second overall just five years ago by San Francisco, the 27-year-old was at one point a top 15 prospect in all of baseball.
Bart's numbers in the minors have largely supported his high prospect status. He has a .279 average and a .835 OPS with 56 doubles, 46 homers, and 166 RBIs in 264 career minor league games. Unfortunately, he has yet to put it all together at the Major League level.
2020 marked Bart's MLB debut, and although he hasn't played a ton of games yet, just 162 over four seasons to this point, he has still managed just a .219 average and .623 OPS with 16 doubles, 11 homers, and a whopping 178 strikeouts over that time period. In 2023, Bart played more games in the minors than he did in the majors, though injuries were a factor.
And while lower than expected production may have the Giants looking for a trade partner for Bart, so does a recent free agent signing. San Francisco just agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Tom Murphy, which, combined with the emergence of some other young catching talent, potentially makes Bart expendable.
That could be good news for a team like the Brewers. With Victor Caratini signing with the Astros as a free agent this offseason, Milwaukee currently has no backup catcher on the roster behind starter William Contreras.
Coming to Milwaukee as a backup with lower expectations would give the young backstop a chance to reset himself in a new environment with less pressure. He also could be a player that the Brewers could acquire without having to deal from their pool of top prospects.
It's not as though there are a ton of inspiring options out there on the backup catcher free agent market. So why not take a shot on a player with a high draft pedigree who might soon be in need of a roster spot and could use a change in scenery to try for a bounceback season in 2024?