Spare Parts: Patrick Bailey was a White Sox 2020 draft possibility

San Francisco Giants catcher Patrick Bailey
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)

The San Francisco Giants are on a tear, and it started around the time they promoted Patrick Bailey to their 26-man roster.

He’s a lockdown defensive catcher, which is consistent with the pre-draft hype, but he’s also established himself as a hitter to reckon with, at least over his first 100 plate appearances. He’s hitting .330/.361/.560 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 27 games, and his offense is just as much a factor in why the Giants are 18-7 in games he’s started.

This isn’t Giants Machine — it’d be a lot more lucrative if it were — but Bailey has my attention because he was tied to the White Sox at various points leading up to the 2020 draft, including a profile from James Fegan. The White Sox instead switched to Garrett Crochet at No. 11, and the Giants ended up selecting Bailey two spots later.

He’s the leading candidate for the One Who Got Away, and here’s a case where my first guessing doesn’t flatter me. I was cool to the idea of drafting Bailey because the best catcher available didn’t have a great track record of bearing fruit, at least those outside consensus top-five picks like Buster Posey, Adley Rutschman or Joe Mauer. Good catchers seem to be made more than born, and Bailey’s minor-league track record didn’t suggest a difference-maker in the offing.

But it looks like the Giants went and made Bailey a good catcher with relentless work on his right-handed swing, and so I’m skeptical that such an immediate impact would’ve been possible in many other places, including the White Sox.

Throughout the offseason, Dustin Lind, the team’s director of hitting, would wake up to a set of 10 videos from Bailey. Half were swings from the left side and half from the right. From the left side, Bailey worked to improve against four-seam fastballs. From the right, he tried to flatten his swing and make better contact.

The progress was slow. There were days when there were few signs that Bailey would ever reliably hit left-handed pitching at the big league level, and at times he questioned whether switch-hitting was still worth it. But this spring, Bailey started to take swings that showed him what was possible, and one day the staff helped accelerate the process with an unusual teaching method.

Bailey has only hit lefties at one level of the minors, going 10-for-29 in his time in Low-A but not flashing much power. At every level, though, he was a gifted thrower. During spring training, the hitting coaches showed Bailey a video of him throwing right-handed and tried to emphasize how well his hips and hands worked.

Bailey started working to get his foot down early against left-handed pitching, rotate well in the box, and use his hands. He brought that approach with him to the big leagues.

I maintain that Crochet represented the most straightforward path toward median value from a draft class that had so much uncertainty surrounding it due to world events, and when you look at some of the struggles of collegiate players selected in the top five, the strategy is a valid one, at least in a vacuum. It just ended up being poorly timed because the White Sox didn’t capture as much upside from their previous drafts and acquisition periods as they’d originally thought.

Spare Parts

The guy who ended up going through the sunroof of the car that was driven through pedestrians in front of Guaranteed Rate Field is a member of White Sox Twitter, with multiple #108ing shirts and everything. I was surprised to recognize the name, until he explained why nobody should be:

“One of the Sox Twitter people, when I posted about this originally, said, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe it. I knew it was going to be somebody I knew that got hurt.’” he said. “And I was like, ‘Well, of course it’s somebody you know, because who else is at a game on Tuesday night as bad as the Sox are?’ Only the diehards. We’re the only ones left, right?”

At first I was surprised that Pedro Grifol’s shorter-than-usual hook on Michael Kopech on Wednesday drew so much attention. Kopech’s third and fourth innings wouldn’t have made anybody optimistic about a fifth, and Grifol had a fresh Jimmy Lambert and Touki Toussaint at the ready with an off day to follow. If that wasn’t a good time to let a starter cut out early, there would never be a good time.

But because the White Sox make baffling and inconsistent decisions the management of injured and potentially injured players, there isn’t a reason to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Every team wants to become the 2015 Royals in terms of late-inning certainty, but Patrick Dubuque says that relief volatility is the game’s biggest leveling agent. Blown saves can make any team look desperate, and it’s great that money alone can’t patch this.

The real answer: “Because most of them already live here.”

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Cheers to White Sox games!
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows who you are
And you get hit by a car


I wonder if Nashville did get an MLB team would they stick them in the AL Central cause the rest of the division is a shitshow and they could contend quicker?


It’s a widely held belief that expansion would be accompanied by realignment, so the AL Central as we know it could cease to exist.


So according to the dude that took a sun roof ride we can only be diehard Sox fans if we go to the games? So now I find out I wasted around 64 years and I thought I was being smart!