Patrick Bailey

Bailey's latest performance again shows he's Giants' catcher of future

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When it became clear that Casey Schmitt and Patrick Bailey weren't going anywhere, and that he would be asked about the Giants rookies just about every day, Gabe Kapler started subtly setting the stage for a time when the initial excitement had died down a bit.

In May, Kapler would give long, glowing answers about the pair, but at some point would often throw in the caveat that struggles were coming because, well, that's just part of the deal. Plenty of rookies hit the ground running and then find that the league adjusts quickly. The key is making your own changes and making sure those holes in your swing are filled quickly.

Schmitt and Bailey have had different experiences in June, and on Monday's "Giants Talk," Kapler said he views their paths a bit differently. He noted that Schmitt, who has seen his OPS dip below .700, would have to be more selective at the plate. Bailey, he said, didn't have as far to go.

"I think with Pat it's maybe not as significant adjustments happening, because I think Pat's a little bit trickier to figure out in some ways. He is a little bit more stubborn in some ways, so I think that matters as well," Kapler said.

"They're both wait-and-see, because we're with Casey, 100 plate appearances in, Pat a lot less than that. It's early in the game and we'll have to keep watching."

The Giants keep throwing both rookies out there regularly, and on Monday, Bailey once again showed why the catcher position might be his for years to come. He had a good game defensively and also picked up two more hits, including a double that led to the decisive run in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals and might have capped Bailey's best plate appearance in the big leagues.

Facing another former Giants first-rounder, Chris Stratton, Bailey fouled off five straight pitches with two strikes before lining Stratton's 11th offering into left for a double. He scored a few moments later on Brandon Crawford's single to left.

On the NBC Sports Bay Area postgame show, Bailey said he was just trying to force Stratton back into the middle of the plate. All five 3-2 foul balls were strikes. When Bailey finally got a four-seamer across the heart of the plate, he took advantage.

"I think I fouled off a couple of pitches I could have hit well but stuck with it and just tried to -- with two strikes -- see the fastball deep and not just get too pull-happy and see the off-speed deep too," Bailey said. "I was able to get a fastball and handle it."

The two-hit night raised Bailey's average to .317 and his OPS to .899. While both rookies have had trouble drawing walks so far, Bailey has thrived by working deep counts and making hard contact. He doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify for any leaderboards, but if he did, he would rank among the league's top 30 in barrel percentage.

Both rookies were called up in part because of how advanced they are defensively, and on Monday, Bailey showed off that part of his game, too. His throw down to second for a key out in the third couldn't have been placed better if he walked up and handed the ball directly to Crawford.

The league will at some point learn to stop testing the rookie's arm, but more adjustments are coming for Bailey, too. It will be a nonstop process for the rookies, especially in these first couple of years, but the Giants continue to benefit from their decision to turn to youth. The lineup is much deeper, and that once again paid off as they got their third straight comeback win on the road.

"One thing is for sure, we're never out of it," Bailey said. "We put up consistent at-bats from the first inning through the ninth inning and we've just kind of got to wait for that moment and that big hit."

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