Not even a week after Joey Bart was chosen as one of the best college baseball players in the nation, a major league club placed him in an even higher standing.
The San Francisco Giants selected Bart with the No. 2 overall pick in Monday’s MLB draft, which has an assigned value of about $7.5 million, according to MLB.com. The 2015 Buford High graduate and junior catcher for Georgia Tech has until Aug. 15 to decide if he will sign with the team or return to college for his senior season.
Bart went shooting up draft boards during this season, for which he garnered first team All-America honors last Thursday from both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
He was also named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. The former Wolves standout led the league with a .359 batting average and was second in both hits (79) and slugging percentage (.632).
On top of his presence at the plate, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound catcher threw out more than a third of would-be base stealers and compiled a .992 fielding percentage for the Yellow Jackets as a junior.
“I worked on all parts of my game (last offseason), but more catching than anything,” Bart told The Times last week. “I worked on my approach as a hitter as well. On the catching side, I was just trying to have fun and hoping my team wins some games.”
Bart started all but one of the 144 games he appeared in with Georgia Tech, where he finished with a career batting average of .321 and 30 home runs — 16 of which came this season. The Buford product also slugged .544 percent and drove in 112 runs over the last three years.
It all helped him go down as the highest MLB draft pick in history for the Yellow Jackets, who have seen only 10 players ever taken in the first round.
Bart had previously been drafted out of high school in 2015, going to the Tampa Bays Rays in the 27th round a few weeks after helping Buford win the Class 4A state championship.