NAPA, Calif. — Patrick Bailey's rookie 2023 MLB season was one of the few bright spots for the Giants last year, and the young catcher hopes to be even better in 2024.
The Giants' pitcher and catcher are scheduled to arrive in Scottsdale on Feb. 15, with Bailey heading to Arizona as the team's starting catcher after establishing himself as one of the best young backstops in the game last season. The 24-year-old was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove Award at the same position, losing out to Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno.
In an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday at Giants Fan Fest, Bailey talked about how special it was to be a finalist for the award, considering it a yearly standard for him. There is.
“It's obviously special to be recognized as one of the top defenders and you want to go out every year and give your best and you hope that's the standard and if that's not the case. That's the standard I set for myself,'' Bailey told NBC Sports Bay Area.
Towards the end of the 2023 season, Bailey spoke candidly about how MLB's woes caught up with him, telling reporters he experienced fatigue “like nothing I've ever felt.” One of Bailey's goals this offseason was to better prepare for his upcoming 162-game marathon.
“One of the biggest focuses was to regain the strength I lost during the season, and then simplify my left-handed swing and work on my lower body there so I could repeat it as much as possible. ” Bailey said.
No longer a brilliant rookie, like most catchers, Bailey quickly became the leader of the Giants' pitching staff. Entering his second season with a strong starting role already in place, Bailey has been in contact with pitchers throughout the offseason and will have plenty of time to further develop those connections in spring training. Knowing that, I was mainly focused on improving my game.
“I’ve been in touch with some of them and seeing how they’re doing and things like that,” Bailey said. “Obviously, I’m still trying to put the best product we can into the field, and a lot of that has to do with [Jordan] Hicks and Robbie Ray plan to catch Penn and others at camp and see what happens. [Logan Webb] Others are checking to see if they've found anything new for me. But perhaps camping will solve all that. ”
Perhaps some of the pitchers Bailey is most familiar with are young arms like Kyle Harrison, Keaton Wynn and Tristan Beck. They were also rookies last season and could be in the Giants' starting rotation with Cobb and Ray left out for the first half. motion. Bailey knows the three youngsters will be successful in whatever role they are used in.
“I have full confidence in all three of these guys,” Bailey said. “So all three of them have shown that they can be very successful in the big leagues. Like myself and a lot of young players, there are successes and there are failures. I think both are important. The success is theirs. I had to build up my confidence and think, “Okay, I belong here, I can pitch here.'' And the failures that they had were like, “Okay, how can I get better, how can I improve my game and help my players?'' ”
There are still some question marks on the Giants' roster, but Bailey isn't one of them. His role is clear, and San Francisco will need his reliable presence behind the plate for the entire 2024 season.
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