Bumgarner, Posey welcome Bart to camp

February 13th, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On Wednesday morning, as he sat in the Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse awaiting the start of his first big league camp, top Giants prospectJoey Bart admitted that he had felt a bit anxious about meeting .

"That's a big guy," the 22-year-old Bart said. "I went ahead and knocked that out."

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Less than two hours later, Bart found himself catching one of Bumgarner's bullpen sessions after the veteran left-hander approached him and said, "Let's go on No. 1."

"That was pretty cool, for sure," Bart said afterward. "I was kind of shocked, but it was fun."

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the top catching prospect in baseball, Bart is expected to spend the next couple of weeks soaking in as much information as he can from Bumgarner and other veterans in the clubhouse. Multiple teammates have already advised him to stay close to , whom he chatted with while taking batting practice on the field.

"Everyone around here says that he's a genius," Bart said.

Posey is more than happy to serve as a resource for Bart, as he recalls leaning on Bengie Molina when the Giants invited Posey to his first big league camp a decade ago.

"I go back to my first camp when Bengie was here, and the biggest thing is just trying to make him comfortable," Posey said. "I know that there are people here that want to help him, want to help him along in his career. I think if there was one piece of information that I would want to relay to him it's that he's responsible for his career. Nobody else is more responsible for it. You can't point to coaches, other players, Mom, Dad, analytics. You're ultimately the one that's responsible. You take care of your business."

The Giants believe Bart, the second overall pick in last June's Draft, has the potential to eventually succeed Posey as their franchise catcher, and the Georgia Tech product has already turned heads after crushing 13 home runs in 45 games at Class A Short-Season Salem-Keizer last year. Bart is slated to open the season at Class A Advanced San Jose, though he is unlikely to reach the Majors until September at the earliest.

"I don't ever come into it thinking I have to be here or there," Bart said. "I just stay with the process and with myself. I think you can get kind of caught up in chasing numbers or chasing destinations. Things don't work out well that way, so I'm going to take it a day at a time."

Bart could face some Major League pitchers this spring, though. Manager Bruce Bochy said he hopes to give Bart the opportunity to play in some Cactus League games, especially with Posey coming off hip surgery.

"He's only going to be a better player being in camp here, learning his pitchers, how we do things, learning from the other catchers," Bochy said. "This will be a great experience for him. I can't tell you how much playing time he'll get, but I'm going to try to get him in there when I can."