In the last two weeks, catcher Joey Bart was drafted second overall by the Giants in the 2018 MLB Draft, received the largest ever upfront bonus for a position player in the sum of $7.025 million, and now he’s finally met Buster Posey, the man he may one day unseat as the Giants’ star catcher.
Bart said his head has been spinning, but only, “a little bit.”
The 21-year-old has a towering 6-foot-3-inch tall, 225-pound frame that allowed him to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting average (.359), finish second in slugging percentage (.632) and hits (79), as well as top 10 in home runs (16), runs scored (55) and on-base percentage (.471). On the defensive end, Bart had a career-best .992 fielding percentage. He was named the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in addition to being named first-team All-America.
While Giants scouting director John Barr said Bart has the athleticism to play at other positions, Bart made no mistake about where he wants to play.
“I love (catching),” Bart said. “I could probably play other positions, but catching is what I want to do.”
It’s not clear how quickly Bart will progress and what that means for his long-term relationship with Posey. But in their first conversation, the two Georgia boys hit it off, as Posey told Bart about his day and his college coach at Florida State, Mike Martin, who will retire as the all-time winningest NCAA baseball coach after his 40th season next year.
Bart has not played competitively since May 23, so he’ll first head to Scottsdale, Arizona to the Giants’ training facility to train with other prospects. Then he’ll move to the team’s Class A Short Season affiliate, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes-Class, where Posey’s college roommate is on staff.
When Bart makes his way to the majors, he affirmed he wants it to be as a catcher. His mentor, Michael Barrett, was a catcher for the Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays. His first stop as a coach was with the Georgia Roadrunners youth baseball club team, where he met a 14-year-old Bart.
“(Barrett) poured a lot of knowledge into my mind on the mental side of the game,” Bart said. “I was in-between football and baseball but after that, I found a love for baseball.
Since then, Bart’s love of the catching position has never been in doubt.
“I like being in the game, I like calling pitches,” Bart said. “That’s what I want to do for a long time.”