The life of a catcher is as cruel and physically taxing as it gets for a baseball player. The life of over 7,300 innings getting in and out of the squat all while being tasked as your team's top bat is downright exhausting. On Monday night against the Cubs, Buster Posey took a rocket of a foul ball straight back, right off his mask. Two pitches later, the inning was over and Posey was leading off the bottom half of the inning for the Giants.
Catchers are a rare bread of genius with the perfect sprinkle of insanity.
When the Giants drafted Joey Bart, a catcher out of Georgia Tech, with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, they certainly selected the player they deemed the most talented. There's no denying the front office saw the writing on the wall, too. After being selected to his sixth All-Star Game, Posey is set to miss the Midsummer Classic due to a hip injury.
On the same day of Posey's injury news, Bart was busy bashing the ball for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The 21-year-old hit a grand slam, his fourth home run in five games with the Volcanoes, or one less than Posey has in 76 games this season.
Bart was promoted to Salem-Keizer on the Fourth of July and brought instant fireworks with two home runs and four RBI. He went hitless the next two games before going 3-for-4 with a home run on July 8 and then the grand slam on July 9. He is batting .304 with a 1.203 OPS for the Volcanoes.
"I want to stay in my hitting zone and do some damage and have fun," Bart said to MiLB.com after his Salem-Keizer debut.
At Georgia Tech, Bart went from one home run as a freshman, to 13 as a sophomore and 16 as a junior. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Bart has plus raw power that translates well to a wood bat.
From the outside, it is easy to see Bart as the heir to Posey's backstop throne in San Francisco. The real intrigue with Bart though, who could be a quick riser through the minor leagues, is that he may be the right-handed power bat the Giants, ranked 24th in home runs this season, badly need at AT&T Park.