Joey Bart looks the part and he's proving it in his first big league camp with the Giants.
The No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft is batting .368 with a home run, two doubles and seven RBI in 14 games. He's been so impressive, teammates awarded him the Barney Nugent Award, which is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp.
One anonymous scout is so high on Bart he believes the catcher can join the Giants by midseason. But, farm director Kyle Haines is here to halt the hype.
"A lot of people want to see him in San Francisco sooner rather than later, but we want to make sure we put him in a position to best grow in the minors," Haines said to MLB.com.
After hitting 13 home runs in Short-Season Single-A last year, Bart's power has followed him to the desert. While his defense is nothing to downgrade, the Giants want him to grow behind the dish.
"The big thing is just to get experience because the catching position is so demanding," Haines said. "There's so much to learn, especially all of the information. We're flooding players with data and technology, so just getting exposure to the pro game, exposure to data, exposure to game strategy is important."
Bart is expected to start the season in Advanced Single-A for the San Jose Giants. One of the selling points to have him there is to learn from manager Bill Hayes, who was a long-time catching coach.
In San Jose, Bart will get experience catching fellow Giants top prospects Sean Hjelle and Jake, whom were draft behind him in the second and third rounds respectively last summer.
The hype is real, and the numbers are there to back it up. Expecting the 22-year-old to be in San Francisco for Bruce Bochy's final season, however, is not.