Bruce Bochy will have eyes on Giants minor leagues, praises Joey Bart

Dalton Johnson
NBC Sports BayArea

For the last 13 years, Bruce Bochy served as the eyes and ears of the Giants as he leaned over the dugout railings. He was a man players and fans alike could trust as he's forgotten more baseball knowledge than most of us ever will know. 

It's a new era in San Francisco, though, with Bochy retiring at the end of last season. The future Hall of Famer now serves as a special advisor for the Giants and still will serve as their eyes and ears. But that will come much more often in places like San Jose, Sacramento and even Augusta, Ga., than Oracle Park. 

Bochy joined San Jose Giants broadcaster Joe Ritzo in the booth Wednesday during the Giants' 3-3 tie against the Milwaukee Brewers at Scottsdale Stadium and explained how he now will have a large role throughout San Francisco's rising farm system. 

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"I'll be down on the field for batting practice, I'll be available," Bochy said. "I want to get to know these guys. Not just what they can do on the field, their talent, but get to know more about them -- their makeup, their thinking and be available for them if they have any questions or talking baseball.

"That's my job." 

Last spring, the Giants made it a point to have top prospect Joey Bart work with Bochy in big league camp. Bart made quite the impression on Bochy and the Giants alike, winning the Barney Nugent Award, which is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp.

Bart is back in big league camp this year and once again proved his star potential with an opposite-field home run on his first swing of the spring. He also impressed Bochy by throwing out a Brewers base runner attempting to steal second base. 

"This guy's the real deal," Bochy said on Bart. "He's got the whole game. ... Tremendous power, he's got a good head on him, that's why he's the No. 1 pick. He got a lot of money to sign because the talent he has, but he's a great makeup guy, too. He had a couple setbacks last year. The key for him is to stay healthy.

"It's just a matter of time until he's gonna be up here." 

While Bart, 23, should make his big league debut at some point this season, Bochy won't have to travel far to work with the young catcher. Bart is expected to begin the season in Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats. In spring training, though, Bochy believes Bart is in the perfect situation for his development. 

"He couldn't have a better mentor to help him along in Buster Posey," Bochy said. "Buster still has a lot of game left and he's gonna be the catcher here, but Joey, he's on fast pace." 

The Giants selected Posey with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft. Fast forward 10 years later, and San Francisco made Bart the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft. While they play the same position, there are some differences in their game. 

[RELATED: These four Giants made Keith Law's top 100 prospects list]

Posey had plenty of power in college and early in his pro career, but Bart physically is more developed at a young age. Bart stands 6-foot-3 and is listed at 235 pounds. His power can consistently produce 30-homer seasons. At this point, though, he isn't the kind of contact hitter Posey always has been. 

"A little different style hitters," Bochy said about comparisons between Bart and Posey. "Buster's more of a contact guy, but with power. He won a batting title, so that shows how good of a hitter Buster is. It's hard to set that bar for Joey as high as Buster.

"[Bart'] gonna hit home runs. He's gonna do a great job with the pitchers, I think he receives well, he's got a good arm. He's learning on the game calling -- he called games at Georgia Tech. He's got a good feel for the game."

There's no doubt Bart wishes he will be wearing a Giants jersey on Opening Day this season. Learning under Bochy on his road to the show, however, will be an advantage very few prospects get to experience.

Bruce Bochy will have eyes on Giants minor leagues, praises Joey Bart originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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