The transition from summer camp to the start of the season left top prospects in an interesting position.
In a normal year, someone like Joey Bart would have every Triple-A box score scrutinized, with every big game leading to further cries for a promotion. This year, Bart was the most-watched player in camp one day, and the next day was off to Sacramento, where about 30 Giants are working out daily in relative anonymity.
There are no box scores to track or highlights slipping out onto Twitter, but manager Gabe Kapler gets asked about Bart several times a week, and he said last week that he had a good phone conversation with the 23-year-old catcher.
During an interview that airs in full on Giants Pregame Live at 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Kapler talked about what Bart is working on at the alternate site.
"Joey has such an ability to lead people based on his pedigree, based on his position, so he's taking the time right now to work on what Buster Posey refined so well over so many years, which is taking on the responsibility of leading a pitching staff," Kapler said. "These are things that all young players have to work on. I don't want anybody to think that we're singling out Joey to be thinking about these things. These are areas of development that every young catcher has to be focused on, and in this particular case, I think Joey has done a really nice job of putting attention on these areas."
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When Bart is called up, the Giants would like it to be for good, with their former No. 2 pick guiding a varied pitching staff through games on a daily basis. Kapler has noted several times that game-planning is an emphasis for Bart in Sacramento, where the Giants are playing simulated games and working with their top prospects on specific skills.
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"What we asked of him was to continue to refine the area that has been one of the areas that's notable when it comes to being a major leaguer, which is game-planning for opposing lineups," Kapler said. "Some of the work that's going on right now in Sacramento is Joey getting a head start on that."
Bart is doing that with most of his fellow top prospects. He works with this year's top pick, Patrick Bailey, every day -- including at first base -- and Marco Luciano, Luis Toribio and Will Wilson are among the prospects at the site. Heliot Ramos is back in action after being sidelined by a leg infection, and Kapler said Ramos is making strides in his plate discipline and is driving the ball. Hunter Bishop, the organization's top pick in 2019, is expected to join the camp soon.