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Pursuit Of Greatness Motivates Joey Bart

Two homers in his first game with short-season Salem-Keizer. Shortly after that, a stretch in which he homered in four straight Northwest League games. Two weeks later, another two-homer night.

Catcher Joey Bart, the Georgia Tech product whom the Giants drafted No. 2 overall in June, hit nine homers in his first 18 games with the Volcanoes.

Those sound like the credentials of a power hitter, though Bart wouldn’t use the term "power hitter” to describe himself.

"I think I learned how to hit before I learned how to hit for power,” said Bart, 21. "I’m not naturally good at lofting the ball. It kind of just happens in the game.”

Power hitter or not, Bart thrived at the plate in his first month with Salem-Keizer. Through 104 at-bats he hit .346/.395/.750 with 5 walks and 22 strikeouts.

"One thing that really impresses me about him,” Salem-Keizer manager Hector Borg said, "is with two strikes, he can do damage from right-center field to center field.”

Case in point: On July 17 at Eugene, Bart drove a 1-2 pitch that one-hopped the wall in right-center for a two-run double in the eighth inning. It broke a 1-1 tie, and the Volcanoes prevailed 6-2.

As for Bart’s defensive ability, Borg praised the catcher's "great, accurate arm” and said, "I really like the way he gets down when he’s blocking the ball. He’s very flexible.”

While at Georgia Tech this spring, Bart called the vast majority of pitches, a responsibility many college catchers aren’t afforded. The thinking man’s component of catching motivates Bart.

"What a great catcher does is make his pitcher better,” Bart said.

The Giants have benefited from a pretty good catcher named Buster Posey, whom they drafted fifth overall 10 years ago. Bart and Posey are both from Georgia and both bat righthanded. They even have similar builds, with Bart listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and Posey at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.

Bart knows some people have compared him with Posey, which he rejects as "crazy."

"This guy’s going to be a Hall of Famer," Bart said of Posey. "He was definitely someone I looked up to.”

Borg believes that someday, catchers will aspire to be like Joey Bart.

"He can do a lot of things in the game,” Borg said. "He’s going to be one of the players in the future who a lot of young kids are going to follow.”

Joey Bart Billmitchell

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** Righthander Logan Webb recently earned a promotion from high Class A San Jose to Double-A Richmond. The 2014 fourth-round pick from Rocklin (Calif.) High, had a 1.82 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 74 innings in the California League.  


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