Buster Posey's best trait, as told by Giants' backup catcher candidates

Buster Posey's best trait, as told by Giants' backup catcher candidates

Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman joined the Giants at an interesting time. Both are catchers who spent most of last season in Triple-A, and over the offseason they chose to join an organization that's as set at catcher as any in the sport. 

Buster Posey is preparing for his 10th consecutive Opening Day behind the plate, and the Giants have top prospect Joey Bart on the fast track. Even before COVID-19 reshuffled the decks, Bart looked like a decent bet to debut sometime this summer and join Posey as an imposing duo for years to come. 

Brantly and Heineman knew they had to thread the needle to get big league playing time, but they liked the opportunity in San Francisco. Once they arrived, they both learned the same thing about the Giants' catching situation.

Heineman was on last week's Giants Insider Podcast and Brantly joined this week. Both talked about how Posey's leadership stood out right away in camp, and how the face of the franchise made sure the catching group embraced communication and collaboration.

"I think what makes him different than superstars that I've been with is he makes you feel welcome because he asks you questions about how you do stuff," Heineman said. "It makes it seem like he's just continually trying to evolve and learn, and it also makes you feel like you're better than you think you are.

"He boosts your ego because he says, 'I like the way you do this, why do you do this?' It's like, wow, Buster Posey likes the way I do this. It strengthens the bond between you guys."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Brantly felt that too, and he pointed out that Posey was even collaborative with young prospect Ricardo Genoves, who came to camp as a 20-year-old. Genoves, Bart and Chad Tromp rounded out a catching group that looked especially close while going through daily drills. 

"I think that's so important," Brantly said. "Him as a leader, as that figure on our team, it makes you feel so much more a part of it, especially for a guy who is just coming in like Tyler or myself or even someone like Geno who is coming up from a lower level. Same thing, he would have conversations with him. 

"The impact it has on a young guy like that, you can't even imagine."

[RELATED: How Kapler will sell undrafted players on Giants]

Posey, now 33, is reaching the point where younger players are coming in and saying they grew up watching him. Brantly, 30, and Heineman, 28, aren't quite part of that group, but they still have admired Posey from afar and were eager to soak up as much as they could this spring. 

"Buster, when he speaks, he commands a lot of respect, even with the guys who have been there a while," Brantly said. "He's a leader and being around that kind of atmosphere, being around that person, you just pay attention. You watch how he goes about his day-to-day and what makes him him, what makes Buster Buster, and you learn a lot."

On this week's podcast, Brantly also spoke about his creative Instagram workouts, the differences he sees between Gabe Kapler from last year to this year, pitchers who stood out in camp and his journey through different organizations. You can download it on iTunes here. 

Giants board up Oracle Park ahead of George Floyd protests in San Francisco


Giants board up Oracle Park ahead of George Floyd protests in San Francisco

With protests taking place throughout the Bay Area, the Giants have taken a step to protect their ballpark.

Photos surfaced on social media of Oracle Park windows boarded up.

Protests around the country began in recent days following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota last Monday.

San Francisco has implemented a curfew beginning at 8 p.m. PT on Monday that lasts until 5 a.m. PT on Tuesday.

The Giants have yet to use Oracle Park this year, as the 2020 MLB season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[RELATED: Kapler encouraged by players speaking out]

Last week, San Francisco mayor London Breed announced that the city is targeting June 15 for Phase 2 of the reopening plan to go into effect. At that point, professional sports teams could be allowed to start training at their facility.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Imagining best opponents for Barry Bonds in hypothetical Home Run Derby

Imagining best opponents for Barry Bonds in hypothetical Home Run Derby

There might not be a more perfect candidate for an all-time MLB Home Run Derby than former Giants legend Barry Bonds. His 756 home runs are the most in baseball history, and no single player’s power has been as intimidating as Bonds was in his heyday. recently came up with a hypothetical matchup for Bonds in their “#WhatIf Derby” series, choosing Los Angeles Dodgers star and 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

It’s safe to say fans clearly favor one side in this showdown of sluggers.

Bellinger’s power is no joke, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Bonds’ prowess at the plate. 

But this got us thinking, who would make the most formidable foe for Bonds in an imaginary home run derby?

Sticking with current players, there are plenty of viable candidates to challenge Bonds in a home run-hitting duel.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on an absolute show in last year’s derby, smashing a ridiculous 40 home runs to overtake Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson in the second round. Guerrero Jr.’s dad famously won the 2007 derby at Oracle Park while playing with the Los Angeles Angels.

Another player who, if fully healthy, could give Bonds a run for his money is New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton. While he’s battled injuries in recent years, Stanton’s raw power and force he puts into each swing doesn’t have many parallels in any era of MLB.

[RELATED: Giants' Hunter Pence leads active MLB players in this obscure stat]

Completing the ideal foursome of participants would be Stanton’s New York teammate in outfielder Aaron Judge. The Fresno State product won the 2017 derby in an effort that included four home runs traveling further than 500 feet.

These four sluggers together all in their prime competing in one home run derby would be an unreal scene. There aren’t many in today’s game who even come close to Bonds’ strength in the box, but Guerrero Jr., Stanton and Judge are about as close as it gets.