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."
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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."
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.