When Joey Bart walked into Giants manager Gabe Kapler's office at Oracle Park early Thursday afternoon, he had a clear goal.
"The first thing that was on his mind was getting some food in his belly," Kapler said, laughing.
That's what you would expect from a 23-year-old who probably had a sleepless night and an exciting drive down from Sacramento ahead of his MLB debut. The rest of Bart's afternoon was going to be spent preparing to catch Kevin Gausman against the Los Angeles Angels, a game that is the start of a heavy five weeks for one of baseball's top prospects.
The Giants have platoons at just about every position, but that won't be the case behind the plate. Kapler can often hedge with his answers, but not with this one.
"The goal is to get Joey in the lineup as much as possible, to get as much experience behind the plate and in the batter's box as possible," Kapler said. "We may have to just monitor his workload early on based on how much work he got in Sacramento. Catching nine innings is a stressor, catching nine innings in a major league season is more of a stressor than it is in a secondary camp. We need to be cognizant of all those things. However, the goal is to build him to be our everyday starting catcher."
Bart spent the last month at the alternate site in Sacramento, where the work is intense but intrasquad games lasted just four or five innings. On the other hand, the weather is considerably easier on a catcher in San Francisco than Sacramento right now. Regardless, Bart should be just fine. He is a physically imposing prospect, and he's young enough to run out there every day from now until the end of the season.
When Bart does need a break, Chadwick Tromp will be the backup. Tyler Heineman was optioned to the alternate site, with Tromp sticking around in large part because of the job he has done catching Johnny Cueto. Kapler doesn't like personal catchers, but it seems possible that Tromp and Cueto will form a tandem. The rest of the time in the squat, though, will go nearly entirely to Bart, who was hitting sixth in Thursday's lineup.