Giants' top prospect keeps coming up in team's search for outfield help

Giants' top prospect keeps coming up in team's search for outfield help

ORLANDO — The most important player in most trade discussions the Giants have had this week is still years away from legally being able to grab a drink at the Swan and Dolphin Resort’s busy lobby bar. 

After speaking to the Marlins about Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, the Giants approached the Reds about Billy Hamilton. They have talked to the Cardinals about their young outfielders, and done the same with the Brewers and others. They have found that there’s a common theme in these talks: Per sources, just about every team asks for Heliot Ramos, the 2017 first-round pick.

The Giants like to stay open-minded and rarely deem a player untouchable, but Ramos seems to be just about there. The 18-year-old was the 19th selection in June’s draft, and scouts here in Orlando have said he would easily go in the top 10 if the selections were made today. The Giants view Ramos as a five-tool talent, a potential Yoenis Cespedes-type of athlete with a real chance to stick as a center fielder. 

Some in the organization believe he could be the rare Giants prospect to bust into the majors at the age of 21 or 22, and Ramos’ professional debut did not temper expectations. In 138 rookie league at-bats, Ramos hit .348 with six homers, six triples and 11 doubles. He stole 10 bases in 12 attempts. His on-base percentage was .404 and he slugged .645.

It’s a small sample, but you can see why the Giants shake their heads every time Ramos is brought up. Given the state of the franchise and the farm system, a strong “no” is certainly the right answer. 

With Ramos unavailable, the Giants have found little traction with other teams. The offers they have received have been described as wildly unrealistic, and the front office does not want to make a move just for the sake of making a move before the flight home. General manager Bobby Evans is under pressure to find solutions, but he said the front office is united in a desire to not mortgage the future.

“It’s going to cost our system at some level in trades but we’re going to always make sure we keep the cream of the crop in our organization as best we can,” Evans said. 

Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list


Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list

SAN FRANCISCO -- The annual Baseball America top 100 prospects list backed up two widely held beliefs about the Giants farm system: The organization still does not have a lot of high-end prospects and a newcomer is viewed as the best of the bunch.

Heliot Ramos, last year's first-round pick, was ranked as the 79th best prospect in the game, but he's the only Giant on the list. 

Ramos, 18, is the name just about every opposing front office asked for in trade talks this offseason, but the Giants view him as a potential five-tool center fielder. He already appears to be one of the steals of the 2017 draft. After being selected 19th overall, Ramos hit .348 in rookie ball with a .404 on-base percentage and .645 slugging percentage. He hit six homers in 35 games and stole 10 bases.

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the top prospect on the list, followed by Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

The Dodgers have four players listed before Ramos and the Padres have four of the top 32 prospects as they try to rebuild and get back into NL West contention. The A's have four players in the top 100: lefty A.J. Puk (30), shortstop Franklin Barreto (43), shortstop Jorge Mateo (64) and outfielder Dustin Fowler (88). 

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”