MLB Draft

Giants top picks Ramos, Gonzalez hope to stay on fast track together


Giants top picks Ramos, Gonzalez hope to stay on fast track together

SCOTTSDALE — When Heliot Ramos was introduced at AT&T Park last summer, he said he hoped to be back and in the lineup in three years. After an eye-opening professional debut, Ramos hasn’t changed his plans at all. If anything, they have gotten grander. He now hopes second-round pick and close friend Jacob Gonzalez is right there with him.

“Two or three years,” Ramos said Thursday, smiling, when asked about his big league plans. 

“As soon as possible,” Gonzalez added. “We’re trying to get up there as soon as possible. But we’re going to enjoy the ride.”

That ride started on the fast track. Ramos is only 18 and Gonzalez is 19, so team officials are realistic about those lofty goals, even as they happily cheer them on. The Giants will let the minor league process do what it does, but the early returns were extremly positive. 

Ramos, a center fielder, and Gonzalez, a third baseman, debuted together in the Arizona Rookie League and took turns tearing the cover off the ball. Ramos had six homers, six triples and 11 doubles in 138 at-bats before a concussion ended his season. Along with his 1.049 OPS, he stole 10 bases in 12 attempts. 

“His power is unbelievable,” Gonzalez said on this week’s Giants Insider Podcast. “I think that I can hit the ball out and then I come out here the first day and he’s hitting balls 50 feet over the fence to all parts of the field. You’re like, ‘oh my goodness, who is this? He’s 17?’”

Gonzalez, the son of former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez, batted .339 in his first taste of professional ball and posted a .418 on-base percentage. He had 15 doubles, and scouts who saw him complimented his advanced approach at the plate. High school power prospects tend to swing-and-miss a lot early, but Gonzalez had 23 strikeouts to 16 walks in 46 games.

“When I see Jacob I see his approach,” Ramos said. “I get confidence because I know when I get on base he’s going to (drive me in).”

The Giants have yet to say where the two will start the season, but they hope to make the journey together. Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico, has become a regular at the Gonzalez house in the Phoenix area, playing whiffle ball and dominos and hanging out by the pool. Gonzalez said he tries to bring Spanish-speaking players over since his father is fluent and can help with the comfort level. When the two reported to minor league camp recently, Gonzalez posted a photo with Ramos with the caption “First Spring training with my brother is Finally Here.” Ramos responded with “Always together.”

“I feel like I’m at home (with them),” Ramos said.

Ramos, Gonzalez and the rest of the minor leaguers will begin playing games in a week, and manager Bruce Bochy has already said that Ramos may make a cameo in big league camp at some point this spring. Until then, you can get to know them better on this week’s podcast. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here.

Recent history suggests direction Giants should go with No. 2 pick

Recent history suggests direction Giants should go with No. 2 pick

SAN FRANCISCO — Pablo Sandoval said he wanted to cry as he rounded the bases and headed for the plate after a walk-off homer Sunday. Somewhere at AT&T Park, there were probably a few team officials who felt the same. 

The Giants never actively tanked — they did the opposite, in fact — but they did finish just one loss away from the No. 1 pick in the draft. That didn't just cost them a chance to pick first, it also chopped about $500,000 off their draft bonus pool. A few minutes after Sandoval clinched win No. 64, the Tigers lost their 98th game, capping a truly horrendous month of September. They owned the tiebreaker by percentage points, having finished one win behind the Giants last season (the teams both had 75 losses but the Tigers only played 161 games). 

The Giants have picked in the top two of the draft just once in their history and it worked out well. They took Will Clark second overall in 1985. A year later, Matt Williams was their selection with the third pick in the draft. Jason Grilli (fourth in 1997) and Buster Posey (fifth in 2008) are the only other top-five picks in franchise history. 

Recent history says they’ll get a very talented player who should develop into one of the game’s top prospects. Here’s a look at the last 10 guys who were selected second overall … 

2017: Hunter Greene, Reds (in the minors)

2016: Nick Senzel, Reds (in the minors, currently MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 prospect)

2015: Alex Bregman, Astros (worth 3.8 WAR this season)

2014: Tyler Kolek, Marlins (in low minors, lost a year to Tommy John)

2013: Kris Bryant, Cubs (was the 2016 NL MVP)

2012: Byron Buxton, Twins (worth 3.5 WAR this season)

2011: Danny Hultzen, Mariners (retired because of injuries)

2010: Jameson Taillon, Pirates (4.44 ERA in 25 starts this season)

2009: Dustin Ackley, Mariners (was in AAA after six years in Majors)

2008: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (154 big league homers but never became a star)

If you go back a few more years, you can add Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Justin Verlander to the list. There are also quite a few busts, obviously. The draft is an inexact science, although the last few drafts probably suggest the Giants should go with a position player to minimize the risk. They have until next June to figure out what they want to do.

Tigers win tiebreaker with Giants, land top pick in 2018 MLB Draft

Tigers win tiebreaker with Giants, land top pick in 2018 MLB Draft

The Giants entered the final day of the 2017 regular season with a one-game lead over the Tigers in the race for the worst record in baseball and the top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

To get the top pick, the Giants needed to lose or have the Tigers win. Neither of those things happened on Sunday, thanks to Pablo Sandoval and the Minnesota Twins.

At exactly 3pm PT, Sandoval hit a walk-off home run to push the Giants' final record to 64-98. At that point, attention shifted to the Tigers and Twins.

But at 3:27pm PT, former Giant Ehire Adrianza caught a fly ball for the final out of the Twins' 5-1 win over the Tigers, meaning Detroit finished with the exact same 64-98 record as the Giants.

The tiebreaker? The team with the worse record in 2016. And there was almost a tie there as well. Last year, the Giants (87-75) finished a half-game better than the Tigers (86-75).  Detroit played one fewer game than the Giants because they had a game rained out. They didn't make it up on the Monday following the season because it wouldn't have factored into the playoff standings.

So, instead of the Giants, the Tigers are on the clock for the 2018 MLB Draft, which will be held early next June.

Some notable players expected to be in play for the top overall pick are high school RHP Ethan Hankins, high school SS Brice Turang, high school third baseman Nolan Gorman, Florida RHP Brady Singer, Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal and South Florida LHP Shane McClanahan.

The Giants and Tigers are five years removed from facing each other in the 2012 World Series.

Here is the order for the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft, according to
1. Tigers
2. Giants
3. Phillies
4. White Sox
5. Reds
6. Mets
7. Padres
8. Braves
9. Athletics
10. Pirates
11. Orioles
12. Blue Jays
13. Marlins
14. Mariners
15. Rangers
16. Rays
17. Angels
18. Royals
19. Cardinals
20. Twins
21. Brewers
22. Rockies
23. Yankees
24. Cubs
25. D-backs
26. Red Sox
27. Nationals
28. Astros
29. Indians
30. Dodgers