Giants

Down on the Farm: Beede throws one-hitter on Opening Day, could be headed to the bigs

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Down on the Farm: Beede throws one-hitter on Opening Day, could be headed to the bigs

Two batters, two walks. That’s how Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede started off the 2018 season. It was the last thing he wanted after struggling in big league camp this spring. 

Beede was scheduled to start Opening Day for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats, but due to bad weather in Washington, the Giants sent Beede to San Bernardino to pitch for the San Jose Giants. The 25-year-old’s trip back to Advanced Single-A started with a walk, a pick-off attempt that resulted in an error by first baseman Gio Brusa advancing the runner to second base, and then another walk. A fly out to center brought Beede his first out, and the first of 11 straight batters retired. 

After searching for the strike zone to start the game against the Inland Empire 66ers, Beede settled in with a 12-pitch second inning on a pop out, strikeout and groundout. The third inning was just as smooth with two more groundouts and his second strikeout. Beede kept rolling with a pop out to catcher Jeff Arnold and his third strikeout of the day in the fourth inning before the streak ended on his third walk. But still, Beede was throwing a no-hitter. 

With two outs in the fifth inning, Beede’s no-hit bid ended on a soft line drive to right field that deflected off the glove of a leaping Jalen Miller at second base. The third out of the fifth inning, a groundout, was Beede’s final batter. He finished his first start of the season going five innings, giving up one hit and one earned run on three walks, and struck out four.

Throughout the game, Beede missed low trying to command his fastball. Those in attendance had him throwing 92-95 mph and he even touched 97 mph. While working to find the zone with his fastball, Beede was effective with his curveball, getting batters to roll over on the breaking ball. 

The big question now is, where will Beede make his next start? It certainly won’t be with the San Jose Giants, but it also may not be with the River Cats either. Beede might go from his first start with the San Jose Giants since 2015 to his MLB debut for the San Francisco Giants.

To start the season, the big-league Giants have gone with a four-man rotation as Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija are on the disabled list. The main reason the front office wanted to make sure Beede was on the bump somewhere Thursday, was all because of April 10. That date is Beede’s next start and it could come at AT&T Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 7:15 p.m. 

Once again, Beede proved he has a major-league arm in his Opening Day start. At the same time, he battled control issues with his fastball that have hampered him before. The next time he works on honing in on where his heater goes when he toes the rubber, Beede may be in front of a few more Giants fans.

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ No. 2 pitching prospect had a very similar first outing as the team’s No. 1. Andrew Suarez started the season opener for the River Cats and also only allowed one hit, but he walked four batters in four innings. Suarez did finish with four strikeouts, too. 

— It can only get better for the Giants’ first two picks in the 2017 MLB Draft. Heliot Ramos and Jacob Gonzalez combined to go 0-for-8 in their debut for the Augusta GreenJackets. 

— The River Cats’ first four hitters are all outfielders and names that you know by now. Here’s how they did: Steven Duggar (1-for-4, 2B, 2 Ks), Austin Slater (2-for-4, 2B), Chris Shaw (1-for-4, 2B, 1 K), Mac Williamson (1-for-3, 1 K).

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos' advancement 'really encouraging to see'

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos' advancement 'really encouraging to see'

Heliot Ramos looks more like a college safety playing football than a center fielder in the minor leagues. From his beard to his build, this isn't your average 19-year-old. 

Giants farm director Kyle Haines agrees.

“The physical tools are obviously there," Haines said on Tuesday's Inside The San Jose Giants Podcast

Ramos, the Giants' first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds. In person, it appears his muscular build appears even thicker, and at his young age there's still plenty of time for growth. His stature and potential turned the Giants on to draft him No. 19 overall, but it's his growth at the plate this season that has the franchise so excited. 

All offseason, Ramos worked on reading off-speed pitches better and laying off balls in the dirt while playing Winter Ball. Last season, he finished with a disappointing .313 on-base percentage. This year, Ramos is up to a .414 on-base percentage and has 11 walks to 13 strikeouts.

His ability to track late movement has stood out to Haines early in the year. 

“Those are characteristics that you usually see out of veteran hitters, and that was really encouraging to see that he’s started to acquire that skill," Haines said. 

Through 13 games, Ramos is batting .250 with 1.005 OPS for the High-A San Jose Giants. He's tied for the California League lead in home runs with four, is fourth in RBI (nine), fourth in total bases (26) and fourth in OPS. 

After starting the season 1-for-17, Ramos has 10 hits in his last 27 at-bats, good for a .370 batting average during that stretch.

“We’ve seen a huge advancement in his approach at the plate and I think that’s why you’ve seen the homers spike up a little bit," Haines said. 

It's hard to remember just how young Ramos is. When the Giants drafted him, he was only 17 years old and yet, he made a public goal of wanting to reach the major leagues in three years. Joey Bart is the talk of the Giants' farm system for all the right reasons and appears to be on the fast track to the bigs. But Ramos isn't too far behind. 

“He’d be a sophomore in college. He’s two years younger than Joey Bart," Haines reminded us. "We talk about Bart’s fast movement and then you stop and you’re thinking, ‘Hey what a minute. Heliot’s two years younger than what Joey is.’ It’s really encouraging to see … it’s exciting.” 

[RELATED: Bart, Ramos' San Jose Giants debut shows promise]

Ramos is the fifth-youngest player in the Cal League. He'll be a teenager all season long. The Giants, and fans alike, are seeing potential turn into production in only his second full season in the minors.

Despite some improvements, Giants' Drew Pomeranz is off to a slow start

Despite some improvements, Giants' Drew Pomeranz is off to a slow start

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Drew Pomeranz said it a couple of times.

"I've been feeling really good," he said after a loss to the Nationals. 

Pomeranz has looked the part for the most part, but thus far his season has not been what either side hoped. The Giants wanted a repeat of Derek Holland, but through four starts Pomeranz has a 4.82 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He never got in gear in a 4-2 loss to the Nationals on Thursday. 

The lefty is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and his velocity is up about two mph across the board, but he also is walking too many hitters, has thrown just 18 2/3 innings, and given up four homers. 

"I've been feeling really good and the biggest part for me is trying to manage that," Pomeranz said. "I feel like I get on a roll and roll through hitters and a couple of times a game I get jammed up and end up throwing a lot of pitches."

That was Pomeranz in the first inning Thursday. In the fourth, he gave up a solo shot to Wilmer Difo with the pitcher on deck and two outs, which certainly qualifies as getting jammed up. 

Pomeranz said he has started seasons like this before and then "boom, something clicks." The Giants need that soon, but they are at least encouraged by the quality of the pitches. Pomeranz said an adjustment has to be made, and perhaps that may include mixing it up more. He entered Thursday's start throwing basically only curveballs and four-seamers. 

"The stuff is really good," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But the command has been a little erratic."

--- Mark Melancon has had a couple of nights in this scoreless stretch where he could thank the BABIP Gods. But on Thursday he entered with runners on the corners and no outs, needing a strikeout. So, the fact that Melancon got two of them was a big deal for a guy who has seen his strikeout rate drop in each of the last four years. 

"That's a tough spot to be in and he really made some great pitches and got some huge strikeouts," Bochy said. "He threw the ball very well, very well. It's obvious he's feeling really good, too. You can tell with the command of all his pitches."

[RELATED: Bochy, Belt frustrated by calls behind plate]

Through 10 innings, Melancon hasn't allowed a run. He has a 1.00 WHIP after posting a 1.59 last season. 

--- The Giants still have not scored a run in the first inning. They have scored nine runs in the ninth inning. It's nice that they never really give up, but that's an awful way to try to win. You're not going to rally against guys like Sean Doolittle too often. 

--- As far as I can tell, the Nationals did not have any mention of this being Bochy's last series here. That's certainly not required -- and Bochy doesn't want a bunch of gifts -- but the Giants did anticipate something. It'll be interesting to see how the Pirates and others handle it in the coming weeks. You would think Bochy would get shown on the scoreboard, at the very least.