Giants

Down on the Farm: Giants' second-round pick living up to his historic height

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MLB Pipeline

Down on the Farm: Giants' second-round pick living up to his historic height

For good reasons, Joey Bart has earned all the headlines with his big bat and eye-popping stats. The Giants' top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft now has seven home runs and 18 RBI in 11 games for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. 

Bart, however, isn't the first player that makes you stop in your tracks when looking at San Francisco's draft picks this year. The Giants' second pick in this year's draft and biggest player (by height) has been quite impressive himself. 

Bart's battery mate Sean Hjelle is living up to his 6-foot-11 frame. The second-round pick has posted three straight scoreless outings for Salem-Keizer. 

In fact, Hjelle has only allowed one earned run to start his professional career. That came in his first start, the only time Bart has not caught him.

Over Hejelle's scoreless streak, he has allowed just two hits in five innings with four strikeouts and zero walks. Through six innings with Salem-Keizer, Hjelle is 0-0 with a 1.45 ERA and has five strikeouts to no walks. 

“We love the way he’s handled himself. He doesn’t move like he’s a 6-foot-11 pitcher,” Giants scouting director John Barr said after drafting Hjelle. “You expect him to be gawky but he moves his feet. When he walks past you or you shake his hand, you realize how tall he is. When he’s on the mound he controls his body. He really controls his body well, which shows his athleticism. He’s a good athlete.”

The Giants selected Hjelle No. 45 overall out of the University of Kentucky. In three seasons as a Wildcat, Hjelle went 22-10 with a 3.68 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 228.2 innings pitched. He was also named the 2017 SEC Pitcher of the Year.

If Hjelle reaches the major leagues, he would tie Jon Rauch as the tallest player in MLB history. 

Giants walked off by Reds in 11th for second straight loss

Giants walked off by Reds in 11th for second straight loss

The first night at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati wasn’t what you would expect. The Giants and Reds took a 1-1 tie deep into the night in one of the league’s best hitters parks before Phillip Ervin took Ray Black deep in the 11th.

The Giants lost their second straight after a hot start to this trip. They are 2-2 on what they felt would be a trip that could get them back into the NL West race. Here’s what else you need to know from a disappointing night... 

—- The lineup did absolutely nothing against Anthony DeSclafini, who entered with a 4.46 ERA. He was finally knocked out in the eighth when the Giants put two on with two outs, but Buster Posey tapped out to short. 

—- The Giants couldn’t have asked for much more from Casey Kelly, an emergency starter after Dereck Rodriguez strained his hamstring. Two days after pitching the 12th in Los Angeles, Kelly gave up one run over 4 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits — eight singles — but repeatedly wiggled out of trouble. It helped that he picked Billy Hamilton off.

—- Kelly shared a cool moment with his dad, Pat, the bench coach for the Reds. The two made eye contact before the first pitch and saluted each other. 

Why Dereck Rodriguez's injury hits outside-looking-in Giants at worst time

Why Dereck Rodriguez's injury hits outside-looking-in Giants at worst time

SAN FRANCISCO — Your view of which side was to blame Tuesday night depends almost entirely on which side of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry you grew up on. That much was made clear over the past three days, both in the aftermath of the mini-brawl and when the punishments were handed down Thursday. 

At this point, it doesn’t really matter how much blame to place with either party. The only thing that matters for the Giants is that for the second consecutive year, they found themselves mixed up in a silly skirmish that cost them a player. This time around, the price is steeper for the team, both because of the player involved and the circumstances of the season. 

A year ago, Michael Morse’s career ended with a concussion suffered when Jeff Samardzija crashed into him seconds after Hunter Strickland threw at Bryce Harper. Morse was put on the DL and soon found himself retired, but with a .194 average on a terrible team, he wasn’t going to stick around much longer anyway. Morse admitted to USA Today earlier this year that he looks back on that stretch as “playing with house money.”

This season’s injury will have a far greater impact, even though the hamstring strain Dereck Rodriguez suffered was announced as just a Grade 1. The timing couldn’t be worse for the Giants, who are on the fringes of the playoff race, sure, but are far from the 98-loss pace they were on when Morse went down last season. They still have hopes of making a run. 

The staff got together in Los Angeles and went away from manager Bruce Bochy’s tradition, using the off day to skip the fifth starter spot. That had Rodriguez lined up to face the Reds on Friday night, with the hope that the Giants could build off the momentum from the Dodgers series. He was going to face the lowly Mets next week, too. Those were two very good opportunities for road wins. 

Instead, it’ll be Casey Kelly on Friday, and the Giants will piece it together from there. The rotation is weakened with the loss of a dominant rookie who was soaking up innings like an ace, and the repercussions surely will be felt in the bullpen at some point on this important road trip.

The Giants have no margin for error this season, and they already have found themselves reeling from things like Madison Bumgarner being hit by a liner, Brandon Belt’s appendix acting up, Evan Longoria getting drilled by a pitch, Joe Panik spraining his thumb on a tag, and Mac Williamson suffering a concussion when he ran over a bullpen mound. 

There was blame to be placed Tuesday, but this also is another bad break. Rodriguez was the first from the dugout to reach the scrum, doing what players do dozens of times a year without injury, and he appeared fine as he hopped around the outside of the altercation. Two days later, the Giants admitted their latest beef with Yasiel Puig had come at a costly price.

The Giants will hope Rodriguez can return on the next homestand, but this is a blow to his Rookie of the Year campaign and a big shot to a roster that now has just three healthy starters and really could have used two more Rodriguez starts over the next week. Chris Stratton is an option to return, and Ty Blach is available for spot-start duty. Tyler Beede is on the minor league DL, so you can cross him off. Perhaps Shaun Anderson is thrown into a playoff push. Management surely spent the flight to Cincinnati trying to figure all that out instead of enjoying a successful and dramatic series at Dodger Stadium that was highlighted by Tuesday's shoving match. 

An hour after the shoving had ended, catcher Nick Hundley said he hoped the incident would bring the team closer together. 

“This is a tight-knit group,” he said. “We’ll feed off that. What a great win.”

The next night, the Giants lost in extra innings. They now have lost at least two starts from a player who was the best part of a season forever stuck around the .500 mark.

It doesn’t really matter who is to blame at this point. The simple truth is that the Giants have been involved in several of these incidents the last five years, and they finally paid a steep on-field price.