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

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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. 

How Giants kept rolling, walked off Mets in most bizarre way possible

How Giants kept rolling, walked off Mets in most bizarre way possible

SAN FRANCISCO -- About 40 minutes after the final pitch Friday, with the grounds crew cleaning up and the lights slowly turning off, a group of kids took to left field at Oracle Park. As they waited for their parents -- Giants players -- to finish up, the kids threw a ball around and made diving catches. 

Those kids probably would have handled the final moments of Friday's game better than the New York Mets did. 

In one of the most bizarre finishes you'll ever see, the Mets badly butchered a routine fly ball to left, allowing Alex Dickerson to race all the way around from first and clinch a 1-0 extra-innings win. It was the seventh straight win for the Giants and their 14th in 16 games. It gave them a .500 record for the first time this season. 

The way it happened, well, you just kind of have to watch it ... 

As bad as the Mets Mets-ed, the Giants did certainly take advantage, and that's what you have to do. Ron Wotus had a good send, and Dickerson was running hard the whole way. 

"Right as I was crossing second I took a peak at the left fielder and he looked tentative," Dickerson said after the game. "I know I've been in that situation before. Once you're tentative on those balls anything can happen. I was going as hard as I could, and once it dropped I was going to do everything I could to head home." 

There was another hero, too. None of this would have been possible without Tyler Beede, who cruised through eight innings in the longest start of his career and allowed the Giants to keep breathing on a night when Mets ace Jacob deGrom was his usual dominant self. 

[RELATED: Four Giants prospects crack Baseball America Top 100]

Beede needed just 89 pitches to get through eight innings before retreating to the clubhouse where he watched the end with injured third baseman Evan Longoria. Their TV feed was delayed, but they could hear the screams echo through the park and knew something weird had happened as they watched Pablo Sandoval's fly ball appeared to harmlessly sail into the night. A few moments later, players came streaming through the door to celebrate. 

"Well, we got a break," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You take it."

What a difference a year has made for suddenly dominant Tyler Beede


What a difference a year has made for suddenly dominant Tyler Beede

SAN FRANCISCO -- Last July 19, Tyler Beede came out of the bullpen for the Sacramento River Cats, taking over for top pitching prospect Shaun Anderson in the bottom of the sixth. He gave up a single and then walked two, getting pulled after recording just one out. 

Beede threw 18 pitches that night and just eight found the strike zone. Exactly a year later, he threw 89 while pitching through the eighth inning of a big league game for the first time. Sixty-two of them were strikes. 

It's a dramatic difference, but for Beede the renaissance actually started in those bullpen sessions. He focused on repeating good habits, and after getting a bit leaner in the offseason, he continued to work on repeating his delivery. The confidence came quickly.  

"As I look back to a year ago, yeah I was in the 'pen and things weren't going great statistically, but I started to over time make better habits," Beede said after a 1-0 win over the Mets. "The season didn't end great but I still felt confident in what I was doing, and then going into the offseason I made some changes that made me more efficient.

"I think it's just been a matter of shifting my focus to 'hey, attack' instead of trying to make perfect pitches. I think it's always been in me to have great command. I look back to high school and parts of college where I was dominant because I was attacking guys. It's not like I've never been a good command guy, so I think it was just getting that shift of focus. My stuff is good, I've known that, let's just go after guys."

Beede went after the Mets from the start, keeping pace with reigning Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, who threw seven shutout innings on his end. This is something he couldn't have done last season, or maybe even earlier this year, but Beede's confidence has grown and he has put together a recent streak that matches the team's. 

Beede allowed three hits and struck out five Friday, walking just one. In his last three starts he has a 1.66 ERA in 21 2/3 innings, with just one walk to 16 strikeouts. 

"It was fun to watch," manager Bruce Bochy said, smiling. "It's fun to watch his progress and his development and how his game has grown."