Giants promote prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Sean Hjelle to Double-A

Giants promote prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Sean Hjelle to Double-A

SAN FRANCISCO -- The most intriguing team in the Giants' farm system is now the one that plays in Virginia. 

The Giants will promote top prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Sean Hjelle to Double-A Richmond, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The Richmond Flying Squirrels confirmed the roster moves later Thursday afternoon. They will join current Flying Squirrel Logan Webb as an exciting group moving through the system together, and all four are now in position to get a look in the big leagues next year. 

Bart, Ramos and Hjelle are three of the organization's top six prospects, per MLB Pipeline, and all have excelled in their first season of A-ball. 

Bart, 22, is the organization's top prospect, the second overall pick a year ago and one of the best catching prospects in the minors. He was briefly sidelined by a hand injury earlier this year but has a .793 OPS in his first full season with 12 homers in 234 at-bats. Bart is advanced defensively and could make a push to be Buster Posey's partner as early as next spring. 

Ramos is just 19 but the Giants hoped to accelerate his development, and he responded to the challenge of facing High-A pitchers. The outfielder hit .306 in the California League with a .885 OPS and 13 homers in 294 at-bats, showing improved plate discipline in his second full season. The Giants planned to have Ramos a bit behind Bart, but he was San Jose's best hitter and now will take his shot at the much tougher Eastern League. There's not much ahead of Ramos on the depth chart in Triple-A, and he has put himself in the discussion for a 2020 promotion to the big leagues.

For Hjelle, this is already the second promotion of the season. The 6-foot-11 right-hander had a 2.66 ERA for Augusta and followed that up with a 2.78 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League. The 22-year-old struck out 74 batters and gave up just two homers in 77 2/3 innings. 

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Hjelle joins Webb, also 22, in the Flying Squirrels rotation. They are the two best pitching prospects in the organization and should both get extended looks next spring. 

The Ramos promotion was first reported by freelance writer Marc Delucchi. The San Francisco Chronicle was first with the Bart and Hjelle news. 

Pregame decision, sloppy defense cost Gabe Kapler, Giants in 7-6 loss

Pregame decision, sloppy defense cost Gabe Kapler, Giants in 7-6 loss

It almost seemed like a mistake when the Giants' lineup card was posted.

Steven Duggar, the best defensive outfielder on the roster, was listed in left field. Alex Dickerson was the right fielder for just the second time in his big league career. 

It seemed like a mixup, but Gabe Kapler explained before Monday's game why it made sense. Left field at Coors Field has significantly more real estate than right, and the gap is much harder to play on that side of the field. Kapler said the staff had gone over the spray charts for Rockies hitters and decided it made more sense to put Duggar, who had two previous professional innings in left, there Monday. 

"It's a little bit unpredictable," Kapler said in the afternoon. "Sometimes you get that right and sometimes you don't."

A few hours later, it felt like the decision ended up being costly. Dickerson, who previously had only played right when Brandon Belt was the left fielder, had two misplays in the five-run sixth inning of a 7-6 loss to the Rockies. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

With the Giants up by a run, Ryan McMahon hit a one-out shot to right that Dickerson got a glove on as his feet hit the warning track. But he bobbled the ball and dropped it as McMahon raced into third. The Rockies took the lead later in the inning on a single to right that turned into a two-run play when Dickerson's throw back to the infield overshot the cutoff man. Pitcher Wandy Peralta and catcher Chadwick Tromp ended up converging on the ball near the dugout as the trail runner easily took a vacated plate. 

Kapler said a night like that does lead to second-guessing, but he added that "sometimes you set them up and you set them up the right way and it doesn't work out."

"In hindsight, you question was that the right call. Honestly I bet Dick makes that (catch) 19 out of 20 times," Kapler said. "The throw, I bet he makes almost every time. There's no question."

The Giants were confident in their process, but at this point it might be hard to be too confident in how those decisions will play out on the field. The defense has been a mess through 11 games, a bit of a surprise given the intensity of both camps. They lead the NL with 13 errors. Evan Longoria booted a grounder in the first inning that led to the first run off Johnny Cueto, who was later charged with two more on a Nolan Arenado homer. 

That blast, Arenado's first of the year, started the five-run outburst. The Rockies kept tacking on thanks to the defensive mistakes, and perhaps the pre-game decision. 

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Dickerson said the switch might have factored in "a little bit" on the angles he took and said something caught his eye on the throw, perhaps because he was in an unfamiliar spot. But Dickerson said there were no excuses, and those were plays that should have been made regardless of his lack of experience in right. 

"At the end of the day you're still an athlete," he said. "You've got to be able to go catch a ball like that. I just kind of had one of those innings where there were two big flukes that really cost us."

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 7-6 loss to Rockies

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 7-6 loss to Rockies


Through their good times and bad early on this season, there's been one consistent theme for the Giants. They've been sloppy defensively, and on Monday that was a killer.

The Rockies scored five runs in the sixth, pushed along by a couple of defensive misplays from right fielder Alex Dickerson, and held on for a 7-6 victory. The Giants fell back a game under .500.

Here are three things you have to know from the first night of a 10-game road trip:

Step in the Right Direction

Johnny Cueto entered with a 5-2 record and 3.26 ERA in eight career starts at Coors Field, which is rare, obviously. He had his longest start of the young season, going five innings for the first time and allowing three runs, two of which were earned.

Cueto was cruising along until Nolan Arenado did what he has always done, crushing an elevated fastball into the empty seats for a two-run homer. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Same Old Nolan

Arenado entered the game with a .226 average and no homers, but he took Cueto halfway up the bleachers in left in the sixth inning. That was the last batter Cueto faced. 

The homer was the 228th of Arenado's career, which moved him past Carlos Gonzalez and into fourth place on the franchise list. He has hit 227 of those against the Giants.

[RELATED: Nine observations from GIants' homestand]

Still Powerful

The Giants hit some long homers on the 3-3 homestand and kept crushing on their first night in the best hitter's park around.

Chadwick Tromp homered for the second straight day and red-hot Mike Yastrzemski hit his third in 11 games. The most impressive shot came from Dickerson, who one-handed a low slider over the right field wall. It was his second career homer off a lefty. Coors!