Giants

Giants prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos could start 2020 in Triple-A

Giants prospects Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos could start 2020 in Triple-A

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Yastrzemski was a hell of a find, and the Giants feel good about what they saw from Tyler Beede, Logan Webb, Tyler Rogers and others late in the year. But as they try and build a contender, the best developments in 2019 came at much lower levels.

For the first time in a decade, the Giants have a group of high-end prospects coming through the system, and a couple could arrive as early as next year. Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos finished the season in Double-A, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on this week's Giants Insider Podcast that both will enter spring training with "the opportunity but not with a guarantee of starting the season in Triple-A."

Being in Sacramento in April would put Bart, a 22-year-old catcher, and Ramos, a 20-year-old outfielder, in position to debut next season. 

"They're going to have to earn that (promotion to Triple-A) and then we'll see where things go from there," Zaidi said. "One thing that we really wanted to emphasize and create a culture of this year was you earn your way through the system and there's no fixed timetables. Guys will be moved on merit and be given opportunities. That's true for guys that might be perceived as org guys and it's also true for the top prospects. 

"Those guys will have the opportunity to earn their way potentially all the way up to the big leagues next year but it's going to be up to them."

Zaidi's first season showed that the Giants are willing to be aggressive. Webb made just one start in Triple-A before getting eight in the big league rotation. Beede and Shaun Anderson arrived early, and Mauricio Dubon was plugged in as an everyday starter before rosters expanded. For the first time, Rogers was given an opportunity, and he was a September standout. 

[RELATED: Giants excited about future of young talent]

Bart and Ramos started the season in San Jose and both overcame injuries while reaching Richmond. Bart hit .278 with 16 homers in 79 games and now is tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Ramos hit .306 with 16 homers in San Jose but saw his OPS dip to .742 in Richmond. Still, he was one of the youngest players in both leagues.

Zaidi said he believes the Fall League will be a great experience for both top prospects. For more of his thoughts on his first season, the struggling core Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Dubon, the Joe Panik move and the trade deadline, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here.

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Dusty Baker has been a part of professional baseball since 1967, and if and when the sport returns in 2020, he will have to kick a few habits he's probably been doing since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

All players, managers and coaches will have to stop spitting, among other things.

In the name of health and safety during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB sent a 67-page document to teams outlining what the players can no longer do.

For Baker, the former Giants manager and current Houston Astros skipper, he isn't sure how he's going to stop spitting.

“Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting,” Baker told The Athletic's Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know.

“And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If you've seen Baker anywhere near a baseball diamond, he always has a toothpick sticking out of his mouth. Those little pieces of wood have become synonymous with the 70-year-old.

Baker told Stark and Glanville that there was a time in his career where he called a toothpick company trying to get an endorsement. Yes, a toothpick endorsement.

“So they wrote me back,” Baker said. “Nice letter. And they said, ‘Thank you, Dusty. It’s a great idea. But we don’t need you to sell toothpicks.' ”

Only Dusty could try to get a toothpick endorsement.

[RELATED: Zac Efron's epic Dusty autograph story]

Whenever baseball returns, Baker will manage an Astros team coming off a turbulent offseason in which they were severely punished for a sign-stealing scandal. Former manager AJ Hinch was fired for his role, opening the door for Baker get the chance to lead his fifth MLB team to the playoffs.

If Baker gets back to the playoffs, he'll have to do it without his trusty toothpicks.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Hunter Pence was part of two World Series-winning teams with the Giants in 2012 and 2014. He rejoined San Francisco's roster in February after an impressive comeback season in 2019 that included All-Star honors with the Texas Rangers.

The 37-year-old outfielder joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and explained why he decided to return to San Francisco.

“Obviously I feel a deep connection with the Giants organization,” Pence said. “The city, and these years, you never know which one is gonna be your last. I think everyone thought two years ago was my last year, and I’ve been fortunate that I made some adjustments.

“I want to be a part of passing on a lot of the things that I’ve learned to the young people, and I wanna come and transition back into the winning ways.”

[RELATED: Five Giants hitters who've had much more success when visiting Rockies]

Pence also noted that he’s appreciated getting a chance to work with the organization’s new leadership.

“It’s been really exciting to learn from Farhan, and the new metrics and I learned a lot of that with the Rangers. So I’m excited to share. I wanna pass all that on, I feel right at home, I’m in love with the city and the organization, and in love with everything with the Giants. It feels like home, it feels like family and it means a lot to be a Giant.”

Pence hopefully will be able to once again take the field in a Giants uniform soon.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]