Giants

Hard throwing Giants prospect Melvin Adon impresses in first big league camp

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AP

Hard throwing Giants prospect Melvin Adon impresses in first big league camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Melvin Adon pitched just 3 1/3 innings before being optioned to minor league camp on Sunday. But for the Giants, that was more than enough to keep their excitement going. 

Adon, 24, burst on the scene here in Scottsdale last fall, striking out 21 in 12 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He made four appearances in his first big league camp, allowing one run, striking out five and walking none. That last number is the one that stood out to Farhan Zaidi. 

"He had a great Fall League and it was fair to ask if he was going to build on that and kind of continue his trajectory, and that's definitely what we saw," Zaidi said. "I know the gun readings excite everybody, but I like the fact that he threw strikes. That was as encouraging as anything. He's got a good slider. Without the slider, I don't think (the fastball) is as effective, but he can kind of go 50-50 on guys and keep guys off balance. 

"He obviously has as high a ceiling as you can have as a reliever, so that's been really good to see."

That ceiling is sky-high because of velocity that's rare even in today's high-octane game. Adon was 98-99 mph in his final appearance of the spring, but in an earlier game, he hit triple-digits four times, twice touching 102 mph. 

There’s a good chance that repertoire will be on display for Double-A Richmond at the start of the season, and Adon could move quickly. He certainly left an impression on his manager.

“He threw strikes and used his slider well,” Bruce Bochy said. “That kid really made a lot of progress.”

How Sean Hjelle impressed Farhan Zaidi in Giants spring training debut

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USATSI

How Sean Hjelle impressed Farhan Zaidi in Giants spring training debut

It's easy to pick Giants prospect Sean Hjelle out of the crowd, but the 6-foot-11 pitcher stood out for other reasons over the weekend. 

Hjelle touched 96 mph on the radar gun in a perfect inning during San Francisco's first spring-training win Sunday, closing the Giants' victory over the split-squad A's. With three pitches, Hjelle caught Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi's attention.

"[He's] already an intimidating presence out there on the mound, [6-11] with a downhill plane," Zaidi said on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show" on Monday, "and I love that he just came in and threw strikes."

The 22-year-old finished the 2019 season in Double-A with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, posting a 6.04 ERA in 25 1/3 innings in five August appearances. He likely will spend a lot of time in Richmond in 2020, but Hjelle can make a strong case for an eventual call-up this spring. 

His first appearance went about as well as he could have asked for, but the Giants will monitor Hjelle -- and everyone else in camp -- in two key areas: Walks and strikeouts. Zaidi said strikeout-to-walk ratio "actually winds up being a little bit predictive" of regular-season performance, unlike most spring-training statistics. 

"If you're a pitcher and you've got a 6 or 7 ERA but you strike out 15 guys and walk one, it usually means that's a good springboard for you going into the season," Zaidi said. "And same on the hitting side: Guys that control the strike zone in spring training, that usually suggests that those guys are going to get off to a good start and have a good season."

[RELATED: Find out where some ex-Giants have ended up this spring]

Hjelle will need more than just a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio in the spring to make -- and eventually stick with -- the Giants. 

But early in spring training, he has turned the right head by impressing Zaidi. 

Archie Bradley praises D-backs GM for Madison Bumgarner alter ego comments

Archie Bradley praises D-backs GM for Madison Bumgarner alter ego comments

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nobody at the Diamondbacks' spring training facility had uttered the name "Madison Bumgarner," despite seeing him numerous times.

He goes by Mason Saunders for now. That is his alter ego after all -- the one he uses to win cash prizes at rodeo events.

The sports media world had a field day when the information on MadBum's alias surfaced, but D-backs general manager Mike Hazen had his back.

"Madison is a grown man and we know he's committed to helping us achieve our goals as a team," Hazen told media on Monday. 

Arizona pitcher Archie Bradley said that resonated with him as well.

"It's great. I personally have a lot of respect for Mike Hazen, but that was something I was actually talking to CC Sabathia yesterday," Bradley told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday. "You're seeing this new wave where guys aren't afraid to showcase the other side of their life. I think there's kind of been this build of 'You just have to be a baseball player.' LeBron started with 'More Than an Athlete,' I think guys are kind of catching on."

He also loves the fact that MadBum now is on his team instead of facing him as much as he did during their NL West matchups when Bumgarner was on the Giants. MadBum has made a huge impression on the 27-year-old.

"He just raises everyone's level of awareness and preparation," Bradley said. "When you win a World Series, that holds a lot of weight, it puts your name in bold font. You know, Madison Bumgarner is a big-time name, not only because of his talent level, but because of how he competes, but how he's won."

"When you add a guy like that who is very old school and very hard-nosed, you kind of perk up a little bit."

[RELATED: MadBum's young teammates ready to see what he's about]

Bradley said MadBum, after winning multiple World Series championships, is bringing that mentality to his new team in Phoenix. 

"This is a guy that has not only done it but is vocalizing how he wants to do it here."