Giants

How Giants fans' support impressed Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon

How Giants fans' support impressed Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon

Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubon entered this season as two of the more popular Giants, but a year ago at this time they were in extremely different situations. Yastrzemski was just getting his feet wet in his first week in the big leagues. Dubon was playing in Triple-A for the Milwaukee Brewers. 

They both got shots to grab a starting role later in the 2019 season with the Giants, and both did enough that they were going to be in Gabe Kapler's Opening Day lineup, possibly right at the top. Life changed quickly for Yastrzemski and Dubon, and on this week's episode of "Chalk Talk at Home," they talked about how far they've come. Both said interactions with the Giants fan base stood out early in their big league careers. 

"I struck out my first at-bat and they were still cheering for me walking back," Yastrzemski  "You don't get that too often, where it's a big market, big city with a huge history of winning, and usually fans demand excellence. The fans are so great out there that they're just exited for somebody to get an opportunity to come help the team and they're going to support you."

Dubon came along three months later, but he already knew all about Oracle Park's supportive fan. He grew up as one after moving to Honduras to Sacramento as a teenager. Still, Dubon found himself surprised by early interactions. 

"I was just trying to play baseball and the next thing I know I'm walking down the streets going to the field and a lot of people are honking in the car and saying hi to me, and I had no idea how they recognized me," he said. "It's pretty amazing how the Giants fans are."

Last year's rookie breakouts are training in Nashville and Miami, respectively, and both hope to be back at Oracle Park soon. MLB is angling for a July return, although there are plenty of hurdles. Whenever the sport resumes, it'll do so without fans, which might not be the adjustment you would expect.

Yastrzemski said he's able to get so focused at the plate that he never hears any noise anyway. The outfield may get weird, though. 

"You're used to having to like try and scream at the guy next to you to try and get his attention," he said. "You can whisper now."

[RELATED: Learn how to make Oracle Park's garlic fries]

Yastrzemski said it's going to be interesting to see how guys react, because some really feed off the energy coming from the seats. Dubon certainly qualifies as one of those players, and he said the empty stadium "is going to be weird."

"I'm a guy that feeds off that," he said. "I've just got to get used to it, I've just got to get used to not having anybody. I played in rookie ball here in Florida with literally nobody and it's going to be pretty much like that with the best players in the world."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

What Chadwick Tromp's minor league stats tell us about Giants catcher

What Chadwick Tromp's minor league stats tell us about Giants catcher

The Giants once again have a three-man race at catcher, even after Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 MLB season. And no, we're not talking about top prospect Joey Bart right now. 

Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly always were expected to compete as Posey's backup going into the season. Now, 25-year-old Chadwick Tromp (that's with an o, not a u) has entered the race with a red-hot bat in Summer Camp. 

There's reason to understand why many fans are wondering who Tromp is, and might not have heard of him at all. The Giants signed the Aruba native to a minor league contract in January with an invite to spring training, and he only had one hit in 10 at-bats. He has taken complete advantage of this second go-around though, ever since players arrived at Oracle Park on July 1.

Tromp was a late addition to the Giants' 60-man roster, joining the party on July 4. On Sunday, he displayed the kind of power that has opened eyes around the coaching staff. The right-handed hitter homered twice -- once off righty Jeff Samardzija and once off lefty Sam Selman -- in San Francisco's Black-Orange scrimmage. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Tromp is a bit of an unknown among Giants fans. So, what does his past tell us about the possible next Giants starting catcher? 

Shoulder surgery ended Tromp's season early in 2018 after hitting .264 with just two home runs in 53 games for Triple-A Louisville as a member of the Cincinnati Reds' organization. The injury kept him off the field until mid-Summer when he went to the Arizona Rookie League on a rehab stint. There, Tromp hit .271 with two homers, five doubles and a .910 OPS before joining Louisville in mid-July. 

Tromp, who always has been seen as strong defensively with a keen eye at the plate, had a power resurgence his second time in Triple-A. He homered in both of his first two games back with Louisville and turned July into his own Home Run Derby. The catcher hit .385 with six long balls, 14 RBI and a 1.077 slugging percentage in just nine games. 

In Louisville's first game in August, he went deep again. Tromp homered in five straight games from July 26 through Aug. 2, and knocked in 12 runs. 

[RELATED: Posey's leadership will be missed but won't be forgotten]

And then, he never homered again the rest of the year. Tromp hit just .196 with 18 strikeouts over 16 games in August. It was far from the dominant display he showcased the month before. 

Tromp, who's a stout 5-foot-8 and 221 pounds just turned 25 in March. He hasn't made his MLB debut yet, and has gone through two extended stints in Triple-A. The last time he hit over .300 in a season was 2017 in Advanced Single-A. He also played for the Netherlands this offseason in the Premier 12 and went deep against the Dominican Republic, but struggled over just eight at-bats.

Tromp's minor league stats are far from dominant, but he has shown the ability last season and in Summer Camp to catch fire at the plate.

More than anyone looking to get a fresh start, Tromp is coming in with a clean slate for the Giants. Even newcomers like Darin Ruf have more of a history the Giants can go off of. It only makes sense with everything going on that a wild card like Tromp finds himself having a chance to the lead this team behind the plate. 

From Buster to Chadwick, the Giants might have their next perfectly weird name to announce to a crowd of nobody, and he's taking advantage of the opportunity.

Watch Pablo Sandoval pitch at Giants Summer Camp on Oracle Park mound

Watch Pablo Sandoval pitch at Giants Summer Camp on Oracle Park mound

Giants manager Gabe Kapler will get extremely creative with how he uses pitchers in the shortened 60-game 2020 MLB season. But just how far will he go?

Probably not this far.

Pablo Sandoval recently took the mound at Oracle Park, sporting a mask and wearing a first baseman's mitt. The buzzword of Giants Summer Camp is "versatility," and this certainly is next level.

It's also not the first time Sandoval has toed the rubber. 

The third baseman/first baseman/DH famously first stepped on the mound in San Francisco during the 2018 season. He pitched a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning on April 28, 2018, in a 16-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sandoval also pitched a scoreless inning last season, on May 6, in a 12-4 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati. 

[RELATED: Posey's leadership will be missed but won't be forgotten]

Sandoval also underwent Tommy John surgery last season. The veteran slugger has been full-go ahead of the upcoming season, and should serve as a power bat off the bench while also earning spot starts here and there. 

"Let Pablo Pitch!" chants will ring out from afar with no fans in the stands. Don't hold your breath, but you never know in this already extremely odd baseball season.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]