Giants

How Giants' top prospects performed in first week of 2019 MiLB season

How Giants' top prospects performed in first week of 2019 MiLB season

As Kevin Pillar does his best Barry Bonds impression for the Giants, the team's prospects are in the swing of things down on the farm. 

The 2019 Minor League Baseball season is one week old, and a handful of prospects are giving Giants fans a glimpse of hope for the future. Led by top prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos, here's how some of San Francisco's best prospects have fared through one week of action. 

Joey Bart, C, San Jose Giants

Bart, the Giants' top prospects, has picked up right where he left off to start his High-A career in San Jose. His talents were on full display in the home opener on Thursday night, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. 

Through seven games, Bart is batting .321 with two home runs, two doubles, a triple, and eight RBI. Of his nine hits, five are for extra bases and he has a 1.085 OPS. 

At this stage, his offense is far ahead of his defense and Bart must work on his receiving skills. But Bart's arm is elite and he's already thrown out seven of nine base-stealers, including four in his last two games behind the plate. 

Heliot Ramos, CF, San Jose Giants

Ramos isn't your typical 19-year-old, and I'll remind you of that all too often this yea. He'll be a teenager all season and is the fifth-youngest player in the California League.

And yet, he already has three home runs this season. Add his two doubles and five of his six hits have gone for extra bases. 

Though he's only hitting .231, Ramos's power has been on display to all fields early on and he has a 1.017 OPS. 

(NSFW) 


Shaun Anderson, RHP, Sacramento River Cats

Look past Anderson's 5.63 ERA, he's been pretty solid through two starts for Sacramento. 

In his first start of year, Anderson only allowed one earned run over five innings while striking out five batters. He struck out six more in his second start, but ran into some bad Las Vegas.

Anderson allowed four triples against the A's Triple-A team on Thursday in a new stadium that already appears unfriendly to pitchers. Overall, he has 11 strikeouts to only two walks in eight innings pitched. 

Tyler Beede, RHP, Sacramento River Cats 

Much of the Beede we saw in spring training has followed him to Sacramento. Through two starts, Beede is 0-1 with a 1.17 ERA. 

Beede has 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, but has also walked five batters. He still has to work on his command and limiting his pitch count, however, he's showing the swing-and-miss stuff that will have him back in San Francisco. 

Logan Webb, RHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels 

Webb can quickly become the Giants' top pitching prospect and he's showing why early in the season. 

Through two starts in Double-A, the 22-year-old has only allowed one earned run. He's 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA. Like Beede, Webb needs to lower his walk rate and has eight strikeouts to five walks in 10 innings thus far.

Sean Hjelle, RHP, Augusta GreenJackets

The Giants' second-round pick last year has allowed 11 hits in two starts, yet only three runs have crossed the plate. The 6-foot-11 right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk in nine innings. 

Hjelle pitched in short spurts last year after his college season. He's already thrown five innings in his second start, and it will be interesting to watch him go longer in games.

Chris Shaw, OF, Richmond Flying Squirrels 

And then there's Chris Shaw. 

The former first-round pick was demoted to Double-A to start the year after have a cup of coffee in the big leagues last season. Through four games, he's batting .300 and all his hits are singles. The good news is, he's only struck out twice while walking three times. 

[RELATED: Where Giants' top five prospects will start 2019 minor league season]

It's clear the Giants' new regime doesn't hold Shaw in the highest regards. He has to prove himself in a major way, and even then, he might not fit into the team's short or long-term plans.

MLB rumors: Giants-Twins Madison Bumgarner trade chatter ‘premature’

MLB rumors: Giants-Twins Madison Bumgarner trade chatter ‘premature’

It's possible that Madison Bumgarner made his last start for the Giants on Saturday at Oracle Park.

Charley Walters, a columnist for The Pioneer Press in Minnesota, reported that the Twins are "moving closer to a trade with the Giants for left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner."

Don't get too worked up just yet.

Darren Wolfson, a sports reporter for KSTP-TV in Minnesota, isn't ready to say a deal between the Giants and the Twins is close.

Bumgarner is the Giants' biggest trade chip, and he's expected to fetch them a haul of prospects before the July 31 trade deadline. A deal this far away from that deadline would be a surprise, though, as the team might want to wait longer for more suitors and richer offers.

The Twins aren’t one of the eight teams on Bumgarner's no-trade list, so that would make it easier for the Giants to facilitate a trade with Minnesota, which has surprised everyone this season and owned the best record in baseball through Saturday.

In 14 starts this season, 29-year-old Bumgarner has a 3.83 ERA and struck out 84 batters in 87 innings.

[RELATED: Will Smith remains focused as trade rumors swirl]

With the Giants in last place in the NL West, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi could start trading off his valuable pieces to restock the farm system. Along with Bumgarner, you can expect veteran relievers Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson to be traded by the deadline.

Stephen Vogt's speed vs. Brewers leads Giants to fourth straight win

Stephen Vogt's speed vs. Brewers leads Giants to fourth straight win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey first worked together in the minors, and for a decade in the big leagues, more often than not, Posey has been in the squat when Bumgarner digs in and looks in at the plate in the first inning. Posey has caught nearly 80 percent of Bumgarner's big league starts, a number that would be much higher if not for a couple of season-ending injuries.

But when Giants manager Bruce Bochy sat down this week to plan out playing time, he made an interesting decision. With a day game Saturday, Bochy knew Posey, coming off a hamstring injury, would catch just one of the first two against the Brewers. He chose Friday, pairing Posey with Drew Pomeranz. That meant Stephen Vogt caught Bumgarner for a third straight start, and the left-hander didn't mind one bit. 

"That's definitely the fastest and easiest transition I've had with another catcher besides Buster," Bumgarner said. "The first game, it just clicked."

Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that the partnership found smooth waters so quickly. Vogt is apparently all about speed these days. 

The 34-year-old catcher had two triples and an infield single Saturday, providing much of the energy in an exciting 8-7 win over the Brewers that was the fourth straight for the Giants. Vogt, popular in every big league stop, has quickly become a favorite of longtime Giants, including Bumgarner. 

"The guy's a ballplayer," Bumgarner said. "He's fun to watch. He gives it all he's got. Everybody really appreciates that. He's a guy that's easy to pull for."

The two triples got most the attention, but Vogt's most impactful sprint may have been the one he made in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on the corners and two outs, Vogt hit a slow roller up the middle and beat Orlando Arcia's throw to first, reaching 27.6 feet per second, his second-fastest sprint of the season. 

"I like to joke that the fastest human being on the planet is a baseball player that smells a hit," Vogt said, smiling. 

All kidding aside, those four and a half seconds told the Giants a lot about their backup catcher. After being in the squat for nearly three hours, Vogt busted it down the line, providing a necessary insurance run. Will Smith would give up a solo shot to Christian Yelich in the ninth but held on when Mike Yastrzemski made a diving catch for the final out. 

"It ended up being a huge run," Bochy said of Vogt's final hit. "In the eighth inning, for a catcher to get down there like that, that's impressive."

Vogt's day was historic in a way. He became the first Giants catcher since Steve Nicosia in 1984 to record two triples in one game and just the third catcher in the last eight years to do it. The Giants had not had a two-triple game from any player in three years. 

Vogt's first triple, just the 10th of his career, came when he lined a 2-0 fastball from former teammate and friend Jimmy Nelson off the fourth archway. The ball would have been a home run in 18 ballparks, but it ricocheted into center field and Vogt cruised into third, his helmet flying off, as Yelich chased it down. With a sprint speed of 26.4 feet per second, Vogt reached third in 12.4 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the MLB average this season. He would score on Kevin Pillar's single. 

The second triple was a bit more traditional by the ballpark's standards, as Vogt lined a Junior Guerra splitter into Triples Alley and hustled into the bag in 12.14 seconds. Again, he scored on a Pillar single. Afterward, Vogt briefly took on a serious tone when noting that he hopes the ball won't be able to roll that far in the future. Vogt joined the chorus of players who want the bullpens moved off the field and into Triples Alley. He said it's a safety issue, pointing out that Chris Taylor toppled over a mound earlier this homestand. 

"If that's how we have to get that done, let's do it," he said. 

[RELATED: Will Smith focused despite trade rumors]

That's a conversation for the future. In the present, the Giants are just trying to put a positive stretch together. They remain eight games under .500, but this is their best run of the season, and on Sunday they have a chance to sweep a contender. 

"That's a big win," Vogt said. "A big win for us."