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.

Why Giants' Gabe Kapler pulled Kevin Gausman after 80 pitches vs. Dodgers

Why Giants' Gabe Kapler pulled Kevin Gausman after 80 pitches vs. Dodgers

The Giants coaching staff spent weeks preparing for the opening series against the Dodgers, and while some of the pitching decisions looked strange at the time, there's no doubt that overall they worked. The Giants came out with a split, a great result for any team that visits Dodger Stadium these days. 

The second time through called for a bit more spontaneity, coming in the middle of a tough three-city trip. For the second straight night, a decision made when a starting pitcher was nearing the end of his leash backfired. This time it cost the Giants the game and a chance at a series win. 

On Saturday night, Johnny Cueto was allowed to extend to 93 pitches, but a three-run homer on his last one nearly proved costly. A day later, Kevin Gausman was pulled after just 80 pitches, and he watched from the dugout as Tyler Rogers gave up a three-run homer, blowing the lead in a game the Giants would go on to lose 6-2. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Gausman had an outstanding fastball going on an 82-degree afternoon, averaging 97 mph for the first time in four years and hitting 99 mph several times. His final pitch was his hardest of the day, a 99.3 mph heater that Cody Bellinger redirected into center field for a one-out single. Kapler came out and held up his right hand as he got to the mound. 

"I think it was just a hot day, seventh time up, third time through the toughest part of the order," Kapler said of the decision. "He had done a tremendous job. He had carried his stuff into that inning, he had carried his location into that inning, and it just felt like the right time to keep him healthy and strong and safe all the way through the season based on getting into the seventh for the first time. 

"At the same time we had a reliever ready who we felt confident could get us a groundball with a runner on first base and get us out of that inning."

Rogers gave up a single to Justin Turner and then struck out Max Muncy. He was on the verge of getting out of the inning, but he grooved a 3-2 curveball to A.J. Pollock and it sailed into the empty bleachers in left. 

Rogers had pitched two strong innings the night before, and the Giants feel he's someone who can bounce back. But the Dodgers were seeing Rogers for the fifth time in 17 days. Pollock had faced him a night earlier and flown out on a curveball. 

[RELATED: What you might've missed as Giants blow lead vs. Dodgers]

Kapler disagreed with the notion that the novelty had worn off when it came to the submariner. 

"I think it's not just novelty with Rog, it's the ability to throw strikes with two pitches that are unusual. It's an unusual look. He can attack the strike zone with those two pitches and they're actually just flat-out good pitches," Kapler said. "Pollock made a nice adjustment, got to two strikes and two outs, and he was able to elevate the ball."

The blast cost Gausman a win on a day when he became the first Giants starter to record a quality start this season. Gausman gave up just three hits in 6 1/3 innings and struck out six. He made a sour face as he came off the field and threw his gum, and said later that he would have liked an opportunity to finish the seventh. 

"I definitely felt like I had more in the tank. My limit is not 80 pitches, but Kap's job is to make those decisions. That's his job description," Gausman said. "I'm not the one that's calling down to the bullpen and getting guys loose, that type of thing. Obviously I thought I pitched well enough to warrant getting a couple more guys out, but we're trying to win the series and it's a hot day. Maybe those were factors in his decision."

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-2 loss vs. Dodgers

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-2 loss vs. Dodgers

BOX SCORE

Kevin Gausman had the best start of the year by a Giant, and one of the most dominant we've seen from any starter early on this season. But it wasn't enough for the Giants, who dropped a heartbreaker in the late innings and lost a series at Dodger Stadium.

Gausman was sitting in the upper 90s all afternoon but was pulled after just 80 pitches. He watched as Tyler Rogers gave up a three-run homer to A.J. Pollock and the Los Angeles Dodgers got another blast later from Mookie Betts, walking away with a 6-2 win. 

The Giants fell to 2-5 on this road trip with three games coming up against the Astros. Here are three things to know from one that truly hurt ... 

Made of quality

The bar to clear for a quality start -- six innings, three earned runs -- is not a high one, but the Giants had not had one through 16 games, which is pretty remarkable. Gausman sailed past that mark in his fourth appearance as a Giant, but took a brutal no-decision. The right-hander left with a 2-0 lead and a runner on first in the seventh. A few minutes later, the Giants trailed. 

What was so notable about Gausman is how he did it. He was throwing gas, hitting 99 mph three times -- including 99.3 on his final pitch -- and averaging 97 with his four-seamer. That was his best average fastball since 2016. The final pitch was his hardest since June 9, 2018.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Maybe pump the brakes a little?

Rogers had a huge spring and was just as sharp in the second camp, but manager Gabe Kapler might be playing that card a bit too often. To be fair, Kapler doesn't have a lot of great bullpen options, but Rogers' appearance Sunday was his fifth against the Dodgers in 17 days, and even pitching two innings in Saturday's win.

At some point, that submarine delivery isn't as much of a surprise, and Pollock swung the score with a three-run shot on a hanging curveball. One pitch earlier, Pollock had walked a few steps toward first, thinking he had walked on an inside pitch. 

[RELATED: MadBum struggles again while Gausman shines for Giants]

Not slowing down

Mike Yastrzemski provided the offense, driving a two-run single into center off former Vanderbilt teammate Walker Buehler. Yastrzemski is eighth in the NL with 12 RBI, and one of the players he trails is a teammate, Donovan Solano (14).

Solano extended his hitting streak with a two-out single in the eighth inning. This was not a barrel for Donnie Barrels. He hit a slow roller to third with a launch angle of negative 46 degrees, exit velocity of 55 mph and hit probability of 17 percent, but it died on the grass and Solano easily beat Justin Turner's throw to first. 

The 14-game hitting streak is the longest by a Giant since Angel Pagan went 19 games in 2016. 

Those were the only two hits of the day for the Giants.