Giants

How Heliot Ramos compares to other Giants who dominated in San Jose

How Heliot Ramos compares to other Giants who dominated in San Jose

LOS ANGELES -- Heliot Ramos spent his Tuesday night about an hour away from Dodger Stadium. Ramos, the Giants' No. 2 prospect, started in center field in the California League All-Star Game, held at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino.

The road to the big leagues will be a significantly longer trip, but it definitely doesn't look the way it did before the season. While most in the organization still view Ramos as more of a 2021 option, he has accelerated the timeframe with a huge first half in San Jose. 

Asked about Ramos recently, manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that this organization has a history of fast-tracking top hitting prospects. 

"We've shown in the past that if guys are making progress -- you go back to Pablo and Buster -- we'll bring them up on a fast pace," Bochy said. 

Buster Posey played 80 games in San Jose in 2009 and made a September cameo that same season; he was a big league starter the next year. Pablo Sandoval played 102 games in San Jose in 2007 and 68 in 2008, the season he ended up in the big leagues. Brandon Belt is another example on the big league roster; he destroyed the California League for 77 games in 2010 and made the Opening Day roster the next spring. 

Ramos, still just 19, is a bit of a different case. Given his age and his ups-and-downs last season in Augusta, the Giants expected him to have a lengthy run in San Jose. He still might, but his first-half numbers compare favorably to others who were moved quickly. 

Ramos has a .389 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage in San Jose. Posey was at .428 and .540, Sandoval at .353 and .528, and Belt at .492 and .628 (he seriously destroyed that league, which is part of why expectations have always been so high). By wRC+, Ramos (161) fits right in line with what Posey (157) and Sandoval (163 in his second season there) did in San Jose. 

The 2017 first-rounder has eight homers in 37 games and has improved his plate discipline, nearly doubling his walk rate year-over-year and cutting his strikeout rate by a couple of percentage points. That was an early sign that Ramos was ready to break out

"That's really exciting and that's obviously a point that's been emphasized with him and is a point for us in player development overall," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said earlier this season. 

[RELATED: Watch Heliot Ramos hit two-run homer]

Zaidi has a desire to move top prospects quickly and challenge them, and while Ramos was slowed by a knee injury in May, he has joined Joey Bart as Giants minor leaguers who look ready to be pushed. 

"I thought once he got into the flow of professional ball he would get on a faster pace," Bochy said. "That's what's happening now. We got a chance to see him this spring and he's got some huge potential. With that bat speed, this kid can do some damage."

Madison Bumgarner beats back at trade rumors after Giants walk-off win

Madison Bumgarner beats back at trade rumors after Giants walk-off win

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few minutes after the Giants overcame a deficit in the 16th inning and walked off the New York Mets in a thrilling 3-2 win, Madison Bumgarner tracked down his manager. He still couldn't believe it. He had to talk to Bruce Bochy. 

It wasn't the comeback that Bumgarner was incredulous about. He expects great things from this team. It was the fact that Bochy had pulled Bumgarner after 94 pitches and nine innings. 

Three years ago, Bochy planned to let Bumgarner pitch the 10th inning of the NL Wild Card Game against the Mets at Citi Field before Conor Gillaspie's heroics made it a moot point. On this night, he wouldn't let Bumgarner go past nine. 

"He lobbied, trust me," Bochy said, smiling. "He did. He came in after the game and he was still mad at me for not letting him go out there for the 10th."

Bumgarner's lobbying wasn't limited to the manager's office. After the win, he held as forceful a press conference as you will get with a pitcher who has spent years saving his best stuff for more casual settings. The message was clear. He doesn't want to be anywhere else on August 1. 

Asked specifically about continued trade rumors as the Giants have won 13 of 15, Bumgarner gave a quick answer. 

"I don't give a s--t," he said. "I'm here to win games for this team, and that's what we're doing."

Asked about the possibility of his time at Oracle Park winding down, Bumgarner again shook his head.

"I'm trying to win games for the Giants and we're trying to get into the postseason and we're making a push," he said. "We're coming."

Bumgarner repeatedly mentioned lofty goals, finishing up by noting that this win -- a comeback on a night when a tired lineup struggled to get going -- is the type you see from championship clubs.

"If we manage to keep this going and sneak in (the postseason), I don't think anyone will want to match up with us," he said. 

The Giants won't win the division, but they're back near the top of the Wild Card chase and back to one game under .500. If they keep this going, they very well could be in the winner-take-all game for a third time this decade, and there still might be nobody you would rather have on your side that night than Bumgarner. 

Three years after he went the distance to send Noah Syndergaard and the Mets home for the winter, Bumgarner again got the better of the flame-throwing right-hander. He struck out six and cruised through the ninth. Bochy, knowing he couldn't use Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson because of recent overuse, still opted for his bullpen.

The Giants bent repeatedly, but did not break. Williams Jerez, called up earlier in the day, finally faltered in the top of the 16th when Pete Alonso took him deep to left. But the dugout wasn't at all concerned. Alex Dickerson and Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the inning with doubles to tie the game. Three batters later, Donovan Solano walked it off. 

That made a big league winner of Jerez for the first time, and made that late-game push-and-pull a bit more lighthearted. Bumgarner really did want a shot at the 10th inning, saying later, "How many times do you get a chance to go out for the 10th?"

Bochy wouldn't allow it. He has been particularly protective of his ace this season, and while early on it might have seemed that would only benefit another club down the stretch, the situation has changed. The Giants firmly are in the postseason race, and Bumgarner clearly wants a part in it. 

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At the very least, he would like two more months with Bochy. Perhaps he'll finally convince his longtime manager to let him pitch into extra innings. 

"I didn't try to make it much of a conversation, but he wasn't having it," Bumgarner said, smiling. "Usually, if I really want, I can get my way with him. But he wasn't having it today."

Watch Donovan Solano walk off Mets, clinch Giants' sixth straight win

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USATSI

Watch Donovan Solano walk off Mets, clinch Giants' sixth straight win

They did it again.

Donovan Solano's walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning sealed the Giants' 3-2 win over the New York Mets on Thursday, extending San Francisco's season-high winning streak to six games. Solano stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, beating New York's shift with a single to right field. 

The Giants entered the bottom of the 16th trailing 2-1 after Mets slugger crushed a 427-foot home run to left center field. That broke a tie that lasted since the bottom of the fourth inning, as New York ace Noah Syndergaard dueled with San Francisco counterpart Madison Bumgarner. 

Bumgarner left the game after the ninth with six strikeouts and five hits allowed on 94 pitches. The 29-year-old, who might have been pitching his last game at Oracle Park ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, wanted to pitch into extras. 

But the Giants bullpen held strong after Bumgarner's departure, stranding multiple runners in the 10th, 13th and 15th innings. Alonso's blast looked like it might be enough to end the Giants' winning streak, but San Francisco didn't record an out in the 15th. Alex Dickerson doubled to lead things off, then Brandon Crawford drove him in with another double. Austin Slater was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, and Kevin Pillar loaded the bases with a single to right. 

That allowed Solano to be the hero, and his walk-off hit moved the Giants 2.5 games back of the second NL wild card spot. They haven't done much losing in July. 

[RELATED: Why Flan thinks Giants owe it to MadBum to trade him]

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told KNBR earlier this week that San Francisco's trade deadline wasn't just a matter of buying or selling. He added that "every opportunity you have to get to the playoffs has a ton of value," and the Giants reportedly won't make any trades without fetching a "significant" return. 

Solano's walk-off alone won't change the calculus. But if wins continue to pile up, Zaidi's deadline dilemma becomes far more interesting.