The Giants entered Friday as MLB's hottest team. They had won six games in a row and found themselves firmly in contention for the NL's second wild-card spot.
But their future still is brighter than their present.
Baseball America updated its list of top 100 prospects Friday, and four of the most promising players in San Francisco's system were on it: Catcher Joey Bart (19), outfielder Heliot Ramos (68), shortstop Marco Luciano (71) and outfielder Hunter Bishop (98).
Bart, 22, entered the season as the Giants' lone prospect on the list. He started the year in Class A Advanced with the San Jose Giants and entered Friday slashing .271/.319/500 with nine home runs and 30 RBI. The Florida State product has come on strong of late and had his second multi-homer game of the season Thursday night. Bart moved as high as No. 14 on Baseball America's list this season and began the year No. 29 overall.
Ramos started the season unranked and moved up 26 spots from his last in-season ranking (94). The 19-year-old was the second biggest riser on Baseball America's midseason list and for good reason. He and Bart made the MLB Futures Game, and the outfielder already has exceeded his home run total from last season by hitting 12 homers in 229 at-bats with San Jose. Ramos was slashing .314/.397/.537 as of Friday and should continue to climb up prospect lists as he progresses through the minors.
Luciano, who signed with the Giants just over a year ago, has taken pro baseball by storm as a 17-year-old. He entered Friday slashing .337/.445/.685 in the Arizona Rookie League and had seven home runs in his first 23 games. If his hot start is any indication, Luciano is well on his way to following Ramos' path through the Giants system: Rookie League at 17, Class A at 18 and Class A Advanced at 19.
[RELATED: Boch knows Bumgarner won't be bothered by trade rumors]
The Giants selected Bishop with the No. 10 pick in June's draft, and the Arizona State product already has a promotion under his belt. Bishop is now playing in short-season Class-A for Salem-Keizer. He has only played two games there but has not yet shown signs of slowing down. The 21-year-old entered Friday slashing .269/.500/.615 in nine minor league games.
While San Francisco's climb up the standings lately has captivated Giants fans, the promise of the team's top prospects bodes better for sustainable success.
After a night to forget, the Giants will once again take the field in Atlanta against the mighty Braves, who clinched the NL East division title in a 6-0 win over San Francisco on Friday night.
Bruce Bochy’s group got a front-row seat to the Ronald Acuna Jr. show, as the superstar 21-year-old reached base all four times he went to the plate, including a towering two-run homer off Tyler Beede.
The Giants will send Jonny Cueto to the mound, who continues to impress in his return from offseason Tommy John surgery. Cueto didn’t factor into the decision but tossed five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed in his last start at Oracle Park against the Marlins.
Opposite Cueto will be 25-year-old Max Fried, who has had a breakout season in 2019. Fried is second in the NL in wins with 16 on the year.
[RELATED: How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future]
Coverage begins at 3:00 PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming in the MyTeams App.
Here are the lineups for Giants-Braves:
San Francisco Giants (74-80)
SS Mauricio Dubon
1B Austin Slater
C Buster Posey
3B Evan Longoria
CF Kevin Pillar
LF Joey Rickard
RF Jaylin Davis
2B Cristhian Adames
RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Atlanta Braves (95-60)
CF Ronald Acuna Jr.
2B Adeiny Hechavarria
3B Josh Donaldson
LF Adam Duvall
C Francisco Cervelli
1B Austin Riley
SS Dansby Swanson
CF Billy Hamilton
LHP Max Fried (16-6, 4.25 ERA)
ATLANTA -- Bruce Bochy hasn't even had a chance to open most of the alcohol he was given on his season-long farewell tour, and he already might find himself in the rumor mill regarding another job.
The San Diego Padres fired manager Andy Green on Friday, and you can bet Bochy's name will come up in some regard, even though he's eight games from retirement. Bochy has said all season that he is happy with his decision, but he also has at times left the door open to managing again down the line. At the very least, Bochy knows he'll be involved in baseball in some capacity next season, and the Giants have had discussions about what kind of title to give him.
Bochy won 951 games in 12 seasons in San Diego and still lives in Poway, a small city not far from Petco Park. Regardless of whether there's interest on either side, Saturday's decision will have some impact on the Giants.
The Padres trail the Giants in the standings, but have a much better farm system, more young talent at the big league level, and a couple of entrenched superstars in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. Their opening looks more appealing at the moment than the one that Farhan Zaidi will present to candidates in the coming weeks, and the two modern front offices could be vying for the same candidates.
[RELATED: Giants' Tyler Beede showing signs of hope despite continued struggles]
The hire will have another type of impact on the Giants' future. The Padres have long been considered a sleeping giant by many in the industry, and with the right manager they could present another significant NL West hurdle for the Giants over the next couple of years.
Soon, we'll find out which man the Padres consider to be that right fit. And we may find out just how committed Bochy is to drinking that wine and taking all those free fishing trips he has accumulated.