The Giants provided plenty of reasons for fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend, taking a four-game series from the Arizona Diamondbacks and winning their last three games after a four-game losing streak.
They enter Monday still in first place in the NL West, and there were plenty of reasons to celebrate down on the farm, too. Or better yet, plenty of reasons to celebrate yet another newcomer stepping in and making an immediate impact on the Giants.
Infielder Thairo Estrada is the latest to do so, joining LaMonte Wade Jr. and others who have shown off the Giants' depth and development.
But surprise, surprise: We're coming out of the holiday celebrating top prospect Marco Luciano to start off our latest Giants minor league review.
Top Prospect With Top Power
Luciano was named the Low-A West Player of the Week on Monday, taking home the hardware after launching four home runs in six games. The 19-year-old shortstop hit .316 for the week and also had nine RBI, five runs scored and five walks.
Through 50 games, Luciano now has 14 home runs with a .571 slugging percentage and .945 OPS. Just how impressive are those numbers? Let's compare them to others in the minors, and even in the majors.
Luciano leads Low-A West in homers, with the next-closest four behind him. He's also third in slugging percentage and second in RBI (41). He leads all Giants minor leaguers in homers by four as well, with Will Wilson of the Eugene Emeralds and David Villar of the Richmond Flying Squirrels both hitting 10 so far. Let's go even bigger.
Not only does Luciano lead Low-A West in homers, he leads all of Low-A. Actually, only three players in High-A have hit as many or more dingers than the Giants' top prospect. In the entire minor leagues, 18 players have hit as many or more home runs as Luciano so far this season.
Now let's look at Giants hitters at the big league level. Brandon Crawford, who has played 23 more games than Luciano this year, is the only hitter in the organization who has more homers than Luciano with 17. Luciano would have the highest slugging percentage for San Francisco, and Buster Posey (.968) is the only Giant who has a higher OPS.
And his 115-mph home run would be the highest exit velocity of any Giants player this season.
Hello, Jairo Pomares
A healthy Pomares didn't waste any time reminding people what kind of hitter he is. Back issues kept Pomares shelved to start the season, but the outfielder is back with the San Jose Giants and isn't messing around.
He was named Low-A West Player of the Week his second week back, and had another strong showing this past week. Though Pomares did have eight strikeouts and only walked twice in six games, he hit three doubles, homered once and had a .919 OPS. Pomares has played 16 games this season and is batting .306 with four home runs, eight doubles and a 1.006 OPS.
I have been a longtime fan of Pomares' free and easy left-handed swing. So much so, I asked Giants farm director Kyle Haines about Pomares back in the spring. Here's what he had to say.
"Yeah, he can hit. He should have more power down the road. Power’s just the last thing to develop, but he can hit. He’s a strong kid and I think he might hit doubles and homers out in the future more as he plays more."
Heliot Ramos Finally Breaks Out
The hype machine was screaming for Ramos to break spring training with the big league club at just 21 years old. The front office made the right decision here.
Ramos' terrible June has fans staring at an ugly stat line for a top-100 prospect in all of baseball. On the Fourth of July, Ramos had a much-needed big day at the ballpark. He went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer in a 12-5 win against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Sunday was Ramos' first home run since June 11. It also was his first multi-hit game since May 30. Ramos, 21, hit .314 with three homers and an .892 OPS in May. He then went for a long tumble in June, batting just .155 with a .529 OPS. That month killed his numbers.
Even after his impressive showing on Independence Day, Ramos is batting .226 with a .689 OPS. He has struck out 64 times in 52 games, and his .313 on-base percentage is the same as when he struggled with command of the strike zone and laying off balls in the 2018 season.
Richmond always has been a tough place to hit, even for top prospects. The Giants have to hope that Ramos' first fireworks at the plate in a long, long time is the spark that he needed to start a hot streak.