Scooter Gennett gives Giants glimpse of potential, homers vs. Rockies

Scooter Gennett gives Giants glimpse of potential, homers vs. Rockies

Scooter Gennett re-introduced himself to his new teammates in a big way Saturday night. 

The Giants infielder crushed a two-run, 413-foot home run in San Francisco's 6-5 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Gennett's homer wasn't his first hit in orange and black -- he doubled Friday night -- but it was his first dinger since Sept. 20, 2018. 

In a postgame interview with Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper and Javier Lopez, Gennett was well-aware of how much time had passed. 

"Yeah, it was a good time for the first," Gennett said. "It's been, like, 10 months since I hit a home run, so it was nice to have a runner on base when I did it."

Gennett swung at the first pitch he saw Saturday, and Jon Gray's 95 mph fastball off the plate subsequently ended up in the right-field bleachers. Although Gennett entered the day 6-for-10 against Gray, he joked with Kuiper and Lopez that he had a different strategy in mind going against the Rockies starter.

"Sometimes I hit better on the pitches that aren't in the strike zone," Gennett quipped. It's kind of weird."

While Gennett's home run gave the Giants breathing room, it wasn't enough for them to uphold. The Rockies scored five unanswered runs and led 5-4 entering the top of the eighth inning. 

Buster Posey, pinch-hitting for reliever Sam Coonrod, stepped up to the plate with two men on base. The Giants catcher fell behind 0-2, but worked the count to 2-2 and fouled off Carlos Estévez' 92 mph slider. On the very next pitch, Posey doubled to right and gave the Giants the lead for good.

Gennett said he long admired the Giants' resilience from afar, and he got a taste of it in his second game with the team. 

"I've always respected the way they go about their business, and it's one of my things," Gennett told Kuiper and Lopez. "Just play the game hard, play it the right way and everything else seems to work out." 

The 29-year-old Gennett, who was an All-Star for the first time in 2018, played just 21 games with the Cincinnati Reds before his trade to San Francisco after missing much of the season with a severely strained right groin. He made his season debut on June 28, and seems to still be working his way back in the field and at the plate. 

[RELATED: What trade deadline means for MadBum's Giants future]

Gennett did not get another hit after his first-inning homer, and is just 2-for-9 through his first two games with the Giants. The Rockies also took the lead on his fifth-inning throwing error. The Giants might not need him to rediscover his All-Star form, but an improved Gennett would be a big boost as the team chases the second NL wild-card spot. 

"Man, it feels great." Gennett said of being in a playoff race. "That's what it's all about, and this team -- they play the game the right way. Obviously, it's my second day here and I'm getting to know the guys more and it seems like everybody's rooting for each other, and that's what I'm used to. It's refreshing to see."

Bruce Bochy didn't know of Madison Bumgarner's rodeo competition alias

Bruce Bochy didn't know of Madison Bumgarner's rodeo competition alias

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bruce Bochy leaned against the railing of the dugout he called his spring home for over a decade. He smiled when asked about Madison Bumgarner, his longtime ace and close friend. 

"This," Bochy said, "Is the first I'm hearing of Mr. Saunders."

Mr. Saunders -- Mason Saunders, to be exact -- is Bumgarner's alias in team-roping competitions. The Athletic reported Monday that Bumgarner has participated in competitions under an alias, a story that still had teammates laughing a day later, as they prepared to face Bumgarner's Arizona Diamondbacks.

It was sent around in text messages Sunday night as word first got out. 

Bochy was coy when asked about how much he knew over the years. He joked he was a "little disappointed he didn't call me" to compete, but then said that in all seriousness, he's most amazed by the fact that the story didn't leak earlier given "his presence and who he is."

"That's pretty good, really. I knew he was doing some roping, I didn't know it was on the competitive level," Bochy said. "There wasn't going to be any stopping him. I've had players, like (Ryan) Klesko, he was out there surfing. You don't know what they're doing on their own time but to do it on a competitive level, that's pretty impressive how he hid this. 

"And he won, right? I mean, geez, that's even more impressive." 

Bumgarner did win $26,560 in a competition late last year. The Athletic reported on Bumgarner's side gig after the discovery of a photo on a Facebook page showing that Mason Saunders, a man who looked just like Madison Bumgarner, had just won a competition. 

Some former teammates said Monday that they knew Bumgarner was attending rodeos and working on roping in his spare time, but there seemed to be some surprise and amusement at the fact that he was actually competing. It was an open secret in the clubhouse that Bumgarner, who reached mythical figure status after 2014, was doing things often forbidden by standard player contracts. The first public sign of that was when he had a high-profile dirt bike crash in 2017.

Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen told reporters on Monday that he doesn't tell players what they can and cannot do off the field, noting that "Madison is a grown man and we know he's committed to helping us achieve our goals as a team."

[RELATED: What makes young D-backs so excited to play with Bumgarner]

The Giants basically took the same approach. When Bumgarner crashed in 2017 the team could have fined him and helped lower their CBT payroll, but elected not to. The Giants knew Bumgarner was riding horses -- they put him on one for a ceremony even though Bumgarner warned team officials that a horse could be unpredictable in front of 40,000 fans -- and roping.

Bochy said he doesn't think anybody knew he was actually competing. 

"I've got to think that's the end of him being on the rodeo circuit," he said, smiling. 

Four Giants named to Keith Law's top 100 prospects for 2020 MLB season


Four Giants named to Keith Law's top 100 prospects for 2020 MLB season

The Giants' rising farm system continues to be recognized. San Francisco no longer is at the bottom of rankings as they now have multiple top 100 prospects. 

Most outlets include either three or four Giants in their top 100 lists. The Athletic's Keith Law released his list Monday before the upcoming season, and four Giants prospects made the cut: Joey Bart (44), Heliot Ramos (52), Marco Luciano (58) and Hunter Bishop (87). 

This, however, is the lowest Bart is ranked among the most popular outlets. FanGraphs has him as high as No. 10, while MLB Pipeline has him at No. 14 and Baseball America ranked Bart lower at 32. Law brings up Bart's history of breaking his hands right away in his scouting report. 

Bart broke his non-throwing hand last season with the San Jose Giants, and then broke his right hand as he was tearing up the Arizona Fall League. He also broke his left hand during his sophomore year at Georgia Tech. 

Law tends to rank players more on ceiling and upside, and says Bart has a "very high floor" because of his power, but believes he must show he can make consistent contact as he continues to face tougher pitching. As for his power, Bart showed that off with his first at-bat this spring. 

Ramos really impressed Law in 2019 after bouncing back from a rough 2018 season and hitting .290 with 16 homers between Single-A and Double-A at only 19 years old. In the near future, Law sees 30-plus homer power for Ramos in the mold of a No. 4 hitter. But he sees a position change for the former first-round draft pick. 

"He’s a solid athlete, but the way his body is filling out eliminates any chance that he’s going to play center in the majors; he should be capable in right, though, and has the plus arm to play there," Law wrote. That's no surprise. Ramos is built more like a running back than an outfielder. A switch to right field shouldn't be any trouble, though. 

Luciano might have the most upside out of any Giants prospect, which makes him a bit of a surprise at 58, even though he was 17 years old all last season. Law is impressed with his patience and power and sees Luciano as the Giants' first homegrown Latin American star since Pablo Sandoval.

There's no doubt that Luciano has a higher ceiling than Pablo ever did. 

[RELATED: Watch Bart, Dubon go deep in Giants’ spring training opener]

And then there's Bishop. Like Ramos, Law envisions Bishop moving off of center field in the future. Bishop has a weak arm, making him a natural candidate for left field. He runs great for his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame and covers a ton of ground. 

There are strikeout concerns for Bishop -- he had a 37-percent K rate last year after being taken with the No. 10 pick -- but the power is for real. Also like Ramos, Law says Bishop can consistently hit 30 long balls in the bigs. 

As the Giants set their eyes on the future, the spotlight will shine on these four players throughout this season.