Atlanta Braves

MLB rumors: Phillies, Yankees scouted Giants' Madison Bumgarner recently


MLB rumors: Phillies, Yankees scouted Giants' Madison Bumgarner recently

Some interested teams reportedly got a good look at Madison Bumgarner recently.

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees were among "several clubs" that scouted the Giants ace in his second-to-last start last Saturday, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday. Bumgarner pitched 6 1/3 innings that day, striking out six and allowing four earned runs in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Phillies and Yankees both reportedly believe they could use a top-line starter, although both teams entered Friday in the top 10 in earned run average. Still, both teams are on Bumgarner's no-trade list.

What might be a bigger deal to the Giants, however, is the quality of both team's prospects.

Neither New York nor Philadelphia cracked MLB Pipeline's top 10 farm systems at the start of the season. Still, both teams boast two prospects in the top 100: The Phillies have third baseman Alec Bohm (No. 54) and right-handed pitcher Adonis Medina (No. 70), while the Yankees possess outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 52) and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 59).

Nightengale reported that the Giants have "hopes of seizing at least one top five prospect from a team, or perhaps two others of their top 15 prospects in return." Their best match, then, might be another team that already got an up-close look at Bumgarner this week in the Atlanta Braves.

[RELATED: What Giants can learn from Braves' young, rebuilt roster]

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic noted Thursday, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has history with the Braves’ front office. Plus, the Braves sat third on MLB Pipeline's farm-system rankings at the beginning of the season.

No matter which hypothetical Bumgarner destination you prefer, though, it seems increasingly certain he’ll no longer be wearing orange and black when the July 31 MLB trade deadline passes.

What Giants can learn from Braves' rebuild of young, exciting talent

What Giants can learn from Braves' rebuild of young, exciting talent

SAN FRANCISCO -- You don't generally hear players talk too much about other teams, but as they lost three of four to the Braves this week, the Giants threw plenty of admiration Atlanta's way. 

Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija noted how deep their lineup is. Mac Williamson joked about getting hitting tips from rookie Austin Riley. Bruce Bochy, before the finale, complimented Atlanta's lineup and pipeline of prospects, which isn't anywhere near done getting stars to the big leagues. 

"They're good," Bochy said. "They're a team that's going to be up there for years battling for the postseason."

That's where the Giants were for most of this decade. That's where they hope to be sooner than later. So as the Braves leave town, let's take a look at this emerging power, and see how Farhan Zaidi and Co. might be able to follow some of Atlanta's path back to contention. 

Here's how the Braves were built:

First-round picks: Austin Riley, Mike Soroka

These two, taken in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft, might have been the most impressive players on the field this week. Riley hit three homers in four games and had the game-winning hit in extra innings Thursday. Soroka took a perfect game into the sixth on Monday. 

Riley, a 22-year-old who plays third base and left field, may be the player the Giants can most closely duplicate over the next year. They already have a big right-handed masher in their farm system, although Joey Bart, also 22, is a catcher. A lot of Bart's power is to the opposite field, but Riley feasted on the left-center gap at Oracle Park, and the Giants are hopeful Bart can eventually give them that kind of threat. 

Heliot Ramos is only 19 and has shown power in A-ball, and the 2017 first-rounder could make it up at a younger age than Riley, who wasn't a top 50 prospect until he had been in the minors for four years. 

The Giants don't have anything close to Soroka, a 21-year-old who already looks like a Cy Young contender, or fellow first-rounders Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson, who are in Baseball America's top 40. After years of developing their own Sorokas, their pitching well has gone dry, but they do have the 10th pick this year and will have another high selection next June. 

Trades: Max Fried, Dansby Swanson, Kevin Gausman, Touki Toussaint, Luke Jackson, Sean Newcomb 

This is where the Giants can really make some moves this summer. A lot of the young depth came over as the Braves tore it down, as the Giants likely will do this July. Swanson joined the organization in the Shelby Miller trade and Toussaint was thrown in so the Diamondbacks could dump Bronson Arroyo's salary in another deal. 

Fried, a lefty who is 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA, was part of the Justin Upton trade. Newcomb, a lefty who had 30 strong starts last year but now is in the bullpen, was the prize in the Andrelton Simmons deal. 

Jackson, the current closer, is the type of hard-throwing flyer the Giants should stockpile as they open up bullpen spots with trades. They already have hit on a similar type with Trevor Gott. 

With Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Tony Watson and others, the Giants have enough to be serious players in July. It goes without saying that they need to strike gold with the young talent they might get back. 

International market: Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Julio Teheran

These two hurt, because even the previous front office should have been all over players like this. 

Acuña Jr. is from Venezuela, a country that has supplied large chunks of the Giants' roster over the past decade. Albies is from Curacao and has gotten to know Giants bench coach and Curacao native Hensley Meulens.

Yes, the Braves got in trouble for their international dealings, but these two are stars and their current top prospect, outfielder Christian Pache, was also an international signee. 

The Giants seriously, seriously dropped the ball on the international market in recent years -- even trading their biggest acquisition, Lucius Fox --  and only just now are starting to make amends.

Marco Luciano, signed out of the Dominican Republic, is one of their top prospects. The organization has a new facility in the Dominican and Zaidi has talked of being aggressive internationally, but he came to an organization that was far behind others. 

Homegrown veteran: Freddie Freeman 

The first baseman has been around forever, but he's still just 29 and is now enjoying the other side of a rebuild. Who will play that part in San Francisco?

When you adjust for the ballpark, Brandon Belt (124 career OPS+) hasn't been far from Freeman (138) at the plate, but Belt is two years older and has been the subject of trade rumors for years. 

The best bet here is Buster Posey. He likely will move off catcher in the next year or two with Bart's emergence, but he's a potential Giant For Life, and a move to first may allow him to find some of his old production and still be a valued part of the lineup when the next generation settles in. 

Free agents: Josh Donaldson, Nick Markakis 

Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million deal in the offseason and Markakis returned for one year and $6 million. 

They are veterans who can surround all the youth and this is one department where the Giants already are ready for the other side of a rebuild. They print money, even with the attendance drop, and if the Giants can hit on enough draft picks and trades in the next couple of years, they'll have no problem supplementing a young roster with guys like Donaldson and Markakis.

[RELATED: Zaidi's thoughts on WAR, what makes Posey so valuable]

Hell, they had $300 million lying around for Bryce Harper in February. 

The free agent contracts are the easy part. It's hard to build the rest as successfully as the Braves have, but that's what's ahead of the Giants.

Giants vs. Braves lineup: Bruce Bochy goes back to left-handed hitters


Giants vs. Braves lineup: Bruce Bochy goes back to left-handed hitters

After going right-handed heavy against Braves left-hander Max Fried, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is placing his lefties back at the top of the order on Thursday for the series finale at Oracle Park. 

With right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman on the hill for Atlanta, three of the Giants' first four hitters will be lefties. Ironically, lefties (.205) are hitting worse than right-handers (.258) against Gausman this season. 

Madison Bumgarner will be on the bump for the Giants. And the Braves will be watching him closely as they think about potentially trading for him later this season.

[RELATED: Potential trade partner set to get up-close look at MadBum]

First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Here are the lineups for both teams:

San Francisco Giants (21-27)
Joe Panik, 2B
Steven Duggar, CF
Buster Posey, C
Brandon Belt, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Pillar, RF
Mac Williamson, LF
Donovan Solano, SS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP (3-4, 4.21 ERA)

Atlanta Braves (27-23)
Ronald Acuña Jr., CF
Dansby Swanson, SS
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Austin Riley, LF
Ozzie Albies, 2B
Charlie Culberson, RF
Tyler Flowers, C
Kevin Gausman, RHP (2-3, 4.31 ERA)