Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler highlights three Giants who stood out in spring training

Gabe Kapler highlights three Giants who stood out in spring training

At this point, Gabe Kapler was supposed to have his first handful of regular-season games under his belt as the Giants' manager. Just like everything else in the sports world, though, all has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Before MLB canceled spring training games and delayed Opening Day, the Giants did go 6-4 this spring. Wins and losses are far from the most important result during camp, but Kapler certainly will take a winning record any way he can. 

Before baseball hit pause, a trio of players really stood out to Kapler. One of them still has a ways to go before making his MLB debut, but this prospect made a great first impression on his future manager. 

"I thought that Hunter Bishop coming over made a really good impression on all of us," Kapler said Monday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger, & Brooks." "And he's a first-round pick, he's got the pedigree, he's got the power. I thought about his swing and it's so violent, very similar to the way Bryce Harper is. Harper's is violent."

Make no mistake. Kapler doesn't want Bishop to be labeled as the next Harper. Top prospects already have enough pressure on them.

"By the way, I'm not comparing Hunter to Bryce Harper," Kapler continued. "What I am saying is there's some similarities in their personality, and their hustle and the way they play the game like their hair's on fire.

"So, Hunter made a really strong impression."

Bishop, the Giants' top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, only had one hit over eight at-bats in big league camp. He clearly caught Kapler's eyes, however, and the Giants expect a big year from the powerful outfielder.

As far as the major-league side of performances goes, two pitchers really impressed Kapler: Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly. 

"I think we all got excited about Kevin Gausman," Kapler said.

Kapler praised Gausman's splitter and breaking ball. The veteran right-hander went 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA over 10 1/3 innings this spring. 

[RELATED: Kapler reveals Crawford created self in NBA video game]

Kapler managed Smyly, who didn't allow an earned run this spring, last season on the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler said this was the best he has seen the lefty in quite some time.

"Drew Smyly's arm looked great," Kapler said. "This is a guy who really started to get stronger and stronger as the season went on last year in Philadelphia when I managed over there. And he looked great then, but he looked better now. The ball just really was carrying through the zone.

"His ability to put his slider at the backfoot of a right-handed hitter, the ability to drop a curveball in for a strike, all of those things are reason for excitement when we get back to baseball."

Both pitchers are expected to be key contributors in the Giants' rotation. As we wait for baseball to eventually return, these two hurlers gave their skipper plenty of reasons for optimism out in Arizona.

Gabe Kapler says Brandon Crawford created self in NBA video game during hiatus

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USATSI

Gabe Kapler says Brandon Crawford created self in NBA video game during hiatus

Gabe Kapler's first spring training as Giants manager was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 44-year-old is using virtual methods to get some reps in with the start of the season indefinitely delayed.

Kapler told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Monday night that he is playing "MLB The Show 20," using the game to sharpen and hone his managerial instincts, simulating games in around five minutes while making "all the decisions" in each contest. Giants hitting coach Justin Viele, meanwhile, is using the game to study tendencies of opposing pitchers.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford also is visualizing success, albeit in another sport.

"I played one game, and Crawford was the star of the game," Kapler said. "So I took a picture of the screen, and ... I sent it over to Craw, and so Craw looked at it, and he sent a picture of him playing an NBA video game where he was one of the players and dropped 71 points and nine assists."

It's fair to assume that Crawford, a Pleasanton native and a lifelong Warriors fan, put himself on Golden State in whichever game he was playing (our money's on NBA 2K20). That wouldn't have been a record in a real Warriors game but not a franchise one, considering Wilt Chamberlain scored at least 72 points an astonishing five times, including his NBA-record 100-point game back when the Dubs played in Philadelphia.

[RELATED: Why Timmy's first no-hitter was so unusual for Kruk, Kuip]

This, of course, leads to even more questions. Did Crawford's create-a-player have photorealistic hair? What position did he play? Were his in-game traits the same as -- or as close to it as possible -- in "MLB: The Show?" Was he still a UCLA alumnus in the game, or would he disappoint NBC Sports Bay Area's Brian Witt by not virtually representing the Bruins?

The NBA reportedly will hold an "NBA 2K20" tournament Friday night featuring player representatives from each team. Is it too late for the Warriors to choose Crawford?

Giants, A's react on social media just like us to missing Opening Day

Giants, A's react on social media just like us to missing Opening Day

Opening Day will have to wait.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, MLB, along with the rest of the sports world faced some alterations in their schedule. The regular season now will be pushed back until at least May. This left some of the Giants and the A’s restless and looking forward to baseball’s return.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler sent out a message to fans admitting he wishes he could be playing on Thursday as well:

Third baseman Evan Longoria took to Instagram in a message to not give up hope. That baseball will be back. 

Pitcher Tyler Beede posted a story on Instagram asking the world who was reading for baseball to start. And then mentioned turtles …

Logan Webb made it really simple on Monday:

And Giants catcher Tyler Heineman continues to keep us entertained with some of his magic tricks since we won’t be able to watch live baseball for a while 

Meanwhile, A’s pitcher Frankie Montas sent out a message to A’s fans while he was celebrating #OpeningDayAtHome:

[RELATED: Bochy reveals favorite Opening Day memory]

See you soon (hopefully), baseball.