Logan Webb

How Giants' top prospects performed in first week of 2019 MiLB season

How Giants' top prospects performed in first week of 2019 MiLB season

As Kevin Pillar does his best Barry Bonds impression for the Giants, the team's prospects are in the swing of things down on the farm. 

The 2019 Minor League Baseball season is one week old, and a handful of prospects are giving Giants fans a glimpse of hope for the future. Led by top prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos, here's how some of San Francisco's best prospects have fared through one week of action. 

Joey Bart, C, San Jose Giants

Bart, the Giants' top prospects, has picked up right where he left off to start his High-A career in San Jose. His talents were on full display in the home opener on Thursday night, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. 

Through seven games, Bart is batting .321 with two home runs, two doubles, a triple, and eight RBI. Of his nine hits, five are for extra bases and he has a 1.085 OPS. 

At this stage, his offense is far ahead of his defense and Bart must work on his receiving skills. But Bart's arm is elite and he's already thrown out seven of nine base-stealers, including four in his last two games behind the plate. 

Heliot Ramos, CF, San Jose Giants

Ramos isn't your typical 19-year-old, and I'll remind you of that all too often this yea. He'll be a teenager all season and is the fifth-youngest player in the California League.

And yet, he already has three home runs this season. Add his two doubles and five of his six hits have gone for extra bases. 

Though he's only hitting .231, Ramos's power has been on display to all fields early on and he has a 1.017 OPS. 

(NSFW) 


Shaun Anderson, RHP, Sacramento River Cats

Look past Anderson's 5.63 ERA, he's been pretty solid through two starts for Sacramento. 

In his first start of year, Anderson only allowed one earned run over five innings while striking out five batters. He struck out six more in his second start, but ran into some bad Las Vegas.

Anderson allowed four triples against the A's Triple-A team on Thursday in a new stadium that already appears unfriendly to pitchers. Overall, he has 11 strikeouts to only two walks in eight innings pitched. 

Tyler Beede, RHP, Sacramento River Cats 

Much of the Beede we saw in spring training has followed him to Sacramento. Through two starts, Beede is 0-1 with a 1.17 ERA. 

Beede has 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, but has also walked five batters. He still has to work on his command and limiting his pitch count, however, he's showing the swing-and-miss stuff that will have him back in San Francisco. 

Logan Webb, RHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels 

Webb can quickly become the Giants' top pitching prospect and he's showing why early in the season. 

Through two starts in Double-A, the 22-year-old has only allowed one earned run. He's 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA. Like Beede, Webb needs to lower his walk rate and has eight strikeouts to five walks in 10 innings thus far.

Sean Hjelle, RHP, Augusta GreenJackets

The Giants' second-round pick last year has allowed 11 hits in two starts, yet only three runs have crossed the plate. The 6-foot-11 right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk in nine innings. 

Hjelle pitched in short spurts last year after his college season. He's already thrown five innings in his second start, and it will be interesting to watch him go longer in games.

Chris Shaw, OF, Richmond Flying Squirrels 

And then there's Chris Shaw. 

The former first-round pick was demoted to Double-A to start the year after have a cup of coffee in the big leagues last season. Through four games, he's batting .300 and all his hits are singles. The good news is, he's only struck out twice while walking three times. 

[RELATED: Where Giants' top five prospects will start 2019 minor league season]

It's clear the Giants' new regime doesn't hold Shaw in the highest regards. He has to prove himself in a major way, and even then, he might not fit into the team's short or long-term plans.

Where Giants' top five prospects will start 2019 minor league season

Where Giants' top five prospects will start 2019 minor league season

The season of either excitement or disappointment is here.

Opening Day brings fans World Series aspirations or Twitter fingers calling for firings up and down the front office. What comes the day after, however, is a look to the future. 

Minor league rosters have been announced, as the season starts Thursday across all top levels. Here's where the Giants' top prospects will begin the 2019 season, though there will be plenty of changes throughout the year. 

*Marco Luciano, whom I have as the Giants' No. 2 prospect, is not on the list due to the fact that it's unknown if he'll make his debut in the Arizona Rookie League at just 17 years old.

Joey Bart, Catcher

Joey Bart to the Giants! Well, not exactly.

Bart will skip Low-A and start his first full season in the minors with the San Jose Giants in Advanced Single-A. The No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft burst on the scene last season by hitting .298 with 13 home runs in 45 games of short-season Single-A for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Bart impressed Giants coaches and teammates alike this spring. He hit .350 with one home run, two doubles and seven RBI in 15 games, and won the Barney Nugent Award, which is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp. 

If you're in the Bay Area, get a ticket to see Bart in San Jose at the beginning of the season. He'll move up the ranks in a hurry. 

Heliot Ramos, OF 

Joining Bart in San Jose is the Giants' 2017 first-round pick. 

Ramos, 19, had a down year in Low-A Augusta, hitting .245 with 136 strikeouts in 124 games. But the ultra-athletic outfielder also hit 24 doubles, eight triples and 11 home runs. 

The strikeouts and .313 on-base percentage aren't encouraging, but Ramos still is so young. He has the potential to hit 20 homers and steal bases. Watching him in the same lineup as Bart should be a lot of fun. 

Shaun Anderson, RHP

Anderson will headline a solid staff in Triple-A Sacramento, though he should make his big league debut at some point this season. He impressed Giants manager Bruce Bochy by throwing three innings on short notice against the A's in an exhibition before the season opener.

The Giants acquired Anderson from the Red Sox for Eduardo Nunez at the 2017 trade deadline. Anderson made his Triple-A debut last season, going 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA. 

Logan Webb, RHP

Webb, a Rocklin native, is the Giants' fastest rising prospect. He finished the 2018 season at Double-A Richmond and will start there this year as well. 

The 22-year-old posted a 1.82 ERA in 74 innings for San Jose before his promotion. If he continues to progress, Webb could wind up in Sacramento this season.

Sean Hjelle, RHP

The Giants' second-round pick is joining a stacked pitching staff to start the season in Low-A Augusta. But he'll certainly stick out in the rotation at 6-foot-11. Yes, you read that right. 

[RELATED: Minor League Baseball announces three-batter minimum rule for pitchers]

Hjelle is a really good athlete for his size. He doesn't exactly have the power stuff that one might expect at his height, but he is a polished young arm. 

Other notable names

-- The biggest surprise of the Giants' minor league rosters is Chris Shaw. After he got a cup of coffee in the bigs last season, he's been demoted to Double-A. 

Shaw last spent time in Double-A two seasons ago. He'll get everyday at-bats, and it'll be interesting to see how long he stays there. 

-- Seriously, the Augusta GreenJackets are starting the season with a stacked pitching staff. It was thought Wong, Hjelle or Santos could have started in San Jose, though they easily can get there in no time. 

-- Melvin Adon and Garrett Williams also will join Webb in Richmond. Both players impressed in the Arizona Fall League, and don't be surprised if Adon makes his way to San Francisco this season.

-- Jacob Gonzalez, the Giants' second-round pick from 2017 and the son of Luis Gonzalez, again will be in Low-A Augusta. He's slid down prospect rankings after a rough first full season in the minors, but the potential with his bat still is there at just 20 years old.

How Giants' spring training cuts so far could have role in 2019 season

How Giants' spring training cuts so far could have role in 2019 season

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants made their first round of cuts on this day a year ago, and the press release that day was most notable for the fact that players like Steven Okert and Miguel Gomez got optioned to minor league camp. Buried in the stories that day was this line: 

The Giants also reassigned five players to minor league camp: Tyler Cyr, Jose Flores, Dereck Rodriguez, Madison Younginer and Alen Hanson. 

You never know how quickly a player might bounce back and make an impact at the big league level, as Rodriguez and Hanson did last year. So let's take a run through the Giants roster moves so far, which cut the spring roster down to 45, and see what's next for the prospects and hopefuls no longer in camp. 

March 2-4: Jamie Callahan, Conner Menez, Garrett Williams and Sam Wolff are reassigned to minor league camp

Callahan, a pitcher picked up from the Mets over the offseason, is still rehabbing after shoulder surgery. The Giants will let Menez, who piles up strikeouts, and Williams, a breakout performer in 2017, continue to start as the Giants rebuild minor league depth. Wolff is hoping to build off a solid Fall League. 

March 8: Merandy Gonzalez and Logan Webb are optioned; John Andreoli, Jandel Gustave, Ryan Howard and Hamlet Marte are reassigned to minor league camp

Gonzalez, Andreoli and Gustave are among the large group of flyers Zaidi has added to the minor league system. Andreoli and Gonzalez were claimed on waivers.

There are some talent evaluators high up in the organization who believe the 22-year-old Webb will be the organization's best pitching prospect at some point this season. Howard got just 10 at-bats in camp but roped three doubles; the Giants are hopeful they have a second Matt Duffy here. Marte has strong minor league numbers and will catch every day at Double-A. 

March 9: Carlos Navas and Kieran Lovegrove are reassigned

Lovegrove might have been the most interesting player in the clubhouse. He gave up four runs in four spring appearances, but it's a live arm and the Giants went hard after him early in the offseason. They're hoping to get him on track in the minors. 

March 10: Jose Lopez and Melvin Adon are optioned

Lopez, picked up from the Reds last month, should provide starting depth in Triple-A. Adon hit 102 mph a couple of times and is being moved from starting to relieving, and he might move quickly. He's likely to start the season in Double-A.

Given how many pitchers the Giants plan to use, it wouldn't be a surprise to see both these guys in the big leagues at some point. 

March 11: Abiatal Avelino, Sam Coonrod, Ryder Jones, Chris Shaw and Breyvic Valera are optioned; Shaun Anderson, Enderson Franco and Keyvius Sampson are reassigned

The biggest cuts came Monday, and there's a lot to unpack here. Shaw might have had the most impressive swing of the spring, but he wasn't in the mix for an outfield job and it's time to get him four at-bats a day.

He has also hit a bit of a crossroads, as he'll be in Triple-A for a third straight year. The Giants are still waiting for more consistent contact. 

Jones was a bit behind as he came off knee surgery and never had a shot at making the team. It'll be interesting to see if the Giants move him around in Triple-A; he's blocked in the infield but there's been talk of getting him outfield reps. That's something Jones, still just 24, would like to try. 

One of Avelino or Valera could be in trouble when the Giants need a roster spot for Yangervis Solarte. If they survive, they're both on the 40-man and infielders often get shuttled back and forth because of injuries.

The Giants love Avelino's energy and may move him all over the field as they look for versatile role players similar to what Farhan Zaidi had in Los Angeles. They really need one of these guys to break through and provide an infield option from the right side of the plate

Franco and Sampson were part of an offseason effort to add new arms to the upper levels of the minors. A holdover is Coonrod, who will pitch exclusively out of the bullpen this year in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. He's back up to the high 90s with his fastball. 

Anderson is the organization's best pitching prospect and had two solid appearances in his first camp. He'll start the season at Triple-A and is currently somewhere around ninth on the starting depth chart, but he should make his debut this season. Anderson is a former closer and could break in as a boost for the bullpen.

[RELATED: Joey Bart needs to improve this part of his game, Mike Krukow says]

If the Giants sell at the deadline, he's likely to get an early crack at a 2020 rotation spot.