Tyler Beede

Down on the Farm: Where should Joey Bart rank among Giants top prospects?

Down on the Farm: Where should Joey Bart rank among Giants top prospects?

From Joey Bart to the Giants’ final pick of the 2018 MLB Draft — Lucky No. 1,186 — Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and co. are rolling the dice. Nobody, even the smartest of the baseball brainiacs, knows the future of athletes before they pick up a ball or swing a bat on a professional field. Has this stopped you from reading any further? No? Ok, let’s continue. 

The hope with Bart, the Giants’ highest draft pick since selecting Will Clark in 1985, is that he will have a more successful career than the next 1,212 players picked. 

“Looking at the players available in this draft, the pool of players you’re evaluating, with this pool of players, to be able to get Joey Bart and be able to select him for the Giants, it was really good for us,” John Barr, the Giants’ vice president in charge of scouting, said after the team selected Bart

The Giants envision Bart as a future bat in the middle of the order. Despite Buster Posey being signed through 2021 with a team option for 2022, the team did the right thing and drafted talent over need with the Georgia Tech catcher. So, before Bart plays his first minor league game, where does the No. 2 pick in the MLB Draft rank among the Giants’ top prospects?

I asked the same question on Twitter — a land full of rational sports fans — and the hopeful cheering section believes Bart should be a top-five Giants prospect right away. 

Currently, the most up to date prospect rankings are MLB Pipeline’s — the prospect news website of MLB.com. The Giants’ top five prospects by their rankings are Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Tyler Beede, and Austin Slater. 

Anywhere you look, the Giants will be ranked near the bottom in prospect rankings. Ramos is the one prospect with untapped potential, Shaw has MLB power right now and Duggar can be a big-time player if his bat is ever even close to his glove. Dear Twitter, you may be right on this one. 

Ramos will rightfully remain the Giants’ No. 1 prospect for a while even with down numbers this season. His potential is simply too high. Though Ramos is hitting just .239 this season, he is only 18 years old going up against players who have been able to buy scratchers for years now.

Shaw, currently on the shelf with a groin injury, has shown a hole in his swing this season at Triple-A with 61 strikeouts to seven walks. At the same time, he’s proved his power is for real for the second straight season. Shaw hit 10 home runs in the River Cats’ first 36 games. 

Duggar needs room in his trophy case for his future Gold Glove awards and is hitting .325 over his last 10 games. His spot too is secure, bringing us to Beede and Slater. 

The last two seasons have been a disappointment for Beede. Due to a groin injury, Beede’s season was cut short in 2017, putting his MLB debut on hold. Before his injury, he was 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA. And this year hasn’t been better in the box score. Beede did make his MLB debut this year, but his tendency to miss the strike zone was on full display. 

Beede’s command isn’t on par with control. In two starts with the Giants, Beede struck out nine and walked eight, earning an 8.22 ERA in 7.2 innings. And in Sacramento, he has a 5.60 ERA in nine appearances. Take a look at Beede’s last start, the essence of who he is right now — seven strikeouts and five walks in six innings. The former first-round pick has an arsenal to make major league bats whiff. What he will be for the Giants in the future has become an even bigger and murkier question. 

Slater proved to be a productive bat for the Giants last season when he hit .282 in 34 games. His bat is clearly ahead of Triple-A competition, hitting .368 with a 1.057 OPS this season in Sacramento. He has only played six games for the Giants in 2018 and where he fits on the current roster remains unknown. Slater’s game is solid all the way around and his defensive versatility makes him even more interesting. No one part of his game jumps out, but plenty of teams could use his service. 

This all brings us back to Bart. Where does he fit? We have already eliminated the top three spots. With his upside, we’re bumping Slater down and Bart into the top five. Can he jump Beede, the Giants’ top pitching prospect, too? 

As either a part of the starting rotation or a possible move to the bullpen down the road, the 25-year-old Beede can still play a big part of the Giants’ future. Beede is staying in the top five, as No. 5. 

At Georgia Tech, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Bart gradually improved from Year 1 to Year 3. Here’s his rise as a freshman to a junior — Freshman: .299/.351/.382, .733 OPS, 1 home run; sophomore: .296/.370/.575, .945 OPS, 13 home runs; junior: .359/.471/.632, 1.103 OPS, 16 home runs. 

“I don't know where he's going to start (in the minors) but you look at the size of the kid and his success and intangibles...you would think someone like this would be on the fast track,” Bruce Bochy said after the Giants picked Bart.

After going from the Yellow Jackets’ catcher for three years, to the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Bart immediately becomes the Giants’ No. 1 catching prospect and No. 4 overall. 

Down on the Farm: Ramos and Gonzalez both go deep, Beede searches for strike zone

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MLB.com

Down on the Farm: Ramos and Gonzalez both go deep, Beede searches for strike zone

Heliot Ramos should be getting ready for the prom. At 18 years old, the Giants' top prospect is the age of a high school senior. In the real world though, Ramos is facing his first form of failures on a baseball field. 

Playing way above his age for the Class A Augusta GreenJackets, the immensely talented teenager is batting just .114 over his last 10 games with 15 strikeouts. But on Thursday, Ramos reminded us what he's capable of. 

In Augusta's 15-1 thrashing of Rome, Ramos went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer to left-center field, a walk and no strikeouts. His two-run shot was part of a 10-run seventh inning for the GreenJackets. 

As the third batter in the bottom of the seventh inning, Ramos was hit by a pitch. Nine batters later, with Augusta sending 13 to the plate in the hitting barrage, Ramos knocked in the 10th run of the inning with his third home run of the year. 

That same inning, Jacob Gonzalez, the Giants' second-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, one-upped Ramos. Coming to the plate two batters after Ramos was beaned, Gonzalez blasted a grand slam, also his third long ball on the year. 

No one was happier for Gonzalez than Ramos, too. 

Through 30 games, Ramos has played one less, the second-round pick is seeing more success than the first. Gonzalez is slashing .252/.315/.391 with three home runs and seven doubles compared to Ramos' .212/.294/.345 with three home runs, one triple and four doubles. Both are extremely young for their level of play and it will take patience with the ups and downs of these prospects who will be a big part of the Giants' future. 

Beede searches for the strike zone

Tyler Beede couldn't get out of the second inning on Thursday despite only allowing two hits. In the River Cats' 7-2 loss, Beede walked six batters in 1 2/3 innings. He also allowed three earned runs and struck out two. 

Finding his command has been Beede's big problem at both the minor league and major league level. Between six starts with Sacramento, one with San Jose and two with San Francisco this season, Beede has walked 29 and hit six batters in 36.2 innings. 

Along with the walks, Beede has also racked up 39 strikeouts. He has the stuff to make batters whiff, but none of that will matter in the present or the future if Beede can't find his command.

Tyler Beede optioned after Giants fall in series finale

Tyler Beede optioned after Giants fall in series finale

SAN DIEGO — Tyler Beede slowly buttoned up and tucked in a blue shirt and then reached down to tug on fancy brown shoes. In his locker hung a suit jacket. It was an outfit that was ready for a big league flight to the next city, but Beede won’t be on that flight. 

The rookie was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento after Sunday’s 10-1 loss to the Padres. The Giants likely will slide Jeff Samardzija back into the rotation at some point next week, but Bruce Bochy wouldn’t go as far as confirming that Sunday. His focus was on the loss, and on giving Beede some pointers as he headed back to the minors. 

“We think he needs to go down and continue to progress and work on some things we want him to work on,” Bochy said.

The Giants want Beede to execute better when he gets to two strikes, but they also want him to be a bit more cautious early in the count. Twice in the fourth inning, Beede gave up hits on first-strike pitches that caught too much of the zone. Bochy pointed out that the Padres have a young and aggressive lineup, and part of the maturation process for the young starter facing them is to know that. 

“It’s a four-game series and you’re watching the games, and hopefully you’re aware of that,” Bochy said. “Hitters are aggressive up here with men on base. That first pitch has to be a quality pitch, too.”

Beede was charged with five earned in 3 2/3 innings. In two starts, he lasted just 7 2/3 innings, but he said he would take away as many positives as he could. 

“From this start to the last start, there was a lot of improvement with fastball command and the same thing with off-speed pitches,” he said. “It’s really just about polishing some things later in the count … my stuff plays, it’s just a matter of being more polished later in the count.”

Beede will head down with an 0-1 record, but this one wasn’t close to all on him. The Giants went 0 for 8 with runners on scoring position. They struck out nine times in their first look at young lefty Joey Lucchesi. They played lackluster defense at times, making the kind of mistakes that made one wonder if some minds were already on the off day. 

The end result was a third straight loss, and yet another series loss here at Petco Park. Since the 2016 All-Star break, when the Giants appeared to be a juggernaut, they have played here six times. They have lost five series and split the other. 

“It’s disappointing,” Bochy said. “We’ve been nicked up with this pitching staff and it showed up a little (today).”

Johnny Cueto will return Tuesday and Samardzija could be back Saturday. But there are so many other leaks that won’t be filled by changes to the rotation. With three coming against the first place Diamondbacks and then three more against the surging Angels, the Giants would be well served to plug some of them soon.