Giants' top picks from 2017 MLB Draft are destroying Arizona Rookie League

Giants' top picks from 2017 MLB Draft are destroying Arizona Rookie League

SAN DIEGO — When he was introduced at AT&T Park last month, Heliot Ramos said he hoped to return in three years. The 17-year-old’s statement doesn’t look as far-fetched two weeks into his professional career. 

Ramos, the organization’s first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, and Jacob Gonzalez, the second-rounder, have played two weeks in the Arizona Rookie League. Both have gotten off to scorching starts. 

Ramos, a center fielder, has played 10 games as a leadoff hitter. He’s batting .425 with a .500 on-base percentage and .850 slugging percentage in 40 at-bats, with two homers, three triples and five doubles. He’s a perfect 4-for-4 on the bases. It’s very early, but the numbers back up the Giants’ belief that Ramos can be a five-tool player. 

Ramos and Gonzalez were both known for their power at the time of the draft, and Gonzalez — the son of Luis Gonzalez — has shown it in the form of doubles. He has six in 39 at-bats, along with a triple. Gonzalez, 19, has five walks and four strikeouts. Overall, the third baseman has a .462/.563/.667 slash line. 

Ramos ranks second in the Arizona Rookie league in OPS and Gonzalez is sixth. Andy Skeels, the club’s coordinator of minor league hitting, was at AT&T Park workouts for both players and he traveled to Scottsdale last month to help the rookies get settled in. Earlier this week in San Jose, I asked him about the two teenagers. 

“It’s been fun. (You see) power and athleticism,” Skeels said. “Obviously Jacob Gonzalez has good bloodlines. Ramos (is) a good athlete. I think that’s one of the things that’s encouraging. They’re both very athletic and they’ve got power. That’s certainly something we’re trying to develop a little more and it obviously takes a while. But they’re off to a great start, and we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen.”

Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw


Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers Sunday, Bruce Bochy is resting three left-handed bats...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Nick Hundley (R) C
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Chris Stratton (R) RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Chase Utley (L) 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Joc Pederson (L) LF
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers


Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said.