Now more than ever, Melky Cabrera for MVP


Now more than ever, Melky Cabrera for MVP

Everybody done hating Melky Cabrera yet? Got your prohibitionist rage out of your system?

Good, because as of right now, he is so much the Giants most valuable player that a vote for anyone else can only be regarded as election fraud.

Hey, you slice it any way you want. Complain about the effects of synthetic testosterone, or dishonesty, or even Web-based fraud until youre red in the eyes.

I know this, though. They got to 64-53 with him in left field, tied with the Los Angeles Planet-Eaters. They are 9-4 without him.

That means "cause" just put a steel-capped boot right in the groin of "effect." It also means, at least if you squint hard enough and forget the laws of small sample size, that Cabrera jump-started the Giants while present, and has spurred them forward while absent.

If that isnt MVP stuff, then . . . well, youre just wrong, okay?

It is of course far too early to assign such things, because 33 games is a century when youre only three and one-half games ahead. It is of course an eternity when youre 39 games back, but thats CSN Houstons problem, not yours.

The point is this: When people shrieked about how Cabreras absence would destroy the Giants, they assumed one fact not yet in evidence: Nobody knows the future.

The As lost Bartolo Colon a week ago but are 6-1 since because they traded his testosterone-enriched arm from Brett Andersons, which must be regarded rationally as an upgrade.

And the Dodgers have not shot into the stratosphere since their megatrade with Boston because apparently Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez do not yet equal the loss of Chad Billingsley and Matt Kemp, and have no power against the world-bending powers of the Colorado Rockies.

So yes, nobody knows the future.

But we know what we know up to this moment, and the Giants were doing well enough without Cabrera, and to date the trauma of losing him has only made them better. Or maybe it isnt trauma, but ire. Maybe they do better on the business end of the steel-capped boot.

And you cant prove otherwise. Yet.

This isnt just the benefit of the Giants gooey, crme-filled schedule either, because that part has barely begun. Since getting Melkyd, the Giants beat San Diego, swept the Dodgers, split with Atlanta and then played the Astros, which implies that they beat the Astros because meeting the Astros is the same as beating the Astros.

Thats 9-4, and 9-4 is 9-4 every time, because in baseball, style points are replaced with bulk.

Would we recommend getting your best hitter suspended under shady and humiliating circumstances? Not as such. But baseball has shown time and again that easily understood causes do not automatically produce the predicted result. Losing Melky Cabrera, in short, has caused no immediate harm to a team that we have always assumed doesnt have enough hitting to survive such a blow.

The As, we can see, merely traded up, although losing Colon would have enhanced the other spots in the rotation. And the Dodgers have not yet figured out how to stop treading water even after two deals that logically should make them dramatically better.

The Giants, though, are used to defying logic. Losing Cabrera threw the fan base for a loop, but the team neither mirrored nor shared that feeling of doom. Betrayal? Maybe. Doom? No evidence. Inspiration through subtraction? Maybe.

But the MVP doesnt go to a team, so were going with Cabrera. He helped make their offense credible, and through his disgrace they became at least nominally better for the moment.

And if you believe the schedule is a healthy barometer of the future, theyre not likely to get dramatically worse. You can ascribe that to any reason you like; were going for the moment with the ghost of the left fielder, just as we would have gone with the actual left fielder two weeks earlier.

So it is, at least for the foreseeable future Melky Cabrera, Most Valuable Player. Sounds like the Giants may get some use out of those T-shirts after all especially if he becomes the first player to win the batting championship from his hammock.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO — As he was wrapping up the first press conference of his career, Heliot Ramos was asked when he expects to be back at AT&T Park as a player. The 17-year-old smiled and said he hopes to debut in three years. 

“I know it’s hard, but that’s my dream,” Ramos continued. “I know I’ve got to work hard for that.”

A half-dozen Giants officials stood a few feet away, smiling. Three years would be incredibly impressive. It took Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones four years after being drafted out of high school to reach the big leagues. Buster Posey got a cup of coffee a year after he was drafted, but he was already 22 years old because he had played three years at Florida State. 

Ramos doesn’t turn 18 until September. The Giants hope he is dominating A-ball in three years, and yet, he’s the the kind of prospect that allows them to dream for so much more. 

“If he grew up in Southern California (instead of Puerto Rico) we never would have had a shot at drafting him,” one team official said Tuesday.

Ramos certainly opened eyes in his second trip to AT&T Park, but then again, he put on a display the first time, too. The Giants brought him in for a pre-draft workout and someone pointed out to Ramos that the deepest part of the park was 421 feet. The right-handed hitter, making the transition to a wood bat, wasn’t bothered by the dimensions. He took aim at Triples Alley and tried to blast one out, and he nearly did. Then he started pulling the ball, peppering the left field bleachers with homers and convincing the front office that he was the right pick at No. 19 in this month’s draft. Ramos, described as a potential five-tool center fielder, said he enjoys hitting here.

“It’s a park with a lot of history, and I like that,” he said. 

The clock on his career starts this weekend. Ramos will travel back to Arizona and play in a rookie league game Friday or Saturday. It is always a slow progression for a high school draft pick, but the Giants believe Ramos is physically mature enough to jump right in with both feet. 

Ramos, who said his favorite player is Andrew McCutchen, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and he carries it well. One member of the front office compared his body type to Yasiel Puig as a rookie; another called him a “mini-Cespedes.” Bruce Bochy lit up when asked about the physicality of the organization’s latest top pick. 

“Any time you get a young kid like this, the ceiling is so high,” he said. “That excites you.”

Bochy spent some time with Ramos and his family after batting practice. As they posed for photos, the manager looked out at the field and then turned to a PR representative.

“Can he take BP? Put him in the last group,” Bochy said, smiling. “I’ll put him in the lineup tomorrow.”

Ramos didn’t end up taking swings, but if all goes according to his plan, it won’t be long.

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for Game 2 of their series at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-32) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Ian Desmond (R) LF
6. Alexi Amarista (L) RF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. Jeff Hoffman (R) P

Giants (28-51)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Matt Cain (R) P (3-7, 5.54 ERA)