SAN FRANCISCO -- The most exciting San Jose Giants team in a decade will be without some serious star power as the weather heats up.
Joey Bart (fractured finger) and Heliot Ramos (knee sprain) will both miss about another month with injuries suffered in April. This was certainly a small blow for the organization and sets both players back a bit, but the president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said there could be a silver lining here.
In an interview that aired on The Giants Insider Podcast this week, Zaidi said he's excited by the April numbers of both top prospects, and he's now hopeful that they can return without the pressure of trying to make it to the big leagues this September.
"You're always disappointed when guys get injured, but by the same token, it's kind of nice to have those guys go back under the radar a little bit," Zaidi said. "I don't think we should be expecting those guys to save our 2019 season. I think we need to be focused on the group that we have here and some of the guys we have in Triple-A and let (Bart and Ramos) develop.
"It might be a blessing in disguise that those guys have some time off. They'll be able to come back. I think they'll hit the ground running when they get back, but maybe it'll take some of the clock pressure off those guys as they develop."
Zaidi has always liked to move his best prospects quickly and present them with new challenges, and he said he's "not ruling anything out" with Bart and Ramos, who entered the season on different timetables. Bart, 22, had an outside chance at a call-up later this year. The bat is advanced, and he was a standout defensively before getting hurt.
At 19, Ramos is one of the youngest players in the California League, and he seemed likely to spend most of the season there. But he, too, was showing signs of progress that could have led to a quick promotion. Ramos hit five homers in 19 games before hurting his knee on a swing, but what really stood out was the 14 walks. Last year, Ramos walked just 35 times all season while striking out 136 times.
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"That's really exciting and that's obviously a point that's been emphasized with him and is a point for us in player development overall," Zaidi said. "We want guys to have quality at-bats and take their walks and put the ball in play and not swing and miss at really high rates. We have a few guys who have really taken that to heart. It's been really encouraging seeing what he's done.
"A guy like Chris Shaw, who started the year in Double-A, but to see his walk rate and strikeout rate improve the way they have, we're looking for those positive indicators and those two guys have definitely shown them."