Giants Pitching Prospects From 2018 MLB Draft Impressing in 2019 Season

The Giants are playing the waiting game with their top two prospects, catcher Joey Bart and outfielder Heliot Ramos. Both players are currently injured but expect to be back in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, several other prospects have been impressive as the Giants shuffle through roster changes. It all starts with the players that San Francisco selected right after Bart in the 2018 MLB Draft. 

After taking Bart with the No. 2 overall pick, the Giants then selected four straight pitchers last June. Three of the four have formed an impressive trio in Class A for the Augusta GreenJackets with the fourth, Keaton Winn, not too far behind. 

Here's a look at the progress of the first three arms the Giants took behind Bart last year. 

Sean Hjelle

FanGraphs released their most recent scouting reports Friday on Giants top prospects and they describe Hjelle's body as a "young Pau Gasol." That's both hilarious and true. The evaluation also praises his athleticism for someone who stands 6-foot-11 and weighs 215 pounds. 

The long and lanky Hjelle is off to a great start this season. Through eight starts, he's 1-2 with a 2.50 ERA and has 40 strikeouts compared to eight walks in 36 innings pitched. 

Hjelle, 22, usually sits in the low 90s with his fastball, but his extension creates an uncomfortable at-bat for hitters.

Oh, and his sock game is incredibly strong. 

Jake Wong

Wong, 22, is in the midst of a second stellar minor league season after the Giants selected him in the third round of the draft last year out of Grand Canyon University. So far, he's been nearly perfect. 

Or at least unhittable. Literally. 

He was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week on May 6 after going 12 straight innings without allowing a single hit. Over those two starts, Wong struck out eight batters and only allowed two walks. 

Wong is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA over eight starts this season. Opposing batters are only hitting .186 off him and he has just a 0.91 WHIP.

Blake Rivera

The third of this trio is Rivera, whose numbers aren't quite as eye-opening as the previous two but they're nothing to scoff at. And the Giants like him so much, they've actually drafted him twice. 

After being selected by the Giants in the 32nd round as a freshman at Wallace State Community College in 2017, he returned for his sophomore season and was then drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round. 

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Rivera, 21, is 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA, though that's largely due to control issues. He's walked 21 batters this season but also has 33 strikeouts in 29 innings. Opposing batters are only hitting .204 against him. 

Down the road, Rivera might turn into a reliever. For now, he's a live arm that's worth watching.

The Giants' big-league roster is in flux as they look to get younger and start a new era. They built their success on young arms, and could soon do so again.

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