The SF Giants optioned Sean Hjelle in a series of roster moves on Thursday. He was replaced by Tristan Beck, which suggests more of a performance demotion rather than being sent down because someone returned from the injured list.
This is the type of move, whether right or wrong, suggests a lack of confidence in the young pitcher. And, the same could be said for outfielder Heliot Ramos.
Limited usage suggests a lack of confidence in a pair of young SF Giants players
Of course, anyone who was drafted before 2019 is considered a holdover from the prior regime. This includes Hjelle, Ramos, and even Joey Bart. Bart's time with the organization may have quietly come to an end recently.
It is no surprise to see the current front office prefer players they drafted. That said, it is surprising at how little of an opportunity both Hjelle and Ramos have received. Both carried considerable draft pedigree with Ramos being a first-round pick in 2017 and Hjelle being a 2018 second-round pick in 2018.
Opportunities are earned in baseball. And, to be fair, Hjelle just has not looked good in his brief time in a Giants uniform. Across two seasons, the 6-foot-11 pitcher has tallied a 6.89 ERA in 48.1 innings. Those numbers will not get you a lot of playing time, but even with the Giants out of the playoff picture, it does not hurt to see what he can do.
They do not seem interested in that as Hjelle will likely finish the season in Triple-A. They prefer Beck over him, which makes plenty of sense given that the former has had a nice rookie season. Hjelle has burned two minor league option years and will have one remaining heading into next season.
Though, after two years, he has not done anything to carve out a role with the club and has not received a ton of opportunity to do so. More than likely, the Giants view him as minor league depth with occasional spot starts on the major league club. You would hope for more from a former second-round pick, but if usage is any indicator, the Giants just do not seem enthusiastic about him after two seasons.
Ramos is in a similar boat. For years, he was regarded as one of the better prospects in baseball, ranking as high as No. 32 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2021 season. After a pair of tough years in Triple-A, his prospect status had dimmed.
Though, the outfield prospect has put together an excellent campaign in his third turn with Sacramento in 2023, slashing .302/.385/.554 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI, and 44 runs in 238 plate appearances. That is the type of production that should merit a promotion, especially considering that he is still just 24 years of age.
However, the right-handed bat has accumulated just 74 plate appearances in two seasons with the Giants. He had a brief stretch in August where he recorded an extra-base hit in three consecutive games. Despite this, Ramos had been relegated to a bench role.
Plus, it is hard to ignore that the Giants have bypassed him in favor of prospects like Wade Meckler and Tyler Fitzgerald. Both of them deserved their respective promotions, but Fitzgerald had no experience in the outfield prior to this season. Now, he is playing center field for the Giants despite the fact that Ramos has substantial experience in center field as a pro.
Perhaps, they do not see the former first-round pick as a center fielder, but it just feels like they are looking at every other player besides Ramos. These signs speak loudly and it is saying that the Giants just do not have a lot of confidence in Ramos and Hjelle.
It feels like this is the perfect time to give Ramos a look, but the Giants just do not seem interested. So, if you are wondering how the Giants view either player, the lack of usage suggests not a lot of confidence.