Some players distinguish themselves by possessing an outstanding skill or two. Other players make their mark with their overall game and makeup.
Consider shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald, a 2019 fourth-round pick out of Louisville, in the latter group.
“He’s the type of guy who just grows on you the more and more you see him play,” farm director Kyle Haines said. “The thing that impressed me is he just seems like a baseball player at heart.”
Baseball runs in the Fitzgerald family. Tyler’s older brother Mike played first base and catcher for Indiana State before a stint with the Padres’ Rookie-level Arizona League team in 2014. Their father, also Mike, was the Cardinals’ first-round pick in 1984 and reached the big leagues for 13 game in 1988.
Tyler said that though his dad “was real hard on me, he made me the ballplayer I am . . . He’s always there as backbone, someone I can talk to about things on and off the field.”
Fitzgerald improved markedly season to season while in college. As a junior he hit .315/.391/.483 and became the 13th college shortstop drafted in his class.
As a pro, Fitzgerald spent the majority of his time with short-season Salem-Keizer and low Cass A Augusta. His combined slash line of .276/.358/.395 was solid, though not spectacular.
Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Fitzgerald has the size that would enable him to boost those power numbers.
Fitzgerald plans to use the offseason “getting more rhythm with my swing, using my legs and to increase power. I think that’s something that comes with maturity, and that’s something hopefully I’ll see this upcoming season.”
Said Haines: “I think he’s got some more doubles-type power down the road as he matures. He just gives you a good at-bats.”
Haines said he expects Fitzgerald to remain at shortstop as he progresses through the Giants’ system, but that Fitzgerald “can handle probably a lot of positions.”
One position Fitzgerald probably won’t play is first base. That’s where his Louisville teammate—and roommate—Logan Wyatt plays. The Giants selected Wyatt in the second round in June.
— Catcher Joey Bart had his Arizona Fall League season cut short when he was hit by a pitch that caused a fracture in his right thumb on Oct. 8. The 2018 first-round pick had gone 10-for-30 with four homers in the AFL. A hit-by-pitch on his left hand forced Bart to miss nearly two months of high Class A San Jose’s season. He is expected to be ready for spring training.
— Like Bart, outfielder Heliot Ramos is one of the Giants’ top prospects. Unlike Bart, Ramos struggled in the AFL. Through Oct. 25, the Giants’ first-round pick in 2017 had gone 12-for-65 (.185) with one homer and 23 strikeouts. Ramos turned 20 on Sept. 9.