2018 brought a new team into the Giants system: A second Arizona League team. The squad known as the Orange team would go on to feature the team’s new top prospect for a week, but had a mix of young players for the balance of the season. This included an exciting Cuban third baseman, a top pick from 2017, and a couple of breakout players.
Season Summary: Overall Standings: 30-26, 5th Place in the AZL East Division, 8 GB
Roger - Fabian Pena, 21 yrs old, C, .309/.376/.588
While it was the Catcher at the top of the 2018 draft that gets all the (deserved) attention, don’t sleep on the one taken in the 25th round out of the University of Manhattan. Pena went into the draft with a strong defensive reputation with good hands and a strong armed. Though old and experienced for the complex level, Pena did what a college player should do in the AZL, showing some feel for hitting and solid power. He tied for the team lead with 5 HRs. He’s not going to be a top prospect, but there’s a hint of a backup Catcher profile here.
Kevin - Yorlis Rodriguez, 19 yrs old, 3B, .323/.409/.445
There’s a little competition here, including by catcher Fabian Pena, but Yorlis gets it with a more well-rounded performance in significantly more games played. Rodriguez had an excellent BB/K ratio for such a young player, with 19 walks against 25 strikeouts. He had 9 doubles, two triples, and two home runs, none of which led the team but all among the team leaders. He also showed speed, though not efficiency, by being second on the team with six steals in 12 attempts.
Rookie Of The Year
Kevin - Jacob Lopez, 20 yrs old, LHP, 34 Ks, 6 BBs, 25.1 IP
Lopez was the team’s 26th round pick in 2018, and got stronger as the season went on. In 9 appearances, he made four starts and finished the season with 16 strikeouts in eight shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks. Lopez came out of the JC College of the Canyons, and shows some projection on his fastball with his size, and a curveball that could get better as well. He throws at a low sidearm profile, and early projects has him as a left-hander destined for the bullpen, but there is room for a higher ceiling.
Roger - Yorlis Rodriguez, 19 yrs old, 3b, .323/.409/.445
With the addition of a second AZL team, just about everybody was a rookie here, but I’ll go with Rodriguez, the Cuban signee who was a true rookie -- skipping over the DSL and starting his pro career in the AZL after not having played competitive ball in more than two years, Yorlis did nothing but hit.
Best Returning Player
Roger - Beicker Mendoza, 20 yrs old, 1b, .301/.330/.462
Mendoza was exactly the kind of player that the second AZL team was created to help. In two previous attempts at the level, Beicker had struggled to force his way into everyday play and scuffled in part-time roles. With the additional playing time to go around, Mendoza was a regular member of the Orange team and his bat flourished thanks to it.
Kevin - Andres Angulo, 20 yrs old, C, .346/.386/.474
Being a Catcher, you only play part-time, but the 20-year old Colombian made the most of his return to the AZL. He hit just .232/.254/.375 in his first year at the level. Angulo did not hit any home runs, but was tied for 3rd on the team with 10 doubles, despite playing in just 25 games. But he did lead the team in batting average, and showed some defensive ability, catching 46.9% of the runners who attempted to run on him with a 2.06 to 2.15 pop time.
Best Starting Pitcher
Kevin - Seth Corry, 19 yrs old, LHP, 2.61 ERA 42 SO, 17 BB, 38 IP (AZL Stats only)
Corry did end up with a late promotion to Salem-Keizer, but he really showed his potential that led to him being a 3rd round pick in 2017. He started the season by allowing just one earned run in 22.2 IP, though he got hit around a bit more later in the season. Corry’s control was still and issue, and he gave up a lot of hits, but he kept runs off the board for the most part, and a lot of potential is still there to unlock.
Roger - Seth Corry, 19 yrs old, LHP, 2.61 ERA, 42 SO, 17 BB, 38 IP
Corry pitched his way out of the AZL after a month of duty in a return to the level. He still has a way to go with his control, but he dominated the rookie league hitters while he was there. The Giants no doubt wanted to see the former 3rd round pick pitch his way out of the AZL and he gave them what they asked for. There’s as much upside here as any pitcher in the system if he can find a way to harness his mechanics and stay in the zone. Bizarrely, Corry was nearly always great when pitching for Team Orange (11 runs allowed in 9 games), but got knocked around quite a bit when he pitched for Team Black (15 earned runs in 24.1 IP)
Kevin - Logan Harasta, 22 yrs old, 1.10 ER, 28 SO, 5 BB, 16.1 IP
This is a bit of a cheat. Harasta was a 7th round pick last season and is a bit older than the league, who made an appearance in a single game in Salem-Keizer last season before getting shut down. He’s a 6’7” pitcher with power, hitting mid-90’s but still improving his slider. There’s potential for a back of the bullpen guy here, if he can continue to develop on his projection.
Roger - Logan Harasta, 22 yrs old, 1.10 ER, 28 SO, 5 BB, 16.1 IP
I’d very much like to offer a different opinion here, but I really can’t. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, the huge Harasta thoroughly dominated the complex bats with a 43% K rate. He should get his chance at full season ball next, year, conceivably with a jump all the way up to San Jose.
Other Interesting Players
Roger - Jasier Herrera was inconsistent in his first attempt at being a starter, but the arm-strength RHP showed good stuff, striking out 49 batters in 55.2 IP. Anyesber Sivira hit just .267 but near 80 grade speed and handled the SS position, which is always a combination worth keeping an eye on (future Kelby!). 6th round pick Patrick Hilson really struggled, hitting just .186 and striking out over 35% of the time. But he’s got a lot of tools to build on with power, speed, and an arm that gives him a legitimate fallback option as a Pitcher if the bat never progresses (future DRod!)
Kevin - Another catcher, Fabian Pena, came out of the 25th round of the draft and hit .309/.376/.588, and tied for the team lead, despite playing in 17 fewer games. Ismael Munguia only got in 15 games and hit very well(.345/.397/.552) before moving to Augusta and having some struggles.