We’ve got back Heliot. We’ve got back Joey. We’ve got back Gregory and Jose. And now we finally reach a date on the calendar that Giants’ prospect fans have been circling for closing on two years —- this swing finally gets a box score to call its own:
Marco Luciano hit a in today's #AZXST game. Jacked a 3-2 84-mph SL out to deep LF. (Scout behind home w/velo+pitch type). produce present + raw (from BP+game observations). Effortless, easy swing w/quiet load & approach. Parabolic bat path -> loft. Scary he is only 17 pic.twitter.com/RwIGDI0Ysw— Jason Pennini (@JasonPennini) June 1, 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw hit 2 HRs; Austin Slater had three hits including HR. Franklin Labour homered for the 3rd straight day;
Sacramento hitters went off in a HR explosion last night at Raley Field, but they couldn’t keep pace with Iowa and dropped a tense 10-8 game.
Can we even keep up with all the dingers? Where’s Oprah when we need her? You get a dinger and you get a dinger and you....
Welcome to the party, Slater— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) June 18, 2019
Tie game! pic.twitter.com/LkHXEB2Z8k
Catcher Francisco Peña’s 6th HR was one of four hits on the night, and Austin Slater’s 11th was one of three hits. Holy moly! Chris Shaw couldn’t be held to just one long ball so he hit a second one in the 9th. That’s 11 HRs on the year for Shaw as well.
But the RiverCats’ pitchers gave as good as the bats could get. While they surrendered just 2 HRs (and 10 hits overall), Sacramento pitchers issued 9 free passes. That is no way to live, boys!
Sacramento will try to split the series tonight, and the batters could be facing an interesting challenge if they’re trying to come back late:
Craig Kimbrel is coming to Sacramento!— River Cat Tales #ForeverRC (@R_CatTales) June 17, 2019
Kimbrel is expected to join Iowa and make his first appearance of 2019 against the River Cats (most likely) Tuesday. #Kimbrel #Cubs #FreeAgent #RedSox pic.twitter.com/q79zTuV8dA
All of the other short season clubs were dark last night, as Richmond had a travel day and San Jose and Augusta have both hit their All Star breaks. Stay tuned for festivities!
Like their big brothers in Sacramento, the Volcanoes found that scoring bushels of runs doesn’t help if your pitching is giving runs away in torrents itself. They DO have some hitters off to hot starts, though!
Franklin Labour homered for the third consecutive game. Four games into the year he’s already threatening his career high of 5, set two years ago when he was the DSL Giant’s best hitter. Labour slashed .317/.412/.495 that year with close to a 1 to 1 BB:K ratio (26 BBs, 30 Ks).
The Volcanoes also got a three-run shot from C Ricardo Genoves, his 1st of the year. In the non-dinger category, Yorlis Rodriguez picked up three more hits including his second double of the season. Yorlis is off to a 7 for 17 start with two doubles and a triple and only 1 K on the year. Also, only one walk. Yorlis is perhaps going for the Miguel Gomez “put everything in play” model of hitting. Dude can sure hit thought! In 47 games started as a pro, Rodriguez has gone hitless just 9 times — and none so far this year.
Clay Helvey — last year’s 22nd round pick and a former college teammate of Garrett Cave — got his 2019 off to a rocky start, surrendering 7 runs in less than 4 innings. Helvey and Travis Perry combined to allow 7 runs in the 4th inning to push the Spokane lead to 9-0 and it was all downhill from there.
And so it begins! Without over-dramatizing too much, it seems to me the value that the Giants are able to get out of this group of talent will play a huge role in determining how successful Farhan Zaidi’s regime with the Giants ultimately is. There’s a lot of skill here and a lot of tools. And after two months of XST practice, it’s time to see where the development is.
Marco Luciano had his much anticipated pro debut, and though he went hitless there were things to be inspired by. Fortunately we have a little video!
One observer’s opinion:
Thoughts from 6/17 AZL— The Welsh (@IsItTheWelsh) June 18, 2019
M. Luciano projectable as can be. Flicks wrist, turnovers on balls. hard contact. FV stud.
L. Toribio thick lower half. Body reminds me of Beltre. Balls will fly once pitch rec is up
D. Espino THICC
⬇️ GIANTS AZL is the worst Experience for fans.
Otherwhere on the diamond, the AZL teams got three hit days from their #9 prospect 3b Luis Toribio and 19 year old SS Ghordy Santos. Both players also picked up a SB. PJ Hilson took an 0-fer at the plate, but showed off a couple of his other tools — stealing a bag and throwing a runner out at home.
This year’s 3rd rounder Grant McCray — the highest pick currently signed and playing — walked twice and, he too, swiped a bag.
Jairo Pomares, the Cuban refugee who was the Giants second big money signing on the international market last year (signed for just under a million), picked up two hits including a double in his debut.
On the whole, the Orange team would appear to be the more prospecty, with Luciano, Toribio, Hilson, and Canario all on the team. Canario hurt his shoulder diving back into 2b last month (though unlike Steven Duggar, it doesn’t appear he needed surgery thankfully) which slowed him down this spring and returned him to the AZL for now. In his first game his run of bad luck continued as he had to leave after being hit by a pitch.
On the mound, two returners delivered strong starts. Conner Nurse, the 34th pick out of High School way back in 2017, threw 5 shutout innings. While on the Black team, Jasier Herrera, now in his 4th season of rookie ball struck out 6 over 5 strong innings. Both of these RHP have been moving (or not moving) pretty slowly despite decent results in their careers.
Finally, we saw several older players show up in yesterday’s box scores. OF Heath Quinn and Sandro Fabian — teammates last year in San Jose — both are on rehab assignments in the complex league. For Fabian this is his first action of the year after suffering a core injury in spring. And former 3rd round pick Dylan Davis showed up on permanent duty to the AZL squads — as a Pitcher. Davis, who pitched in college at Oregon State was preferred by some teams on the mound going into his draft year. The 25 year old drafted back in 2014 has arm strength, but he’ll need to have things click pretty quickly for him at this age. Good luck, Dylan!
Signs you’re in a DSL Box Score? Nine runs scored but only three RBI! The Giants broke a 4-4 tie with a three-run rally in the 7th that included:
- a run-scoring wild pitch
- a second run-scoring wild pitch
- a double steal of 2b and home.
That’s some good DSL-ing! Between the two teams there were actually five runs scored in the game by way of the wild pitch. Nonetheless, the Giants once again put consistent offensive pressure on the defense, pounding out 14 hits in the game (in addition to five walks and a HB). Alex Suarez once again set the pace at the top, reaching base four times and collecting one of the team’s three doubles and stealing his 2nd base of the year. Second place hitter Adolfo Valdez added two more hits and two SBs (7) giving them a steady attack from the top of the lineup.
In all, every member of the lineup collected at least one hit, with five of those hitters doubling up. There were also five extra base hits for the Giants including back to back doubles from Victor Bericoto and Rayner Santana (taking a day off from Catching) to help bring the team back from an early 4-2 deficit.
Marvin Brown threw a perfect inning in relief with 3 Ks to finish things off (no word from the Dominican about Immaculate Innings). Brown has started off his season with a terrific 9 Ks to just 1 BB in 7.1 IP over four games. He has yet to surrender a run and has allowed just 5 hits. Less than a baserunner and more than a K per inning is a good way to advance Marvin!
The Giants 10-4 record is the third best in the sprawling, six-division DSL. Yet they find themselves two games back of 12-2 Pirates2 who they’ll conveniently be playing the next two days. Promising a tough division fight ahead.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Yoanys Quiala) vs. Iowa (Colin Rea)
Richmond (Garrett Williams) vs. Trenton (Deivi Garcia)
San Jose: ALL STAR BREAK
Augusta: ALL STAR BREAK
Salem-Keizer (TBD) vs. Spokane (Florencio Serrano)
AZL Giants Orange vs. AZL Indians Blue
AZL Giants Black vs. AZK D’backs
DSL Giants (Jason Bonilla) vs. DSL Pirates 2
Richmond goes up against a guy who could well be a trade target of the Giants front office (so maybe a future teammate?). The Volcanoes face one of the more intriguing arms in the NWL. Serrano was originally signed by the Cubs two years ago for $1.2 million, but his contract was not only voided by MLB it led to a two-year MLB ban on all signings from Mexico. He’ll be making his professional debut tonight in the Rangers’ system.
We’re in the thick of it now! Giant-sized Minor Lines from here on out once the A ball teams return on Thursday.