Had a VIP member DM me today asking me if I was concerned about the ‘strikeout issues’ Marco Luciano has had in the Arizona League so far.— Prospects 365 ⚾️ (@Prospects365) June 20, 2019
He’s played in two games.
OK! Let’s all point at these guys and laugh! (Also, the periodic reminder: please try not to be these kind of fans. Nor the kind asking today if Luciano will be in the majors by 18. Patience, grasshopper. Development takes time)
HIGHLIGHTS: Marco Luciano doubled, tripled, and homered; Alexander Canario singled, tripled, and homered.
Sacramento had the day off
For the second consecutive day, the Flying Squirrels matched up against a potential trade target. And for the second consecutive day, they made him look pretty good! Though unlike Deivi Garcia, Albert Abreu did NOT strike out the first 8 batters he faced. PROGRESS!
In fact, Richmond managed a first inning run off Abreu, thanks entirely to the speed of Johneshwy Fargas. Fargas was HBP to lead off the game and then stole both 2b and 3b, before scoring on a ground out. Johneshwy would steal a third base later in the game — giving him 27 for the year. The next closest player in the Eastern League is teammate Jalen Miller with 18. Imagine what Fargas could do if he could get his OBP up to .350 or so (currently .312). Of course, he’s also been CS 10 times. Still, he’s the closest thing the org has to a Terrence Gore!
Richmond wouldn’t score again until the 8th inning, but they did momentarily have a chance to get back in the game. Gio Brusa’s RBI double put the tying run on 2b with just one out in the 8th.
Gio Brusa drives a double to bring home Zach Houchins— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) June 20, 2019
We're back within two, down 4-2 in the 8th inning pic.twitter.com/IOjuDIFSuv
But Matt Winn and Brandon Van Horn were unable to cashier the runs and the Squirrels went down quietly to defeat in the 9th, starting the second half of the season on a losing note. They had the worst record in the EL in the first half.
Hey, but speaking of Jalen Miller, he’s been going through some tough times at the plate lately, but he’s not letting that effect his defense!
San Jose and Augusta both had the final days of their All Star Breaks
The Volancoes spent 10 innings locked in a pitcher’s duel before things feel apart for Cooper Casad in the 11th, leading to their third consecutive loss against first place Spokane.
Converted Catcher Kervin Castro had a strong outing in his second start of the year, allowing just one hit over 5 innings, and striking out 5. In his two games, Castro has surrendered just 3 hits and 2 earned runs. On Opening Night he seemed a little amped up — walking three and hitting two batters. But he eliminated the free passes last night and he now has 9 Ks in 10 IP.
There wasn’t much doing on the offensive side of things (as one can imagine when a team scores just twice in 11 innings). Rhodes Scholar candidate Simon Whiteman led the team with three hits including a double. Whiteman’s early season average is up to .429. Though bit of a bad look getting 3 CS in a game — part of an 0 for 5 night for the team in base stealing attempts. When just one more run over 10 innings could have meant victory, that kind of base running is not exactly helping the cause.
Whiteman has a strong aesthetic going though!
Alright already! I can hear you — get to the kids! And yes, yes, this was where the excitement was last night — and where high hopes for the future reside. The top 3 of the Orange team’s lineup — Alexander Canario, Marco Luciano, and Luis Toribio — went a combined 8 for 14 with five extra base hits! THAT’S GOOD! That’s the #8, #2, and #9 prospects in the system (by Baseball America) and the oldest of the trio just turned 19. THAT’S ALSO GOOD! Add in Jairo Pomares and Luis Matos (more on him later) and you’ve got yourself a 12 for 22 day from core of teenage talent that hopefully represents the Next Big Wave for the Giants’ organization. OMG could this team finally develop a starting OF?!?!?! Will The Curse of George Genovese be broken?
Both Luciano and Canario fell one hit shy of the cycle — a missing single for Luciano, and absent double for Canario. Luciano stepped up in the top of the 1st and knocked out his first professional hit — a double grounded into the corner. And he liked it so much he kept on whacking extra baggers the rest of the game — a triple in the 3rd and his first professional home run in the 8th inning. First in a game that counts, that is. He’s been hitting fearsome shots in camp for awhile now, as you may have read in Andy Baggarly’s piece in the Athletic earlier this month.
Marco Luciano doubled for his AZL Giants club - his first professional hit. Here's what I wrote after visiting with the 17-year-old top international signee last month: https://t.co/RVHRD4KXot— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) June 20, 2019
For Canario, we can spy a little urgency to get himself out of Scottsdale. Kyle Haines mentioned in an interview this winter that he thought some of Canario’s slow start in 2018 was due to disappointment at not getting assigned to the Northwest League. This year, he was ticketed for Salem-Keizer before hurting his shoulder diving back into 2b during Extended games. But he seems to be showing that he’s healthy and ready to go — he’s now 7 for 12 with four extra base hits in his opening three games. Keep it up, Alex, and Oregon may be in your near-term future!
Eighteen year old Toribio hasn’t shown any extra-base power yet (though we know it’s in there), but he’s getting the bat on the ball. He’s gone 6 for his first 12 with all six hits being singles. He’s also walked twice for a nifty .571 OBP. I love first week statistics!
The fourth member of Team Orange’s Toolsy Teenagers if starting off in a Cold Zone, in fact, a No Contact Zone. PJ Hilson has just 1 hit over his first 12 PA with 7 Ks. Contact trouble marked Hilson’s first go-round in the AZL as well as he struck out 65 times last summer in 161 At Bats.
There wasn’t quite so much excitement at Team Black’s game, as they were shut out by the Padres, managing just five hits — including two from 6th round pick, SS Dilon Rosario. The Black team’s game was dominated by 6th overall pick CJ Abrams who opened the game by getting to 2b on a ground ball up the middle and then scoring from 2b on a bunt single. The Pads 1st round pick has started his pro career off going 7 for 10 (For ever so brief a moment on draft day, Fangraphs’ thought Abrams might drop to the Giants pick — be still my heart!).
Neither of the Giants two young starting pitcher — Ivan Armstrong and lefty Jesus Gomez — managed to distinguish themselves in their domestic debuts, though both bring interesting arm strength and projection to Arizona. Control plagued the pair as they collectively walked 7 batters in just over 6 innings. Gomez also allowed two HRs.
Rehabbing Heath Quinn also went deep. He’s now 3 for 9 and should be ready to return to Richmond after a few more days’ ABs vs. live pitching.
All in all a pretty thrilling evening from the desert. Keep scouring the internet — there’s bound to be some Luciano footage popping up somewhere this morning!
The DSL Giants got 4 excellent innings of work out of starter Rafael Martinez, but things progressively went off the rails with a series of relievers who spun the game out of control, leading to a two game “sweep” at the hands of the first place Pirates2. The nineteen year old Martinez endured two rough outings to start his pro career, but he appears to be finding his groove. In his last two starts he’s allowed just 1 run over 9 IP. His 6 Ks yesterday set a new career high and for the season he now has 15 Ks against just 2 walks (albeit with 3 HB) in 15 IP.
The Giants have to be thrilled with the early work they’re seeing from seventeen year old Luis Matos. The Venezuelan CF picked up three more hits yesterday, his sixth multi-hit game over the last nine. He’s reached base in his last 10 games, and in all but two of his 14 games so far. Maybe Luis is unhappy that he didn’t get to skip straight to Arizona like Luciano and Pomares and is trying to hit his way there. Excellent motivation, Luis! To help you visualize the swing that is producing all these hits, enjoy this video!
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Ty Blach) @ Las Vegas (Paul Blackburn)
Richmond (Caleb Baragar) @ Trenton (Nick Nelson
San Jose (Matt Frisbee) @ Stockton (TBD)
Augusta (Gregory Santos) @ Kanapolis (TBD)
Salem-Keizer (Jacob Lopez) vs. Spokane (Theo McDowell)
DSL Giants (Jorge Garcia) vs. DSL Mariners
What? No AZL!?!? I demand my Canario-Luciano highlights! Ok, AZL is gone dark for a day after the fever of excitement from last night (so we haven’t yet had to face the EIGHT TEAM Minor Lines, ugh!). But there’s still plenty to look forward to — Gregory Santos is representing the Teenage Set for the Giants tonight. And in Keizer, we have the return of Jacob Lopez, who has yet to allow a baserunner in 2019 following his perfect 5 innings in his season debut.
Will we have as much excitement to talk about tomorrow morning? We shall see! Same Bat channel...same Bat time...
For now, I’ll just leave you with this. Into the woods we go...