So I made my way down to San Jose last night to catch the Giants lose their third straight game to the Fresno Grizzlies. It was not pretty, but I kept having to remind myself that these guys are very young. That and small sample size.
First and foremost, our #1 prospect, Marco Luciano, had the day off. That was a bummer, but we did get to see other highly regarded prospects: Luis Matos, Alex Canario, Casey Schmitt, Luis Toriibio, and other fringy ones like Armani Smith and Garrett Frechette.
The Bad the Ugly, Chasing Everything: For the most part we looked awful, and most of the players barely have a batting average at all. Again, we are talking small sample size, but they chased terrible pitches way out of the strike zone all night from the Rockies pitcher Kilkenny. He's a lot older, 24, I think, and his craftiness vs. their youth was on full display. Roger and others remind us constantly not to fret, because age matters at these levels, and our prospects are being "pushed" to San Jose vs. what would have more likely been a Salem Kaiser type assignment in the past. Still, I'm guessing players like Ronald Acuna and Vlad Guerrero Jr. had few such issues at any level. I'm sure someone will present evidence to the contrary. Still, Matos, Schmitt, Toribio, and Frechette all looked like they had no pitch recognition or strike zone knowledge at all. And, of course, after managing to take the lead in the bottom of the 8th on three straight walks, we managed to blow the lead in the 9th and lose the game anyway.
The Good: The exception was Alex Canario, who had a plan, was selective, and made solid contact every time. He is actually the one player that has been raking. He didn't have any monster hits, but he just looked better than everyone else. Before his injury, he was nearly as highly regarded as Luciano and ahead of Matos, but he dropped slightly because of that. Glad to see he's just fine. Our pitcher, Carson Ragsdale, also looked good. A couple of balls were barreled, but his fastball was lively with movement and he changed speeds nicely. He was acquired in the Coonrod deal, so glad to see we got at least some potential out of that. Finally, the Rockies #1 prospect, Zac Veen, also looked too young for the level. He struck out 3 times and was the "Beer Batter" to boot, resulting in lots of half price beer for all in attendance.
Park Impressions: Unlike at Oracle Park you do not need to show your vaccination card. They let anyone in. Seating is now reserved only with social distancing guidelines. Weekday evenings were always a bit sparse, but now it's something like 300 people maximum, and you can definitely hear every fan's cheer, complaint, scream, or curse. Food options are more limited, but the famous Turkey Mike's is still serving. Parking was free, which was a surprise bonus.
Poor Fresno: Despite their success against our young lads, I couldn't help feeling so sorry for the Grizzlies franchise, their fanbase, and the city of Fresno. As if Fresno doesn't have enough issues, about 5 years ago they were a happy Giants AAA ballclub with a sparkling new and large stadium. What an albatross that is for a Low A club not attached to a California franchise.
Overall, I just want to appreciate that we got to be at the ballpark at all this year, and, hopefully, this young group will eventually learn the Farhan plan of taking the bad pitches and swinging at the ones you can actually do damage on.