San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: Double Your Pleasure in Augusta

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Chase Johnson #86 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait during a MLB photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Chase Johnson #86 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait during a MLB photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants and their affiliates had a great day, combining to go 6-1, headlined by a doubleheader sweep for the Augusta GreenJackets

Sunday was a busy day for the San Francisco and their farm system. The Giants traded two big leaguers, then called up two exciting prospects in Steven Duggar and Ray Black. Unfortunately, they also traded interesting pitching prospect Jason Bahr, who had been stellar in both Augusta and San Jose this year. That’s the price of doing business and trading a couple of bad contracts.

In the system, Giants’ affiliates went 5-1 on a day where the big league club also won. AAA Sacramento and AA Richmond both won on the last day before their respective All-Star breaks. High-A San Jose was the only loser on the day, but Single-A Augusta made up for it by sweeping a doubleheader. Short-season Salem-Keizer also won to snap a three-game skid.

All three rookie league teams, AZL Orange, AZL Black, and the DSL Giants, were off on Sunday. With that said, Sunday’s Minor League Major Performers:

Chase Johnson

The AA Richmond Flying Squirrels were locked in a tight one with the Akron RubberDucks. Only three runs were scored on the day, and Squirrels’ starter Chase Johnson was part of the reason for the low-scoring affair. He went a season-high five innings, allowing two hits and a run while striking out four without a walk.

The lanky right-hander retired the first 12 batters he faced, recording four strikeouts along the way. That came to an end in the fifth inning when Johnson allowed a leadoff home run that tied the game at one. He also allowed a two-out single, but navigated the inning with no further damage. Johnson wouldn’t get a decision, but Richmond came away winners with a run in the eighth inning.

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Johnson was the Giants’ third-round pick in 2013 out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and has, at various points, been considered one of the Giants’ better pitching prospects. He reached AAA for the first time in 2017, but made only six appearances before he needed to undergo Tommy John surgery.

He returned to the mound on May 8th for Richmond, and was on the mound just seven times before bad luck struck again. A foul ball into the dugout hit Johnson in the head, forcing him to the disabled list again with a concussion. He luckily only missed two weeks. He’s still working with a fairly strict pitch limit following Tommy John, and Sunday was only his second start (out of 10) with 60 or more pitches. He reached a season-high 68 pitches while completing five innings for the first time since May 20th, 2016.

Orlando Garcia

As Augusta beat the Rome Braves twice on Sunday, infielder Orlando Garcia played a large part in both games. In the opener, he went 3-4 with a pair of extra-base hits and three RBI, then went 1-2 with a hit by pitch and run scored in the backend.

Playing second base in game one, Garcia opened the scoring for Augusta with a two-run single in the first inning, giving the GreenJackets the early edge. After Rome scored in the bottom of the third, Garcia answered back with a solo home run through left-center field. He picked up his third hit with a two-out double in the seventh.

In game two, Garcia was the designated hitter. Rome and Augusta went into the seventh inning locked in a scoreless tie, but after a leadoff walk, Garcia knocked a single up the middle. He advanced on a botched bunt, and when Shane Matheny sent a single to right field, Garcia scored the what proved to be the game-winning run.

The Giants grabbed Garcia in the 15th round of last year’s draft out of Texas Tech. He’s spent the entire season at Augusta, and is hitting .245/.342/.336. Sunday marked his fifth game of at least three hits this year, and second with three RBI. Garcia was drafted as a shortstop, but has mostly played second base in the organization. His brother, Oscar Garcia, was a 31st-round draft pick in 2010 and spent two years in the Padres’ system.

John Gavin

The beneficiary of Augusta’s late rally in game two was left-hander John Gavin, the starter for the backend of the double-header. He was phenomenal against Rome, throwing a seven-inning complete game (minor league doubleheader games are seven innings apiece) while allowing just two hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts.

The 22-year-old out of Cal State Fullerton took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, retiring 16 of the first 17 batters he faced. The lone blemish at that point was a one-out walk in the second inning, which was erased on a first-pitch groundball double play. A two-out single into center field off Shean Michel’s bat cut Gavin’s run at history short, but Gavin kept the shutout alive. The second hit allowed came with one out in the seventh, but Gavin finished the game to complete his first career complete game and shutout.

Gavin has been fantastic all season long for Augusta. The 2017 eighth-rounder has pitched to a 1.82 ERA and 0.895 WHIP, holding opponents to a .156 average while striking out 87 batters in 79.1 innings. His Sunday start was the second of seven innings this year, matching the 21 outs he recorded on June 23rd. On that day, Gavin hurled seven innings of no-hit ball, striking out a career-high nine with just one walk.

Bahr’s trade leaves a vacancy in San Jose, and Gavin should certainly be in consideration for a promotion.

Joey Bart

The Giants most recent first-round draft pick becomes a repeat entry on this list. Joey Bart continued the strong start to his Salem-Keizer career, totaling three hits, two for extra bases, driving in three runs while scoring another three.

Much like in his Salem-Keizer debut, Bart was a big contributor to an offensive outburst. He recorded an infield single in the first inning, then scored the first run of the game on David Villar’s double. Bart led off the third with another home run, pulling the third of his career to left field to cut into what was a 6-3 deficit. Salem-Keizer continued scoring and took the lead, and Bart provided some big insurance runs in the eighth. In a 9-7 game, Bart lined a double down the right field line that plated a pair.

Bart has been in Salem-Keizer for just four games, but has already made his presence felt. He’s hit three home runs, plus a double, and has driven in seven runs. If he continues to show off the power, he might not be spending much time with the Volcanoes.

Next: Minor League Major Performers 7-7-18

Others of Note:

Tyler Rogers (SAC): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Aramis Garcia (RICH): 1-3, HR (8), 2 RBI (27), bases-loaded HBP for game-winning run
Shaun Anderson (RICH): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Dillon Dobson (SJ): 2-5, 2B (1), 2 RBI (2)
Heliot Ramos (AUG): 2-7, 2B (19), 2 RBI (26)
Mikey Edie (SK): 1-3, HR (1), 3 RBI (6), BB, R, SB (4)