San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: San Jose Snaps Skid

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 27: General view of a ball on the mound before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds at Target Field on April 27, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 27: General view of a ball on the mound before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds at Target Field on April 27, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

Games in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system were in short supply on Monday, but there were more than enough major performers.

The San Francisco won on a walk-off on Monday, but many of their affiliates had the day off. AAA Sacramento and AA Richmond both enjoyed rest days for their respective league’s All-Star breaks. Both AZL Orange and Black were rained out as the entire league postponed their Monday games. That left High-A San Jose, Single-A Augusta, short season A Salem-Keizer, and the Dominican Summer League Giants as the only affiliates to play on Monday.

San Jose finally snapped a long skid. They were 0-8 in the month of July, but got off the schneid with a late comeback win against the Stockton Ports. Augusta couldn’t build off their Sunday doubleheader sweep, losing a late lead to the Rome Braves. Salem-Keizer also couldn’t hold on, dropping one to the Boise Hawks. The DSL Giants kept their strong season going, beating the Royals for their fourth straight win, moving to 21-11 and staying in a tie at the top of the Northwest Division.

Jacob Heyward

It takes a complete team effort to snap a long losing streak, and the San Jose Giants got it on Monday night. One of the main contributors was Jacob Heyward, their right fielder and seventh-place hitter. He collected two hits and an RBI, and came through defensively as well.

Heyward’s first hit came in the second inning, a two-out single that didn’t lead to anything. The big hit in the game came courtesy of Heyward in the eighth inning. San Jose entered the inning trailing by a run, but tied the game after a Heath Quinn leadoff double and a Gio Brusa sac fly. With two outs, the potential go-ahead run stood at second base. The righty Heyward smoked a double into left field, bringing the run in and putting the Giants ahead to stay.

His day didn’t end there. After the inning, Heyward moved from right to left field and was tested immediately. William Toffey led off the inning with a single and challenged Heyward’s arm, which turned out to be a bad idea. Heyward gunned him down at second base to erase the potential tying run.

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Heyward is, of course, the brother of current Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Jason Heyward, and came to the Giants in the 2016 draft as their 18th-round pick. The younger Heyward is hitting .249/.353/.387 with 15 doubles and seven home runs in his first year in the Cal League. His 41 walks lead the team, and are tied for the third-most in the league. Heyward’s also racked up seven outfield assists.

Domenic Mazza

Of course, starting pitching goes a long way toward breaking the skid. Left-hander Domenic Mazza was up to the task. The 23-year-old threw six fantastic innings, keeping the Ports off the board while giving up just four hits and a walk to go with four strikeouts.

After a clean first inning, things looked ready to go sideways in the second. The Ports opened the frame with three straight singles, loading the bases with no one outs. Mazza buckled down, striking out the next batter, getting a pop-up to Heyward in right field that was too shallow to score a run, and finally picking up another strikeout to end the frame with no damage done. From there on out, Mazza faced the minimum for four more innings, erasing both a single and a walk by rolling a pair. The lefty wouldn’t factor into the decision, but certainly helped the skid end with such a strong start.

Mazza grabbed headlines last year when he made history in the Sally League. Pitching for Augusta, the crafty southpaw pitched a nine-inning perfect game on April 26th, retiring all 27 Lexington Legends’ batters. It became the first nine-inning perfecto in South Atlantic League history, and the second perfect game of any length (John Purdin went seven innings in 1964).

He had missed most of the early portion of the season with a back injury, and Monday marked his third appearance back in San Jose. This was his first start.

Luis Toribio

As the DSL Giants have emerged as one of the best teams in the league, Luis Toribio has been one of the driving forces. Normally a shortstop, Toribio played third base on Monday and went 3-5 as the Giants won again.

Toribio opened the scoring in the second inning, launching a leadoff home run to give the Giants an early 1-0 lead. He followed with a leadoff single in the fourth, then did the same in the eighth. He would score a big insurance run after the latter hit, coming around after another single, a walk, and a hit by pitch to give the Giants a 3-1 lead that they would hold on to.

Not only has Toribio been one of the top Giants, he’s been one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. The 17-year-old is slashing .323/.488/.602, and leads the Giants with six home runs and 24 RBI, and is tied for second with six doubles. In the DSL, Toribio is second in slugging percentage, tied for second in home runs, fourth in OBP, and ninth in RBI. He’s playing pro ball for the first time this year after signing as a July 2nd free agent last year.

Next: Minor League Major Performers 7-8-18

Others of Note:

Bryce Johnson (SJ): 2-4, 3B (4), RBI (26), SB (16), R
Heliot Ramos (AUG): 2-4, 2 RBI (28), R, HBP
Aaron Phillips (AUG): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K
Jose Layer (SK): 3-4, 2B (7), BB, R
Joey Bart (SK): 1-4, HR (4), RBI (11) – first career professional grand slam
Richgelon Juliana (DSL): 2-5, 3B (4), RBI (22)
Juan Sanchez (DSL): 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K