San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: Re-Ranking Prospects

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: A general view of Scottsdale Stadium during the game between the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox on Monday, February 25, 2013 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Giants and White Sox played to a 9-9 tie. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: A general view of Scottsdale Stadium during the game between the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox on Monday, February 25, 2013 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Giants and White Sox played to a 9-9 tie. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants are back to their magical place at .500, and their minor league affiliates didn’t give off many good feelings on Thursday.

As the San Francisco fell back to .500 yet again, their farm system didn’t fare much better on Thursday. They combined to go 2-6 on the evening, being outscored by 18 runs. AAA Sacramento, high-A San Jose, single-A August, short-season A Salem-Keizer, AZL Black, and the DSL Giants all lost. Only AA Richmond and AZL Orange (who beat AZL Black) were successful.

MLB Pipeline released their updated mid-season list, complete with recently acquired players from the draft and international free agency. The Giants’ new top-30 has quite a different look, especially at the top of the list. Unsurprisingly, number-two overall pick Joey Bart slots in as the Giants’ top prospect, leading five newcomers in the top-30.

Big international signing Marco Luciano comes in at six, while second-rounder Sean Hjelle slots right behind him at seven. Third-round pick Jake Wong is 20th, while fourth-rounder Blake Rivera round out the newcomers at number 23.

Personal favorite Logan Webb was the big mover on the list, shooting from number 30 up to 12th. Shaun Anderson moves from seventh to fourth, while Ray Black also took a huge jump. The current big leaguer rockets from 28th to 17th, but with the way he’s pitching in San Francisco, he’ll soon be ineligible for the list anyway. Steven Duggar stayed steady at third, but like Black, probably will soon shed the “prospect” label.

Heliot Ramos was bumped from the top by Bart, taking the slight tumble back to second. Chris Shaw dropped from second to fifth, and Tyler Beede continued his fall from fourth to eighth. The biggest drop came from righty Tyler Herb, whose injury and ineffectiveness saw him go from 12th to 26th. C.J. Hinojosa, Garrett Cave, and Aramis Garcia all also fell 10 or more spots on the list.

Five players dropped off the list completely to make room for the new guys. Joan Gregorio (previously ranked 15th), Kelvin Beltre (19), Ricardo Genoves (23), Malique Ziegler (25), and Bryce Johnson (26) are no longer on the top-30 list.

Bart also comes in at number 36 on MLB’s top-100 list, and is second among their catching prospects. Ramos dropped from 63 on the preseason top-100, falling back to 87th.

Finally before we begin, a few noteworthy things in Sacramento. As Evan Longoria’s rehab was ended sooner than expected, Joe Panik’s rehab began sooner than expected. Panik was in Sacramento’s lineup on Thursday, playing second base and hitting second. In five innings, he singled and scored a run in three at-bats. Panik is scheduled to play seven innings on Friday, then nine on Saturday.

Also, Shaun Anderson pitched as scheduled for Sacramento, so nothing to worry about there. Also also, catcher Ryan Hanigan was released from his contract. The Giants signed the 37-year-old to a minor league deal in late May to be catching depth, and he played only 18 games and hit .175 while spending some time on the disabled list.

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Mike Connolly

In Richmond, the Flying Squirrels and Fighting Phils engaged in a pitcher’s duel. For the Giants’ affiliate, it was righty Mike Connolly that did the heavy lifting for the pitching staff. He shoved for seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out three.

The Phils tagged Connolly in the first, with Cornelius Randolph, the second batter of the game, hitting a solo home run to get the early lead. Richmond tied up in the bottom half when Luigi Rodriguez led off with a solo blast of his own, but wouldn’t score again for a while. Connolly kept his team in it with a great effort.

The 26-year-old worked around a leadoff walk in the second, then threw 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth. He allowed two more hits in the fifth but didn’t no runs, then came back with a clean sixth. Things got really dicey in the seventh, after a leadoff double that was followed with a single. With runners on the corners and none out, Connolly coaxed two comebacker groundballs and a strikeout to escape danger.

Connolly, the Giants’ 27th-round pick in 2013, has acted as a swingman for both the AAA and AA teams this year, and Thursday marked his eighth start of the year. He pitched seven innings for the first time this season, and allowed one or no runs for the third time. He didn’t factor into the decision, but he gave the team a chance to score the game-winning runs in the eighth.

Ian Gardeck

Right-handed pitcher Ian Gardeck was on the mound on Thursday for the Giants’ AZL Orange team, continuing his own rehab assignment. Facing the Giants Black squad, Gardeck took over in the sixth inning with his team down 4-2. It was a quick and easy night for Gardeck, facing three batters and retiring them all. He struck out the first two, then ended the frame with a groundball to third base. Gardeck was the winning pitcher after Orange scored three times in the bottom of the inning.

This was Gardeck’s second appearance of the season, and it will be a special occasion every time he takes the mound. In the not too distant past, he looked like he would find himself in the Giants’ big league bullpen. Instead, the disabled list became his home.

In 2015, Gardeck had a great year for the San Jose Giants. He made 61 appearances, pitching to a 3.54 ERA and 1.158 WHIP and striking out 104 batters in 86.1 innings. The Giants added him to the 40-man roster after the season, and he appeared poised to soon make it to San Francisco. That never happened. He tore his UCL in Spring Training 2016, needing Tommy John surgery, and had surgery to repair a torn hip labrum around the same time. While rehabbing his elbow, he tore the UCL again and needed a second Tommy John surgery. He was designated for assignment twice in that span.

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    Beicker Mendoza

    On the offensive side for the AZL Orange team, Beicker Mendoza was the offensive stud on Thursday. He had two of the biggest hits on the night, driving in three runs and scoring twice along the way.

    With AZL Orange down 4-0 in the fourth inning, Mendoza followed a leadoff error with a double to left field to put them on the board. He later scored, making it 4-2. After another error to start the sixth inning, Mendoza lifted off, bashing a two-run home run to left to tie the game at four.

    Mendoza is having a great year in the AZL. The 20-year-old first baseman is hitting .361/.389/.598, and leads his team with 11 doubles, four home runs, and 29 RBI. He’s tied for the league’s lead in doubles, and is tops in RBI. His .598 slugging percentage is ranked second across the league.

    Next. Minor League Major Performers: 7-25-18. dark

    Others of Note:

    Mac Williamson (SAC): 1-3, HR (13), 2 RBI (41), R, 2 BB
    Myles Schroder (SAC): 2-4, HR (6), RBI (16), R
    Caleb Gindl (RICH): 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI (13), R
    Aaron Phillips (AUG): 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 9 K
    David Villar (SK): 1-3, HR (6), 2 RBI (24), R, HBP
    Alexander Canario (AZL B): 1-3, 2B (3), R, BB
    Tyler Flores (AZL O): 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI (24), R
    Richgelon Juliana (DSL): 1-3, 3B (6), 2 BB