Phil Bickford wasted no time letting Giants' personnel feel satisfied about selecting him 18th overall last June. He promptly retired the first 12 batters he faced in the 2016 season, striking out eight Rome Braves. He ran into a bit of a wall with two outs in the fifth. After grabbing his ninth and tenth strikeout (video here) of the day, he plunked Lucas Herbert, walked Ray-Patrick Didder, and surrendered a lacing double into the right-center gap, courtesy of Luke Dykstra. He was pulled, near his pitch limit anyway.
None of that mattered, really. Bickford just dominated out there. He took advantage of the home plate umpire's wide zone and painted corners all night with his mid-90s heater. At times, the pitch had a bit of late cut action. Eight of the ten punchouts were via fastballs, five swinging and three looking. Also on display was Bickford's slider, which was nasty in the two swinging strike-threes it produced. Fifty of the 76 pitches were strikes, and there was hardly any loud contact made besides the only hit he allowed.
Over in Richmond, where the Flying Squirrels were playing game two of their weird "away" series with the Hartford Yard Goats, Christian Arroyo collected four hits, all singles, in what was his fourth time as a pro picking up four base knocks in a single game. He also drew a walk, though the Flying Squirrels were disappointing with runners in scoring position, only managing three runs on 13 hits.
— Beginning 35 minutes after Bickford kicked off his night, Adalberto Mejia's impressive outing went slightly unnoticed. He received one run of support, but struck out seven and only allowed three baserunners in five innings.
— Ryder Jones collected two hits for the second straight game, but tallied a third throwing error at third base. Arroyo struggled, as well, making two errors of the fielding variety.
— On a wet, misty night at Municipal Stadium in San Jose, Sam Coonrod made his season debut and you could tell early on that the wet ball, combined with first-game jitters, may have been factoring in to his rough start. But by the fourth inning, before the game was delayed and eventually suspended, Coonrod seemed to figure things out. He went up in the zone, out of the strike zone, with an elevator fastball and got JetHawks players to swing. That inning he also displayed great control for his tight, downward slider — a pitch he used to get two of his seven strikeouts. There was loud contact off Coonrod, though, and it typically came off fastballs up but still in the strike zone.
— Jose Vizcaino, Jr., a day after breaking three bats in one game, found a new bat he liked and hit the team's first home run of the year with his proud father in the crowd. Must have been a rewarding moment for the former MLB infielder of 18 seasons.
TOP-30 PROSPECT ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 4-for-4, R, BB
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Phil Bickford: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
- Lucius Fox: 0-for-3, 2 SO
- Chris Shaw: 0-for-2, 2 SO
- Sam Coonrod: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
- Mac Williamson: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SO
- Aramis Garcia: 0-for-1, BB
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Adalberto Mejia: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
- Clayton Blackburn: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
- Jalen Miller: 0-for-3, BB, SO
- Ray Black: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Okert: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Jarrett Parker: 0-for-4, 2 SO
- Hunter Cole: 0-for-5, SO
- Austin Slater: 0-for-4, BB, 4 SO
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Michael Santos: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Mac Marshall: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: 0-for-1, SO
- Derek Law: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Jake Smith: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 1-for-4, 3B, 2 SO