Unfortunately, you can sort of tell when it wasn't the best night for the San Francisco Giants farm system when the headline of a recap devoted to the group is about a pitching staff racking up a lot of strikeouts while losing.
Yes, all four Giants' affiliates lost on Wednesday, but there were some highlights strung amongst the defeat. Like that Richmond pitching staff. Pat Young received a spot start and wasn't very effective, lasting only 2.1 innings and allowing all four of Altoona's eventual runs. But a trio of bullpen arms cleaned up the mess and posted this line to complete the game: 6.2 innings, two hits, zero runs, two walks, and 13 strikeouts.
It began with right-hander Jose Flores, an offseason Mexican-league signee of the Giants, who faced the minimum over 3.2 innings. He struck out four, prefacing a dismantling of opposing hitters courtesy of Carlos Alvarado. Working around a double, a single, and a walk, Alvarado recorded a strikeout for all six of his outs in two innings. In fact, the final nine outs of the game for Altoona came by way of the strikeout as starting pitcher Cory Taylor came in for some between-start work and struck out the side.
Alvarado has had habit of striking out the opposition frequently since being acquired by the Giants in 2012, especially last season into this one. He struck out 37 in 31.1 innings in 2016 and has 10 punchouts in four innings so far in 2017. More importantly, his K% with Augusta and Richmond a year ago were both over 32%.
A YouTube search for "carlos alvarado giants" yields absolutely nothing baseball-related, so he's video I shot of the tall right-hander about a month ago at spring training. His main offerings are a low-90s fastball and a pretty slider.
— Hunter Cole got off to a slow start in 2016 and he's at it again this time around. His first six game last year yielded eight strikeouts and one hit in 24 plate appearances, and in the new year he's 2-for-25 with nine strikeouts. The good news is Cole rebounded last April and struck out 18.6 percent of the time and batted .283 before the calendars were flipped to May.
— The San Jose Giants took advance of home-run-helping winds in their series finale at Lancaster and clubbed four homers, but lost 9-7. Non-power guys Johneshwy Fargas and Jalen Miller hit what will likely be a fifth of their home run totals in 2017, while Gio Brusa and Dillon Dobson launched predictable shots.
— Sandro Fabian was one bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming performance from the Augusta GreenJackets on Wednesday. Charleston's starting pitcher struck out 11 in 5.2 innings, but not Fabian. He recorded the only two singles off Albert Abreu and did not succumb to the strikeout.
— Dan Slania's first start since being recalled to Triple-A was pretty average until his last pitch of the game left the park and increased Salt Lake's lead from one to four. Like most sinker/slider guys, Slania ran into issues when he left the ball up in the zone, which is easy to do in the Pacific Coast League when it seems like every away ballpark is 3,000 feet or higher in elevation.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Christian Arroyo: 2-for-5, R, SB
- Bryan Reynolds: 0-for-4, BB, SO
- Steven Duggar: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 0-for-4, SO
- Sandro Fabian: 2-for-4
- Heath Quinn: DNP
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Steven Okert: DNP
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Matt Krook: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: DNP
- C.J. Hinojosa: DNP
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- Austin Slater: 2-for-4, RBI, SO
- Kelvin Beltre: 0-for-4, 3 SO
- Dan Slania: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K
- Cory Taylor: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jalen Miller: 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB
- Melvin Adon: DNP
- Garrett Williams: DNP
- Dylan Davis: DNP
- Ryder Jones: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 0-for-3, BB, 2 SO