San Francisco Giants: Minor League Affiliates Face Off in Exhibition Matchup

Mar 13, 2017; Surprise, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Christian Arroyo against the Texas Rangers during a Cactus League spring training game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2017; Surprise, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Christian Arroyo against the Texas Rangers during a Cactus League spring training game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco Giants’ minor league affiliates, San Jose Giants and Sacramento River Cats are having a couple of friendly scrimmages as they prepare for the regular season to begin on Thursday April 8th. The first one was played yesterday in San Jose. Later tonight the River Cats will get to host their own game for the fans in Sacramento. Game one went to the River Cats 5-3

Yesterday the San Jose Giants held their annual fan fest that gives the fans a chance at a meet and greet with the players for the upcoming 2017 season. I had the opportunity to attend this event and get a first look at what to expect from the San Jose Giants this season.

First off, this team is loaded with talent and top prospects. 2016 second round pick (first choice) and (No.3) prospect according to top 30 Giants prospects list, Bryan Reynolds leads the group. Other prospects include Aramis Garcia (No.15) Jalen Miller (No.25) and Matt Krook (No.14) to name a few. Heath Quinn, another top prospect and 2016 draftee will join them once he recovers from a broken hammate bone.

Now that was just the San Jose team.  The River Cats didn’t hold a meet and greet but that team has many prospects as well; and players Giants fans are more familiar with. Top prospect Christian Arroyo, Joan Gregorio (No.8), Austin Slater (No.19), Steven Okert (No.12) Ryder Jones (No.29) and fan favorite Kelby Tomlinson. Not every day do fans get the chance to see many top prospects at once on one field. This was the first year that the two minor league affiliates played each other in an exhibition game just before the regular season begins.

Before the game started both managers, David Brundage (Sacramento) and Nestor Rojas (San Jose), agreed pitchers would have a 20-pitch inning limit. If a pitcher reached 20 pitches in an inning, the inning would just end right there regardless of outs. This was an exhibition game after all, no need to push the players before the regular season begins.

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Right from the beginning you could notice the difference in levels between the River Cats triple-A hitting against the Giants Single-A pitching. Both teams wrote up lineups that could be mirrored on Opening day. In the first, Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones got back to back singles with one out. Justin Ruggiano then walked to load the base for Jae-Gyun Hwang. He then followed with a 2-run single to left.

At this point San Jose pitcher Yordy Cabrera reached 20 pitches and the inning ended there. Kyle Blanks led off the second inning with a towering homerun to left field out of the stadium. Hwang got another RBI single in the third that put the River Cats up 4-0.

Joan Gregorio got the start for the River Cats. He went four innings giving up three runs on four hits. He looked really good first time through the Giants order. In the third inning the Giants hitters adjusted well. Bryan Reynolds got the first hit with a single to left.

Outfielder Gio Brusa followed with a triple to deep left field scoring Reynolds. In the fourth, San Jose would get their second and third runs off of Gregorio via sacrifice flies. From the fifth inning on, the River Cats used their bullpen with the notable pitchers Steven Okert, Kyle crick and Josh Osich getting work in.

An interesting bottom of the ninth occured when Osich came in to get the last two outs of the game. He struck out his first batter then gave up a walk and a hit. With the winning run coming up to bat, the game was called because in those three batters Osich had reached the 20-pitch limit in the inning. Some fans let out some friendly boos as they wanted to see how the at-bat could have unfolded. Overall, this was a hit with fans as they enjoyed the experience to see the Giants play the River Cats.

Notable Players: River Cats

Notable Players: San Jose

Tonight will be a rematch, this time in Sacramento, with both teams getting their last hacks in before the season begins tomorrow.  The Sacramento River Cats will open the season at home vs. the Tacoma Rainiers with Tyler Beede presumably starting. San Jose will open on the road in San Bernadino as they will face the Inland Empire 66ers to begin their season.

Next: Giants Defeat DiamondBacks

Stay tuned for more minor league updates of the San Francisco Giants throu.ghout the season