SF Giants prospects rundown 5/12: Marco Luciano homers
By Marc Delucchi
SF Giants Prospects Rundown 5/12: Low-A
San Jose Giants 4 at Stockton Ports 7
Performance of the Game: Ivan Armstrong (4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 7 K)
Luis Matos continued his hot streak at the plate, adding another pair of doubles to his quickly growing statline. After a significant early-season slump, the Venezuelan outfielder is now hitting .300 with five extra-base hits in seven games. Marco Luciano finally broke out of his own tough stretch at the plate, finally recording his first home run of the season.
While Stockton does not have a video feed setup for its games open to the public, Luciano hit the ball out to the opposite field. The California League (now Low-A West) was always considered a hitter-friendly environment, but San Jose’s stadium has always played far more neutral, even occasionally favoring pitchers. Do not be too shocked if the trend of San Jose hitters performing far better on the road than at home continues.
Of course, the opposite would apply for pitchers, which seemed to be the case for Carson Ragsdale. After an impressive first outing, where he allowed just two baserunners and struck out seven across five shutout innings, Ragsdale threw just 16 of his 34 pitches for strikes in a laboring first inning. He hit the first batter he faced, struck out A’s 2020 first-round pick Tyler Soderstrom and then allowed back-to-back home runs. Ragsdale sandwiched another strikeout between two walks and reached the maximum number of pitches the Giants staff was willing to allow him to throw in the inning.
2019 19th round draft pick Kanoa Pagan took the ball from Ragsdale and failed to do much better at limiting the Ports’ offense. He allowed a home run of his own and issued three walks across 1.2 innings, leaving the game with the Giants in a 7-2 hole in the third inning and plenty of more innings left to chew up their bullpen. Luckily, Ivan Armstrong rose to the occasion.
Armstrong was signed as a starter in 2017 and pitched to mixed results in the Dominican Summer League the following summer. In 2019, Armstrong made his stateside debut with the Giants AZL Black team and struggled to find the strike zone enough as a starter, and was moved to the bullpen. With a full 6’5”-250lbs frame, Armstrong already looks like a big-league pitcher and has the arm to generate strong velocity. Still, control remains an issue. On Wednesday, though, he was locked in, throwing 39 of his 55 pitches for strikes in a dominant 4.2 innings of relief. He did hit one batter but otherwise allowed no one else to reach base and struck out seven.
We’ll be back with looks at the SF Giants farm system throughout the minor-league season with daily rundowns on the entire organization’s minor-league affiliates.