SF Giants Prospects Rundown 5/20: High-A
Eugene Emeralds 6 at Tri-City Dust Devils 7 (11 innings)
Performance of the Game: Diego Rincones (1-3, HR, BB, R, RBI)
The first Giants minor leaguer to hit four home runs was not a name that would be familiar to most fans but could become a quick riser in the system if he builds off an impressive last six months. Diego Rincones was quietly one of the best players in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason and has carried over that hot start to Eugene. Rincones finished the game on Thursday 1-for-3 with a walk and his fourth home run of the season. His average on the season dropped to .375, and his OPS remained an impressive 1.145.
Rincones will not turn 22 until June and is roughly the age of a draft-eligible junior in this summer’s upcoming draft class. Since signing with the Giants out of Venezuela in 2015, he steadily made his way through the lower minor leagues. Rincones has consistently shown an ability to hit for average (career .293 hitter) and avoid strikeouts (12.4% strikeout rate) but has never shown more than average power (career .424 slugging percentage). However, this season, the corner outfielder is flashing above-average power and has seen a slight spike in his strikeouts that one would expect to accompany some swing changes. Rincones is flashing the potential to play his way from intriguing depth piece to legitimate big-league prospect.
Aside from Rincones, Eugene managed to scrape five runs across on just four hits and seven walks. However, two of those runs came in the eleventh inning, which started with a runner on second base.
Emeralds’ starting pitcher Nick Morreale struck out six over 3.2 innings but was unable to work around an error by Simon Whiteman, five hits, and three walks. In an early 3-0 hole, Eugene’s bullpen stepped up and gave the offense time to even up the score. Jasier Herrera, Ryan Walker, John Russell, and R.J. Dabovich combined to allow just one run over 5.1 innings of work while striking out ten, walking one, and surrendering three hits. However, the bullpen’s run came to an end in the eleventh, when Nick Avila could not replicate his shutout tenth inning performance, allowing three runs to score.