Doesn’t that just roll off the tongue? The only thing is, these champs play in Scottsdale, not San Francisco, and they earned their crown of the Arizona Rookie League by shutting out the Dodgers… how sweet it is. The game story from MiLB is here, with a big picture of winning pitcher Keury Mella to boot. Mella, the 20 year-old righty with a big fastball, tossed 5 shutout innings. College lefty Nick Gonzalez struck out 6 over the final four innings, and the “juggernaut” Giants finished what they started back in June. Christian Arroyo, Ryder Jones and Christian Paulino were all 2-4 at the dish.
I’ll keep the rest of this pretty brief, but I thought the MiLB article was very interesting. You don’t get a lot of AZL coverage in general, and the quotes from skipper Nestor Rojas (Manager of the Year) about his 18 year-old league MVP Arroyo are promising. People are starting to throw the word “special” around with this kid… after initially scratching my head at the pick (and probably reading too much into pre-draft scouting reports), I’m very excited to see him move to full-season ball next year.
Yes, I realize that rookie ball titles are nothing to get worked up about, and most of the guys on this team won’t even make it to Fresno. But when the varsity team is in the tank, tell me you don’t at least take a longer look at the freshmen squad that’s blowing out the competition. And I think you get an idea about some of the talent the Giants pulled from the lower (and upper) rounds of the draft this year. This team was led by recent draft picks, and most of its top hitters (Arroyo, Jones, Joneswhy Fargas) aren’t even 20 years old.
All of these kids may be many years away from helping a big league club, but I’ll give this caveat: I moved from California to Billings, MT in 2009. Billings is a rookie league town, home to the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League (a Cincinnati affiliate). In my first four summers here, I watched defensive wizard Didi Gregorius (’09), burner Billy Hamilton (’10), strikeout artist Tony Cingrani (’11), and a Bay Area hurler named Robert Stephenson (’12). As of today, three of those four are in the show, and Stephenson has already moved to AA. So I won’t discount the performances of guys like Christian Arroyo and Luis Ysla this year, because you just never know.