Well, it sure didn’t take long for Kendry Flores, our #12 Giants prospect and International Man of Mystery to turn heads in the Cal League. 7 innings of 2-hit ball; no-hitter through 5; multiple innings with less than 10 pitches; outpitching Josh Beckett and Julio Urias. Yep, I’d say Flores is off to a solid start.
Between Conner Penfold (who was in attendance down in Rancho) and Joe Ritzo on the radio, Flores was an economical wizard last night. He ran his fastball up to 93 early, and it sounded like he maintained that velocity into the later innings. Ritzo specifically used the term “exploding” to describe Kendry’s heater. That’s exactly how it looked to me during the Giants intrasquad game back in February. Maybe it doesn’t light up the radar gun, but it has some serious late life. Ritzo and Penfold both mentioned Flores’ sharp slider and his changeup, which he used to contain lefties quite well in Augusta last year.
It’s very early, but I’m telling you: watch out for this guy!
Flores final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR (allowed)
*I’m assuming Conner got some video of Flores last night, but I don’t see anything yet. Will link to it if he posts anything.
Here it is: Flores Video, courtesy of Giant Potential
As you know, the Giants minor league rosters are stacked with starting pitching this year. Naturally, Flores wasn’t the only name of note on the docket last night. (5) Clayton Blackburn made his AA debut yesterday morning in a live broadcast game against New Britain. I was able to catch most of his start, and came away impressed as always. It certainly wasn’t a dominant outing for Blackburn, who tossed 70 pitches over 5 innings. But I don’t think any of the big named guys are going to find AA easy this season. Blackburn, Adalberto Mejia and Kyle Crick are 3 of the youngest players in the Eastern League, and they are going to hit some bumps along the way. But it’s all about how you respond, and Blackburn worked out of trouble quite nicely. In the 4th inning (I believe), he worked his way out of a bases loaded, one out jam by inducing a 1-2-3 double play. Again, making the right pitch when it counts is Blackburn’s forte.
Blackburn final line: 5 IP, 5 h, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Venezuelan lefty (HM) Luis Ysla made his first full-season start for Augusta last night, and it likely wasn’t the performance he had hoped for. He wasn’t particularly hittable (1 H allowed in 3 IP), but he was exceptionally wild. 5 BB to go along with 5 wild pitches… that sounds like a case of nerves to me. David Lee has a very nice scouting report on Ysla in his game wrap, with some quotes from Greenjackets manager Mike Goff. Long story short, Ysla has never pitched on that kind of stage before, and everyone thinks the wildness will subside. I think so too. According to Lee, the lefty worked 90-94 and hit 95 last night while tossing in an impressive slider. Where the heck was this guy hiding for four years?!
Anyway, I highly encourage you to read Lee’s report on Ysla. You can find it here. You should also follow Lee’s coverage through Twitter and the Augusta Chronicle site all season.
Ysla final line: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K
Fresno 8, Las Vegas 11
Richmond 3, New Britain 4
San Jose 3, Rancho Cucamonga 2
Augusta 6, Charleston 3
(HM) Brandon Bednar, AUG: 3-4, 2 R – Bednar is hitting .714 through two games for Augusta.
(HM) Matt Lujan, AUG: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – Lujan won’t get much press, but he’s a guy who could see a ton of time bailing out a young Greenjacket rotation. Lefty has a pretty cool background story as well.
Elliott Blair, SJ: 2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR – Blair started in LF and had a great night at the plate. He’s repeating SJ.
(40) Steven Okert, SJ: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 K – Lefty relief arm sat mid-90’s last night and touched 96. That’s a great sign for the former 4th round pick, whose velocity seemed to disappear in Augusta last season.
(24) Matt Duffy, RCH: 1-4, 2B, 1 RBI – Duffy hit a sac fly and picked up a hustle 2B down the line yesterday. I love his approach at the plate. Confident hitter.
Mark Minicozzi, (38) Chris Dominguez, Tyler Colvin, (3) Andrew Susac; FRS – All 4 Grizzlies hitters had impressive nights. Dominguez and Minicozzi homered, while Colvin and Susac had 3 hits apiece. That Fresno lineup could be pretty potent this year.
Erik Cordier, FRS: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K – This seems to be Cordier’s game in a nutshell. Electric stuff, but poor control and sometimes very hittable.
(25) Bryce Bandilla, RCH: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K – Bandilla didn’t last long in his AA debut. The lefty has incredible stuff, but he truly beat himself yesterday.
Fresno, 7:05 PM: Edwin Escobar
Richmond, 10:35 AM: Adalberto Mejia
San Jose, 7:05 PM: Joan Gregorio
Augusta, 4:00 PM: Keury Mella
Four international arms on the hill today. Two lefties, two righties, and Gregorio the oldest of the bunch at 22. How’s that for a quartet of “#3 starters?” We still haven’t even seen Kyle Crick yet!