Opening Day turned out to be a Giants/Rockies rivalry day.  Every team that was playing in the Giants system, from the Majors to Low-A, was facing the Rockies or a Colorado affiliate.  But it was also the first day of baseball in a year and a half for these clubs, it was the debut of a new Giants affiliate, and in general, it was one more step towards normalcy after one of the craziest years of our lifetime.

AAA: Sacramento’s season will begin Thursday May 6th

Almost every league in the minors began play on Tuesday, May 4th.  The reason is that almost every league is doing 6-day series against teams, and every Monday is an off-day for travel, so things will be pretty uniform.

Almost, because the Pacific Coast League Triple-A West opted to make their off-day Wednesday.  As a league where the teams are widely spread out, they are one of the only leagues where air travel is a requirement.  As such, Mondays are an expensive day, as much business travel happens that day.  So, they are the one league that will start later.

So…patience!  And check out their recently released roster!

AA: Hartford (COL) 6, Richmond 4

Top Lines:

CF Heliot Ramos: 1-4, 1 R, 3 SO
3B David Villar: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SO
SS Peter Maris: 1-4, 1 3B, 1 SO

SP Tristan Beck: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR
RP Joey Marciano: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
RP Patrick Ruotolo: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO

After waiting so long for the season to begin, and waiting a little longer for some rain, the offense got off on exactly the right foot, as top prospect Heliot Ramos singled in his first at-bat, and came around to score on David Villar’s double.  But things went the other direction quickly.  Other than a Peter Maris single, the Squirrels got no more big hits until the 9th, when catcher Andres Angulo got a 2-run single.

Tristan Beck had the opening day start, but was inconsistent while allowing runners in every inning he pitched, but it only took one 3-run homer to cash in on some of the trouble he allowed.  That was followed by a string of relievers, highlighted by Joey Marciano’s return to pro baseball after he retired in the middle of 2019.

The Squirrels offense was stifled by the #2 Rockies prospect Ryan Rolison, who struck out seven batters.  The team was lead by Ramos, who struck out three times after getting his leadoff single.

High-A: Eugene 9, Spokane (COL) 5

Top Lines:

C Patrick Bailey: 3-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SO, 1 SB, 1 PB
LF Diego Rincones: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
3B Sean Roby: 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SO
2B Tyler Fitzgerald: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB
SS Will Wilson: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SO
1B Logan Wyatt: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO
CF Hunter Bishop: 1-4, 2 SO, 1 HBP

SP Caleb Kilian: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 SO
RP Nick Avila: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR
RP R.J. Dabovich: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR

Eugene’s debut in the Giants system was one to remember, as the squad’s power surge was highlight with four home runs and three doubles among 15 hits to absolutely dominate the Indians in the season opener.

The home run barrage was led off by 2020 first round pick Patrick Bailey, whose solo home run kicked off the scoring in the third.  The team then had back-to-back home runs in the fourth by Sean Roby and Diego Rincones.  Roby won the home run derby in the Northwest/Pioneer Leagues 2019 All-Star Game.  Rincones had seven home runs total in each of 2019 and 2018.  Ryan Fitzgerald capped things off with a 3-run homer, just his second career home run.

On the pitching side, an absolutely blazing debut by Caleb Kilian almost outshone the home run barrage.  Kilian faced 14 hitters and struck out nine of them, with 41 strikes out of 60 pitches.  Of course, he didn’t get the win since he was removed after four innings.

Low-A: Fresno (COL) 5, San Jose 3

Top Lines:

RF Alex Canario: 2-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 BB, 1 E
C Ricardo Genovés: 2-4, 1 R, 2 SO, 1 PB
SS Marco Luciano: 1-4, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 E

SP Prelander Berroa: 2.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
RP Ty Weber: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO

As San Jose made its season debut, it debuted against a team with an entirely different debut: former Giants affiliate Fresno played its first game in Low-A after being demoted from Triple-A.  With a team loaded with prospects, San Jose struggled a bit in their first game.  Three errors, including two outfield errors by Alex Canario and Armani Smith both failing to pick up ground balls, kept San Jose behind the 8-ball.

Canario was the top name of the night.  He got on-base every time he was up, including a double and a triple.  He also made a leaping catch at the warning track, banging into the wall after coming down with the ball.  The team’s only other multi-hit game was Genovés, with a pair of singles on the day.

The Giants were stymied with some struggles on the mound early.  No pitcher went more than two innings.  Starter Berroa, who came over in the Sam Dyson trade with Minnesota, struggled with his command, walking three in two innings.  Ty Weber, an undrafted free agent from 2020, followed that up with giving up a team-high four hits.

Other Notes

San Jose has set their rotation for the coming week, with 2020 2nd round sandwich pick going on Friday, and top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison going on Sunday.