Down on the Farm: Giants prospect named Eastern League All-Star Classic MVP

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MiLB.com

Down on the Farm: Giants prospect named Eastern League All-Star Classic MVP

Tim Tebow stepped to the plate and -- no, no this story is all about Luigi Rodriguez. The night after competing in the Home Run Derby, the Giants prospect crushed a go-ahead home run in the top of the eighth inning, giving the Western squad a 4-3 lead in the Eastern League All-Star Classic. 

While the game bizarrely ended in a 4-4 tie, Rodriguez took home the highest honor, being named the BUSH All-Star MVP. 

"It was a good feeling," Rodriguez told reporters after the game about his clutch home run. "I was proud of myself."

Who Rodriguez hit the home run off of and how he did it was just as impressive as the intense situation. Rodriguez, a left-handed outfielder, smacked a 1-0 inside fastball from lefty Caleb Frare and punched it the other way. Coming into the contest, Frare owned a 4-1 record with a 0.69 ERA out of the bullpen. He has only allowed one home run all year, to a right-handed hitter, and lefties only have 10 hits all season against him. 

"Left-handed hitters just don't hit him," West manager Michael Ryan said of Rodriguez's blast. "It's fun to be on this side of it this time for once. Hopefully, he can limit that a little bit when he plays against us. It's a special type of player." 

In 70 games with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, Rodriguez is batting .305 with 10 home runs, an .861 OPS, and 13 stolen bases. The 25-year-old spent the first eight years of his minor league career with the Indians before signing with the Giants in February. After the 2011 season, Baseball America ranked him the Indians' No. 5 prospect.

Back in August of 2015, he was suspended 80 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The Flying Squirrels were also represented by shortstop Ryan Howard (0-for-2), Dan Slania (1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER), and Dillon McNamara (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). Shaun Anderson was selected to the game but is participating in the Futures Game. Caleb Simpson missed the game due to injury and was replaced. 

Oh, and Tebow hit a double in his first at-bat before going 1-for-4 as the Eastern team's DH. 

Triple-A All-Star Game 

With Chase d'Arnaud and Steven Duggar up in the big leagues, the Giants only had one prospect in the Triple-A All-Star Game. 

Tyler Rogers was named to the game for the second straight season and didn't allow a run to score while giving up two hits in 2/3 of an inning. Rogers, 27, is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA for the Sacramento River Cats this season. 

Down on the Farm: Giants prospects Ramos, Anderson selected to Futures Game

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Times Dispatch

Down on the Farm: Giants prospects Ramos, Anderson selected to Futures Game

The Giants will be represented by prospects Heliot Ramos and Shaun Anderson this year at the All-Star Futures Game in Washington, D.C. Ray Black was invited but decided to decline due to the long travel.

Ramos is ranked as the Giants' top prospect by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. San Francisco selected Ramos No. 19 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. 

This season hasn't been as kind to Ramos as his debut last year. Playing center field for the Augusta GreenJackets, Ramos is batting just .234 with six home runs, 18 doubles and five stolen bases. Ramos is still only 18 years old playing Class A and is seen as a future five-tool player by many. 

While the Giants took Ramos with their first-round pick in 2017, Anderson was acquired via trade from the Red Sox on July 26 last year as the team shipped off Eduardo Nunez to Boston. So far, the Giants look like winners of this trade. 

Anderson, 23, is ranked as the Giants' No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander is 5-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 starts this season for the Richmond Flying Squirrels in Double-A. He has also struck out 91 batters in 91 innings pitched. 

Even with plenty of competition, Anderson's name can be one to watch for the Giants' rotation as soon as next year. 

The game will be played July 15 at Nationals Park. 

Down on the Farm: 10 Giants minor leaguers with MLB family ties

Down on the Farm: 10 Giants minor leaguers with MLB family ties

Ever wonder how baseball players pass the time during long practices, long games and long rain delays? The Name Game remains undefeated. 

Players at all levels know how the game works, but for those of you who don't, here's a quick explanation: If I were to start the game and said Joe Panik, the next person in the game would have to say someone whose first name starts with the letter P, like Pierce Johnson. There isn't bonus points here, but the game is a lot more fun and you'll earn a lot more respect if you throw out names like Bill Gullickson.

Here's a twist to the game -- if you double up on a name like Barry Bonds or Bobby Bonilla, the order is now reversed when playing with more than two people. With the Giants calling up Dereck Rodriguez, son of San Francisco villain and Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, we decided to play a bit of a different name game. 

Now that Rodriguez is in the majors, the Giants have 10 players in the minor leagues who have MLB family ties. Here are the 10, ordered from highest level of play in the minors to lowest.

Chase d’Arnaud, 31, INF, Sacramento River Cats

Brother of Travis d’Arnaud

Chase played with the Braves, Red Sox and Padres last season at the big-league level. The veteran is trying to get back up and is putting up some big numbers in Triple-A. In 45 games with the River Cats, Chase is batting .288 with eight home runs and a .902 OPS.

Travis has been a part of two big trades involving some big-name pitchers. First, the Phillies sent him to the Blue Jays in a deal that landed Philadelphia Roy Halladay in 2009. And then he was packaged with Noah Syndergaard to the Mets, giving Toronto R.A. Dickey after the knuckleballer won the Cy Young. Once a promising prospect, he hasn't escaped the injury bug and the catcher underwent Tommy John surgery this season.

The highlight of the family's baseball career is easily Travis' nickname -- Lil D.

Casey Kelly, 28, RHP, Sacramento River Cats

Son of Pat Kelly

Like Travis d'Arnaud, Casey Kelly was seen as a future star. He dominated the prospect rankings, but has only pitched in 19 major league games, going 2-8 with a 6.39 ERA. Kelly pitched Tuesday night for Sacramento and dominated Albuquerque over seven innings, allowing one run and striking out seven. He is 5-4 and owns a 5.65 ERA this season in Triple-A. 

While Casey's career hasn't lived up to expectations, his father's time in the majors was an even smaller sample size. Pat played in three games for Toronto in 1973, going 2-for-7 with four strikeouts. 

Tyler Rogers, 27, RHP, Sacramento River Cats

Twin of Taylor Rogers

Tyler and Taylor could swap jerseys and nobody would tell until they threw a baseball. Tyler is right-handed and throws submarine style, nearly dragging his knucles on the mound. For the second straight season, he's enjoying his time in Sacramento. Tyler has appeared in 20 games out of the bullpen, going 2-0 to the tune of a 2.16 ERA this season. 

Taylor, a lefty, is pitching in the majors for the Twins this season. He is 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA over 20 innings this year.

Jonah Arenado, 23, 3B/1B, Richmond Flying Squirrels

Brother of Nolan Arenado

Jonah starts every season slow and has done so again in 2018. Currently on the DL, he is only hitting .216 with three home runs at Double-A Richmond. He's always shown power like his brother, combining for 30 long balls between 2016 and 2017 with the San Jose Giants.

Do I really need to write who his brother is? No, especially if you're a Giants fan. For a good laugh though, go to the end of my Q&A with Jonah from last season to find out how he would get You Know Who out in whiffle ball.

K.C. Hobson, 27, 1B, Richmond Flying Squirrels

Son of Butch Hobson 

K.C. is in his second season as part of the Giants after he was signed as a free agent before the 2017 season. He hasn't seen much sunshine with Flying Squirrels band, playing in just 17 games this season and batting .213. 

Butch enjoyed seven seasons in the bigs and hit 30 home runs for the Red Sox in 1977. After his playing career, Hobson managed the Red Sox from 1992-94, compiling a 207-232 record. 

Wander Javier Franco, 23, 3B, San Jose Giants

Brother of Wander Franco, Brother of Wander Franco, Nephew of Willy Aybar, Nephew of Erick Aybar

No, typing "brother of Wander Franco" twice was not a mistake. Wander Samuel Franco is a Rays prospect and Wander Alexander Franco is an Astros prospect. And this Wander isn't too bad himself. He's hitting .286 through 48 games for the San Jose Giants this season.

After getting past all the versions of Wander Franco, the name game continues with the Aybar brothers. Willy and Erick combined for 17 seasons in the majors. We have a winner, Wander. 

Jacob Heyward, 22, OF/DH, San Jose Giants

Brother of Jason Heyward

Jacob plays the game much different than his Gold Glove brother. He is listed as a left fielder, but has been San Jose's DH in 20 games this season. After slashing .223/.317/.351 in 2017, Jacob has upped his offensive game with a .263/.370/.414 slash line and four home runs this season.

Jason is hitting just .222 for the Cubs this year, but is still one of the best defensive outfielders in the game and has a $184 million contract to smile at every day.

Dylan Manwarig, 23, C, San Jose Giants

Son of Kirt Manwarig

Dylan has played a grand total of one game this season for the San Jose Giants. He's only a .172 career hitter, but hey, he did for 2-for-4 with two doubles in that one game

Kirt is a former second-round pick of the Giants back in 1986. He spent 10 yesars with the team and won a Gold Glove in 1993. 

Jacob Gonzalez, 19, 3B, Augusta GreenJackets

Son of Luis Gonzalez

Jacob is the best talent of all Giants minor leaguers on the list. The team's second-round pick in 2017 tore it up last season, hitting .339 in the Arizona Rookie League. Class A has been a lot tougher for the teenager. Through 42 games, Gonzalez is batting .241 with a .639 OPS. Don't worry, he still has a whole lot of potential.

Luis once hit 57 home runs in a season and that still didn't lead the league. He hit 354 home runs for his career and his power numbers surged, like so many others, from 1998-2003. The elder Gonzalez was a five-time All-Star. 

Jose Vizcaino Jr., 24, 1B, Augusta GreenJackets

Son of Jose Vizcaino 

The junior of the Jose's has been hampered by injuries this season. He has only played one game and remains on the DL right now. Through three minor league seasons, plus one game, he is a .262 career hitter. 

The elder played 18 seasons in the majors, including two with the Giants (1997, 2006). While he hit .270 for his career, including 1,453 hits, Vizcaino batted .256 over two stints in San Francisco.