Crawford, Brown among Giants prospects in AFL

539969.jpg

Crawford, Brown among Giants prospects in AFL

The prestigious Arizona Fall League is something of a finishing school for future big leaguers, with each team comprised of top prospects from five different organizations. If you haven't been there, it's a Bucket Lister for the die-hard baseball fan; an antidote to the increasingly crowded and expensive spring training experience. In fact, the AFL is exactly what spring training used to be: an opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with not just players but the game itself. Rare is the AFL game, each of them played in one of the desert's many spring training venues, that gets more than a couple hundred fans.

A detailed history of the league shows that matriculation from the AFL to the Majors is the rule rather than the exception, so when your team sends one of its youngsters to the Valley of the Sun, you can be sure thathis progress is worth tracking. Henceforth is a look at the budding stars who represent the Giants in the AFL, which runs through mid-November.
Scottsdale Scorpions
With a roster also populated by prospects from the Angels, Phillies, Red Sox and Nationals, the Scorpions have an impressive following among transplants from around the country, and they have the most hyped player in league history in Washington phenom Bryce Harper. Giants prospects have the benefit of comfort in that the Scorpions' home games are played at Scottsdale Stadium, San Francisco's spring training home. The three biggest names among Giants prospects in the AFL are clear: shortstop Brandon Crawford, who spent considerable time in The Show as a rookie this season; Gary Brown, a center fielder who spent the year at Single-A San Jose and earned a trip to the All-Star Futures Game; and Joe Panik, a 20-year-old shortstop drafted in the first round out of St. John's University this summer. Crawford, who has a terrific glove but has quite a bit to prove offensively, is off to a hot start in Arizona, batting .360 through six games for the Scorpions (as of Wednesday). Brown, expected to man center field for the Giants as early as 2013, was the California League player of the year but hasn't been as impressive early in the AFL, batting .229 through eight games. Panik, who batted .341 in 69 games for short-season Single-A Salem Keizer after signing this summer, had six hits in his first 30 at-bats for a .200 batting average for the Scorps. The rest of the Giants prospects playing for the Scorpions are pitchers.
-- Seth Rosin, a 22-year-old righty reliever, went 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 39 games at Single-A Augusta in 2011 and has a 3.00 ERA in three games for Scottsdale in the AFL. He was a fourth-round pick in 2010.

-- Austin Fleet, a 24-year-old righty, went 9-5 with a 3.87 ERA in 32 games, including six starts, at three minor-league levels in 2011. He was drafted in the 16th round in 2010 and is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four AFL appearances.

-- Daryl Maday, a 26-year-old righty starter, was a 30th-rounder in 2006 who went 4-12 with a 4.75 ERA while splitting time this season at Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Richmond. He is 1-1 with a 5.14 in two starts in the AFL.

-- Stephen Harrold, a 22-year-old righty reliever, went 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 57 games at San Jose (38 games) and Richmond this season. A 12th-round pick in 2010, he is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five AFL outings.

Through Tuesday, the Scorpions were 4-8 on the year, 5 12 games behind the AFL East-leading Salt River Rafters, which features prospects from the Tigers, Astros, Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks.

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

UMPIRE GOES DOWN:
Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

UP NEXT:
RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.