Who's Making the Grade?

Let's take a look around the Giants minor league affiliates and see who's making the grade.

FRESNO GRIZZLIES (AAA)

Tony Torcato has been hot since May 25. Torcato was hitting .243 then, but now it's climbed to .285. In June -the eight games that Torcato has played- he has been hitting .379 (11-29). On the other hand, Jason Ellison's second longest hitting streak of the season has come to a close during Thursday's game against the Nashville Sounds. He had hit safely to get on base for eight games and this was only the third time he hasn't gotten on. Thankfully the Grizzlies bats are heating up. During their current home stance of six games, the Grizzlies –as a club- are hitting .313 with six home runs and 38 RBI's.

Jason Ellison has been named one of the Giants Organization's Players of the Month for April of 2003. The 24-year-old outfielder is one of Fresno's best offensive players in May. He led the Grizzlies in batting averages with a .327, at bats (101), hits (33), doubles (8), extra base hits (10), slugging PCT (.455), on base PCT (.382) and stolen bases (8). Ellison was the Giants' #22 selection in the June 2000 draft.



NORWICH NAVIGATORS(AA)

Kevin Vent continues to have a great season. The right-handed pitcher has a record of 6-3 with a 3.19 ERA. The 25-year-old has struck out 18, and walked seven allowed only six runs in his last nine starts. He was the eighth selection in the June 1999 draft out of the University of Arkansas. Offensively, first baseman, Alejandro Freire has been doing well marking a .342 average in 54 games (184 AB). He has 13 doubles, 11 roundtrippers, with 32 RBIs – slugging at .588.



SAN JOSE GIANTS (High-A)

Two players from the San Jose Giants, have been named Giants Organizational Players of the Month for April. During that time, outfielder, Branden Florence led in almost every offensive category. He has a .385 average (96 at bats) collecting 15 runs, 37 hits, seven doubles, six homers ad 16 RBIs. The Giants signed Florence as a non-drafted free agent in May 2001. Currently, Florence continues to have the highest batting average in the team with a .311, with 23 runs, 68 hits, 15 doubles, 3 triples, 6 homers, and 38 RBIs.

The other player awarded with Giants Organizational Player of the Month for April is right-handed pitcher, James Garcia. Garcia gone 2-0, with one save, marking a 1.80 ERA in 8 outings. He has been quite dominant out of the bullpen for the San Jose Giants. He has a 3 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 25 and giving 8 free passes in 20.0 innings. He was signed by San Francisco as a non-drafted free agent in June 2002. As of now, Garcia is 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA.



HAGERSTOWN SUNS (Mid-A)

Relief pitcher Matt Palmer and infielder Derin McMains will be representing the Northern Division in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be held on June 24, 2003 at 7:05.

The 24-year-old right-handed reliever has established himself in the closer's role for the Hagerstown Suns this season. The San Francisco Giants chose Palmer in the 31st round of the 2002 draft. Palmer this season has posted a 4-0 record with 12 saves, and owns a stellar 0.30 ERA. In 30.1 innings pitched this season, Palmer has given up only one run.

Infielder Derin McMains led the Suns in doubles (10), walks (32), and stolen bases (14). The 23-year-old switch-hitter is currently hitting .265with 22 RBIs. McMains was the Giants' 11th round draft pick in 2001.

Pitcher, Merkin Valdez, has been named one of the Giants Organizational Players of the Month for April. Valdez was acquired from Atlanta with San Francision Giants left-handed starter Damian Moss, in the trade moving Russ Ortiz to the braves. In Valdez's first five starts he had a 2-0 record with a 1.84 ERA. He has struck out 43, and walked only two in 29.1 innings.



Michelle Benedicto is the owner and publisher of SFDugout.com. Any questions or comments concerning the site maybe be directed to her at DoublePlayTandem@aol.com.

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A look at the Giants minor league scores and news for Tuesday, July 1, 2003

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