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Susac homers; calls overturned in AFL11/07/2013 1:17 AM ET
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
One hope when teams send hitting prospects to the Arizona Fall League is that the exposure to sharper competition, new teammates and a different group of coaches will help those players make adjustments that unlock their talents.
In that regard, things couldn't be going better for Giants No. 15 prospect Andrew Susac.
Having made a tweak to help his hands bring the bat into the hitting zone more quickly, the catcher has exploded in the AFL. He continued that tear for Scottsdale on Wednesday night, going 2-for-3 with a homer, two walks and three RBIs in a 7-4 victory over Salt River.
"My swing has been feeling good down here," Susac said. "There [was] a little adjustment with my hands. I've had a little bit of luck and I've been getting in good counts."
Susac's two-run blast capped a five-run second inning that gave the Scorpions a 6-0 lead. The backstop had opened the scoring with a single in the first. He also walked in the fourth and sixth.
The performance lifted Susac's Fall League batting average to .361 and his OPS to 1.057. He has a pair of homers and seven RBIs in 36 at-bats.
The 23-year-old Oregon State product has made slow progress as a professional since San Francisco selected him in the second round of the 2011 Draft. He posted a .731 OPS in the California League in 2012 but improved that mark to .820 with Double-A Richmond this season.
"Pro ball was a big adjustment for me, going straight to [Class A Advanced]," he said. "Managing the game, little things here and there that I'm starting to get a grip on. I have a lot of responsibility laid on me behind the plate. There's no way I'm close to where I want to be yet, but I'm getting closer."
That includes the adjustment with his hands this fall, a move Susac hopes he can parlay into continued success in 2014.
"I've been working hard," he said. "I've always been a pretty hard worker. It's been a process, to say the least, but it's starting to come together for me."
Scottsdale's five-run second was sparked by a leadoff triple by Braves No. 12 prospect Kyle Kubitza, who scored on a single by fellow Atlanta farmhand Elmer Reyes. Two batters later, Giants prospect Jarrett Parker plated a pair of runs with a triple, trotting home on Susac's two-run jack to right-center field.
The game featured seven umpire reviews, including three reversals -- two of which occurred in the top of the first. On the first reversal, Rays prospect Ryan Brett was ruled safe on a steal attempt of second base after initially being called out.
Later in the frame, the umpires took a Salt River run off the board, ruling that Cardinals No. 10 prospect James Ramsey was out on a grounder to first after he was initially called safe. Blue Jays prospect Kenny Wilson scored on the play but was sent back to third base following the review.
The other overturned play occurred in the bottom of the fifth and resulted in a double play, with Pirates No. 3 prospect Alen Hanson flying out to center and Kubitza being doubled off at second.
The umpire's decision was upheld in the other reviews, including a double challenge in the bottom of the second when replay confirmed that Kubitza touched second base and beat the tag at third on his triple.
Susac thought the replay system worked effectively.
"I was talking with the home plate umpire," he said, "and he said the main purpose is to get the call right in the end. We might have to sacrifice a little time of play, but you want to get the play right. That is the main goal."
Hanson finished 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, two runs scored and an RBI for Scottsdale.
For the Rafters, D-backs No. 11 prospect Jake Lamb was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.