Ruddy Giron skyrocketed up various prospect lists as he torched Midwest League pitching to begin his first full season in Fort Wayne, opening eyes by going 6-for-6 with a homer in his debut May 18.
After 34 games for the TinCaps, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound shortstop was hitting .383 with six homers. But now that pitchers have begun changing their approach to Giron, it's the mental part of the game that will help keep him at the top of prospect lists.
Giron, who signed last season as a 17-year-old and ranks as the Padres' No. 6 prospect, is hitting .297 with nine homers and 40 RBIs in 73 games.
"As pitchers have gotten to know me, they've gotten to know some of the cold areas," Giron said of the challenges he's facing in the second half of the season. "Because I wanted to hit, I started chasing. I became aware of that, and now I'm laying off those and going back to swinging at my pitch. I'm trying to be more disciplined.
"Before, I was more reactive," Giron said. "I would just adjust to whatever the pitcher was doing. Now I'm thinking ahead, paying attention to what the guy did in the previous at-bat."
Giron's maturity to handle adversity at such a young age is a plus tool as far as Padres fielding and hitting coordinator Luis Ortiz is concerned.
"Ruddy exemplifies everything we are trying to get all of our players to be," Ortiz said. "You might call it, 'the Padres' way.' He's always learning. He has an open mind about instruction and putting it to work. Ruddy has a work ethic that is second to none and a passion that is amazing. He's also a great teammate. He helps everybody out and helps keep people accountable.
"Ruddy's maturity is a special thing," Ortiz continued. "You have Bryce Harper and Joey Gallo at age 21, 22 being superstars. There's a reason why. They are more mature than people their age. They look at the game a little differently than everybody else. The fact that Ruddy has all of those intangibles, that special maturity, is amazing. And I think his biggest gift is that he is always in the present. He never takes a pitch off."
Fort Wayne manager Francisco Morales said Giron is learning to counterpunch.
"His ability to make adjustments every day, on the field, at the plate is special," Morales said. "For his age, to comprehend making adjustments is rare. If he makes an error, the next groundball -- if it's the same type of groundball -- he makes the play. At the plate, if you get him out one way, you're not going to get him out the same way. His ability to make adjustments impresses me the most.
"Ruddy is a gamer," Morales added. "He's a competitor, and he's a game-changer. He can change the game in the field, and he can change the game at the plate with one swing of the bat."
Golden arms: Quad Cities pitchers have locked down the opposition of late. In the River Bandits' last 11 games, their starters have allowed four runs in 65 innings for a 0.55 ERA. The team's 2.53 ERA for the season is tops in all of full-season ball. The franchise record for team ERA is 2.78, posted in 1975. The last time Quad Cities owned a team ERA under 3.00 was a 2.91 team ERA in 1990.
Streak ends: Great Lakes' Isaac Anderson didn't allow an earned run in his first 14 innings for the Loons but was roughed up a bit Tuesday against Kane County. The 21-year-old right-hander yielded five runs -- two earned -- on five hits and lasted only one inning.
Quick study: Randy LeBlanc was moved from the Cedar Rapids bullpen to the rotation and enjoyed a dazzling debut Sunday. LeBlanc allowed one hit and three walks over five innings in a 4-0 victory against Bowling Green.
Curt Rallo is a contributor to MiLB.com.