Two players that were key members of San Jose's outstanding 2011 club are heating up as the Arizona Fall League season nears its conclusion. Gary Brown has continued his surge at the plate and now ranks among the league leaders in batting average. Meanwhile, Chris Dominguez has posted some of the top power numbers on the club while maintaining a long hitting streak.
The Scottsdale Scorpions are currently in a battle with the Salt River Rafters for first place in the East Division. Division winners will play in the Arizona Fall League Championship Game on November 17. Entering Wednesday's action, Scottsdale owns a 12-11 record - a half-game behind Salt River (12-10) for the top spot in the East. The Scorpions have eight games remaining in the regular season.
Individually, Brown has produced multi-hit games in three out of his last four contests. After a 3-for-6 performance last night, Brown boasts the sixth-highest batting average in the Arizona Fall League this season at .333.
Brown is considered the top hitting prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization and his impressive fall to date should only help his status as he prepares for a critical spring. The speedy center fielder spent all of this season at the Double-A level, so a ticket to Fresno to start 2013 is his most likely destination.
Perhaps the only negative aspect statistically of Brown's fall campaign has been his lack of success stealing bases. Through Tuesday, Brown is only 2-for-5 in stolen base attempts. He swiped 33 bases (in 51 attempts) this season in Richmond after 53 steals with San Jose in 2011.
Dominguez doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify for the league leaders, but his .344 average this fall is tops on the Scorpions squad. In fact, Dominguez and Brown are 1-2 on the team currently in batting average.
After an 0-for-5 in his first fall contest, Dominguez has hit safely in seven consecutive games heading into today. Dominguez's three home runs overall are tied for the team lead while his eight RBI's are third-best. Dominguez finished last season on the Fresno disabled list (hit .247 with three home runs in 43 games) and will likely return to the Grizzlies in 2013 where he and Brown would be expected to play leading roles on the club. Both players could also receive substantial playing time during San Francisco's spring training games with an eye towards possibly making big league debuts before the season has concluded.
The two remaining Giants hitters playing in the Arizona Fall League right now - 2012 San Jose Giants Joe Panik and Ricky Oropesa - haven't enjoyed nearly as much success in recent games. Through yesterday, Panik is batting at just a .197 clip while Oropesa's average has dipped to .188. Panik did connect for his first home run of the fall season last Friday, but has managed just one hit over his last 17 at-bats. Meanwhile, Oropesa is mired in a 2-for-20 slump.
On the pitching side, two relievers with aspirations to contribute out of the San Francisco bullpen next season in Heath Hembree and Dan Runzler have continued to log impressive strikeout totals, but are both coming off of difficult outings. Hembree has been dominant throughout most of the fall season, but was tagged for a pair of runs on three hits in one inning of work in his most recent game last Thursday. Overall during the AFL campaign, Hembree has registered 11 strikeouts compared to just two walks with three runs allowed in seven innings.
Runzler had been perfect with no runs surrendered in his first seven appearances, but control issues have plagued the left-hander recently. In his last two games totaling just one inning, Runzler has walked four batters and yielded three runs on three hits. His overall numbers have still been pretty solid with 10 strikeouts and three runs allowed in seven innings, but like Hembree, he'll be looking to bounce back in his next game and then finish the AFL season on a high note.
Chris Gloor and Jacob Dunnington round out the Giants prospects in the Arizona Fall League. Gloor has made five starts and owns an impressive 3.43 ERA with a 1-2 record. The left-hander, who emerged as one of Richmond's top starting pitchers last season after an injury-plagued 2011 with San Jose, has struck out 17 and walked seven in 21 innings. Gloor has allowed one or no runs in three out of his five starts.
Finally, Dunnington has pitched in eight games out of the bullpen and has allowed four runs over 7 2/3 innings with three walks and 11 strikeouts.
For further updates on the Arizona Fall League, visit our Inside the San Jose Giants blog. SJGiants.com will have a comprehensive AFL review after the season concludes next week.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.