After dominating the Midwest League, Logan Gilbert got a rude introduction to Class A Advanced. His second time on the mound in the California League went much more according to plan.
Seattle's No. 6 prospect scattered four hits and two walks over five innings as Modesto rolled to a 9-0 victory over Visalia on Tuesday at Recreation Park. He struck out five.
Gameday box score
"This was big, and it's something that I was definitely looking forward to, trying to bounce back really strong," Gilbert said. "They took the game from us last night, so it's always great to get one on the road especially in this kind of series. These hitters, they're good lineups, very disciplined hitters. Especially in the Cal League, people can hit. It was just good to go out there, feeling confident, trying to get one under my belt and help the team."
The No. 14 overall pick in last year's Draft retired the side in order in the first frame and stranded a pair of baserunners in the second after walking leadoff man Renae Martinez and hitting Yoel Yanqui with a pitch. Gilbert (1-0) worked out of another jam an inning later. Jose Caballero singled to left-center field with one out, but was erased by catcher Cal Raleigh, the No. 13 Mariners prospect, while trying to steal second. Jancarlos Cintron followed with a double to left, but after Mark Karaviotis reached on a fielding error by shortstop Johnny Adams, Gilbert got Martinez to fly to left.
The 22-year-old stranded Yanqui after a leadoff single to right-center in the fourth. Gilbert worked in and out of trouble in the fifth, walking Caballero and giving up a single to Cintron. A fielding error by right fielder Anthony Jimenez advanced Caballero to third and Cintron stole second, but the Stetson product struck out Karaviotis and induced Martinez to pop out to Raleigh to close his night.
"I think the good part about this outing was some of that adversity," Gilbert said. "That kind of stuff is good for the developmental side of things, just to be in those situations and have to find a way to dig deep and get out of them. A lot of that came from the defense, they made some good plays, and of course, Cal Raleigh behind the plate throwing guys out, working really hard behind the plate. Some of those jams I got in, it's just always nice to work your way out of it."
The native of Winter Park, Florida, cruised through four South Atlantic League outings to begin the season, going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA for West Virginia before being promoted on May 1. In his Cal League debut the following night, Gilbert gave up three runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two. Even that appearance provided the 6-foot-6 righty with a crucial learning experience.
"A lot of it was how you work in the zone and out of the zone at certain times," he said. "A lot of times, these hitters have really veteran approaches. You've got to attack in the zone, can't get behind in the count. That's how it goes in baseball, but they really do make you pay for that kind of stuff. It's just about being aggressive and trying to beat people in the zone."
Gilbert did not pitch his last turn through the rotation after twisting his ankle in agility drills, according to Nuts broadcaster Keaton Gillogly.
"It wasn't too big of a deal," the hurler said. "Just working throughout the week trying to get healthy and stuff, I'll tell you I'm feeling pretty strong. The ankle wasn't too much of a factor."
2019 MiLB include
Gilbert didn't pitch at all in his first summer in the Seattle organization. Now he's building game by game on lessons learned each time out.
"Some of the stuff I used, some of the looks I gave the hitters different times through the lineup I think was a big part I can take with me," he said. "I'm just learning from start to start different things that work, different things I can do better and when to apply certain things. The fastball command could be a little better definitely, so I'll try to take that with me to the next start."
Modesto had a 1-0 lead before breaking the game open with four runs in the fourth and four more in the seventh. Second baseman Matt Sanders led the way for the Nuts, going 2-for-4 with a homer and a career-high five RBIs.