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2022 Rookie-level playoffs coverage

FCL Yankees, ACL Giants Black take home titles in final games
The FCL Yankees and ACL Giants Black emerged victorious in decisive Game 3s. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP and Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)
August 29, 2022

Aug. 28

Aug. 28

Florida Complex League
FCL Yankees 4, FCL Rays 3

The FCL Yankees just kept coming this year.

New York's Rookie-level squad claimed the title by beating Tampa Bay's in the decisive third game of the FCL Championship Series by a one-run margin after dropping a back-and-forth battle in Game 2.

The Yankees' 38-17 record was second only to that of the Rays, who were 39-16 in the regular season, and they stormed into the playoffs with an 8-4 semifinals win over the Red Sox and an emphatic 7-2 win in the opener of the Championship Series.

In the clincher, Omar Martinez socked a ground-rule double in the top of the second and scored the game's first run en route to a two-hit afternoon, and Felix Negueis singled, walked and scored three times for the Yankees. Agustin Ramirez, who led the league with 51 RBIs and 85 total bases, contributed a base knock.

Right-hander Sebastian Perrone was the victor, fanning two and allowing a walk and a hit over 2 2/3 innings of relief. Fellow righty Nolberto Henriquez earned the save with two no-hit, no-walk frames, recording a strikeout along the way.

Ryan Cermak, Tampa Bay's No. 15 prospect and the 71st overall pick of this year's Draft, had an RBI double -- one of two hits by the Rays -- was hit by a pitch and scored. Box score »

Arizona Complex League
ACL Giants Black 6, ACL Rockies 5

Even though the ACL Giants Black finished with the circuit’s best record of 37-17, taking home the championship wound up becoming a come-from-behind effort in the decisive Game 3.

The Giants Black dropped the first game of the series and fell behind three different times in the clincher before walking off to victory over the Rockies to claim the crown.

The Rockies jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on a single from Colorado's No. 9 prospect Jordan Beck and a groundout by Aiverson Rodriguez. The Giants Black’s Thomas Gavello didn’t take long to respond, smacking a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the second to even things up.

Colorado’s No. 7 prospect, Sterlin Thompson, put his team back in front in the third with a solo dinger, and the score stayed held fast until the eighth. The Giants Black loaded the bases with nobody out, and Dilan Rosario ripped a three-run double to center field to put his team up by two. But the Rockies struck back in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with one out and scoring twice on a fielding error.

The Giants Black weren’t about to go down quietly, though. A walk by Mauricio Pierre and a single from Andrew Kachel put the winning run in scoring position. P.J. Hilson delivered a walkoff single to lift the Giants Black to the title.

The team had finished 2.5 games ahead of the Rockies in the regular season. The Giants Black’s pitching staff paced the circuit with a 2.82 ERA in the regular season, and they used that strength in the clincher -- five hurlers combined to hold the Rockies to five runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks. Box score

Aug. 27

Arizona Complex League
ACL Giants 4, ACL Rockies 1

Turning points can come in all shapes and sizes. For the Giants, it came in the very first inning.

With his club staring at elimination, starter Nomar Medina worked himself into and out of trouble in the opening frame. The Giants responded immediately with a run in the bottom half and another in the second on their way to a 4-1 win that evened up the best-of-3 ACL Championship Series.

Medina fanned the first two batters of the game before hitting a batter and walking the next two, throwing nine consecutive balls in the process. He regrouped by inducing a groundout to first and cruised from there. The 19-year-old allowed only one more baserunner -- a third-inning double -- and struck out seven in five scoreless frames.

The Giants jumped ahead on a Reggie Crawford RBI single. The No. 8 Giants prospect and 2022 first-round Draft pick has a homer and three RBIs through the first two games. Dilan Rosario's RBI double, a wild pitch and an error account for the Giants' other runs.

Wilkema Castillo earned the save after tossing four innings, allowing a run on two hits while striking out four.

Jordan Beck, the No. 9 Rockies prospect, homered in the ninth for his club's only run and finished with two of their three hits.

Starter Bryan Mena was charged with two runs, four hits and a walk with three strikeouts in four innings. Box score »

Florida Complex League
FCL Rays 7, FCL Yankees 6

The Rays aren't done yet. Scoring three runs over the eighth and ninth innings to claim the lead twice -- once to end the game -- Tampa Bay's Rookie-level affiliate in Charlotte pulled even with the Yankees in the best-of-3 FCL Championship Series.

They were five outs away from watching the Yankees celebrate when some aggressive baserunning and a two-run double by Kamren James put Tampa Bay's club on top, 6-5, only to see the visiting club tie the game in the top of the ninth.

Chandler Simpson -- the Rays' No. 20 prospect and the 70th overall pick from this year's Draft -- opened the bottom of the inning with an infield single, then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Yankees catcher Agustin Ramirez. He scored the winning run on a fielder's choice off the bat of No. 8 Tampa Bay prospect Carlos Colmenarez.

Simpson finished 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs, making an error in the field. James was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored.

Right-hander Jake Christianson spun three scoreless frames in relief, fanning four and permitting one hit. Fellow righty Juan Rodriguez, who faced and retired two batters, took the win.

The Yankees' Jared Serna continued to follow his strong regular season with a hot playoff series, doubling, walking, scoring a run and stealing two bases in a 2-for-4 showing. Box score »

Arizona Complex League
ACL Rockies 5, ACL Giants Black 4

After a drama-packed comeback semifinal victory Thursday, the Rockies delivered a shutdown pitching performance in Game 1 of the ACL Championship Series after taking a one-run lead in the third inning. The win moves them within a game of claiming the league crown.

Third baseman Skyler Messinger, who delivered three hits in the semifinal, produced the go-ahead knock in the third inning, a two-RBI single.

But it was a trio of Colorado relievers who cinched up Game 1: Braxton Hyde, Tyler Hoffman and Blake Adams worked the final five frames, keeping San Francisco off the scoreboard. Hyde and Hoffman both yielded a lone hit over two frames apiece, with Hoffman, a 19th-round pick in the 2022 Draft out of Tulane, striking out four.

Even in defeat, it was a memorable contest for Giants Black designated hitter Reggie Crawford, who socked his first pro home run in the third inning. Crawford, a first-round selection by San Francisco this past July and the team's No. 8 prospect, is expected to serve as a two-way player after showcasing his talents on both the hill and in the batter’s box while at the University of Connecticut. Box score »

Florida Complex League
FCL Yankees 7, FCL Rays 2

Felix Neguies and Jared Serna both finished a triple shy of the cycle as the Yankees won the opening game of the best-of-3 Championship Series.

Serna got the scoring started with a solo homer to right field in the bottom of the first inning. Negueis followed with a two-run long ball to right-center in the second. Lefty Brock Selvidge kept the Rays off the board with three hitless innings, and then the game went into a lightning delay that lasted a couple of hours.

After play resumed, Serna roped a ground-rule double to center in the fifth and Negueis singled to left in the sixth. Serna singled to center to lead off the seventh, crossing the plate on Agustin Ramirez's two-RBI double. Ramirez crossed the plate on a two-bagger by Rafael Flores, and Dayro Perez's sacrifice fly plated the Yanks' final run. Neguies doubled to left after that, but was left stranded.

Alfred Vega picked up the win after scattering three hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings, and Osiel Rodriguez was tagged with two unearned runs after giving up Angel Galarraga's homer in the ninth but closed out the final 3 2/3 frames to put the Yankees within a win of the crown. Box score »

Aug. 25

Florida Complex League
FCL Rays 7, FCL Mets 4

Ryan Cermak, who belted two homers over the first seven games of his professional career, went yard to help the Rays get past the Mets and into the FCL Championship Series.

Tampa Bay's No. 15 prospect, taken by the Rays with the 71st overall pick in the Competitive Balance B Round of the Draft in July, homered to left field in the seventh inning as the Rays rallied from an early 2-0 deficit. After the Mets tied the game back up, 4-4, in the eighth, Chandler Simpson -- the Tampa Bay's No. 20 prospect -- gave the Rays the lead for a good with an RBI single to center in the bottom of the frame.

Righty Juan Rodriguez twirled two perfect innings for the Rays. Righty Junior William walked two and was tagged with a blown save, but wound up with the win after closing out the eighth. After a brief weather delay, righty Haden Erbe got the final three outs to punch the Rays' ticket to the Finals. Box score »

FCL Yankees 8, FCL Red Sox 4
Rafael Flores and Daury Arias led the way as the Yankees punched their ticket into the Finals with a win over the rival Red Sox.

Hitting out of the No. 5 spot, Flores fell a home run shy of the cycle and scored three times. The designated hitter tripled to right and crossed the plate to open the fourth inning, singled to left and scored in the fifth and doubled to center and raced home on a single to cap the scoring in the seventh. Arias, who got the start in right field, belted a two-run homer to right in the third and lifted a sacrifice fly to left in the fourth.

Sean Hermann picked up the win after scattering four runs -- one earned -- over 5 2/3 innings. New York's No. 25 prospect struck out six and walked two. Righty Luis Velasquez threw three scoreless frames of relief, allowing two hits and three walks. Box score »

Arizona Complex League
ACL Rockies 5, ACL Reds 4
A seesaw battle at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick ultimately sent the Rockies past the Reds and into the ACL Championship Series.

The win itself was sealed in the bottom of the 11th without the ball so much as leaving the infield. A pair of hit-by-pitches bookended a frame that also saw a bunt single and a walk, catapulting Colorado ahead for good after being unable to shut down Cincinnati in the ninth.

Skyler Messinger, a 19th-round selection in the 2022 Draft from the University of Texas, led the Rockies bats with three hits. All six pitchers who toed the rubber recorded at least one strikeout, led by starter Alberto Pacheco, who compiled seven punchouts over five frames while yielding just two runs (one earned) on three hits.

Carson Palmquist, a third-round pick this past July, earned the victory out of relief. Box score »

Luis Mendez is mobbed by his ACL Rockies teammates after winning their semifinal.Freek Bouw/Four Seam Images

ACL Giants Black 9, ACL Rangers 6
The Giants Black wasted little time making an emphatic statement about their desire to play for an ACL championship. After three straight hits to open the bottom of the first, infield prospect Dilan Rosarioswatted a two-run homer, the highlight of a six-run frame.

The Rangers were able to mount a comeback over the ensuing frames and come within a run of knotting the score on the back of a 5-for-12 performance with runners in scoring position, but San Francisco was able to tack on runs late and fend off the plucky Texas group.

Five members of the Giants Black starting nine delivered multihit performances, including No. 8 prospect Reggie Crawford, the 30th overall pick in the Draft this past July.

Fourth-round 2022 Draft selection Spencer Miles closed the contest out for the Giants Black, delivering a 1-2-3 ninth inning, sealed by a pair of strikeouts. Box score »