Both GCL Yankees teams were victorious on Thursday, and the two teams combined for 25 hits and 16 runs.
The GCL Yankees 1 defeated the Blue Jays 6-4 in Dunedin. The Yankees got two hits apiece from right fielder Cesar Diaz, first baseman Chris Gittens, shortstop Daniel Barrios (who all doubled once), and second baseman Bryan Cuevas, but the big shot was a seventh-inning grand slam from left fielder Jordan Barnes. Barnes is 21 and in his third GCL season after being drafted in 2013.
In his American debut, starter Jean Ramirez threw 5.2 innings, but reliever Hobie Harris picked up the win by retiring the only batter he faced. This was his first appearance as a Yankee since being drafted in Round 31 this month.
The GCL Yankees 2 dropped the Astros 10-2 in Tampa. Shortstop Yancarlos Baez, first baseman Kevin Cornelius, and left fielder Dominic Jose each had two hits, and Jose hit a solo home run. The hitting star of the day, and really of the young season so far, was second baseman Griffin Garabito.
The 17-year-old Garabito, who signed out of the Dominican Republic last summer, went 3 for 4, scored twice, and drove in four. He has gotten off to a 9 for 16 start. Garabito was not one of the more hyped players of last summer’s international signing bonanza, but he is a sleeper prospect who reputedly plays with energy and does a lot of things well without having impact tools. He seems to have a knack for barreling the baseball so far.
On the pitching side, Darius Vargas, Jose Mesa, and Gean Batista combined to allow no earned runs while striking out six. Vargas went five innings for the win in his American debut. He spent the past three years pitching in the Dominican Summer League, where he was tough to hit but had problems with walks, and he reportedly has a big arm. The 22-year-old should be an interesting follow this season.