Thursday, May 30 - 7:05 p.m.
Charleston RiverDogs (30-20)
RHP Cesar Vargas (40.2 IP, 3.32 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 20.4 K%, 9.3 BB%, .259 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (29-23)
LHP Matt Lujan (7.2 IP, 15 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)
Vargas is the second thin right-hander with good stuff to face the GreenJackets in two days following Hickory's C.J. Edwards. Vargas has good peripherals and isn't allowing hard contact, but he isn't going deep into ballgames, reaching the sixth inning just once in nine starts. Charleston is likely building his stamina in his first full season, but it means getting to the bullpen faster for Augusta, which is usually a good sign.
Lujan is making his third start for the GreenJackets and looking to reach the fifth inning for the first time. He got knocked around for five runs in four innings last time out and is having trouble the second time through the order. It might help to face a different team, however, as both starts have been against the Savannah Sand Gnats.
The GreenJackets will likely get a taste of Jose Campos and Rafael De Paula in the four-game series, which is a nasty combination that will be tough on the Augusta bats.
The two ranked hitters that are currently active should be tough on the GreenJackets pitchers. Third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. is making his second round in the South Atlantic League after a disappointing 2012, hitting .248/.322/.331, and he struggled mightily out of the gate this season. But he has turned it around in May, hitting .265 compared to .194 in April. He's hitting .395 in his past 10 games, the most impressive part being five walks to nine strikeouts. Bichette will swing and miss a lot, but he has a pretty solid hit tool with pop. He was drafted in the first round in 2011 out of high school.
Big first baseman Greg Bird is hitting well in his first full season at .268/.402/.429 with 11 doubles and four homers. He was a catcher in high school but deemed too stiff for the position, and he seems to be taking first base pretty well. He has the hitting profile for the position, including plus raw power and bat speed. He doesn't have a lot of athleticism, but he has the profile to mash. He was drafted in the fifth round in 2011.
Charleston RiverDogs on the New York Yankees top 30 prospect list by Baseball America:
RHP Jose Campos (5)
RHP Rafael De Paula (10)
3B Dante Bichette Jr. (21)
OF Greg Bird (22)
SS Cito Culver (28, DL)
RHP Gabriel Encinas (30, DL)