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SF Giants Minor Lines, 5/14

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Tough one-run losses defined the org tonight from the top down.

Baseball America had a feature yesterday on the best/most beautiful minor league parks in America. The thought occurred to me while looking at it that the Giants affiliates' stadiums are getting seriously old. While none were seen as particularly poor in the context of their leagues it is eye-opening to see how many state of the art new facilities are being built around the minors. The White Sox affiliates are playing in two new parks built just last year and a third built in 2010.  The highly welcome switch to Sacramento and Raley Field gives the Giants one stadium built in this century (Raley opened in May, 2000). SJ Muni was a WPA construction project built during WWII. The Diamond was built in 1985 and has seen it's share of damage over the years. And Lake Olmstead Stadium in Augusta was built in 1995. Augusta has a redevelopment package that has been approved that will include a new stadium, though it is currently tied up in court challenges.  And Richmond's Mayor has had a new stadium redevelopment plan high on his wish list for a couple years now, though my understanding is that the plan is still trying to fight its way through political opposition.  Anyway, there's never a bad seat at a minor league game:

HIGHLIGHTS: Clayton Blackburn threw 6 shutout innings. Ricky Oropesa, Brett Jackson, and Hunter Pence all had 3 hits including a HR. Luis Ysla struck out 5 in 2 innings of work.

Sacramento won at Las Vegas (Mets), 6-5
they conclude their four game series tonight

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

CF

Brett Jackson

5

2

3

1

0

0

1

0

1

.286

RF

Hunter Pence

5

2

3

2

0

0

1

0

1

.294

1b

Travis Ishikawa

4

1

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

.286

C

Guillermo Qurioz

4

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

.243

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Clayton Blackburn, W, 1-1

6.0

3

0

0

1

6

0

0

0

1.64

Mike Broadway

1.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1.08

Steven Okert

0.0

5

5

5

1

0

1

0

0

3.31

Hunter Strickland

2.0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

1.83

It was Three Hits for (some) Former Big Leaguers night in Vegas last night! The top four in the River Cats lineup (Jackson, Adrianza, Pence, Ishikawa) did the lion's share of the work for Sacramento last night, combining for 10 hits and 1 BB, 2 HRs, a 2b, all 6 of the team's Runs Scored, and 4 RBIs.  The rest of the team had only 4 hits on the night, three coming off the bat of Guillermo Quiroz. Hunter Pence's return looks imminent at this point. Ishikawa's rehab got interrupted for a time as he went back to XST to work with trainers so I'm not sure exactly where he is on his rehab assignment clock.

In his second start of the year, Clayton Blackburn was his old self, striking out a man per inning and keeping people off the bases. Here's his sixth K of the night.

Wow! That is some fine, fine broadcasting work there Vegas! Regardless, it's great to see Blackburn hit the ground running like this as his plus feel for pitching keeps working against higher and higher competition.  Sacramento was cruising to an easy-looking 6-0 victory in this one until Steven Okert came in and had a blowup outing. It's a testament to how good Okert has been this year that allowing 5 runs in 0.0 IP only pushed his ERA up to 3.31. It had been 0.55 before this appearance. He gave up hits to the first 5 batters he faced (including a HR and a 2b) and was removed after walking the sixth batter. Hunter Strickland then closed the door with two nearly perfect innings, though he did allow an inherited runner to score on a WP, which brought the game to its final score.

Richmond won at Bowie (Orioles), 7-2

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

SB

CS

BA

2b

Myles Schroder

5

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

.226

1b

Ricky Oropesa

4

3

3

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

.243

DH

Devin Harris

3

1

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

.272

LF

Daniel Carbonell

3

1

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

2

0

.151

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Joe Biagini, W, 2-2

7.0

5

2

2

0

6

2

0

0

2.06

Tyler Rogers

2.0

1

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

5.91

Richmond had one of their highest scoring outbursts of the year in this one (bested only by two different 10 run games vs Altoona) as they cruised to an easy 7-2 victory. They had plenty of help, as only three of their runs were earned thanks to four errors from Bowie. But they applied pressure, with 12 baserunners on 9 hits and 3 BBs. The offensive star of the game was Ricky Oropesa who started off the scoring with a long solo HR and ended up with 3 hits and 3 runs scored. The suddenly red hot Oropesa is, over the last 10 games, hitting .341 with 3 HRs (of 4 on the year) and 11 RBI.  The 25 yr old 3rd round pick (2011) is in his 3rd AA season.

Joe Biagini was once again highly effective at keeping runners off the bases. The only runs he allowed came on two solo HRs including one from Baby Yaz. Tyler Rogers continues to bring the ERA down, as he's not allowed a run in his last three appearances (5 IP).

Since ending their 15 game losing streak the Squirrels are 9-2. It'll be a long slow climb towards .500 but they're working on it.

San Jose lost at Modesto (Rockies), 5-4
losing their three games series, 1-2

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

LF-CF

Ryan Lollis

5

2

2

0

1

0

0

0

1

.357

2b

Hunter Cole

5

2

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

.316

DH

Austin Slater

4

0

2

2

0

0

0

1

1

.315

3b

Ryder Jones

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

.294

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

D.J. Snelten

5.0

3

4

3

4

4

1

0

3

5.33

Luis ysla

2.0

2

0

0

1

5

0

0

0

12.38

Jason Forjet

1.2

3

1

1

0

4

9

0

0

3.48

Much like the Sacramento game, San Jose's lineup featured a tale of two offenses. The top four hitters, Lollis, Cole, Slater, and Jones (more on him in a minute), had 7 hits, 1 BB, 2 doubles, all 4 Runs Scored, and 3 RBI. The rest of the team (including Ryder's replacement), went  a collective 2 for 20. I can't find information on why Ryder was replaced in the 2nd inning, but we have to assume it was a medical issue of some sort. He had singled and gone around to 3b on a fielding error in the top of the 1st, but was involved in no other game action before being replaced when the team took the field in the bottom of the 2nd. Possibly something happened while running the bases?

The bottom of the order's struggles helped continue a season long trend of struggling to get hits with RISP which was definitely an issue on this night, never more so than in the 8th:

However, in the 9th inning, the top of the order struck again for a dramatic game-tying rally. Lollis doubled and Hunter Cole flied out deep to right to advance Lollis to 3b. Down to their final out, Slater lined a clean single to tie up the game. But, alas, this only postponed the inevitable as the Nuts came up with their own 2-out RBI hit vs Jason Forjet to win the game in walk off fashion in the bottom of that inning.

D.J. Snelten transition to starting this year has been, I guess, lackluster.  Thus far this year he has gone no further than 5 IP and he has surrendered two or more runs in all but his first start. Command has been his biggest issue and it was on display on this night, when he walked four and uncorked three WP. He has good stuff for a lefty, but getting control of it is still a work in progress. On the year he has 25 Ks and 13 BBs in 27 innings of work.

Luis Ysla made his first appearance out of the bullpen this year and it was a good one:

Ysla has for now been removed from the rotation and is being replaced by Martin Agosta, who will start tonight's game. Ysla's high effort delivery has often been one that caused scouts to point to a future in the bullpen for him, but with his velo he could definitely be a weapon in late innings so this isn't necessarily a bad development. And, of course, as Agosta himself shows, it's not necessarily a permanent one either, as Ysla works on his mechanics out of the pen.

Augusta lost to Hickory (Rangers), 1-0

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

2b

Will Callaway

4

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

.315

C

Aramis Garcia

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

.209

1b

Skyler Ewing

4

0

2

0

1

0

0

0

2

.202

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Mark Reyes, L 1-1

6.0

5

1

1

2

4

0

0

0

2.00

Raymundo Montero

3.0

1

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

2.05

Two of the hottest offenses in the Sally came together and produced 1 run.  Augusta had one of it's flattest efforts at the plate in quite awhile. During their six game win streak they averaged six runs scored per game. In this one they managed only nine baserunners, on 1 bb and 8 hits, including 1 double. They went up against the #30 pick in last year's draft, Luis Ortiz out of Sanger HS, and David Lee has many notes on him linked below. Skyler Ewing with two more hits (four in the last two games) joined Garcia in the Over the Mendoza Line club! As Evan said, Baby Steps, Sklyer!

The last couple of years, the Hickory club has been one of the most loaded prospect-watching teams in the minors, with such huge boom or bust guys like Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, Nick Williams, Ronald Guzman, and Nomar Mazara all playing there together. This Hickory team isn't one of those teams, but it's still the Rangers which means there's a bunch of high-risk high-reward athletes in the lineup. In this case, former first rounder Travis Demeritte (#19 prospect in Rangers system), SSs Michael de Leon (#16) and Josh Morgan (#10) and $4.5mm 2012 IFA signee Jairo Beras (#23).

Given that, Mark Reyes and Raymundo Montero's efforts were certainly strong, limiting Hickory to just 1 Run on 6 Hits. Montero, in particular, was excellent with 4 Ks in 3 scoreless innings. For the season, Montero has 30 Ks and only 4 BBs in 22 IP. He is yet another 25 year old on this Augusta pitching staff. This is 8th season in the Giants' system, the first 6 of which were spent in rookie ball, while last year he split between Augusta and SK.

Anyway, it's an Augusta home series, which means we have David Lee giving us the eye-witness goods.

Final note: no Giants, but some fantastic minor league based sports photojournalism on display in MiLB.com's photos of the week from last week's games:

Also, RIP to the great B.B. King. Go look at all the great stuff you can find on him all over the internet and play his music today. Like this:

https://youtu.be/-Y8QxOjuYHg

And since I grew up loving Eric Clapton, I'll include this.