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SF Giants Minor Lines 4/25

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Hey, let's take a trip to the ballgame!

Very short slate tonight as both A ball teams had the night off. For the San Jose squad it was the ultra-rare night off during a homestand. So what do you do when you've got a night to kill in the Bay Area? Get inspired, of course!

HIGHLIGHTS: Ali Castillo had 4 hits.

Sacramento lost at Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), 7-1

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

DH

Andrew Susac

4

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.250

RF

Mac Williamson

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

.349

C

Miguel Olivo

4

0

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

.250

2b

Ramiro Pena

4

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

.297

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Pitches

Strikes

Matt Lujan L 0-3

2.1

3

2

2

2

3

0

0

0

5.28

49

24

Austin Fleet

2.2

3

2

2

0

0

1

0

0

3.60

40

28

Jake Dunning

0.2

3

3

3

1

0

0

0

0

4.82

33

18

Martin Agosta

0.1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.00

3

2

The RiverCats attempt to stretch their winning streak to a season best five games was thoroughly stymied by the one time top Mariners' prospect and former big leaguer James Paxton, who shut Sacramento down. Paxton allowed just one run on four hits in 5.1 IP while striking out 8 and walking none. In all, Sacramento managed just six base runners. Miguel Olivo was their hitting "star" as he was the only player on the team to reach base twice and the only one to record an XBH.

On the other side of the ledger, Matt Lujan's AAA career has gotten off to a somewhat stilted and rocky beginning.  He's allowed 15 runs, 9 earned, and surrendered 4 HRs in just 15 IP. Worse yet, this was the second consecutive start in which he's failed to throw even half of his pitches for strikes. Last night he labored to nearly 50 pitches before being replaced with one out in the 3rd. He appeared to suffer some kind of injury fielding a bunt attempt to open the 3rd.

Several of his successors also had troubles with both throwing strikes and preventing runs, but given the quiet way the bats were going down, it made little difference.

Back at it this afternoon, as they close the book on this four game series in beautiful Tacoma:

* * *

Richmond won at Bowie BaySox, 8-6

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

Other

3b

Christian Arroyo

5

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

.288

CF

Austin Slater

4

1

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

.224

SB (2)

LF

Carlos Moncrief

4

1

1

1

1

0

0

1

0

.333

RF

Hunter Cole

5

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

.210

DH

Ryder Jones

5

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.275

2b

Ali Castillo

5

2

4

1

0

0

0

0

1

.300

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Pitches

Strikes

Tyler Beede W 1-1

6.0

9

4

4

1

4

1

0

2

4.71

93

58

Dan Slania

1.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.90

13

8

Jake Smith S 1

1.0

2

1

1

1

3

0

0

0

9.64

23

13

Hey, I was at this game, so I get to do a little armchair amateur scouty type stuff! And, parenthetically speaking, I should note that this broke a many many many year streak of attending an April series in Bowie and getting to sit through a freezing rain for most of the night, so that was pleasant!

So, Tyler Beede. The first thing you're likely going to want to know is that he was quite consistently throwing a four-seam fastball at 94-95 last night and even humping it up to 96 on occasion. I even saw a 97 on one gun one time, though it should be said that when he was reaching back for those 96+s he was frequently missing up and away to the arm side. He worked comfortably in the strike zone at the 94-95 range.

But from my seat, there's a pretty big but that came with the velo. Beede wasn't able to use it very effectively. He didn't miss bats with it. By my count there was only one swing and miss off a four-seam fastball the entire night (at a crucial juncture in his final inning).  And he struggled at the beginning of the night to use it to get ahead of hitters.

That seemed to be his game plan when he took the hill, as he consistently was starting off at bats with the four seamer. The problem was that Bowie batters were hitting it hard. Within the first six batters he faced, Beede surrendered a triple, double, and HR, with the double and HR coming on first pitch four-seamers and the triple on a second pitch four seamer:

He reduced the damage in the 1st by going back to the two-seamer to induce a DP ball (which was a friend of Beede's all night. He finished off three different innings with DP grounders).  After the HR to lead off the 2nd, or at least by the second time through the order, Beede had adapted his style to the aggressive hacks the Bowie hitters were getting off him, and instead of attacking them with four-seamers early, he started pitching backwards, using an assortment of mid- and upper-80s cutters, sliders, and change ups to get ahead of batters, and then trying to put them away with four-seam or two-seam fastballs. This was likely very much like the approach he used so successfully in San Jose last year.  Piling up the ground ball outs and limiting hard contact off of his variety of pitches. Even the hits and runs that scored after making this change to the game plan were the result of grounders and bloops in the right places more than anything else.

It's worth noting a couple of things about Bowie, last year's EL championship team. Their lineup represents a tremendous challenge to a RHP such as Beede for a couple of reasons. 1) it is stacked with minor league veterans who have been in the EL or even higher levels for years and years; it even featured a couple of former big leaguers last night; and 2) it is equally stacked with LHH, including the first five batters in the order last night.

So it's definitely to Beede's credit that he was able to identify their game plan against him so quickly and make adjustments to it. His intelligence on the mound shouldn't be overlooked or understated. And without a doubt, his repertoire was up to the task of keeping the hitters off balance with a lot of different weapons. The questions that I came away from this outing (which is my first time seeing Tyler this year and third overall in AA) regards the swing and miss potential. He recorded four Ks last night, all coming in his final two innings of work. The kill pitches were: a change up (swinging), a cutter/slider (called), a four-seam fastball (swinging), and a hard slider (swinging).

The sequence in the 6th inning was his best pitching of the night. Following back to back ground ball singles and a WP, Beede faced men on 2b and 3b with 0 outs. He then got former Brave Joey Terdoslavich on an elevated fastball for one of the biggest outs of the game. That was I believe the only fastball I saw in the game that got a swing thru, and he set up it up nicely with cutters and change ups. After an RBI groundout to 2b, he ended the inning, and his night, by getting DH Quincy Lattimore (who had earlier taken him into the woods off a first pitch fastball) on three pitches, all of them off speed stuff with wrinkles.

Now I have seen this note today, but from where I was sitting this misrepresents what his pitching night was like:

Yes, he threw hard, but I personally didn't see a guy who was pitching as power pitcher during the course of that game. Certainly not after the first time through the lineup. He was consistently using the secondary pitches to set up the harder stuff after the first time through, with the cutter, slider, and change being particularly effective pitches.

So the questions I walked away with concerning the translation of Beede's night to potential future nights at higher levels: is there a true out pitch in this repertoire, even with the four-seamer reaching high velocities?  and 2) will the "pitching backward" approach succeed as well at the top level. If I had to guess why the Bowie hitters were getting such good swings off on his four-seamer, I'd say it was command, as most of the pitches that were really drilled were left out over the middle of the plate. Still it was hard not to notice that when Dan Slania and Jake Smith were throwing 95, they were throwing it past hitters, and when Beede was throwing 95 he mostly wasn't. Last night at least. Being able to command that four-seamer better could pay big dividends.  It's worth noting that in his last two starts his strike% has dropped down to 60% after being up above 70% in his first two games this year.

Before moving on to others, here's another Beede offering that ends in a fine circus catch by Hunter Cole (sort of off in the distance. Sorry, the downside of using my iPhone for videos).

So, just a few other quick notes and observations and then I'll dump a few videos:

  • Jake Smith seemed really frustrated with the way he was throwing last night, and that was true even in warmups. Matt Winn had to go talk to him several times. I think Smith was frustrated over a lack of command, particularly with his cutter. But whatever it was, when he finally got the final strikeout (on a beautiful slider) to end it, he let loose with a swear that seemed more anger than relief or joy.
  • Though the Richmond hitters collected 16 hits last night, they weren't exactly blistering the ball. There was a hole lot of dinks and dunks along the way (Ali Castillo had two hits on high bouncers off the hard infield). But that wasn't true of Austin Slater, who blistered three balls. All of them were low liners or ground balls, but he easily had the best contact of the night. He was replaced after his fourth AB and I have no idea why. But anyway, it was good to see him on the ball so consistently, as he'd been 4 for 48 with 14 Ks over the past 11 games.
  • A strange aspect of Christian Arroyo's 2015, was that he had extreme reverse platoon splits, hitting .328 against RHP but just .215 vs LHP. And LHP Jayson Aquino had him totally befuddled last night, getting Arroyo to swing over changeup after changeup.  Statistical oddity, I'm sure. He probably just needs to see more of them, but last night was a reminder that his aggressiveness can get the best of him against those crafty lefties. On defense, Arroyo took the hot corner last night and made a beautiful bare handed play on a bunt from Julio Borbon. He missed getting the runner by an eye lash but it was a text book play from a position that's still new to him. He got on the ball quickly and quick-released a strong, accurate throw.

Ok, we'll end with a few quick hit videos:

* * *

Back to a full slate of games tonight with Adalberto Mejia and Michael Santos leading the matchups. Enjoy the games everybody.