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SF Giants Minor Lines, 6/10

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Clayton Blackburn provides virtually all the org's highlights with a noble effort.

It's a good thing the system is about to get an influx of talent from the draft, because they're running out of bodies on some of these teams! Last night Richmond and Augusta had no fewer than three recently signed free agents playing (Preston Claiborne, Matt Solter, and TJ Bennett) to try to shore up some roster shortages caused by injuries up and down the organization (and with Sacramento losing Ramiro Pena to SF there's another body they'll have to come up with). In addition, of course, recently added Travis Ishikawa was in the Sacramento lineup, Augusta announced they were adding Shawon Dunston Jr. and LHP Domenic Mazza was re-assigned from XST to become the third new addition to the Greenjackets rotation.

The Giants signed T.J. Bennett this spring out of the independent Frontier League. The University of Utah grad had had a stand-out winter campaign in the Australian Baseball League (for the Brisbane Bandits) before returning for a second season with the Schaumburg Boomers. The Giants picked him up for some org depth and put him to use this week.  First he went to Augusta to fill in for an injured Dillon Dobson, and then after one day in the Sally he was off to join Richmond where on the first pitch he saw in the AA in he did this:

HIGHLIGHTS: Clayton Blackburn allowed 1 ER over 7.1 IP and doubled in two runs; Kelvin Beltre reached base 3x with a double

Sacramento won at El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres), 4-3

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

RF

Ryan Lollis

5

1

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

.262

.321

.351

LF

Austin Slater

4

1

1

1

0

0

1

1

1

.250

.333

.375

1b

Travis Ishikawa

4

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.375

.375

.375

SS

Rando Moreno

4

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

.333

.333

.333

P

Clayton Blackburn

4

0

1

2

1

0

0

0

1

.077

.200

.154

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Clayton Blackburn W 4-3

7.1

6

3

1

1

5

1

0

0

3.36

Steven Okert

0.2

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

4.22

Mike Broadway S 3

1.0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

2.86

Clayton Blackburn starred on both sides of the ball to lead Sacramento to the win last night, throwing 7+ excellent innings and knocking in half the club's runs. The game was marked by a howling thunderstorm that caused a major rain delay in the 5th inning, but Blackburn came back out after the delay to continue his efforts. Clayton's only major mistake on the night was a hanging breaking ball that the Pads #3 prospect Hunter Renfroe hit out for a solo HR. But other than that, he was fully in charge throughout against the league's most prolific offense.

And, lest we neglect our Minor Lines traditions:

Blackburn was a .300 hitter last year with an OPS near .800, but the bat's been a little slow to come around for Clayton this year as that was his first hit of the season. Probably gearing up for a strong second half.

The other big swing of the day for Sacramento came from Austin Slater, who hit his 1st AAA HR, an opposite field shot that just got out down the RF line. It was Slater's 6th HR overall on the year, which is more than his entire professional output coming into the season (5). I'm coming to believe that consistent hard contact might be a predictor of future power! (if still modest future power).

Shoddy infield defense made the game suddenly close in the 8th inning. A tiring Blackburn allowed singles to two of the first three batters in the 8th, but Mitch Delfino booted a potential inning ending DP and Blackburn walked in a run on his final batter of the night. Steven Okert came in to relieve with the bases loaded and one out and picked up a crucial strike out on his first batter.  But then Travis Ishikawa misplayed yet another potential inning-ender for the second error of the inning and suddenly it was a one-run game with the bases loaded. Okert got out of it with the hardest contact of the entire inning, a line drive to CF Gorkys Hernandez to end the threat.

* * *

Richmond lost at Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox), 8-3

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

SS

Christian Arroyo

4

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

.288

.313

.397

3b

Ryder Jones

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.252

.274

.411

1b

TJ Bennett

4

0

1

2

1

0

0

0

1

.250

.250

.500

LF

Carlos Moncrief

4

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

.250

.357

.403

2b

Ali Castillo

3

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

.341

.380

.399

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Kyle Crick L 1-5

2.2

8

6

6

1

1

1

0

0

5.79

Chase Johnson

1.0

1

0

0

1

2

0

0

0

3.24

Jake Smith

1.0

0

1

1

3

1

0

0

0

6.75

Back in spring training, Bruce Bochy said that 2016 was going to be a big year for Kyle Crick. The comment seemed something of a "come to Jesus" shot across the bow (to mix metaphors wildly), that the time had come for Crick to be more than tantalizing potential and start showing he could be a contributor. The early returns have not been positive, to say the least.  Whether or not he's making a concerted effort to cut down on the walks (which he has! his BB/9 is a career low 5.01!) his other numbers have shown some severe regression. His K rate has fallen apart. The K9 of 6.17 is not just the lowest of his career, it's the first time in his career that he's been below 10, and the K% of 14.9% is down by 10% from the lowest rate of his career and less than half what it was back in the Cal league. Meanwhile, he's become much more hittable than ever, as opponents are posting a .269 average against him this year (.303 BABIP).  Prior to hitting AA, Crick had never had a season in which opponents hit .200 off him, and his career high prior to this year was .232. And to top it all off, he's had by far the highest HR% of his career, averaging nearly 1 per 9 innings.

Disappearing Ks, increased hits, and increased HRs are not a good trade off for reduced (but still too high) walks. Last night, going up against the worst team in the league, Crick allowed five hits (including two doubles) and a walk in the opening inning. The 5-run frame was the worst inning of Crick's season and put the Squirrels in a hole from which they never recovered.

The 20-40 Sea Dogs are the only team in the EL with a worse record than Richmond, but they also have the benefit of sitting one level above possibly the most talent-laden squad in the minors this year, the A+ Carolina League Salem Red Sox, many of whom are expected to move up to Portland in the second half of the year. The first of that wave has already moved up to the EL, in Boston's 2015 first round pick Andrew Benitendi (#15 prospect on BA's top 100). Benitendi was particularly troublesome for Crick last night, singling in the middle of the 5-run 1st, and later helping to end Crick's short night, when he hit his first AA HR, a tremendous bolt to deep RF:

Another Richmond pitcher who's taken a step backwards this year is Jake Smith, who has really struggled in his first AA season. Last year as the anchor of SJ's bullpen, Smith struck out 118 and walked just 21 batters in 118 innings. But this year the Ks are in decline and the walks have taken a dramatic jump up as AA hitters aren't as enticed by the slider off the plate. In 20 IP this year Smith has walked 20 batters vs. just 26 Ks and his WHIP has ballooned up to 1.85. Jake's going to have to figure out some adjustments because what he's doing right now clearly isn't working against this level of competition.

* * *

San Jose lost at Modesto Nuts (Rockies), 4-2

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

1b

Chris Shaw

4

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

.293

.361

.558

3b

Jonah Arenado

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

.251

.284

.391

LF

Robbie Garvey

3

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

.214

.241

.286

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Jason Forjet L 6-4

6.2

5

3

3

2

7

1

0

1

4.27

Reyes Moronta

1.0

1

1

1

2

2

0

0

1

2.42

Rodolfo Martinez

0.1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0.73

San Jose was thoroughly throttled by Modesto starter Alex Blalog and four relievers, who shut down the Giants' offense. Jonah Arenado and Robbie Garvey were the only members of the lineup to reach base twice, and Garvey's double was the only XBH. In all, the team had seven hits and two walks while going just 1 for 6 with RISP. Ronnie Jebavy, who successfully stole 23 bases on 27 attempts in Salem-Keizer last year, got CS for the 8th time this year against just 6 SB as the Giants' system in general continues to have one of the worst SB/CS ratios in the minors this year.

Coming off his 11 K, 1 ER performance last start, Jason Forjet was still strong if not quite as a sensational. He picked up 7 more Ks to push his K9 up to nearly 9, but with little support he couldn't limit the damage enough to produce a win. A walk, HR, and triple to consecutive batters in the 5th broke up a scoreless tie. In the 7th, he allowed his final two batters to reach base, but Reyes Moronta came on to get the final out of the inning and escape the jam.

Returning for the 8th however, Moronta did something highly unusual: he surrendered a run! It was the first run he'd allowed since May 2nd, a period covering 15 one inning appearances, nine of which were a perfect 3 up/3 down. The run came entirely due to the speed of Modesto's Max White who singled, stole 2b, advanced to 3b on Ty Ross' throwing error, and then stole home (White's 19th SB of the year). The show of speed seemed to have rattled Moronta who then walked the next batter and uncorked a WP. Rodolfo Martinez had to come in to pick up the final out of the inning, which he did with a K.

* * *

Augusta lost at Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 5-4

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

2b

Jalen Miller

5

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

3

.265

.296

.370

SS

Kelvin Beltre

3

0

2

0

1

0

0

1

0

.251

.320

.389

LF

Dylan Davis

3

1

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

.276

.366

.486

CF

Johneshwy Fargas

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

.211

.333

.263

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

Matt Solter

4.0

4

4

4

5

7

1

0

0

5.00

Ryan Koziol L 3-3

2.0

4

1

1

0

4

0

0

1

2.55

Connor Kaden

2.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

4.31

Matt Solter was signed last month as an UDFA to plug the holes in the Greenjackets rotation. David Lee reported him with a lively arm, throwing low 90s sinkers, and he's been a good pick up for a club in need. But last night, control issues undermined his effort. He opened the 5th inning by walking his 4th and 5th batters of the night, which set up the pivotal sequence of this game which was decided when Ryan Koziol surrendered a bases clearing double into the gap which turned a 4-2 advantage into a 5-4 loss.

The Augusta lineup managed 8 hits on the night, fully half of which were doubles.  Some of the doubles deserved to be a little less, as when Dylan Davis dunked this quail down the RF line:

Some deserved to be a little more, as when Jalen Miller drilled a shot high off the Green Monster replica:

But the red-hot Kelvin Beltre's double was just right!

That's now a 10 game hitting streak for Beltre, who's posted a .367/.424/.633 line in the first ten days of June.

* * *

DSL Giants lost to DSL Dbacks2, 3-0

Age

Name

AB

R

H

RBI

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

SS

18.1

Jose Rivero

4

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

.182

1b

17.11

Angeddy Almanzar

4

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

.316

2b

17.1

Nishell Gutierrez

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

.286

3b

18.6

Wascar de Leon

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

.375

Age

Name

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HB

WP

ERA

17.6

Johan Herrera L 0-1

5.0

6

3

3

1

4

0

0

0

3.60

19.10

Jesus Reyes

3.0

1

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

0.00

The DSL Giants managed just 4 hits and 1 walk in being shut out for the first time this year. They did get doubles from SS Jose Rivero and 1b Angeddy Almanzar. Almanzar has six hits on the year and half of them have gone for XB as he now has a double, a triple, and a HR for the year, filling up the stat columns.

* * *

Well, that was officially NOT a Friday funday, and no fireworks will be set off in its honor. Only Clayton Blackburn's heroics prevented a full on wipeout. Do better today guys!

Pitching Matchups:
Sacramento: Chris Heston vs. Bryan Rodriguez
Richmond: Adalberto Mejia vs. Justin Haley
San Jose: Martin Agosta vs. Ryan Castellani
Augusta: Dom Mazza vs. Anderson Espinoza

The Augusta game is on MiLBtv and getting to watch Jalen Miller and Kelvin Beltre et al go up against Espinoza's fastball is appointment TV!