The California League Doesn’t Get The Job Done Against Carolina
With recent rumors of California League teams abandoning the west coast for Carolina, the All-Star Game in Lake Elsinore this year brought a little more rivalry than normal. But the visiting Carolina League came out on top, 6-4, and the San Jose prospects had a big hand in the score.
The Carolina League had a big 6-1 lead going into the 9th inning. That one run came off the bat of C.J. Hinojosa, who knocked in Lancaster’s Bobby Boyd with a groundout. The 9th inning was when the California League Stars mounted a comeback, powered by San Jose’s contributors. After a leadoff single, Hinojosa got his only hit of the game, an RBI double to make it 6-2. Chris Shaw followed with a double of his own, also his only hit, to knock in Hinojosa. After a walk, and a couple of outs, Lancaster’s Garrett Stubbs doubled to knock in Shaw to make it 6-4, but that would be the end of the comeback.
Two San Jose pitchers also made an appearance. Reyes Moronta, the team’s setup man, was throwing in the high 90’s but gave up two runs on three hits during the 5th inning. Rodolfo Martinez, the team’s closer, pitched the 9th and held the line, striking out two. Baseball America noted that Martinez hit the radar gun high of the night, at 101 mph.
South Atlantic League’s Low-Scoring All-Star Affair
The South Atlantic League is known as a low-scoring league, so it made sense that the All-Star game was a tense 2-1 affair won by the North division, that saw 22 strikeouts, 11 by each team. And this was without Phil Bickford, who was named an All-Star for Augusta but was promoted before he could participate.
The game’s MVP was Hagerstown’s Max Schrock, a Nationals prospect, who picked up both of the North team’s RBIs.
Augusta’s contributions to the South Division were minimal. No GreenJackets started the game. Catcher Matt Winn was inserted in the 4th inning, and played through the 7th. He struck out in his only at-bat, but did catch a North player stealing to contribute. Outfielder Dylan Davis came into the game in the 6th, and went 0-for-2. The only Augusta pitcher in the game, Caleb Smith, started the eighth and gave up a walk, then allowed another baserunner on thanks to an error, but got a double play. He was lifted with two outs in the inning.
A Home Run Derby to Remember
As you may have heard, Chris Shaw also got to participate in one of the most unique home run derbies in memory. The California and Carolina League All-Stars to launch home runs off the deck of the USS Midway, an Aircraft Carrier docked in nearby San Diego (notably, home of the upcoming Major League All-Star Game).
The AZL Giants Begin To Play
Early in the week, the final Giants affiliate of the season began play. The Arizona Summer League is often a team filled with recent draftees, especially high schoolers, and players up from the DSL. Because of that, it’s a roster that is in flux much of the year, and hard to tell you who to watch. But there are a few names worth watching, aside from the various 2016 draftees.
CF Mikey Edie - The 18-year old Venezuelan is in the AZL for the second season, and was a bit of a surprise to not have appeared elsewhere. Edie hit .290/.369/.319 with 10 stolen bases in 39 games in 2015.
SS Beicker Mendoza - Another 18-year old Venezuelan, Mendoza hit .300/.354/.383 as a team leader in the DSL last season.
LHP Sandro Cabrera - At 21, Cabrera was a bit of an older player to be signed in the Dominican, but he impressed in his first DSL season last year. He struck out 86 batters in 77.2 innings, one short of the league lead, while posting a 2.32 ERA.
Draft Signing Update - Bryan Reynolds Signed!
So the big news in the middle of the week was not a surprising piece of news at all, but a welcome one all the same. The Giants signed their top pick, Bryan Reynolds, for a quarter million over slot value (which isn’t that bad). By signing him fairly early in the period also likely means a better chance of seeing him in action this season. So far, he has not been assigned anywhere. It would not be surprising to see him assigned to the Arizona League to start, as many of the 2016 draftees are starting there, but it is very realistic that he might go straight to Salem-Keizer as well. My money is that we’ll see him with the Volcanoes in mid-July, either way.
With Reynolds in the fold and other signings this week, the Giants have signed 25 of their 39 draft picks, according to Baseball America. The only player in the top 10 rounds that isn’t signed is 7th rounder Garrett Williams, a LHP out of Oklahoma State. Other notable unsigned picks include Jason Delay, a catcher who was a teammate of Reynolds at Vanderbilt who is an excellent defensive catcher; Jacob Heyward, the younger brother of Jason who is raw but underperformed at Miami, and may be considering staying another season to improve his draft stock; and Adam Laskey, the 31st round pick who is probably the top high school prospect the Giants picked but an unlikely player to sign.
Out of the 14 remaining unsigned picks, 8 are high school and community college picks, which generally make them more unlikely to sign.
Tyler Rogers Gives Up Runs? What The Heck?
Tyler Rogers had an amazing streak going, but it finally broke this week. On Thursday, the submariner reliever couldn’t get an out, and gave up three runs, his first earned runs of the season.
Why did he give up the runs? It might be due to a change of role. Rogers had come into games in the 9th inning for 15 straight appearances before Thursday. This time, however, he came into the game in the 7th innings. Now, taking the role of a middle reliever isn’t entirely new for Rogers, he did start the season in such a role. But after such an amount of time, it may have been a change for him.
Rogers came into the 7th in his most recent appearance as well, going two innings on Friday. In that game, Ray Black was used in the ninth, although Richmond was behind. Black was the team’s closer before Rogers took over the role.
Hitter of the Week - Hunter Cole
This was a week of limited actions with two All-Star Breaks and one league starting up mid-week, but there were still many good performances. On the hitting side, Hunter Cole stands out. The Richmond outfielder has a stellar week, going 10-for-22 with three doubles and three home runs. The three home runs was tied with teammate Tyler Horan for the system lead. Cole also punched in seven runs for Richmond, who were still just 1-5 for the week.
On the season, Cole is hitting .264 on the season, with eight home runs. The 26th round pick in 2014 has moved quickly up the system, and hit .301 across three levels last season, culminating in 51 games at Richmond.
Pitcher of the Week - Phil Bickford
Phil Bickford’s big game may have come at the start of the week, but that did not keep it from being impressive. Bickford made his San Jose debut on Sunday and, while he allowed some runs, he was the definition of dominating.
Bickford struck out 13 in six innings, a nice follow-up to his run in Augusta. Bickford did allow two runs on two hits and a hit batter, but didn’t walk anyone in his San Jose debut.
Before his promotion, Bickford made 11 starts in Augusta, posting a 2.70 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 15 walks in 60 innings. The 2015 first round pick was named to the South Atlantic League’s South Division All-Star team before his promotion, but missed the game. He struck out more in six innings than the entire South Division team did in nine.
Former SF Giant Ryan Lollis put together a nice week for himself, batting .353 with a home run and two stolen bases. He capped the week off with a 4-for-5 day on Saturday…A forgotten name this season has been Andrew Susac, who has lost much of the season to injury. Susac went 1-for-15 this week, though the one hit was a home run, and he collected 6 walks. On the season, Susac is batting .205/.313/.304…Clayton Blackburn continues to have an up-and-down season. He gave up two runs in six innings on Monday, and then gave up nine runs in two innings on Saturday. Last year’s PCL ERA leader has a 4.50 ERA this season.
Dan Slania’s wild rotation ride continued this week. Now with five starts under his belt, Slania has a 1.38 ERA as a starter. This week, he went 6.1 innings, and gave up two runs on three hits, but also a season high four walks against five strikeouts…Tyler Beede matched a season-high in strikeouts with 7 this week, giving up one earned run in six innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.97 on the season…Remember the hope from last week’s Kyle Crick start, going 7 innings at AA for the first time and issuing no walks? This week, he couldn’t get out of the first innings, giving up four runs on two hits and three walks. So much for that…After Sam Coonrod’s rough AA debut, he followed it up with 5.1 innings of shutout ball, striking out 7, though he also walked 5.
San Jose Footprints
C.J. Hinojosa was an All-Star and has been one of San Jose’s leading hitters, and he came out of the All-Star Break with some momentum. He was 0-for-3 in the first game after the break, but was 3-for-8 in the next two games, with two walks and four RBI…Steven Duggar hit his 10th home run of the season, the second San Jose Giant to reach double-digit home runs. He’s hitting .279 on the season.
Augusta Putt-putt Course
Miguel Gomez continues to be one of the best pure hitters in the system. Coming off of the All-Star Break, Gomez went 4-for-5, with two home runs, giving him six on the season. Gomez is hitting .352 on the season, with a .901 OPS, though he only has played in 49 games…Jake McCasland made his second start of the season, and went six shutout innings. He gave up five hits and struck out four. The 24-year old former reliever has a 1.31 ERA with Augusta this year…Domenic Mazza made his third appearance of the year, going a season-high 7.1 innings and giving up just two runs, one earned, while striking out 8 with no walks and five hits. The 22nd round pick from 2015 was a late addition to the Augusta roster.
Jean Angomas started his time in Salem-Keizer hot, going 10-for-16 in his first four games before finally cooling off with an 0-for-4 on Friday. The center fielder had hit just .204 in Augusta…Another big part of Salem-Keizer’s hot start was first baseman John Riley, a 31st round pick from 2013 out of Willow Glen High School in San Jose. Riley is on a six-game hitting streak, including a 5-for-5 Monday. Riley is hitting .423 on the season…Ashford Fulmer joins Angomas and Riley in the .400 club in the early part of the S-K season, batting .409 in seven games. He’s 9-for-22 with two doubles and a triple.
Arizona Air Conditioner
In the early season, Beicker Mendoza has been one of the Arizona League’s leading hitters. He’s averaged two hits a game, going 8-for-18 in his first four games played, with two doubles…29th round pick Michael Bernal has been another early hot hitter. On Saturday, he hit the AZL team’s first home run, and is batting .385 over the first four games.
Still 108° out here pic.twitter.com/yMOZvg7wBC— GIANT Potential (@giant_potential) June 21, 2016
With the start of the Arizona League, Connor Penifold of Giant Potential got some first hand notes on the first couple of games. Here are a couple of his tweets, but check out his full twitter feed, and his website for some great stuff.
Heath Quinn will fit right into #SFGiants organization. Smoked an opposite field double down right field line just now. Loud contact— GIANT Potential (@giant_potential) June 22, 2016
Stephen Woods 93-95 with straight down CB at 78-80— GIANT Potential (@giant_potential) June 23, 2016
Angeddy Almanzar nearly was hitter of the week this week, going 10-for-23 with a home run. The 17-year old is batting .368 for the DSL team…Another 17-year old, Ismael Munguia from Nicaragua, leads the team with a .375 batting average. Over 14 games, he has five doubles, five walks, five strikeouts and three stolen bases in five attempts.Jose Marte has been the team’s top starter so far. He’s posted a 2.20 ERA through four starts, with 15 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
6/19 - RHP Austin Fleet placed on the 7-Day DL.
6/20 - LHP Steven Okert optioned to Sacramento; LHP Matt Lujan placed on the 7-Day DL.
6/21 - LHP Braulio Lara released.
6/22 - RHP Sergio Romo assigned to Sacramento on a rehab assignment; 1B T.J. Bennett assigned to Sacramento from San Jose.
6/24 - 2B Grant Green placed on the 7-Day DL retroactive to 6/21.
6/25 - 3B Myles Schroder assigned to Sacramento from Richmond; OF Robbie Garvey assigned to Sacramento from San Jose; OF Austin Slater placed on the 7-Day DL retroactive to 6/24.
Lots of movement in Sacramento. The 27-year old Lara had been having a solid season with the River Cats, posting a 3.90 ERA in 25 relief appearances, with a save in his only opportunity. No reason was given for his release, however two days later he signed a deal with the South Korean SK Wyverns. He reportedly will join their rotation.
T.J. Bennett’s travels around the system continued, returning to AAA. Over games at all four levels, he’s batting .185/.241/.259, but that’s a total of 8 games. 3B Myles Schroder had been batting .272 at Richmond. They will help replace Grant Green, who was batting .294 for Sacramento. Also going on the DL is Austin Slater, who has been struggling at AAA, batting just .224. Slater will be replaced by Robbie Garvey, the speedster who hit .242 at San Jose in 19 games since joining the team.
6/24 - LHP Matt Reynolds assigned to Richmond; 2B Brandon Bednar assigned to Richmond from San Jose; RHP Chase Johnson placed on the 7-Day DL.
Matt Reynolds, 31, joined the team as a free agent. You may recognize him from being a part of the Colorado and Arizona bullpens since 2010. He was last in the majors last season, when he had a 4.61 ERA in 18 relief appearances with Arizona, and a 5.58 ERA in AAA Reno.
Bednar had been hitting .284 with 4 home runs in San Jose before his promotion. Chase Johnson had been having a solid season as a starter, with a 3.68 ERA over 7 starts, before getting moved to relief. He has a 2.84 ERA in 7 relief appearances, with a 3.56 ERA overall, before moving to the DL.
6/19 - C Jared Deacon placed on the 7-Day DL.
6/24 - RHP Tyler Cyr assigned to San Jose from Augusta; LF Cristian Paulino activated from the 7-Day DL.
6/26 - RHP Sergio Romo assigned to San Jose on a rehab assignment.
The late-breaking news is Romo’s assignment to San Jose on rehab, after doing back-to-back Sacramento games. This is less a demotion than just being able to keep him close as his rehab comes to a close.
Deacon had only gotten 5 games in at San Jose before going on the DL. He was 2-for-14 (.143) in that time. Paulino missed just under two weeks of time, and came back to go 3-for-4 in his first game back. He’s batting .228 on the season. Cyr had a 2.31 ERA with Augusta in 20 relief appearances, and had picked up a pair of saves. He enters a crowded San Jose bullpen with an All-Star closer and set-up man.
6/24 - RHP Carlos Alvarado assigned to Augusta from Salem-Keizer; C Adam Sonabend activated from the 7-Day DL.
The 26-year old Alvarado made two appearances with the Volcanoes. He pitched a total of 2.1 innings, with two hits and one unearned run allowed, striking out two, and picked up a save. Sonabend had been on the disabled list just a week, making an appearance last on June 19th. But he’s only made two appearances in June at all.
6/21 - LHP Carlos Diaz assigned to Salem-Keizer from San Jose.
6/24 - SS Ryan Howard, 1B Ryan Kirby, and OF Heath Quinn assigned to Salem-Keizer from the AZL Giants.
Diaz had not been seen in action in San Jose after making two appearances in mid-April, and getting placed on the DL with a 27.00 ERA. Diaz had spent last season with a 1.72 ERA, mostly in Augusta with one appearance in Richmond.
The threesome of Howard, Kirby and Quinn are all 2016 draft picks who got their feet wet in the AZL before moving to S-K. Howard is a 5th round pick, and went 2-for-8 in the AZL. Kirby is a 12th rounder who went 3-for-8 in the AZL. Quinn was the Giants 3rd round pick, and went 3-for-5 with two walks in the AZL.
6/22 - RHP Stephen Woods assigned to the AZL Giants.
6/23 - LHP Matt Krook and LHP Alex Bostic assigned to the AZL Giants.
The three are all 2016 draftees getting assigned. Woods was the 8th round pick, Bostic was the 10th round pick, and Krook was the team’s 4th round pick.
6/23 - RHP William Suarez activated from the 7-Day DL.
The 18-year old Suarez was signed in 2015, but had not yet made an appearance with the DSL Giants. He was placed on the DL at the start of the season.