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SF Giants Minor Lines, 8/22

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Austin Slater is. Out. Of. His. Gourd!

The calendar is counting down, and it's getting to that time of year when we look back on what's been, rather than forward to what will be. So to start off our retrospecting, let's try some Minor Lines quizzes. First one's easy! Without looking, name the organization's top 5 HR hitters for 2016 (across all levels). We'll start with HRs because everyone loves dingers! They're fun! Which reminds me, there was an awesome sequence of events in last night's RiverCats game involving controversial HRs, managerial explosions, and less controversial HRs! Let's watch:

Turns out that apparently Phil Nevin is NOT a big fan of dingers, I guess. Which is a little odd because he's got to see a boatload of them in that place. I'll put the answers to the quiz in spoiler text in the comments.

HIGHLIGHTS: Austin Slater went crazy. Again; Sam Coonrod K'd 6 over 6 shutout innings; Bryan Reynolds had three hits with a HR;

* * *

Sacramento won at Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 12-4

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Ali Castillo

2B

5

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.323

.362

.354

Mac Williamson

RF

4

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.267

.301

.489

Jarrett Parker

LF

4

3

2

1

0

1

1

1

1

.271

.359

.597

Austin Slater

CF

5

2

3

1

0

2

5

0

1

.297

.379

.495

Travis Ishikawa

1B

3

2

2

1

0

1

2

1

0

.259

.345

.469

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Albert Suarez (W, 4-3)

5.0

6

4

4

2

7

1

4.34

Tyler Rogers

2.0

3

0

0

0

1

0

4.43

Josh Osich

1.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

2.25

Alex Torres

1.0

1

0

0

0

0

0

4.81

Sacramento blasted four HRs in this rout, all coming from their 4, 5, 6 hitters. Austin Slater, who has just gone off in this series, led the way with two, his 9th and 10th with Sacramento. Jarrett Parker, as we saw above, sorta kinda hit his 16th of the year. And Travis Ishikawa ended the barrage with his 12th. All came off starter Matt Buschmann within the first three innings. In fact, the four HRs came within very short order of each other, as Sacramento went back to back in two straight innings: Parker and Slater as we saw above, in the 2nd, and Slater and Ishikawa back to back in the 3rd.

Slater has most definitely found the environs of Reno to be friendly climes, as he's now gone 10 for 14 in the series with 4 HRs, and three doubles. Yowza!

I think it's still far from clear how much power Slater will hit for at the top level, but he can lay barrel to ball for sure.

Josh Osich got in his fourth rehab appearance with Sacramento and sixth overall and appears to be rounding back into form. Over his last three games he's thrown 30 of 39 pitches for strikes, picked up 4 Ks (no walks), and allowed 0 runs.

* * *

Richmond lost at Erie SeaWolves (Tigers), 4-2

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Steven Duggar

CF

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

.328

.388

.426

Brandon Bednar

2B

4

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

.272

.290

.372

Steven Lerud

C

4

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.238

.365

.298

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Sam Coonrod

6.0

3

0

0

3

6

0

2.55

Christian Jones (H, 11)

1.0

2

0

0

0

0

0

3.90

Rodolfo Martinez (BS, 2)(L, 0-3)

1.0

4

4

4

1

1

0

8.05

Rodolfo Martinez' bumpy transition to AA encountered some extreme turbulence in this outing. Given a 2-0 lead to protect in the bottom of the 8th, he allowed the first four batters to reach base on his way to a four-run inning and a loss. Granted, none of the three singles he surrendered to start it off were hit particularly well, but the ability of advanced hitters to get their bats on pitchers' pitches and put them in play is part of the learning curve too. The game winner, however, really should have been an out, as a hard smash ate up 2b Brandon Bednar.

So Rodolfo's ugly line was in part poor luck, but some of that can be avoided by missing more bats. Martinez has 14 Ks against 13 BBs while allowing 17 Runs on 27 hits in his 19 IP in Richmond.

Contrarywise, Sam Coonrod just keeps on throwing zeros up on the board. Over 21 starts now the RHP has a collective ERA just a hair's width above 2.00. And for one of the few times this year, he mixed in some Ks with the groundballs in this one, just the sixth time this year he's averaged a K per inning. Regardless of the peripherals though, Coonrod has now surrendered 1 or 0 runs in 15 of his 21 starts on the year, including his last five AA starts. Coonrod has allowed just 33 ER total this year (130 IP) and 11 of those came in two starts in June. I'm naysaying the naysayer and doubitng the Coonrod-doubters. This guy has something going on with his right arm.

The Squirrels bats were exactly making a racket themselves, with just six hits and one walk for the game. They had two XBH, doubles from Brandon Bednar and Darren Ford. Of their two runs, one scored on a two-out error and the other on a soft RBI single from Ryder Jones. Still, it should have been enough until the Rodolfo Implosion occurred.

* * *

San Jose had a scheduled off day

Which makes a great time to listen to the end of year "Inside the SJ Giants" podcast, in which Joe and Justin sum up the Giants playoff chances (they're pretty good!), recap the season and give out their winners for a whole bunch of season awards. This thing is chock full of great nuggets and stats, including some numbers on Reyes Moronta's success against RHH this year that are out of this world. It's a great listen. Thanks Joe and Justin!

* * *

Augusta lost at Columbia Fireflies (Mets), 7-5
getting swept in their four game series, 0-4

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Johneshwy Fargas

CF

4

0

2

0

0

0

1

1

0

.280

.350

.377

Bryan Reynolds

DH

5

2

3

0

0

1

1

0

0

.308

.308

.615

Skyler Ewing

1B

4

1

1

0

0

1

2

0

0

.245

.324

.407

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Domenic Mazza (L, 6-3)

5.2

9

7

6

2

8

1

3.91

Cesar Yanez

1.1

1

0

0

0

1

0

6.00

Nick Sabo

1.0

1

0

0

1

0

0

0.00

And that is how you make a 5 game lead in the season's final weeks disappear with lightning speed. The poor efforts from starting pitching continued and so did the losing streak as the Greenjackets fell into 2nd place with their sixth consecutive loss. The various stop gap starters in the rotation seem to be all hitting their "Pumpkin" settings this week. Following Michael Connolly's shocking five-run inning in the first game of this series, Dom Mazza came up with his worst start in more than a month, as he allowed back to back three-run innings to open the game. By the end of the third, Augusta was down 7-0 and getting that sinking feeling again. Playing from behind has been pretty much of a constant in this week of their tribulation.

They made a valiant comeback attempt that included another HR from Skyler Ewing who is having a fine second half. Since July 1st Ewing has hit 8 HRs (9 overall for the season) and posted a .485 SLG after having barely been a part of the roster in April-May. Nice comeback, Skyler.

Bryan Reynolds also put the Greenjackets on the board with his first Sally league HR, and 6th overall, a bolt to the opposite field.

* * *

Salem-Keizer won at Tri-City Dust Devils (Padres), 2-0

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Ashford Fulmer

RF

4

2

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

.287

.401

.384

Gio Brusa

LF

4

0

1

0

1

0

1

0

2

.257

.298

.480

Heath Quinn

DH

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

.326

.405

.522

Kevin Rivera

2B

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

.302

.342

.405

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Mac Marshall

4.0

2

0

0

8

7

0

5.58

Nolan Riggs (W, 3-0)

4.0

3

0

0

0

1

0

4.15

Patrick Ruotolo (S, 3)

1.0

0

0

0

1

2

0

1.13

Ooh, boy, the Mac Marshall Experience (TM) continues to boldly go where no man has gone before (which, by the by, is a split infinitive that used to drive my Mom crazy. "You can't "to boldly" she would say!). A representative inning:

Four innings. Eight walks. Seven Ks. Zero Runs. That's quite a line, huh? There's something in there, if they can get the statue out of the rock clean, but... wow! 21 batters faced, eight walks. But seven Ks!

More efficient was Patrick Ruotolo in picking up the save with 2 Ks in his inning of work. Ruotolo has a 44% K rate in his time in Salem, with 31 Ks in 16 IP. Nice debut for the former Huskie!

And so, a day after I opined that it was hard for the Volcanoes to win anything but shootouts, they snuck out a classic 2-0 ground attack win. Ashford Fulmer put them on the board in the 1st, tripling to RF and coming all the way around to score on a throwing error from the relay man. In the 6th, Fulmer would pick up their second run when he singled, stole 2b (his 11th of the year), and came home on a Gio Brusa triple. Five hits total -- two triples!

And in off the field news, the Giants and Volcanoes will be continuing one of the longest affiliations in professional baseball for another couple of years (at least):

* * *

AZL Giants beat the AZL D-backs, 3-1

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Malique Ziegler

CF

4

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

.276

.377

.414

Sandro Fabian

RF

5

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

.324

.355

.511

Byron Murray

DH

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

.200

.500

.200

Jose Layer

LF

4

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

2

.250

.325

.306

Michael Bernal

2B

3

0

3

0

1

0

1

1

0

.244

.322

.443

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Caleb Baragar (W, 5-2)

5.0

4

1

0

1

8

0

2.32

Luis Amaya (H, 2)

2.2

2

0

0

0

4

0

1.42

Wilson Santos (S, 1)

1.1

0

0

0

0

2

0

3.86

Three Giants pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts (against just 1 walk) while allowing just a single unearned run in this dominant outing. It started with Caleb Baragar, the crafty lefty out of Indiana U who struck out a career high 8 in his 5 innings of work. Baragar struck out a career high 6 in his last outing. Baragar, the Giants 9th round pick, was a clear money savings pick, signing for a far under-slot $20,000 in a move that allowed the Giants to go overslot on some of their other picks. He was the only draftee in the top 10 rounds to sign for less than $150k.

After Baragar came the harder throwing, diminutive left-hander Luis Amaya, appearing in just his fourth game of the season. In his first three appearances, he hadn't shown off the big swing and miss stuff he had last year in the DSL, with just 2 Ks and 2 BBs in 3.2 IP. But here, just a few days short of his 18th birthday, Amaya was blowing 'em away, striking out four of the 10 batters he faced.

Michael Bernal's been uneven in his pro debut, getting hits in sporadic bunches. He's second on the team (behind Fabian) with 16 XBH and he picked up his 4th triple in this game. He also leads the team with 3 HRs. But there have been a good amount of 0-fers in between. Of course, he's also a 23 year old from a prestigious college program (Arkansas) so he likely should be performing at a high clip in a league like the AZL. Fabian went just 1 for 5 in this game, but his lone hit knocked in the Giants' first run. Fabian is second in the league with 31 RBIs, and 7th in the league in OPS.

The Giants remain a half game out of first place with six games left to play.

* * *

DSL Giants lost to DSL Cubs2, 5-3 in 7 inn (rain)

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Nishell Gutierrez

2B

3

1

1

0

1

0

1

0

1

.229

.303

.274

Ricardo Genoves

C

3

0

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

.260

.348

.335

Hector Santiago

SS

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

.200

.275

.200

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Aneudy Acosta (L, 3-3)

3.1

3

4

3

2

1

0

3.99

Kervin Castro

2.2

2

1

1

1

7

0

4.71

With this loss (their fifth in a row) the DSL Giants are officially eliminated from the playoffs and will not be defending their championship further. Their final five games of the season (which ends on Saturday) will be played just for the development.

Though they had just two hits in this game, they did manage to make a late run at competitiveness when they scored three in the top of the 6th. They managed this by packaging together both of their hits, Nishell Gutierrez' triple and Ricardo Genoves' double (his 12th of the year) around an error and a HB.

Genoves, the 17 year old Catcher, slipped a good bit offensively the second half of the year, posting a .520 OPS in July and .511 in August, but that's not terribly unexpected for a young teen undergoing the rigors of pro ball for the first time, especially while Catching. If he lives up to his reputation as an advanced defensive Catcher, then the bat showed plenty of promise for a first timer, especially keeping his BB/K rate in alignment even while he was wearing down. He has 22 BB and 31 Ks over 228 PA.

Keeping a solid BB/K ratio was something of a theme with this DSL team, and it will be interesting to follow many of them to see if that's a predictor of some future success. Among the best were the 16 year old OF, Diego Rincones (27 BB, 30 K), Nishell Gutierrez (19 BB, 23 K), and returnees Francisco Medina (33 BB, 39 K) and Jose Rivero (33 BB, 36 K). But nothing compares to 17 year old Nicaraguan OF Ismael Munguia who's matched a robust 11% walk rate with a tiny 5% K rate, all while hitting around .290 for the year (29 BB, 14 K in 260 PA). Do these things matter, we ask? We shall see what we see.

* * *

The days are dwindling. Three teams are still fighting to have a post-season run while Sacramento is making a late, unlikely run at .500. Not too many minor lines left this year.

Today's Matchups:
Sacramento: Clayton Blackburn vs. Anthony Banda
Richmond: Tyler Beede vs. Josh Turley
San Jose: Jose Reyes vs. Zack Littell
Augusta: Matt Solter vs. Roniel Raudes
SK: Garrett Williams vs. Will Headean
AZL, DSL: TBD