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SF Giants Minor Lines, 8/23

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The "Ugh! Baseball" edition.

Timing is everything. Take the following play. This would be a heck of a highlight for the night, had it not come at the conclusion of a game-losing four-run rally:

That's the kind of night it was in Giants-land, where there's little respite to be found just now.

HIGHLIGHTS: Kelby Tomlinson had 4 hits; Austin Slater homered again! So did Dylan Davis; Johan Herrera threw 8 shutout innings with just on ehit allowed and 7 Ks.

* * *

Sacramento won at Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 12-4
winning their four game series, 3-1

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Kelby Tomlinson

SS-2B

6

1

4

1

0

0

1

0

1

.301

.379

.359

Ali Castillo

3B

5

2

2

1

0

0

1

0

1

.326

.364

.363

Mac Williamson

RF

5

2

2

0

0

0

2

1

2

.270

.307

.486

Jarrett Parker

LF

4

3

2

1

0

0

2

2

1

.276

.368

.600

Austin Slater

CF

5

1

2

0

0

1

4

1

2

.300

.382

.507

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Clayton Blackburn

6.0

8

3

3

1

6

1

4.63

Jake Dunning (BS, 3)(W, 3-3)

1.0

2

1

1

0

1

0

4.23

Steven Okert

2.0

1

0

0

0

3

0

4.15

Austin Slater has shown a decided proclivity for thin air this week. He capped off his amazing series, which included 12 hits over four nights, with a 9th inning 3-run HR, his 5th (of 16 on the year) in this four game series. Just incredible.

Slater's shot was part of a late inning explosion that swept the RiverCats to the win. Down 3-2 going into the 7th inning, they used 11 hits and 4 walks over the final three innings alone to put 10 more runs on the board and win it going away.

In all they piled up 17 hits in this game, including at least one hit from every starter except Catcher Miguel Olivo (including from SP Clayton Blackburn). Six members of the lineup had multiple hits, led by leadoff hitter Kelby Tomlinson's four-hit night. The top five members of the order produced 12 hits, including three doubles and Slater's HR. Mac Williamson, who reportedly is still feeling some pain in his shoulder when he swings, picked up two RBI singles in the late inning rallies.

Clayton Blackburn put up a quality start, going six solid innings and striking out 6. His lone mistake resulted in a 3-run HR to the Aces Pete O'Brien (his 24th in the PCL this year along with 4 in the majors). Blackburn has been producing pretty identical lines in the month of August as this was his third consecutive 6 IP outing, over which time he's allowed 9 Earned Runs and struck out 16. He's not ending on the run he had in 2015, but he's giving his team 6 or 7 solid enough innings most every time out.

Blackburn's six K's perched him on the edge of 100 for the year (98). Which brings me to today's Quiz! (I know you're excited!). Name the org's top five strikeout pitchers for 2015 (minors only for this one). Once again, I'll put the top 10 in spoiler text in the comments.

This series continued a strong August for the team which has gone 14-8 this month. It'll take an extremely strong push to get to .500 (they're 62-69 currently) but they're playing good ball down the stretch anyway.

* * *

Richmond lost at Erie Sea Wolves (Tigers), 5-2

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Christian Arroyo

3B

4

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

.272

.315

.365

Hunter Cole

RF

3

1

1

0

0

1

1

1

0

.270

.322

.425

Brandon Bednar

2B

4

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

1

.277

.295

.375

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Tyler Beede (L, 6-7)

5.1

7

4

4

5

6

0

3.06

Tyler Beede struggled with his fastball command throughout this evening but he danced through the danger inning after inning until he got BABIPd into submission in a disastrous 6th inning. Beede's troubles commanding his fastball were evident from the outset, as he walked two consecutive batters in the 1st inning on 9 pitches. He seemed to be missing pretty consistently wide to the arm side and by the end of the night he threw barely half of his pitches for strikes (59 strikes in 112 pitches). When he was able to get ahead of batters with his fastball his breaking ball was devastating, helping him pick up six Ks to limit the damage. Interestingly, four of his strikeouts were looking, but he did blow the fastball by Erie batters as well, when he kept it in the zone.

Despite all the walks, though, Beede held onto a 1-0 lead throughout, provided by Hunter Cole's 13th HR of the year. But in the 6th a series of dinks and doinks did him in. It started with SS CJ Hinojosa completely olé-ing a squib shot to SS. Then there were two flares over 2b Brandon Bednar's head into RF. Later came a hard hit ball that 1b Ryder Jones fielded on a dive but couldn't get out of his glove to record an out, and a big bouncer that snuck through the 5.5 hole.

But though he pitched through some decidedly poor luck in that inning, the context for it was: too many hitter's counts and too many non-competitive pitches piled up throughout the night. Here, for example, is the at bat that tied the game, as Beede faced the Tigers' slugging prospect Christin Stewart with one out and the bases loaded:

Too many easy takes on the night caught up to him in the end.

Oh, but I shouldn't forget about Hunter's highlight (lots of opposite field power these days)!

* * *

San Jose won at Bakersfield Blaze (Mariners), 8-4

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

OBP

SLG

Dylan Davis

LF

5

2

3

0

0

1

1

0

0

.302

.360

.585

Miguel Gomez

DH

5

1

1

0

0

1

2

0

2

.242

.275

.476

Aramis Garcia

C

4

1

1

1

0

0

2

1

2

.270

.323

.357

T.J. Bennett

2B

4

0

2

1

0

0

1

0

1

.311

.374

.514

Daniel Carbonell

RF

3

1

2

0

0

1

2

1

0

.291

.343

.383

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Chris Heston

4.1

5

3

3

3

1

0

6.23

Dusten Knight (W, 3-1)

2.2

1

1

1

0

3

1

5.28

Pat Young (H, 10)

1.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

3.52

Reyes Moronta

1.0

0

0

0

0

3

0

2.32

Like Sacramento, the San Jose Giants used some late inning thunder to turn a taut game into a laugher as they scored in every inning from the 6-9, producing six runs in the late going. Not surprisingly, they turned to their favorite weapon to get the job done: the long ball. The Giants have now hit 118 HRs this year, and the lion's share of that has come in the second half as they've gotten huge power surges from Dylan Davis, Jonah Arenado, Ronnie Jebavy and Miguel Gomez, among others.

Davis hit his 16th HR in just 52 Cal League games (24th overall) and pushed his average over .300 with three hits as he continues to just punish Cal League pitchers. You'd have to say that Davis has had the biggest bounceback year of anybody in the system as he's truly showing off that LTP (Light-Tower Power) that was on the pre-draft scouting reports.

Miguel Gomez hasn't quite brought his amazing hit tool with him from Augusta, but at least he didn't leave his power behind.

Chris Heston came up from the AZL camp to take the start, continuing his rehab assignment. Heston wasn't overly sharp, but he got his work in, as they say:

The most impressive of the pitching performances came from closer Reyes Moronta, who strukc out all three batters he faced int he 9th on 13 pitches. Seriously, listen to the Inside the Giants podcast and check out the littany of stats that Joe lists off on Moronta's season. Pretty incredible stuff.

These last games against Bakersfield are full of intrigue for the Giants. San Jose is far far ahead of both Modesto and Stockton for the second wild card position, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee them a playoff spot. The second half race is fairly tight and the Giants have a chance to run Bakersfield down for the second half title. They're currently just four games behind Bakersfield for the 2nd half title with six games left to play against the Blaze. But the complicating factor is that Modesto sits just 1 game behind San Jose and Stockton just a game behind them. So it is possible, if Bakersfield and San Jose split these games against each other that one of the other teams could get hot and race past both of them to the 2nd division title and leave San Jose on the outside looking in (as Bakersfield is ALSO ahead of San Jose in the Wild Card race). Very complicated possibilities in these final two weeks. Will this series be the last that San Jose ever sees of "historic" (e.g., decrepit) Sam Lynn Ballpark?

* * *

Augusta beat the Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 2-1 in 10 inn

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Bryan Reynolds

CF

4

1

2

1

0

0

0

1

1

.353

.389

.647

Dillon Dobson

3B

5

1

3

1

0

0

1

0

1

.277

.322

.478

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Heath Slatton

5.0

5

1

1

0

4

0

3.00

Connor Kaden

4.0

2

0

0

1

4

0

3.67

Charles Owen (W, 1-0)

1.0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0.00

It took a little free baseball to accomplish it, but the Greenjackets finally produced a win, walking it off when Junior Arias' single scored Dillon Dobson from 2b. Dobson had led off the 10th with his third hit of the game, and after being sacrificed over to 2b, easily scored on the two-out hit.

Ten innings earlier, Dobson had given Augusta a 1-0 lead when he followed Bryan Reynolds' second double as a Greenjacket, with an RBI double of his own. Reynolds' hasn't seemed to skip a beat with the promotion to the Sally. Across two levels he's now hitting .316/.370/.515 in his debut summer.

The former late inning reliever Heath Slatton finally gave the team a solid starting effort and Connor Kaden icked up the staff with a huge four innings of shutout relief to help extend the game to extra innings. The win kept Augusta a half game behind Rome, which continued its hot stretch last night,w inning its sixth consecutive game. Once the Greenjackets finish this series with the Drive Thursday night, they'll head to Rome for the first of two huge series against the Braves which should decide the 2nd half division title.

* * *

Salem-Keizer lost at Tri-City Dust Devils (Padres), 13-2

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Ashford Fulmer

LF

5

0

3

1

0

0

0

0

1

.296

.406

.396

Kevin Rivera

2B

4

1

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

.311

.350

.416

a- Dylan Manwaring

PH-C

3

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.217

.217

.261

Woody Edwards

CF

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

.273

.333

.273

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Garrett Williams (L, 0-1)

3.1

6

7

5

2

2

0

5.71

John Timmins

1.1

5

6

2

1

1

0

10.45

Matt Pope

2.1

2

0

0

0

2

0

6.41

Jeff Burke

1.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

2.73

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along; move along.

Garrrett Williams, the Giants' 7th rounder from OK St, took himself a bit of a whuppin' in his fourth start with the Volcanoes. After stretching out to 5 innings in his second start, Williams has been knocked out in the 4th in each of his subsequent outings. He allowed runs in each of the four innings he took the mound, punctuated by a four-run fourth that drove him from the game. John Timmins, who relieved Williams, allowed both of his inherited runs to score plus one in that inning. And then plunged the team into a five-run 5th inning in which Matt Pope allowed all three of his inherited runs to score (with an assist from Manuel Geraldo's error). Fortunately the team did not allow a six-run 6th or a seven-run 7th but it was ugly enough as was.

In more light-hearted news, the franchise is getting just a ton of press for their announcement of next year's Eclipse Delay game, which is looking like an early contender for "Promotion of the Year".

* * *

AZL Giants lost to the AZL Cubs, 5-3

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Sandro Fabian

RF

5

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

.326

.357

.507

Byron Murray

DH

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

.100

.308

.100

Jose Layer

LF

4

1

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

.275

.341

.350

Michael Bernal

2B

3

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

.254

.333

.448

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

D.J. Myers

5.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

1.89

Cameron Avila-Leeper (H, 1)

1.0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0.00

Jake Greenwalt (H, 3)

1.1

2

3

2

1

1

0

5.94

Reagan Bazar (BS, 1)(L, 2-2)

1.0

2

2

2

3

0

0

4.67

Chris Falwell

0.2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2.79

Jake Greenwalt and Reagan Bazar teamed up to allow 5 runs in the 8th and 9th innings, blowing a 3-0 lead and a chance at the top of the standings. The loss was a galling missed opportunity. Completing the victory would have moved the Giants into a 1st place tie with the idle Angels. Instead they fell back into a tie for 2nd with the Athletics. With just five games left in the season, it's a serious muddle as the 4th place Diamondbacks are only 3 games back. This is the time for a five-game win streak guys! Unfortunately, the Giants get their final off day today while both the Angels and Athletics play games (not against each other, so the Giants will possibly take the field tomorrow night having fallen to 3rd place.

The game was notable earlier for the professional debut of Cameron Avila-Leeper, the left-hander from San Joaquin Delta College who the Giants drafted in the 17th round of the 2015 draft. Avila-Leeper missed all of last year and nearly all of this year after having Tommy John surgery. Cameron pitched a lcean inning in his debut with a single K.

Another man on the comeback trail is 2015 AZL star Byron Murray, who finished last year int he NWL playoffs with Salem-Keizer, but had missed all of this year with an undisclosed injury. He's now played in the last three AZL games.

This year's 13th rounder, Jose Layer picked up another two hits and an RBI.  Layer has three doubles now (and 7 RBI) among his 11 its. The 19 year old out of Puerto Rican Angel David HS has also shown decent contact ability for a relatively raw player, with just 5 Ks in 40 ABs. Nice job, Jose. Let's take a look at the athletic, good-bodied kid in action.

* * *

DSL Giants beat the DSL Cubs2, 1-0

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Franklin Labour

DH

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.243

.336

.307

Francisco Medina

3B

3

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

.286

.385

.353

Hector Santiago

SS

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

.216

.302

.216

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA*

Johan Herrera (W, 4-4)

8.0

1

0

0

0

7

0

2.09

Camilo Doval (S, 1)

1.0

0

0

0

2

2

0

1.83

Unlike the 2015 DSL team which was replete with exciting pitching prospects (most of whom have had checkered 2016 seasons but while tackelling very challenging assignments) this edition of the DSL Giants has been fairly light on real pitching prospects. The hard throwing Jesus Reyes and Jasier Herrera led some interesting relief arms, but to my mind at least, the clear star of this staff was the 17 year old RHP Johan Herrera, and Johan ended his season with a bang yesterday, hitting season/career bests in a plethora of categories.

Herrera faced just the minimum 18 batters over the first 6 innings, though with two PO/CS involved (following a HB and an error), and took a no-hitter into the 7th. But the first batter of the 7th rolled an infield single to SS Hector Santiago for the lone hit Johan would allow.

It was his longest start ever by a good length (6.2 IP being the previous best); his fewest hits allowed (3 being the previous best). It was just his second start in which he's allowed no runs (though he's never given up more than 3). And of course, the 7 Ks was a personal best as was the 7/0 K/BB ratio. He'd had just two other starts with 0 walks and in those two games he'd had 5 Ks combined. In other words, he took his game up a notch for his final outing of 2016. Interestingly, his swing and miss ability had been steadily growing through the year, as his previous high of 6 Ks had been accomplished twice in his previous three starts. In all, in his four starts in Augusta, Herrera produced a 1.80 ERA, allowing just 5 ER, while striking out 23 and walking 6 in 25 IP and continuing to get groundball heavy results on his balls in play.  Just an excellent start to the career from the youngster.

Here was Ben Badler's writeup on Johan last winter in his review of Giants international signings:

Dominican righthander Johan Herrera signed for $125,000 on July 2. Herrera, 17, has a projectable build (6-foot-1, 170 pounds), quick arm speed and a fluid arm stroke to project on his 86-89 mph fastball. His changeup is advanced for his age and already ahead of his breaking ball.

* * *

Today's Matchups:
Sacramento: Chris Stratton vs. Cesar Valdez
Richmond: Andrew Suarez vs. Thad Weber
San Jose: Jose Reyes vs. Anthony Misiewicz
Augusta: Matt Solter vs. Daniel Gonzalez
SK: Melvin Adon vs. Elier Sanchez
AZL: Off
DSL: TBD

And up next in the comments section, the list of the Giants' minor league strikeout leaders for 2016. Got your guesses ready?