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The Prospect Roundup, 4/30/17

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Let’s talk about those winning, and occasionally perfect, GreenJackets!

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Perfect!

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Giants farmhand Domenic Mazza threw a perfect game this past Tuesday, but Domenic Mazza threw a perfect game this past Tuesday. He got more Sportscenter airtime from giving up a home run to Tim Tebow on Opening Night, but he’ll probably remember the Perfect Game more.

BTW, The Sporting News really rubbed it in on that end…

Come on, TSN…really?

I’m not going to spend too much time rehashing it, because that may have been the most-written about Giants’ minor league moment I’ve ever seen. But a few bits of deeper analysis:

  • A lot of the discussion was that this was a 9-inning perfect game. The South Atlantic League had seen 3 7-inning perfect games before, and the Western Carolinas League (the precursor to the modern SAL) saw one of those as well. As has been mentioned, part of the amazing thing was that he got to 9 innings, as many players in the SAL are often under strict pitch counts. There were only 30 complete games in the SAL last season, and I’m not sure how many were 7-inning CGs (7-inning complete games are a thing in the minors because doubleheaders will usually be 7 innings for each game, barring extras).
  • The 22-year old, as you’ve probably read, was a 22nd round pick in the 2015 draft. Being a bit of a lower draft pick, and without ridiculous results in his past, there isn’t a lot of information about him, scouting-wise. His fastball seems to be high-80s, and though his college coach raved about his changeup, Wrenzie of Giants Prospective seems to think the change isn’t enough and he needs more of a secondary pitch. Mazza does what he does with good control and some funky mechanics, which is probably why he only needed 85 pitches to dispatch Lexington.
  • What’s Mazza’s future? Well, Mazza spent much of last season at Augusta, where he posted a pedestrian 3.93 ERA. Even before this game, he was a guy to watch for a midseason callup to San Jose. To be honest, though, Mazza hasn’t distinguished himself to be on the list of starting pitcher prospects. Unless his stuff is very different than what the few scouting reports have shown, he’s more likely a candidate to turn to relieving, with his control and funky delivery.
  • Mazza placed second in the World Long Drive Championship in 2010 as a junior at Clayton Valley High School in Concord, but turned down the $70,000 so he could stay an amateur athlete. He drove a golf ball 436 or 404 yards, depending on the story. He and his idol, Matt Cain, should play golf one day.
  • Out of all the pieces written about Mazza in the light of this, this was the best, so I’ll link to it here.

Dillon Dobson’ Big Day

Dillon Dobson has had a bit of a slow start in his new season at a new position, but on Friday he had a big day. Dobson went 4-for-4 with three home runs, the third San Jose Giant to accomplish the 3-for-3 feat in history.

Notice that Dobson is also the first Giant to do it at home. It was Dobson’s second game since coming off the disabled list. Dobson had been batting .283/.365/.435 before the big day. Afterwards, Dobson was batting .340/.411/.660; not a bad jump for Dobson.

Augusta’s Surprising Winning

They often say that the point of the minor leagues is not to win, but instead it’s to develop major leaguers. That’s why a lack of winning seasons in the Giants’ system is not a big topic of discussion. But the season is turning into a surprise. The Augusta GreenJackets are winning…and others aren’t.

It’s a bit of a surprise because Augusta’s lineup lacks a lot of top prospects. Aside from people named Sandro or Melvin Adon, Augusta doesn’t have names that many prospect hounds would recognize. And Augusta started the season as expected, losing 7 of their first 8. During that stretch, they were outscored 58 to 29. But recently, Augusta has turned it around.

Since Easter, Augusta is 8-5. Comparatively, San Jose is 5-8, Richmond is 4-6, and Sacramento is 2-11. And what’s noticable about the winning is that you don’t see any breakout players in Augusta’s stat sheet. The only regular hitter with an OPS over .775 is Kelvin Beltre, at .286/.338/.471. Only two starters have an ERA under 3, those being Melvin Adon and Stephen Woods. But what has happened is that since the first week of play, pitchers have kept things close and the hitters have done just what they need to win games. In this winning stretch, only two of the 8 wins have been by more than one run.

Augusta’s still just 10-13 overall on the season, and just one spot above last place in their division, so don’t go planning to attend any playoff games just yet. But even if there aren’t any Top 10 prospects on this team, at least they’re learning how to win.

The Hitting Sandro

The GreenJackets have two Sandros on their team, a big pitcher named Sandro Cabrera, and an outfielder named Sandro Fabian. Fabian has been in the highlights recently, even if he hasn’t been overwhelming at that plate.

Two of Fabian’s best highlights are defensive ones, that helped save Mazza’s perfect game, as you can see in the clips below.

Fabian followed that up with a two-home run game…his only two home runs of the season.

That day, two home runs while going 4-for-5, has been Fabian big day offensively so far. Whether it kicks the 19-year old into production will have to be seen, as he’s gone 3-for-13 since. He currently is batting .262/.278/.429 on the season.

Dan Slania’s Triple-A Troubles

Dan Slania started 2017 off with more of what he did in 2016, a strong start in Double-A. Then he got promoted.

And the wheels have come off.

He now has four starts in Triple-A, and his Saturday start was his shortest, going just three innings. He has a 9.17 ERA, having given up 18 runs in 17.2 innings, on 25 hits and 10 walks. What is happening?

Well, quite simply…batters are getting hits off of him. Those 25 hits allowed give him a .342 batting average against, and they are coming consistently across his starts, so it’s not just a spike from one game. That, combined with a higher walkrate in this small sample size, and hitters are getting on base against him at a ridiculous rate.

He’s also given up four doubles and five home runs (including three on Saturday). He’s not a groundball pitcher, as his .68 GO/AO ratio in Sacramento is pretty much in line with his career, so that may be biting him a bit more than usual…although he hasn’t been bit by any of the real hitters’ ballparks yet.

Without any scouting reports I’ve seen, my guess would be that Slania is lacking the kind of out pitch he needs to get strikeouts…but his strikeouts are up too. With 20 in 17.2 innings, that’s one of his best ratios (again, small sample size) in his career. So it may be more than he needs to develop that pitch that gets him weak contact. His slider and changeup have been decent across his career, but not great, so it may be that he needs to add a little movement to his fastball to get those weak hits, that will stop biting him.

Before this season, Slania was already hard to figure. It was unclear whether he was a legitimate starter prospect or would likely head back to the bullpen. But with the Giants bullpen in need, particularly of a long reliever, Slania is missing a big opportunity to impress. Hopefully he can make those adjustments he needs to as we move into the middle of the season to get those outs.

Saturday’s Lines

Saturday’s Boxes

AAA R H E AA R H E High-A R H E Low-A R H E
AAA R H E AA R H E High-A R H E Low-A R H E
Sacramento 4 12 0 Richmond 5 8 1 Stockton 8 8 2 Greenville 4 9 1
Tacoma 7 10 1 Hartford 4 8 0 San Jose 4 9 1 Augusta 1 4 0

Saturday’s Notable Hitters

TEAM Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
TEAM Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
SAC Orlando Calixte SS 5 2 3 0 0 2 3 0 1 0.264
SAC Mac Williamson LF 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.217
SAC Chris Marrero 1B 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.333
SAC Austin Slater RF 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.288
SAC Tim Federowicz C 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.320
RIC Slade Heathcott CF 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 1 1 0.282
RIC Miguel Gomez 2B 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.315
RIC Dylan Davis LF 3 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.231
RIC Hunter Cole RF 4 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0.209
RIC Jeff Arnold C 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.182
SJ Ryan Howard DH 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.323
SJ Dillon Dobson 2B 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.352
SJ Matt Winn C 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.333
SJ Daniel Carbonell RF 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 1 0.259
AUG Sandro Fabian RF 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.262
AUG Manuel Geraldo 1B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.152
AUG Brandon Van Horn SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.216
AUG Kevin Rivera 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.278

Saturday’s Notable Pitchers

TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
SAC Dan Slania (L, 0-3) 3.0 6 6 6 2 4 3 9.17
SAC Tyler Rogers 2.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.93
SAC Kyle Crick 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.70
RIC Matt Lujan (W, 1-0) 5.0 6 4 4 1 5 1 3.60
RIC Carlos Alvarado (H, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.04
RIC D.J. Snelten (H, 1) 2.0 1 0 0 0 4 0 0.00
RIC Reyes Moronta (S, 4) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3.24
SJ Heath Slatton (L, 0-2) 1.1 2 5 5 2 0 2 18.62
SJ Dusten Knight 2.0 0 0 0 0 5 0 1.10
AUG Caleb Baragar (L, 0-2) 5.2 7 2 2 2 5 0 3.20
AUG Patrick Ruotolo 1.0 1 2 1 2 0 0 0.93
  • Orlando Calixte had his second multi-hit game in the last four days, with two home runs. It was his first multi-home run game since May 11, 2014, with the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
  • With three home runs allowed today, Dan Slania has given up five home runs in April of this year. He gave up 9 all of last season.
  • Slade Heathcott broke a three-game hitless streak, which had seen his batting average drop from .321 to .269. It enters Sunday’s game at .282.
  • Miguel Gomez continues to do Miguel Gomez things. He has hits in eight of his last ten games, and at .315, his batting average is tied for leading the team, with Brandon Bednar.
  • Reyes Moronta picked up his fourth save in his eighth appearance
  • Dillon Dobson followed up his three-home run performance with a 2-for-4 day. He is 7-for-12 with 3 HR and a double since returning from the DL.
  • Dusten Knight has 24 K’s in 16.1 innings of work. He has given up 6 hits and a walk in that time.
  • Sandro Fabian has raised his batting average from .229 to .262 by going 11-for-38 (.289) over his last 10 games.

Hitter of the Week - Orlando Calixte

This week had a few rainouts and shortened games, so there weren’t a lot of guys with a full week’s worth of stats. And I was really tempted to take Dillon Dobson, whose three days were amazing.

But I’m going with the more sustained, full week’s worth of production from Orlando Calixte. Calixte went 9-for-23, with a double and two home runs on the week. Add in a walk, and Calixte has a .391/.416/.696 line for the week. That’s not bad for the utilityman who has been all over the field for Sacramento. He’s already played shortstop, second, third, right field and center field in just 21 games.

This week, Calixte was passed over for a promotion to fill in for Brandon Crawford by the very-much deserving Kelby Tomlinson, but Calixte is trending the right directon. On the season, Calixte’s line is a pedestrian .264/.312/.431, but if he can keep up the performance, mixed in with his versatility in the infield and outfield, he could pressure the Giants to get a bench role.

Pitcher of the Week

I don’t even know why I’m listing this separately. It’s Mazza. Read about it above.

Sacramento Litter Box

Ricky Romero was released from Sacramento on Saturday. The former 1st round pick just could not get his control going, with 16 walks in 14.2 innings with Sacramento. His 14.2 IP with Sacramento this year is the most he’s pitched already since 2014…Jae-gyun Hwang collected his first steal of the year on Sunday. Hwang was a 20 HR-20 SB player in Korea, though he still doesn’t have his first Sacramento home run…Chris Marerro joined Sacramento after clearing waivers. He got a double in his first game there…

If there’s a pitcher to keep an eye on to make a move to San Francisco, it might finally be 6’7 Joan Gregorio’s turn. Gregorio has a 2.42 ERA through 4 starts, though his stuff hasn’t been overwhelming (18 HA, 11 BB, 16 SO in 22.1 IP), he’s been effective, and he might be considered for the long relief role if Chris Stratton continues to struggle…Also keep an eye on Bryan Morris, who has pitched in five games between SJ and Sacramento while coming back from injury, and is unscored upon so far.

Richmond Nuthouse

Coming into the end of April, Chris Shaw still leads the Squirrels in OPS (.885), although he’s gone into a small slump, going 0-for-15 in his last five games…Sam Coonrod put together a strong month of April, even with a 3.15 ERA. He had 25 strikeouts and just 2 walks in 20 innings of work…Top relief prospect Reyes Moronta suffered a big hiccup last Sunday, giving up three runs while getting just one out, but has been unscored upon the rest of the season. He has 15 strikeouts and 2 walks in 8.1 innings, while collecting four saves.

San Jose Footprints

22-year old Ryan Howard, who has been playing third and shortstop in San Jose, is in the middle of an 8-game hitting streak. He’s batting .323 on the season, with 2 doubles and 2 home runs…After a hot start, 20-year old Jalen Miller has cooled off a bit for San Jose, having gone just 2-for-22 in his last five games…Bryan Reynolds seemed to break out of a slump with two three-hit games in three days at the start of his week, but he’s fallen into a 1-for-15 stretch since…Conner Menez opened some eyes with a 10-strikeout game this week. He’s got a 2.78 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 22.2 innings so far this season.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

Lost in the Perfect Game was Kevin Beltre getting involved in a benches-clearing incident in the 8th inning. It seems that the Legends catcher Paul Dini took offense to something Beltre did (which was not on camera), and he chose to try and Brian McCann Beltre. Beltre made sure to get to the plate before being ready to scrum, though not much else came out of it. Beltre and Frandy De La Rosa, along with Dini, got ejected, but no suspensions were announced (though Beltre has missed every game since the brawl).

22-year old Melvin Adon stumbled in his first start of the year, giving up 3 ER in 1.2 IP, but has been strong since, lowering his ERA to 2.55. He has 20 K and 7 BB in 17.2 IP…21-year old Stephen Woods is the ERA leader so far in Augusta, with a 2.16 ERA after 3 starts. He has a 3.34 ERA in short season ball last year. However, with 10 BB in 16.2 IP, keep an eye to see if those numbers start to bite him.

Transaction Log:

4/23:

- RHP Chase Johnson placed on the 7-Day DL by Sacramento - There’s little info to go on with this move, other than Johnson being removed mid-at-bat on Saturday. Johnson had a 4.35 ERA in 6 relief appearances this year.

4/24:

- 2B Ali Castillo assigned to Richmond from San Jose. - Castillo’s been ranging up and down the system in a short time, with three games in both Sacramento and San Jose before moving to Richmond.

✅ - RHP Kyle Crick activated from the 7-Day DL by Sacramento - Crick had been hit in the head by a batted ball in the dugout. He spent the minimum amount of time on the DL. He had not given up a run before his DL stint. I love what Crick said about it.

✅ - 2B Michael Bernal activated from the 7-Day DL by San Jose - Bernal had a .280/.400/.320 line before going on the DL.

4/25:

- SS Juan Ciriaco assigned to Sacramento - Ciriaco played 84 games in Sacramento last season, and hit .269/326/.398.

- C Jeff Arnold assigned to Richmond from Extended Spring Training - Arnold had already played in Sacramento this season, batting .154 in 7 games there. Arnold helps fill the hole left by Sonabend going on the DL and Winn moving down.

- C Eliezer Zambrano assigned to Richmond from Extended Spring Training - Zambrano was in Richmond earlier in the year, then moved up to Sacramento. Zambrano joins Arnold in filling the catching hole.

- C Matt Winn assigned to San Jose from Richmond - Winn had been batting .125 in 12 games at Richmond. This is Winn’s first stop at San Jose, he played in Augusta each of the last two years, and spent a little over 2 weeks in Richmond last year as well.

- LF Tyler Horan placed on the 7-Day DL by Richmond - Horan had been batting .179 in 11 games with Richmond this year.

- C Adam Sonabend placed on the 7-Day DL by Richmond - Sonabend had only made 2 appearances this season with Richmond. He played 20 games last season in Augusta.

✅ - RF Mac Williamson activated from the 7-Day DL by San Francisco, optioned to Sacramento - Williamson broke out this same day with three hits and a grand slam, his first hits in three games at Sacramento.

✅ - LHP Caleb Smith activated from the 7-Day DL by San Jose - Smith had made just one appearance before going on the DL on 4/7. With two appearances since returning, his ERA is up to 20.25.

✅ - RHP Yordy Cabrera activated from the 7-Day DL by San Jose - Cabrera had a 9.00 ERA when he went on the DL, but has lowered it since coming off to 6.57. He’s acting as a long reliever in San Jose.

4/26:

No transactions listed.

4/27:

- LF Chris Marrero sent outright to Sacramento from San Francisco - Marrero indicated he would stay in the system if he passed through waivers.

- LHP Carlos Diaz placed on the 7-Day DL by San Jose, retroactive to 4/25 - Diaz had been having a fine season after bouncing back from a rough start, with a 2.57 ERA when he went on the DL.

- LF Christoph Bono placed on the 7-Day DL by San Jose - The 24-year old Palo Alto native had been just 2-for-16 (.125) when he went on the DL, appearing in just 4 games.

- RHP Caleb Simpson placed on the 7-Day DL by San Jose, retroactive to 4/25 - Simpson had an ERA of 9.00 in 8 games when he went on the DL.

✅ - 1B Dillon Dobson activated from the 7-Day DL by San Jose - He’s been doing okay since then. Read above.

4/28:

No transactions listed.

4/29:

- IF T.J. Bennett sent to San Jose from Richmond - Bennet had been hitting just .179 with the Squirrels over 15 games.

✅ - 2B Brandon Bednar activated from the 7-Day DL by Richmond - Bednar had been hitting .340/.421/.340 when he went on the DL, and had a 7-game hitting streak at the time.

✌️ - LHP Ricky Romero released - Romero just could not harnass his pitching in Sacramento.

The Wrap-Up

I’m not saying I’m looking ahead or anything, but...