Good luck to our @MiLB affiliates in 2017!@RiverCats@GoSquirrels@SJGiants@GreenJackets@SKVolcanoes#MiLBOpeningDay17 | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/BpSdGW5xmX— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 6, 2017
Melvin Upton Joining The Outfield Options
Melvin Upton Jr's deal with SF Giants will be a minor-league deal and he's expected to report to Triple-A.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) April 8, 2017
The former B.J. joins a Sacramento outfield that is already an interesting mix of players, and that’s even before adding in Michael Morse, Steven Duggar, and Mac Williamson, who currently sit on the disabled list. At the current time, the Sacramento outfield includes three players from outside the system, a free agent who joined the team before 2016, and Austin Slater, who is a real prospect.
With the problems in left field this season, it’s likely that Upton will get a fair amount of time to try and prove that he can be a worthwhile addition to the team. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the team fits in around Upton, especially when Williamson and Duggar return. Williamson in particular should be back sometime later this month. But, in the meantime, the River Cats have a very interesting outfield to watch as the Giants struggle in left field.
Meet Dylan Rheault
Who is Dylan Rheault?
#SJGiants bullpen worked 11 2/3 innings last night and allowed only 2 runs. New closer Dylan Rheault w/2 perfect innings in SF org debut.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 8, 2017
Although he has yet to actually close a game, Joe Ritzo has said that Rheault will be the closer for San Jose. Rheault, a 6’9 reliever, was drafted in the 19th round of the 2013 draft by Baltimore. The height of Rheault with the Orioles was as an All-Star in 2014 with Low-A Delmarva, posting a 2.82 ERA, but after he posted a 6.39 ERA in 2015 at High-A Frederick, the Orioles released him.
Rheault spent 2016 in the indy leagues, posting a 3.94 ERA, before the Giants signed him at the end of Spring Training. Rheault pitched the 10th and 11th inning of San Jose’s marathon season opener, and the 8th inning of San Jose’s blowout win the next night, but hasn’t closed yet for the Giants. His time, however, may come soon. The Giants love big pitchers with big arms, so we may see him in that role sooner rather than later.
Old Friend Bad News Alert (and current friends)
Emmanuel Burriss was suspended 50 games for second positive drug test. Giants minor leaguers Ty Ross and Cody Brickhouse also suspended.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) April 4, 2017
Emmanuel Burriss, a former top draft pick, was with the Phillies last year and signed back with his hometown Nationals in the offseason. More notably, Ty Ross, 25, has spent the past two seasons in San Jose, and is batting .239 over four minor league seasons. Cody Brickhouse, 20, was a 15th round pick in 2015. He has played in 17 games in each of the last two seasons in the AZL. He hit .271/.417/.292 last year in those 17 games.
A Beautiful Thing
Since there’s not much to write about or for you to read at this point, here’s the sound and image of minor league spring training. Sandro Fabian, y’all, via FanGraphs.
Aw, Kyle, Come On…
Just spoke with Kyle Crick. When I prefaced with the purpose of the blog, he laughed and said, "The prospects are over there."— Giant Potential (@giant_potential) April 3, 2017
One of the toughest things about writing about minor leaguers is knowing that a high majority of the guys we follow, write about and meet will not succeed in their dreams. Kyle Crick’s dream is far from over, as a guy with his stuff gets more chances than many. But still, hearing someone say something like this just gets me in the feels. We’re in for another season, and we’ll get excited about the guys who succeed, and who knows about the guys who slip through the cracks.
Please, Minor League Baseball?
All I want is for Gameday on @MiLB to have the background of all the minor league parks. Please?— SF Lunatic Fringe (@sflunaticfringe) April 7, 2017
|SAC||Michael Roth (W, 1-0)||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|SAC||Josh Osich (S, 1)||1.0||0||0||0||1||2||0||0.00|
|RIC||D.J. Snelten (W, 1-0)||2.0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.00|
|RIC||Reyes Moronta (S, 1)||1.0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0.00|
|SJ||Dusten Knight (W, 1-0)||3.0||1||0||0||0||5||0||0.00|
|SJ||Heath Slatton (S, 1)||0.2||0||0||0||2||1||0||0.00|
|AUG||Cameron Avila-Leeper (L, 0-1)||2.0||6||8||7||5||0||0||31.50|
- Hey, Sacramento finished a game! Yay!
- Sacramento outfielders were 4-for-14 with a double and two walks. Not great, but better than LF in SF.
- Former Giant Chris Heston got 9 strikeouts in 5.0 innings, but gave up three runs on five hits and two walks for Tacoma.
- Clayton Blackburn gave up five runs in three innings for an unimpressive season debut.
- Just going to note that between four relievers, the Sacramento bullpen gave up one hit and one walk in six innings of work. Special “Getting-The-Job-Done” shoutout to Josh Osich, who got the save, striking out two (with the walk).
- Only the top two hitters in the Richmond lineup got hits, but three went to Slade Heathcott, who scored two of the team’s runs and knocked in the third.
- Sam Coonrod had a solid six-inning start, with 6 K’s and no walks.
- Reyes Mornota, closer: 1 inning, 3 strikeouts, 0 baserunners. *ahem*
- Bryan Reynolds, after an amazing first tow games, took a rough Sombrero, but did get a walk.
- Jalen Miller has been the right kind of aggressive early this year. He’s batting 5-for-16 (.313), though he has also collected two strikeouts in each game, giving him 6 against two walks.
- A nice game for Aramis Garcia, with his 3-hit game and 3-RBI, including two 9th inning RBI to get some very important RBI.
- Jacob Heyward notched the first home run of the year for Augusta. Heyward was 0-for-5 in the first two games of the year, but like some of Augusta’s lineup, he finally started to wake up.
- So, Augusta’s pitching in three games: 24 IP, 33 H, 30 R, 24 ER, 26 BB, 23 SO, 3 HR allowed, including one to Tim Tebow. That is a 9.00 ERA and a 2.46 WHIP. Yikes…
Hitter of the Week - Slade Heathcott
Okay, it’s less a “Week” than a long pre-weekend…if that much, when it comes to Sacramento, but hey, let’s look at it.
As much as I’d like to give this to Bryan Reynolds for his blistering hot opening, Slade Heathcott kept it up for three games. The 26-year old played mostly in Triple-A last season, and the last time he played a significant number of games in Double-A was back in 2013.
Heathcott is 7-for-12 on the early season, with 2 doubles. In a small sample size, that’s .583/.615/.750 for his batting line.
Pitcher of the Week - Dan Slania
I’m tempted to put Reyes Moronta here for being a Giants’ reliever that threw a perfect ninth inning, but I’m not quite that passive aggressive….unlike SOME people…
Joking aside, the best performance of the early Giants season was easily Dan Slania. He’s still starting, and still doing it well. With 8 strikeouts in six innings, and just 1 runs allowed on five hits and one walk, he gave the indication that last season’s performance was no fluke. It will be interesting to see how the career-long reliever will do in a full season of starting.
Well, thanks rain. Sacramento’s start to the year really got off to a bad start, and almost not at all. Thursday’s planned opener was rained out, due to be made up Monday as a Double-Header. Friday’s game barely got started, not even completing a full-inning before being suspended with one out in the bottom of the first. Chris Stratton got in just one inning of work, and so his real full debut is delayed further. Game 2 will pick up…July 8th? Wow. …The River Cats did finally pick up the win in their first complete game of the season on Saturday, though.
#SFGiants prospect Ryder Jones was removed from the River Cats' opening day roster. Jones was hit in the head in last night's exhibition.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) April 7, 2017
Ryder Jones was not in the lineup for the first three Sacramento games, and while the league’s transactions has not put him on the disabled list, the team has indicated he is on the DL. There’s no update on when he will return.
The Squirrels came out of the gate with a blowout victory, 11-1 over the Yard Goats. Chris Shaw led off his season with a two-run home run, while Dan Slania was the Opening Day starter and with an 8 strikeout day, seems to still be on a roll…Jordan Johnson pitched the final inning of the opener, raising the question of whether he has converted to relieving, or was just getting work in at the end of a blowout. However, one radio listener indicated Johnson would be the 6th starter in the rotation…Andrew Suarez took a rough season debut, giving up 7 hits and 5 runs (3 earned) in 4 innings. He didn’t walk anyone, but only had 29 in 143.2 innings last year, so that;s never been a problem.
San Jose Footprints
The California League is down to 8 teams this season, as you may have noticed. Because of this, the playoff structure in the Cali League has changed. Rather than 6-of-10 teams making the playoffs, it will now be 4-of-8 teams. Now, winners of each half in each division will face each other in the first round (if one team wins both halves, the best overall record in that division will take the second spot)…The Giants opened their season with a 16-inning, 5 hour 17 minute game, using 7 pitchers. It ended in a 4-3 loss for San Jose. However, even with the hitters getting at least 7 plate appearances each, only Bryan Reynolds (3-for-5, with a walk and hit-by-pitch) collected more than one hit.
Longest game for the #SJGiants since an 18-inning affair in 2011 against Stockton.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 7, 2017
With a crowded infield, Dillon Dobson has begun the season playing second base for San Jose. He had split his time nearly evenly between third and first last season.
Augusta Putt-putt Course
The headline in Augusta’s debut was that they were on the pitching side of Tim Tebow’s first at-bat home run. Hidden in that was an offense that showed some life, getting 5 runs in one inning after falling behind 7-0…Sandro Cabrera did allowed three unearned runs, but gave up three hits and a walk, and it was his error that led to the three runs, a no-out throwing error…Four different runners stole bases against catcher Zack Bowers on Friday, including one steal of third. In 2016, Bowers caught 20 of 85 runners (23.5%). (((Pitching problems in the first two games)))
✌️ - San Francisco released RHP Ray Black and RHP Ian Gardeck. - This slipped under the radar earlier this week. Both Black and Gardeck cleared waivers. Black was obviously Mr. Velocity, but both of these guys threw hard, threw wild, and didn’t throw enough since they were both dealing with injuries. There’s nothing to say these guys won’t be back sometime. They just aren’t Giants right now…and could be gone for good.
✍️ - RHP Ryan Webb signed, and assigned to Sacramento. - Ryan Webb is a bit of a journeyman, having appeared with six different major league teams over eight seasons. He had a 5.19 ERA with Tampa Bay last year, but has a 3.43 ERA overall in the bigs. The 31-year old had a 3.00 ERA in 3 innings during Spring Training with the Brewers, but was released when he didn’t make the major league squad.
- Sacramento placed RHP Albert Suarez on the 7-day disabled. - The 27-year old Suarez played a sizable role with the Giants last year as a swingman, with a 4.29 ERA in SF and a 4.34 ERA in Sacramento last season. The reason for his injury was not released.
⛔️ - Sacramento placed RHP Jose Dominguez on the restricted list. - Dominguez, 26, got a 142-game suspension for his second positive PED test. He signed with the Giants from the Padres organization last year, when he had a 5.05 ERA in the majors and a 3.79 ERA in Triple-A. We won’t see him at either level this year.
- The following players were assigned to Giants Ext. Spring Training: RHP Jose Flores, RHP Rodolfo Martinez, C Adam Sonabend and SS John Polonius from Richmond; RHP Connor Kaden, RHP Dusten Knight, OF Christoph Bono, and C Matt Pare from San Jose; RHP Logan Webb, LHP Grant Watson, and RHP Raffi Vizcaino. - Yeah, it’s hard to tell if these are long-term assignments, or just roster maintenance. The most surprising name on this list is Rodolfo Martinez, though Matt Pare doesn’t seem like EST material either with his experience, barring an unknown injury. It is possible that these are names the Giants moved off to stay under roster limits, and moves could continue up and down.
- LHP Steven Okert recalled to San Francisco from Sacramento - This move comes as Hunter Strickland goes on family leave for the impending birth of his child. But, between the lack of lefties and the disappointing SF bullpen performance so far, who knows if Okert’s promotion is only short-term.
- OF Carlos Moncrief assigned to Sacramento - Just like those 4/6 moves, this might just have been roster maintenance, as Moncrief got moved to the S-K roster just before opening day. He had been listed on the River Cats’ opening day roster announced on Tuesday.
- LHP Matt Reynolds assigned to Sacramento - Reynolds had been on that Tuesday roster, but unlike Moncrief, hadn’t been pushed to any other teams officially, so I’m calling this a demotion since he was last in SF. Keeping an eye on a lefty with a major league track record seems important to do right now.
- RHP Dusten Knight assigned to San Jose from Extended Spring Training - Knight had a rough 2016, posting a 5.02 ERA in San Jose, but had looked great in Augusta the season before. The 26 year old will start the year repeating San Jose.
- San Jose placed LHP Caleb Smith on the 7-Day Disabled List, retroactive to April 7th - Caleb had a great year in Augusta last year, with a 2.35 ERA. He got into one game so far this year before this DL stint, allowing a run on two hits and three walks in 1.2 innings.
I’m sharing this more for that hat from the preseason exhibitions than any other reason. I…don’t know if I want to burn it, or buy it for more money than Hamilton tickets on Ebay.
#OurGiants take on the #66ers tonight at 7:05 PM. Jake McCasland on the hill. pic.twitter.com/CmZuBH0K1A— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) April 8, 2017
Extra (Heavy) Reading:
Obviously, we like to have fun here. But this article here is about one of my passion points regarding minor leaguers: the lack of pay they receive. So, I’d like to suggest you read this article, another of what I imagine will be many to come regarding the upcoming lawsuit led by former Giants minor leaguer Garrett Broshuis.
Also, while the World Baseball Classic highlights the many countries in which baseball is played, there continue to be issues and problems some players face in trying to play baseball in other countries. This article from ESPN is an excellent piece about the troubles and difficulties faced by Haitians (like new Giants minor leaguer Orlando Calixte) in trying to play baseball in their baseball-friendly neighbors, the Domincan Republic.