Not The Answer
Following the Giants this year has been hard, both in the majors and the minors. While there are some things going well (Christian Arroyo), there are a lot of things that are frustrating. It’s leaving fans with disappointment, hurt feelings and desperation.
When I write this column, I tend to try and keep my own opinions and editorializing out of it. But I’m going to break that guideline here, because there is one thing I’ve been hearing a lot of excitement about that I need to say something about.
Ryder Jones in left field is not the answer.
The Giants have played Jones in parts of 6 games in left field, and a lot of fans are rooting for his promotion. That’s not hard to understand, as through 37 games, the big league team’s left fielders are batting .161/.230/.219. That’s a .449 OPS. Clearly replacement level players are a different thing in San Francisco.
While many things are a struggle for the Giants right now, obviously finding a regular left fielder should be a priority.
But Ryder Jones is not an outfielder. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an athletic young man. He was a shortstop in high school, and even played some games there in his first full pro season. But no one was fooled. There’s a reason he was pegged to be a corner infielder for his career. (Well, by almost everyone…)
Oooh, I called that one when he was in Augusta. fist pump https://t.co/qVkOPY8RyW— David Lee (@David11Lee) May 1, 2017
Now, I haven’t actually witnessed him play the outfield, but it’s not hard to say he’s got infielder’s legs. Even in this good play (Click to View), you can see that this is not a player with significant speed.
Jones playing left field actually started in the Arizona Fall League. But he’s played, as of Sunday, just 6 regular season games in left field. Just 6, in what is now his fifth season. He’s not going to be ready to play left field in the majors any time soon.
What’s frustrating about this is that Jones is not the kind of bat one should think about shifting positions to force up the system. You know where Jones was ranked in the Baseball America Top 30 prospects? He wasn’t. Other than a fine short-season debut, Jones has never hit above .270, or had an OPS in the minors above .700. He’s had an excellent first 22 games on the season, after his concussion in the pre-season, but that is a very small sample size.
The Giants have seen a lot of not-left-fielders in left field this season. A not-left-fielder is a detriment to the pitchers. More hits might drop in, or more balls might get misplayed. Even as the athletic Eduardo Nunez has played left field and made some nice plays here or there, he’s misplayed other balls because he’s not familiar with the position. Misplayed balls lead to more pitches thrown by pitchers who have been struggling, more stress on an already stressed team.
All for a bat who has struggled with getting on base consistently.
If there are going to be saviors, look at the outfielders. Mac Willaimson is now 8 for his last 21 (.333) with five walks against 6 strikeouts. Austin Slater went 4-for-4 with a home run on Saturday, and has raised his batting average back to .310 with a .375 OBP. And, obviously, Jarrett Parker will be back at some point as well.
Ryder Jones is an interesting prospect, and he won’t be thrown away. But he’s not ready to save the Giants. If he’s going to be a left fielder, he needs time to learn the position.
Like starting left field while in AA. Like they’re doing with Chris Shaw…
13 Runs, 8 Hits, 5 Walks…One Inning
Sacramento had one of those innings of legend on Thursday. Down 6-3 in Colorado Springs, they had a truly monster inning to put that game away. By collecting a team-record 13 runs, on only 8 hits and with the help of five walks, they truly opened up the whoop-ass can.
Here’s how it went down.
- As with many big innings, it started with Juniel Querecuto taking a walk.
- Kyle Blanks followed with a single to put runners on 1st and 2nd.
- The first big hit was Orlando Calixte doubling in Querecuto and putting Blanks on 3rd.
- Austin Slater came back with his own double, driving in Blanks and Calixte and tying the game.
- Colorado Springs changed pitchers
- Chris Marrero walked to put runners back on first and second.
- Mac Williamson walked, although a wild pitch had already moved the runners over. Bases loaded.
- Catcher Tim Federowicz doubled, not quite clearing the bases, but scoring two and putting Williamson on third.
- The Sky Sox finally get an out, as Juan Ciriaco hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Williamson.
- The ninth batter of the inning, Wyton Bernard, was hit by a pitch, and we have runners on first and second again.
- Querecuto singles to drive in Federowicz, and Bernard moves to second.
- A walk to Kyle Blanks, and the bases are loaded once again. Another pitching change.
- Orlando Calixte trolls everyone with an infield single, driving in Bernard and leaving the bases loaded.
- Austin Slater’s double drives in two more and put Calixte on third. That’s 10 runs scored.
- Chris Marrero does a Chris Marrero thing, and homers to the opposite field, capping off the scoring with three more runs.
- Mercifully, the inning ends with a Williamson groundout, a walk to Federowicz, and a Ciriaco groundout.
The lesson from all this? Home runs are rally killers. That’s the lesson, right?
Aramis Garcia - First Baseman of the future?
More Tackett on Garcia: "It'll be down the road whether we move him back to catcher. For now, it's swinging the bat, playing some first."— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 13, 2017
Joe Ritzo had a conversation with Giants Minor League Catching Coordinator Jeff Tackett, and of course one of San Jose’s top prospects came up, catcher(?) Aramis Garcia. Garcia has only played first base since coming back, and of course has hit well this year. He’s batting .304/.356/.620 with 6 home runs, and leads the team with a .977 OPS. So now, more than ever, his future and position is curious.
Garcia is certainly the top catcher in the system, as long as he’s at catcher. But as a first baseman, things are a bit more crowded, with Chris Shaw equally interesting in Double-A, and, as noted, Ryder Jones kind of without a positional home. That said, Garcia’s health is important, and with concussions at the forefront of concern, anything that keeps Garcia on the field is important.
So…You Were Saying About A New Stadium?
Friday’s game between Augusta and the Kannapolis Intimidators was stopped in the fifth with the game tied at one because the power just stopped at Augusta.
No, not in San Francisco Giants terms like there were no more home runs hit ever. The electricity stopped, lights, scoreboard, and MiLB Game Tracker all went dark.
Lake Olmstead Stadium is a relatively new stadium compared with San Jose’s Municipal stadium, but the GreenJackets have long fought for a new stadium. That new stadium is under construction in North Augusta, though, so the GreenJackets will only spend a few more months at the lake. Due to this being the last series of the year between these teams (in May!), the game will not be finished, and goes down as cancelled; the stats accumulated in those 4 innings plus are lost to time.
In the meantime, maybe the crew at the Lake can get Nitro from Down Periscope to help out.
|Colorado Springs||2||5||0||Bowie||1||7||0||San Jose||2||7||0||Augusta||2||5||1|
Saturday’s Notable Hitters
Saturday’s Pitching Lines
|SAC||Joan Gregorio (W, 2-2)||6.0||4||2||2||5||6||1||2.04|
|RIC||Matt Gage (W, 1-3)||7.0||6||1||1||1||4||0||3.48|
|RIC||Tyler Cyr (S, 2)||1.0||1||0||0||0||2||0||2.19|
|SJ||Matt Krook (L, 0-5)||4.2||2||3||2||5||6||0||10.19|
|AUG||Patrick Ruotolo (L, 1-1)||1.0||2||1||1||0||1||0||2.13|
- Hey, the lights were on at Lake Olmstead! That’s a nice change!
- Austin Slater was easily the player of the day, going 4-for-4 with a double and a home run (still in the thin air of Colorado Springs).
- Jae-Gyun Hwang also had a double and a home run with three RBI, but more notably he was batting leadoff. He has spent most of the season batting second or third in the lineup, this was his first time in the leadoff spot.
- Mac Williamson now has a five-game hitting streak, and has had two hits in three of those games.
- Joan Gregorio had a solid game for the Springs, but hit a new season high with five walks. He has walked 24 in 39.2 innings this season.
- Tyler Rogers had another scoreless inning of work. He has neither walked anyone nor struck anyone out in his last three appearances. He has struck out 12 and walked 5 in 23.2 innings, and has a nice 0.89 WHIP.
- Miguel Gomez continues to hit, launching his third home run of the season, his first since April 20th.
- Tyler Horan hit his first home run of the season. He had 12 in 2016 with Richmond.
- Matt Gage had the best start of his season, and also the longest start of his season. He lowered his ERA to 3.48, just above the 3.38 ERA he had in Richmond last season.
- With Garcia out of the catching position, the at-bats have mostly fallen onto Matt Winn. He was 1-for-15 over his last six games, but had a 3-for-3 day that put him back above .300.
- Mr. Krook’s wild ride continued. Matt Krook walked five more in 4.2 innings, giving him 27 in 17.2 IP. His two runs allowed in a season-long 4.2 IP actually lowered his ERA, down to 10.19. Krook has 22 strikeouts on top of the walks.
- Will Albertson and Ashford Fulmer led the team in getting on base. Unfortunately for them, that meant getting hit by pitches twice. Each. Hope they had some ice.
- Caleb Baragar followed up his 9-strikeout start with a less dominating but still efficient one. The 23-year old has a 2.64 ERA and 1.27 WHIP on the year.
- Garrett Williams made his season debut in relief, after being a starter most of last season. He went two scoreless with a hit, a walk, and an unearned run. The lefty, a 7th round pick last season, might be a key piece of pitching depth for a suddenly shallow system.
- Patrick Ruotolo gave up a run in the second straight outing (his first in a week), and third in his last four. His ERA has jumped from 0 to 2.13 in that span.
Hitter of the Week
There were some good hitters this week, even with some games that didn’t get finished. But an unlikely catcher gets into the top spot this week.
Tim Federowicz had a spectacular week, batting 9-for-16 with two doubles and a home run, giving him a .563 batting average and a 1.507 OPS to lead the system. The free agent catcher has been splitting time with Trevor Brown in Sacramento but he has definitely been an asset for the Giants.
The 29-year old is now batting .389 in 15 games at Sacramento, with 8 walks against 14 strikeouts. He did make a brief stint in San Francisco after Posey’s concussion, getting three plate appearances, going 0-for-2 with a walk. Although Todd Hundley has been excellent as Posey’s backup, the Giants have some catching depth at the high levels.
Pitcher of the Week
It wasn’t a great week for starters, so today we’re going to give the honor to a reliever.
San Jose’s Ryan Halstead had an excellent week as the team’s closer, even though he went out for just three games this week. Halstead pitched four innings, giving up only two hits while striking out 7. Halstead got two saves for his work, giving him a team-high 6.
Relievers seem to be a regular thing in San Jose, and while Halstead’s numbers don’t match Rodolfo Martinez’s from the first half last year, he’s been great. He has a 0.50 ERA on the season, in 18.0 innings of work. He’s struck out 21 without giving up a walk, and has a .221 average allowed.
Sacramento Litter Box
Lost in that big 13-run inning was Orlando Calixte. Calixte was 5-for-6 with two home runs, and neither came in that big inning! (Important note: this was at elevation in Colorado Springs. The Springs are an even higher elevation than Denver.) Calixte remains a major league prospect, and is now batting .277 with 6 home runs and 9 stolen bases in Sacramento…Jae-Gyun Hwang finally hit his first home run on the season on Saturday. Hwang is batting .298/.323/.411 on the year, with two stolen bases.
Reyes Moronta got called up, and sent back down, in a very short period this week after Mark Melancon went on the DL. It’s unclear how that might affect someone, but in his first game back in Richmond, he walked two, blew his second save of the year and got his first loss…Through six starts, Andrew Suarez and Matt Gage have identical ERAs (3.48) and identical innings pitched (33.2 IP). However, the big difference is that Suarez has allowed 8 unearned runs, while Gage has allowed none. Suarez also has the edge on strikeouts, with 28 to Gage’s 21.
San Jose Footprints
Ryan Howard’s having a nice season, batting .305, but the converted third baseman is having some struggles. Howard had three errors in one game on Tuesday, two in the same innings, leading to six unearned runs. Howard now has 7 errors on the season…San Jose has hosted rehabbing San Francisco players in five different games. They have lost all five.
Augusta Putt-putt Course
Augusta hit five home runs on Sunday; two players (Ryan Kirby and Ashford Fulmer) hit their first of the year. Frandy De La Rosa and Manuel Geraldo each hit their third, and Kelvin Beltre hit his fourth…With the cancelled game, Melvin Adon lost what was a fine game. Adon has a 4.87 ERA officially through five starts.
Arizona Air Conditioner
A special little note from Arizona, where we have a guy looking at some of the guys in Extended Spring Training:
CJ Gettman one of higher Giants low minors upside arms. 93-96, arm action good, fairly loose; SL 87-89 w/ decent depth. Deceptive arm— Chris Kusiolek (@CaliKusiolek) May 14, 2017
Also, great name for a reliever. Just saying.
- SS Brandon Crawford sent on a rehab assignment to Richmond - Crawford took it easy coming back from the groin injury, and went 4-for-8 over two rehab games in Richmond.
- CF Drew Stubbs sent outright to Sacramento - Read his entry on 5/10.
- 3B Juniel Querecuto activated by Sacramento from the 7-Day DL - Querecuto had been on the DL since Spring Training. In 2016, he hit .241/.298/.341 between AA and AAA, and was 1-for-11 (.091) in four games with Tampa Bay, his Major League Debut.
- SS Rando Moreno placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Moreno has hit .213/.294/.262 in 21 games with Richmond before going on the DL.
✅ - SS C.J. Hinojosa activated by Richmond from the 7-Day DL - Like Querecuto, Hinojosa had missed the entire start to the season. He hit .274 last season between San Jose and Richmond.
- RHP Matt Pope placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Pope, the 13th round pick from 2015, had a 6.75 ERA in 7 relief appearances with Augusta this year.
✅ - RHP Jose Morel activated by Augusta from the 7-Day DL - Morel had been on the DL since April 20th, and had a 2.00 ERA when he went on the DL.
- CF Denard Span sent to San Jose on a rehab assignment - Span got into two games with San Jose, going 2-for-6 with a walk.
- RHP Reyes Moronta recalled by San Francisco from Richmond - This will be Moronta’s Major League debut, as he…oh, wait, hold on…look at the 11th.
- LF Cristian Paulino assigned to Augusta - Paulino had not played yet this year. He last hit .259/.281/.374 in San Jose in 2016, but hit .299 in 2015 at Augusta.
- LHP Garrett Williams assigned to Augusta - The 7th round pick in 2016 had a 5.01 ERA in 10 games, 8 starts, across both short season leagues last season.
✅ - OF Anthony Marks roster status changed by Augusta - Marks had not played since April 30th, but is now officially listed as Suspended. No details have been given.
✅ - SS Tyler Brown roster status changed by Augusta - Like Marks, Brown was suspended for unknown reasons. He was batting .171 through 11 games to start the season.
- 3B Manuel Geraldo placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Geraldo was batting .155 (16-for-103) in 26 games this season.
- LF Chrisoph Bono placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Bono has struggled this year, just 4-for-20 (.100) in Augusta, and .125 in San Jose before that.
✅ - LF Shawon Dunston activated by Augusta from the 7-Day DL - Dunston hasn’t played much this year, though he was batting .429 after three games before going on the DL. He is 2-for-11 in three games since.
✅ - LHP Sandro Cabrera activated by Augusta from the 7-Day DL - Cabrera had a 4.50 ERA when he went on the DL at the end of April. He struck out 4 in two innings in his first game back.
✌️ - CF Drew Stubbs elected Free Agency - Stubbs hit .256/.348/.436 with two home runs in 10 games with Sacramento, but then went 2-for-22 (.091) in 10 games at San Francisco. Stubbs couldn’t find his niche with a SF team that desperately needed some outfielders to fill niches, and the team kept Gorkys Hernandez over Stubbs.
- RHP Reyes Moronta optioned to Richmond from San Francisco - That wasn’t even a sip of coffee! Moronta has a 3.18 ERA with Richmond and 5 saves in 6 opportunities.
- RHP Luis Pino placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Pino has a 13.50 ERA in five games this season, with a .449 Average Against.
✅ - OF Ryan Lollis activated by Richmond from the 7-Day DL - Lollis had been on the DL since May 1st, and the 30-year old had been hitting .210 in 19 games.
- OF Carlos Garcia placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Garcia was batting .244/.267/.293 in 26 games before going on the DL.
- 2B T.J. Bennett placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL - Bennett has struggled this year, batting .143 combined between Richmond and San Jose, with a .059 in San Jose.
✅ - RHP Tyler Cyr activated by Richmond from the 7-Day DL - Cyr had been on the DL since May 5th. He has a 2.38 ERA in 10 relief appearances this season with Richmond.
✅ - 3B Jose Vizcaino Jr. activated by San Jose from the 7-Day DL - Vizcaino had been on the DL since May 2nd, and was batting .192 when he went on the DL.
Back to some Uni talk. Roger brought this up in yesterday’s Minor Lines, but here’s a closer look at those San Jose jerseys.
I’ll be honest, I like the hat. But grey? Really? When the team’s at home? That just didn’t look very right to me.
Finally…this week might get a bit crazy with Minor Lines. I’ll be working on a number of the lines this week, so they won’t be up to Roger’s usual level of quality. But we’ll get the info you need to know to you…and a few things you don’t need to know, either.