Baseball is so full of comings and goings and we had some of both yesterday. On the day that Kyle Crick finally made his major league debut (successfully!), the org said goodbye to one of his old teammates, releasing OF Tyler Horan. Horan, the Giants 2013 8th round pick out of Virginia Tech had a big power year in 2014, hitting 25 HRs between Augusta and San Jose. But he’d struggled with injuries and consistencies in the years between. Still he always played hard and he always played with joy, (especially when showing off his knuckleball stylings, which he did on two occasions in games with Richmond). Last Sunday, in the final start of his career with the Giants, Horan provided the big hit, with a bases clearing double and he singled in his final at bat as a PH on Wednesday. So long Sir Meatball! It was a pleasure.
HIGHLIGHTS: Matt Gage threw a CG Shutout;
Sacramento won at Fresno Grizzlies (Astros), 9-3
|Andrew Suarez (W, 1-1)||6||7||3||2||4||2||0||5.40|
My bout of sentimentality up there caused me to bury the lede: Mac Williamson hit a ball out of Fresno! Possibly all the way to Clovis! Let’s watch that!
The best part is that Mac was the strikeout beer batter and his HR came on an 0-2 pitch. “Getting thirsty fans? HA-Haw!”
The RiverCats offense overwhelmed the Grizzlies in this one, jumping on them right from the beginning. Justin Ruggiano started it off with a solo HR in the first. Ryder Jones hit two different runs scoring doubles. Jones’ 15 doubles and 33 RBIs are both second on the team to Jae-Gyun Hwang (who added to each of his totals with his 18th double and 42nd RBI). And then Williamson put the accent on a four-run 5th with his 9th blast of the year (second on the team behind Jones). In all, the top six hitters in the order each had two hits, including five XBH.
All the firepower made it pretty easy for Andrew Suarez to cruise to his first AAA victory. Though he was a little sketchy, issuing an uncharacteristic four walks and allowing three runs, Suarez eeked his way to a quality start going six and then handing it to the pen.
On the same day Kyle Crick made his MLB debut (and looked good! did I mention?), Derek Law made his first appearance with Sacramento, throwing a scoreless final inning and striking out 1. Hopefully Derek can get his mechanics ironed out soon, because Krukow’s right, Law’s been up with everything all year and really ever since last September’s DL stint. His delivery’s always had a good deal of violence to it but when he was successful in the minors (particularly before the TJ) he was living at the bottom of the zone with everything, dotting 96 mph fastballs at the knees with regularity and then burying killer curves in the dirt. He needs to get back to that kind of command.
Oh let’s watch Ryder Jones do some hitting to before we leave, because that’s getting to be a pretty swing:
Richmond beat the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies), 3-0
winning their three game series, 2-1
|Matt Gage (W, 4-4)||9||5||0||0||1||3||0||2.95|
That complete game shutout feeling . Squirrels win 3-0. #VoteGage #GoSquirrels ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/Kreqkpf1NY— Squirrels Baseball (@GoSquirrels) June 23, 2017
Matt Gage threw a complete game shutout to finish off the series with Hartford, allowing just five hits in the best night of his career. I haven’t seen any official word on this from the team, but if my memory serves correctly, this is just the third 9 inning, CG Shutout in Flying Squirrels’ history. The most recent came in the final week of the season last year, when Tyler Beede had his best game of the season, throwing a 2 hit shutout while striking out 11. And I believe that Jack Snodgrass once threw a 9 inning shutout as well.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jay Burnham comes to my rescue on the issue, it’s the 4th:
4th - Mike MacDonald -2010 https://t.co/L8cY7QRLfR— Jay Burnham (@Burnham_Jay) June 23, 2017
Gage’s beauty stymied the much anticipated AA debut of Rockies #1 prospect Brendan Rodgers, who had destroyed the Cal League to the tune of a 1.100 OPS, but took an 0 for 5 against the vet. Gage said afterwards:
"Many of the new prospects come through, but they all have the same approach … so you just attack him the same way,"
which is a pretty succinct statement of why players have to actually go through the process of conquering the minors level by level when we just want them to be developed already and get here NOW!
Gage got support from 3b C.J. Hinojosa who had a fantastic game, picking up two hits including a double, knocking in the team’s second run and scoring their final one. And if all that offense wasn’t enough, he also helped Gage get to the finish line by starting off the 9th with this gem:
San Jose lost at Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 7-5
San Jose Bats
San Jose Arms
|Carlos Diaz (L, 2-1)||1||2||2||2||0||2||1||2.74|
One of the big problems of an 8-team league is you’re but constantly thinking: “these guys, AGAIN! We just played them!” And that’s especially true of trips to Visalia, which are rarely kind to the Giants.
This game was especially cruel, as San Jose fought back from a 5-2 deficit with a three-run comeback rally in the top of the 9th, only to see Visalia strike back with a walk off HR in the bottom of the inning. Channeling the big club much, San Jose?
The Giants also missed a lot of chances in this game, as they piled up 14 hits on the night, including six XBH, but through the first 8 innings the only times they could get on the board were two solo HRs. Ultimately, the HR was their only weapon of the night as they’d collect three. Ryan Howard hit his 6th of the year on his first AB of the second half (Howard leads the Cal League in hits), and Jalen Miller picked up his 4th of the year. But the dramatic blast came from Gio Brusa, who hit a two-out, two-run HR in the 9th inning to tie it up. That was Brusa’s team leading 11th of the year. No video in Visalia, of course, but let’s use our imagination and assume it looked soemthing like this:
Matt Krook’s second half debut was a decidedly mixed affair, as he once again struggled with command, walking four and putting the team in a 5-2 hole by the 4th inning.
In other notes:
Reynolds 3 hits, including league-leading sixth triple tonight. SJ bullpen had allowed just 2 ER in previous 46 innings before walk-off HR.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) June 23, 2017
Augusta lost at Hickory Crawdads (Rangers), 5-4 in 10 inn
|Jose Vizcaino Jr.||1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.209|
|Frandy De La Rosa||DH||5||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.248|
|Brandon Van Horn||SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||.244|
|Nolan Riggs (L, 1-3)||0.1||2||1||0||0||0||0||2.70|
Another gut punching walk off! Tough way to get the second half rolling in the A ball leagues! Garrett Williams, like Krook, showed off some decidedly ragged control and for the second consecutive outing he stumbled his way through a 35 pitch 1st inning in which he walked four batters and surrendered four runs to put the Jackets in a huge early hole. The defense was no doubt put to sleep by Williams’ efforts as the first six batters he faced either walked or struck out. The only hit he allowed was a big one: a bases clearing double to make it 4-0.
Miraculously, Williams came back out after the marathon first (apparently the Giants have abandoned the rule of taking pitchers out after any 30 pitch inning), and threw three solid shutout innings (with four more Ks) to get the game back to an even keel.
In the late innings, Augusta’s offense clawed back scoring a run in the 6th, two more in the 7th, and then tying the game in the 8th. The tying run scored when Adam Sonabend hit a one out double with men on 1st and 2nd. But manager Nestor Rojas went conservative and chose to hold the back runner at 3b and they were unable to push him to take the lead.
The winning run was an act of great generosity from the Greenjackets, as he was moved from 1b to 3b via a WP and a PB and a grounder up the middle walked it off.
Augusta got 9 hits and 4 walks in the game, including two-hit efforts from Sonabend and Sandro Fabian. Kelvin Beltre extended his “consecutive reached base” streak to 22 games with a walk.
Salem Keizer won at Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) 8-6
winning their three game series, 2-1
|Heath Slatton (W, 1-0)||3||1||0||0||1||3||0||0.00|
|Luis Pino (H, 2)||2||1||0||0||0||2||0||11.37|
|Kendry Melo (S, 1)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||0.00|
The Volcanoes got tremendous production out of the 4/5/6 slots as Ryan Kirby, Manuel Geraldo, and Richard Amion combined for 7 hits and a walk, and scored 5 runs. Kirby scored four runs by himself, and he also stole his 3rd base of the year. That was one of four more SB by sprinting Volcanoes, though they did also get CS three times in this game.
Jose Marte did vastly better than his first start, going three shutout innings to get the ball rolling. For most of the game, this was a laugher as the Volcanoes built up an 8-0 lead, but Cesar Yanez single-handedly put the Hops back in it, failing to retire any of the six batters he faced in the 7th, all of whom would end up scoring to make it a tight 8-6 game the rest of the way.
In the middle nearly all the action in this game was the Hops young SS Yan Sanchez, who had some adventures. In the 6th, Sanchez nearly pulled off a brilliant play against Richard Amion and would have with a little help from his 1b. Look how beautiful this play is:
I wanted to show you that play, because two other times in the game, Sanchez did this:
And that’s low A ball folks. Volcanoes Catcher Jeffrey Para had a similar misadventure with a popup behind home plate that he overran. These kids are learning the basics, because, as it happens, the “basics” are actually incredibly hard and complicated. It’s amazing what the guys at the top level are doing, just amazing.
DSL Giants lost to DSL Blue Jays, 3-2
|a- Ghordy Santos||PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||.105|
|b- Wascar De Leon||PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.239|
|Janly Fermin (L, 0-1)||1||4||2||2||1||2||0||6.97|
Alexander Canario kept up his hot hitting, picking up three more hits in this game. Canario was the only Giant to reach base safely more than one time. The team did pick up 8 hits and 4 walks but going 0 for 9 with RISP doomed them to a loss. Doubles by Franklin Labour and Andrew Caraballo in the 9th inning made the game close, but Blue Jays P Yunior Hinojosa, who I’m assuming is not a relative of C.J.’s, shut the rally down.
Four of the Giants’ hits, in fact were doubles. Oddly, Canario, the team’s HR leader hit nothing but singles, and nearly every other hit the team had went for extra bases. That included a pinch hit double from Ghordy Santos who continued a very odd early season run. Santos is hitting just .105 having gone 4 for 38 at the plate, but all 4 of Ghordy’s hits have been XBH (3 doubles, 1 HR). He does have a solid 11 BB/11 K ratio going on though the strikeouts are a bit on the high side and as we know, walk rates in rookie ball are typically pretty meaningless.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Joan Gregorio vs. Mike Hauschild
Richmond: Jordan Johnson vs. Matt Whitehouse
San Jose: Jake McCasland vs. Justin Donatella
Augusta: Melvin Adon vs. Reid Anderson
Salem-Keizer: Sidney Duprey vs. Jesus Camargo
DSL: Marco Gonzalez
Pretty interesting slate of pitchers going today. Joan Gregorio looks to build off his best start of the year. As I noted yesterday, Gregorio’s underlying peripherals aren’t buying his low ERA this year, but the next few starts are going to be pretty important for the big RHP as the Giants move into the trade season. If a hole opens up in the rotation, he can claim himself an opportunity with a string of good starts here, and on his last option year, he needs the chance to show what he can do in 2017.
Jordan Johnson tries to wipe off the memory of his dingerfest last time out, and Melvin Adon looks to start the second half on a good note. And let’s not miss, down at the bottom of the system 19 year old lefty Marco Gonzalez is having a heck of a season so far. In three starts, he’s allowed just 2 ER so far, striking out 18 and walking just 6 over 13.1 IP.
And finally, a couple of notes of congratulations for long long climbs and deserved rewards. Hearty congratulations to 2011 1st round (supp) pick Kyle Crick, one time #1 prospect in the system, who’s gone through troubles on his long way up. He’s really taken to the relief role this year (which personally surprised me because as a starter he was always rougher from the stretch, but DEVELOPMENT!). Here’s hoping he takes the ball and runs with it. Still love that fastball!
.@K_Crick49 making his big league debut! pic.twitter.com/ylz1UlMOCG— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 23, 2017
And second bit of congratulations to a former system guy:
Former Augusta P Luis Castillo is ready to make his @MLB debut with the Reds tonight, making him @Esurance #CallUpWorthy pic.twitter.com/w4NgzZp9vV— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) June 23, 2017
Nobody really thought twice about Castillo’s inclusion in the McGehee deal. He was just a 21-year old projectable righty in A ball who threw hard. That projectability has turned to game skills now and Luis is heading to the show after six years in the minors and we at Minor Lines wish him well. If the Giants have a big win in the trade season next month, it’s quite likely to look just like Castillo, the guy who’s listed in the trade story as “and a low A ball pitcher.”
Congratulations to both and to all the hard working players chasing a dream.