Well before we get to Sunday’s games, I do feel the need to linger a moment on Saturday night’s stunning San Jose victory. Trailing 7-2 entering the bottom of the 9th, San Jose launched a furious five-run rally to tie the game before winning it in the 10th on Dillon Dobson’s single. The hero, as has been true quite a bit lately, was Jonah Arenado:
Amazingly, this was the second straight Saturday night comeback for the Giants. One week earlier they had scored four runs in the 8th to tie a game that they also won, 8-7 in 10 innings. If nothing else, they are giving the home fans something to remember them by.
HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw had three hits with a double; Gio Brusa hit 2 HRs; Sandro Fabian had another three hit game; Aaron Bond hit 2 HRs
Sacramento lost at El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres), 6-5
losing their four game series, 1-3
|b- Steven Duggar||PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.211|
|c- Juniel Querecuto||PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.231|
|a- Ryan Lollis||PH-1B||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.276|
Ah baseball. Such a twisted little git you are. In a 5-5 game in the 9th inning, here’s a play that, ultimately, resulted in nothing.
And here’s a play that ultimately resulted in a walk off victory.
Tyler Rogers wasn’t hit hard but he was hit just enough. A three-hopper to Jae-Gyun Hwang that was beat out for an infield hit. Rogers’ error. A grounder through the 5.5 hole. And it was over. Rogers is leaking a little bit down the stretch, having surrendered runs in four of his past six outings. Not a great way to force the Giants’ FO hand, Tyler!
Sacramento did a good job coming back in this game after starter Jose Flores put them in a 4-0 hole in the 1st inning. They had nine hits and worked seven walks. Three of the first five hitters in the lineup (Calixte, Williamson, and Hwang) all walked twice. But they struggled coming up with the big hit, going just 1 for 9 with RISP. In the 9th inning, a Chris Shaw single, Williamson’s double and Hwang’s second walk loaded the bases with two outs, but Juniel Querecueto grounded out, ending their chance to grab a series split.
Chris Shaw had three hits on the day, including a serious shift-buster double that tied the game at 5. After hitting just .239 in July, Shaw is hitting .318 in August, nudging his average for the year up towards the .300 mark. It’s worth noting though, that Shaw is a guy who will have to earn his bread with his bat. As we saw on the highlight of Williamson’s double, he’s not adding value with his running.
Dusten Knight struck out 4 of the 6 batters he faced in an excellent two inning stint. With San Jose, Knight posted an unworldly 40% K-BB percentage. That’s dropped significantly with his promotion to AAA as the K rate has dropped in half and the walk rate has jumped sharply (that’s what happens when you find the better hitters). With Sacramento, his K-BB rate is down to 10.3%.
Richmond lost at Trenton Thunder (Yankees), 5-0
splitting their four game series, 2-2
Both CJ Hinojosa and Aramis Garcia sat out this game. I’m gonna check the fine print, but I believe that frees me of any obligation to discuss this game’s existence.
However, for those completionists of you out there, Tyler Herb did throw his eighth consecutive quality start. But it was not enough as the Trenton Thunder clinched the Northern Division title with an outstanding 87-45 record, by far the best in the league. The Squirrels were the only team in the league to win the season series vs. the Thunder and they were defending the honor of their organization in doing so. The Yankees’ system is making a serious run at posting the best organizational winning percentage in pro ball this century — a mark that is currently held by the 2009 Giants system.
Like any afternoon at the park, the day was not without it’s pleasures, however.
San Jose lost to Stockton Ports (A’s), 8-6
winning their three game series, 2-1
San Jose Bats
Like Madison Bumgarner before him, Johnny Cueto did no favors to the Giants post-season pursuit. After sailing through the first two innings, he allowed five runs in the 3rd, most coming on a two-out Grand Slam to Stockton’s Seth Brown. Cueto added three more before his day was done, putting San Jose in a 8-3 hole.
The Giants fought back thanks to four HRs of their own, but there was no miracle comeback two nights in a row. The big problem was they didn’t manage to get people on base for the big blows. San Jose went just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, while three or their four HRs came with no one on base. Nobody exemplified the sequencing issue better than Ryan Howard. In the 6th inning he hit a solo HR (9) to bring the Giants within two. But in his next at bat he came up with the bases loaded and two outs and struck out to end the team’s last best threat.
Jonah Arenado picked up his 13th HR and second in two nights. Arenado is SLG .700 in the month of August. Looks like Jonah’s checked his boxes too and is ready to head on to the AA challenge next year.
Gio Brusa, who went nearly two months without a HR, went deep twice (13th and 14th) and drove in three runs.
With the loss the Giants fell into a tie 1 game back of first with seven games to play — all on the road. But even though Cueto did sort of ruin the final home game of the year for San Jose, he still found a way to make the fans happy.
Cueto leaving San Jose. On a random note, he smelled really good lol pic.twitter.com/boUcYvIOfl— Julie (@phibear35) August 27, 2017
And a final note:
Bryan Reynolds named 2017 #SJGiants team MVP. Batting .308/.362/.453 with 24 2B, 8 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI in 113 games. .323 AVG since AS break.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 27, 2017
Recent #SJGiants team MVP winners include Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Adam Duvall, Mac Williamson and Ty Blach. Jonah Arenado won last season.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 27, 2017
Augusta lost to Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 3-2 in 11 inn
getting swept in their three game series
|Shawon Dunston Jr.||DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.235|
|Jose Vizcaino Jr.||1B||5||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||.251|
|1- Johneshwy Fargas||PR-C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.205|
Sandro Fabian is going to go out of his first full season on top with his hottest stretch of the year. Over the last six games Fabian has gone 13 for 26. His three-hit game yesterday was his third such in his last four games. He’s had five three-hit games this month and ten multi-hit games. He’s had just four games this month without a hit, and only two since August 5th. For the month, Fabian has hit .349/.365/.458, which is tremendous accomplishment in the closing stages of his first full season played out in the summer heat of northern Georgia.
2018 Goals for Fabian will definitely include refining his approach, improving on that ugly 87K / 9BB ratio, and turning some of the those 28 doubles (9th in the Sally) into more HRs. But 2017 checks a lot of boxes for the 19 year old. He hasn’t had the extraordinary kind of breakout season that contemporaries like Estevan Florial or Juan Soto had, but he’s certainly put together a solidly successful A ball year. His average, now up to .270, is at this point the 20th best in the Sally and his .390 SLG is actually in the top 25. Augusta is on the far pitcher-friendly end of Sally league environments so those numbers look even better in context.
Stephen Woods, Jr. labored a bit yesterday, throwing more than 90 pitches in four innings of work. But he allowed just 1 ER, the fifth straight start giving up no more than one earned run. He’s allowed just three earned runs — and just four runs total — in those five starts. Going back further, Woods has allowed 1 ER or less in 9 of his last 11 starts and 14 of his 22 starts this year.
2018 Goals for Stephen are to cut down on the walks — he leads the Sally in walks — and be a little more efficient with the pitches so he can work deeper into games. He made it deeper than 5 innings just eight times this year. But Woods, Jr. too has put together a terrific A ball season. He finished in the top 10 in the league in both strikeouts and ERA, which took some doing considering all the free baserunners. He can legitimately attack hitters in the zone with both his fastball and curve, now he just needs to find that attack zone more often.
You know at the risk of sounding like a whiny guy on the internet, I have a gripe. Last year’s Volcanoes roster featured hitters like Bryan Reynolds and Heath Quinn, and exciting pitchers like Melvin Adon, Garrett Williams, Matt Krook, Stephen Woods and Raffi Vizcaino. The 2015 edition featured Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, and Miguel Gomez, while the 2014 team was led by Christian Arroyo, Ryder Jones, and Austin Slater.
History may prove me to be an idiot (as it often does), but this 2017 version of the Volcanoes’ roster feels .... well, let’s say, “tepid” in comparison. Bryce Johnson keeps slapping out hits and running wild. And Logan Baldwin has had the kind of short season campaign that could get him a jump all the way to the Cal League next year.
Still, I suspect this is not going to end up being a prospect-laden Salem-Keizer team. Which isn’t great news, really, for an org in the Giants’ current position.
Fortunately, there is the...
Heliot Ramos is obviously the star in making on this team. And Jacob Gonzalez has done a fine job of justifying his 2nd round selection. Seth Corry is showing flashes of talent and the entire roster is sprinkled with guys of interest.
But there’s no doubt who the breakout sleeper prospect on this roster is.
Aaron Bond took pitch at letters out of Scottsdale and hit second one on a line out vs. slinger R/L coming inside, both first pitch cheats— Chris Kusiolek (@CaliKusiolek) August 28, 2017
Aaron Bond with legitimate bat speed, strong explosive wrists; decent close, athlete w/ some footspeed and 6'4" build; hand eye at plate.— Chris Kusiolek (@CaliKusiolek) August 28, 2017
Bond’s second HR of the night walked it off, giving the Giants a dramatic end to their five game losing streak. With his 7th and 8th HRs of the season, the 20 year old is now tied for the league lead in HRs. He’s 4th in the league in OPS at .975 (Ramos is 1st and Gonzalez 5th). The 12th round pick from San Jacinto College (that’s also the JC that Brandon Belt attended if you’re wondering why it sounds familiar) is proving to be a real burst of energy and another nice surprise on this AZL team. The Augusta OF next year could be an really intriguing group.
We’ll have to just imagine what the walk-off bomb looked like. Here, maybe this will help:
The Giants also got three hit nights from Mikey Edie and Nathanael Javier. With both Ramos and Jose Layer sidelined, Edie’s been getting most of the playing time in CF and the 20 year old Venezuelan is making good use of it. Now in his third campaign in the AZL, the slender Edie is hitting .423 over 52 ABs. He isn’t walking much (2) or hitting for power (just 3 XBH) but he’s making contact and putting his speed to work.
Seth Corry has now had back to back rough starts, allowing 8 earned runs over just 2.1 IP in his last two starts. He surrendered his first pro HR in the first inning last night. At 23.2 IP he’s actually thrown a good amount of innings for a HS draftee and he’s shown excellent flashes. The Giants are probably quite happy with what Seth has shown them this summer. They’ll continue working on refining his mechanics in Instrux.
And in something of a pleasant surprise, Mac Marshall made his return from Tommy John surgery last night, throwing a shutout inning, striking out 1 and walking 1. Marshall’s return to the mound came less than a year after his surgery last September. That’s a good sign that the rehab has been coming along well so far. Good luck Mac! Hopefully we’ll see the left-hander back in Augusta for his age 22 season and looking a little more like himself again.
DSL Giants season is over
They ended up 41-30 in 2nd place in their division. Should we hand out awards? Sure why not, everybody’s doing it!
Pitcher of the Year: Norwith Gudino
Gudino ended up leading the league in strikeouts (83) while walking just 8 batters unintentionally. He was also 10th in the league in ERA (1.82), 5th in IP (74.1) and 9th in WHIP. The RHP should finally make it off the island this year.
Hitter of the Year: Franklin Labour
The 19 year old OF/1b finished 8th in the DSL in OPS (.906) and led the Giants late season charge, hitting .371/.443/.581 in the month of August. The second year player lifted his OPS nearly .300 points above his first year in the league, while improving his control of the strike zone notably (26BB/30K). He co-led the team in HRs, and led in batting average and SLG.
Rookie of the Year: Alexander Canario
The youngest player on the team was also the workhorse, leading the team in games played and PA. For most of the year he also leading in both HRs (5) and SB (18). He got caught in both categories as he struggled a bit in the final weeks of the season. But the OF, who won’t turn 18 until next May posted a very impressive .294/.391/.464 line while keeping the strikeouts well under control (14.6%). An excellent first chapter in his pro career.
Left us Wanting More (Incomplete of the Year): Ismael Alcantara
The powerful LHH was one of the Giants $300,000 signings in last year’s J2 class and offered the most offensive potential. But an injury suffered in just his third game of the year cost him the season. He’ll start over again at age 18 next year.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Andrew Suarez vs. Luis Mateo
Richmond: Dillon McNamara vs. Alex McRae
San Jose: OFF
Getting down to the final starts of the year. Suarez should make one more after this one. San Jose and Augusta have their final off day of the year before the final week of play. The AZL Giants will play five games over the next four days and then have an off day on the league’s final day of the season Saturday night. That gives them a three day break prior to the league semi-finals on Tuesday night. AZL plays a two-game single elimination post-season.
San Jose is in a thorough scrum, part of a three-way tie for second 1 game back of division leading Visalia. The Rawhide will play their next series at Stockton, so hopefully the two teams split and San Jose can separate from them a tiny bit. Or, since San Jose ends in Stockton, it might be best for them to have the Ports take care of the Rawhide (since lord knows the Giants can’t) and then the Giants can try to handle the Ports themselves. Seven days left. Four teams within a game of each other. Excitement!