Yesterday came the announcement of rosters for the Arizona Fall League and the Giants offered up some logical and exciting choices:
Injuries limited Tyler Beede and Steven Duggar this season. They'll make up for lost time in the Fall League: https://t.co/HM49pZid5f— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 30, 2017
Getting more at bats and innings for Beede, Duggar, and even Garcia (second AFL in a row for Aramis) isn’t much of a surprise and will make for one of the Giants’ best crews in recent years. But let’s take a moment to enjoy the selection of Tyler Cyr. The Giants 2015 10th rounder from Emory-Riddle University is having another excellent year as he steadily climbs the ladder. The third year pro has a career 2.65 ERA with 171 Ks in 142.2 IP over (mostly) three levels. He’s impressed at every stop and now clearly has the eyes of the front office. That’s Cyr (SEAR) like what you do on a grill to a hunk of meat. In Cyr’s case you also tell the meat to “grab some pine!” Look for him to get a NRI to Spring Training next year.
HIGHLIGHTS: Garrett Williams struck out 7 over 5 IP; Bryan Reynolds had 3 hits with a triple; Sandro Fabian had three hits including game winner; Patrick Ruotolo struck out 5 of 6; Manuel Geraldo reached base 3x and stole a base.
As the season dwindles to its final few days, a lot of players’ thoughts turn to home, relaxation and maybe some vacation plans. But there are other guys who know these final at bats still carry a lot of meaning. And one of those guys is certainly Mac Williamson. In a recent article on potential September call-ups, Bruce Bochy talked Steven Okert and Derek Law, but there was no mention about the big RF (none that made it to print anyway). That would certainly be a bad signal for Mac’s future with the Giants. Can he make enough impression to get the call next week?
Let’s hope so.
Williamson’s 13th homer was the difference in this low scoring game. Matt Gage’s may or may not start one more time this year. If not, he went out on a positive note, allowing just 1 run over 7 innings. Over his last four starts he’s brought his ERA down from a stratospheric 7.30 to a still rather atmospheric 5.43. And for the fourth time in his last five starts he did not issue a single walk. I now dub thee: “Make ‘em earn it” Matt.
As Bochy noted in that self-same interview, Derek Law is definitely looking to finish a rough 2017 on a high note in this next month. He’s certainly done that with the minor league season, posting an 0.64 ERA over 14 innings in the month of August. That’s one run on 11 hits. Despite that success the peripherals were not quite as shiny, as he struck out just 8 in those 14 innings while walking 4.
AFL-bound Steven Duggar picked up two hits and stole his 3rd base with Sacramento. With five walks in 25 ABs Duggar has posted a .367 OBP over his first week with the RiverCats though he is still striking out a fair amount (8 Ks with Sacramento and 50 overall this year in 163 PA with San Jose and Sacramento).
|a- Caleb Gindl||PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.302|
Cory Taylor’s year ended (maybe) with two straight quality starts, bringing his ERA down to 4.33 (with a very similar FIP). Taylor had his best month of the year in July with a 2.96 ERA over five starts, but he began August with three straight rough outings in which he gave up 14 runs over just 9.1 innings. So it was good to see him bounce back a little in these final two. He did end the year with the second most walks in the EL, the 10th worst WHIP and the 14th worst ERA among qualifiers, so it was, at best, a survival year for the burly right-hander. In his defense, this was definitely a challenging assignment. One imagines he’ll return to the EL in 2018 and try to take a step forward.
His counterpart, Curve starter Austin Coley, carved right through the RIchmond lineup. Coley ended the night with 8 strikeouts over 7 shutout innings. One of the guys who did solve him was Catcher Aramis Garcia who somewhat amazingly now has 10 doubles among his 18 AA hits.
That’s a good sound off the bat! Garcia would also leg out an INF single in the 9th and come around to score the Squirrels only run. Let’s put Aramis in the “unambiguous step forward” camp this year as well. A strong return from adversity and misfortune in 2016 for Garcia.
CJ Hinojosa has pretty clearly tired down the stretch this year. Not only is he hitting just .224 in August but he’s striking out at, for CJ, a fairly prodigious rate. With two more Ks yesterday he’s now whiffed 17 times this month in 98 At Bats. Previous to August he had K’d just 23 times the entire year (263 ABs).
San Jose Bats
San Jose has had some rousing come-from-behind wins in recent weeks to keep them in this second half race. But they felt the sting of the other side of the coin last night with an ugly and painful loss dropping them two games behind Visalia with six to play.
Protecting a 5-3 lead in the 8th, setup man Will LaMarche suffered a complete loss of control following a one out double. LaMarche hit a batter and then issued two consecutive WP on his way to a four-pitch walk. Now clinging to a 5-4 advantage, closer Dylan Rheault was hastily summoned from the pen and with the benefit of an At’em Ball Rheault was on the verge of getting out of the mess when disaster struck.
I hate to do this, but we have to queue up a lowlight:
That is just painful. Dobson set up the error by wandering far out of position and then Jalen Miller and the giant Rheault couldn’t hook up on the throw and the season now hangs in peril. It breaks your heart. The truest and greatest words that have ever been written about baseball. It is designed to break your heart.
However, the blame could be spread around the clubhouse evenly for this one. After jumping out quickly to a 5-1 lead in the top of the 3rd, San Jose had failed to widen the lead despite a plethora of chances, going a mind boggling 3 for 18 on the night with RISP.
However, before all the pain there were plenty of things to be happy about, specifically the continued brilliance of their two big left-handers.
Saw #SFGiants Matt Krook four times April-June but not since; wow, has his arsenal taken a massive step forward in the last two months— Bobby DeMuro (@BobbyDeMuro) August 30, 2017
Specifically the CB and SL. Lots more bite and downward plane + better command of each. Impressive adjustment. #SFGiants— Bobby DeMuro (@BobbyDeMuro) August 30, 2017
Williams allowed just three solo runs while striking out 7 in his 5 innings of work. In his final inning, Williams got himself in all sorts of trouble, hitting two batters around a single to load the bases with no outs. He would end up walking home his final run on the night but escaped greater damage with his final three strikeouts of the night. As mentioned above, one of those strikeout victims was rehabbing major leaguer Yunel Escobar.
Matt Krook has certainly taken to his bullpen assignment since the Giants moved him out of the rotation to control his innings. In 17 innings out of the pen Krook now has allowed just 7 hits and 2 runs while striking out 25 and walking 7. Four of those walks came in a single outing. He’s been dominant in relief. Let’s take an extended view and watch him take on the Angels #2 prospect Jahmai Jones.
Keep an eye on Baseball Census for Bobby DeMuro’s promised video, which I’m sure will be of significantly higher quality than the Inland Empire shaky cam feed.
Bryan Reynolds went three for five with a triple as he, too, hopes to finish on a high note. Check out the wheels as he speeds around for three from the right-hand side.
|Shawon Dunston Jr.||DH||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.228|
|1- Johneshwy Fargas||PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.205|
|Jose Vizcaino Jr.||1B||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.253|
And, since the theme of today is obviously “finishing strong” let’s not leave out 19 year old Sandro Fabian. Fabian’s third hit of the game capped a four-run top of the 9th, providing the winning margin for this comeback victory.
Check out the emotion from Sandro as he slides into 2b! It was Fabian’s fourth three-hit game in his last five. The RF is clearly working on improving his contact skills and likely cutting down a bit on his prodigious hack. Over the past nine games, Fabian has 18 hits and all but two of them have been singles. Meanwhile, he has just five strikeouts over that period and no game with more than one. Since a 4K game on August 6th, he has just 7 strikeouts in 18 games. He’s also been showing more of a tendency to go to RF lately. Two of his hits yesterday went the opposite way, including the game winner, and both were on 2 strike pitches as the youngster shows some signs of working on a two-strike approach.
Augusta also got a three-hit night from Kelvin Beltre who reached base in four times in all. After a prolonged slump throughout July and the first part of August dropped Beltre’s average down into the .240s, he too is getting a finishing kick. Beltre now has an 8 game hitting streak, slashing .353/.405/.529 over that time.
And speaking of a finishing kick, Patrick Ruotolo never slumped but he’s really streaking down the stretch. The RH reliever has now K’d 10 of past 17 batters faced. The 22 year old from UConn has proven extraordinarily difficult to hit, posting a K rate near 40% in his pro career. Ruotolo not only struck out the final 5 batters he faced, he breezed through the bottom of the 9th, striking out the side on just 12 pitches. Wow!
|a- Juan Rodriguez||PH-RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.255|
The Volcanoes three All Star position players — Malique Ziegler, Ryan Kirby, and Manuel Geraldo — were once dominating the NWL leaderboards before all three ran into second half slumps. Ziegler’s average has plummeted, posed to drop into the .230s, though his OPS has stayed above .700. Kirby’s slump has stabilized a bit as he’s held his average steady in the .275-.280 range and hit 3 HRs in August to give him 8 on the season (fifth best in the league).
Of the three, it’s been the 20 year old SS Geraldo who has rebounded the best with a .319/.361/.396 closing month that has his average back up above .300 (10th best in the NWL). Geraldo’s two hits and a walk last night extended his late-season hitting streak to nine games during which time he has 18 hits. Seven of the games have been multi-hit efforts. Geraldo has been almost entirely average dependent, with just one extra base hit and two walks in this spurt, and he’s likely an, at best, utility profile if everything comes together for him and his defense can stick in the middle. But if you squinch up your eyes right there is a speed and defense potential outcome. Geraldo also stole his 23rd base in this game. That’s good for 5th in the league, but just third best on his team behind Ziegler (26) and Bryce Johnson (25).
|a- Mecky Coronado||PH-DH||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||.133|
Miguel Figueroa and his mates scuffled through a disastrous 7-run 1st inning in a game that was over almost before it began. The nightmare frame included four singles, three walks and three errors. For the game the Giants had almost as many errors (5) as hits (6). Their mojo has clearly left the dugout along with Heliot Ramos. With pitching and defense like this it’s going to be hard to get it back when the bell rings next week for the two-game playoff.
Camilo Doval kept on generating swings and misses. The 20 year old is now up to 46 Ks against 13 walks in 30 innings in the desert. The Giants also got a nice performance on the mound from erstwhile Catcher Jesus Tona, who struck out three. Is Tona yet another Pitcher conversion in the desert? Unlike Julio Pena, Tona has not been restricted to Pitching this year as he does have 11 ABs in five games. But he last picked up a bat on August 11. This is now his second appearance on the mound and he’s done well, striking out 7 over 3.1 IP.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Kraig Sitton vs. Jonathan Albaladejo
Richmond: Nate Reed vs. J.T. Brubaker
San Jose: Shaun Anderson vs. Ryan Clark
Augusta: Conor Kaden vs. Anthony Bender; Caleb Baragar vs. Gerson Garabito
AZL: TBD; TBD
Barring a playoff spot, today is likely Shaun Anderson’s final start of the year. Hopefully he can go out on a good one after a couple of rugged outings. The rest of the slate is pretty bleak — when Kraig Sitton’s getting starts, you know you’ve hit the dregs. Both Augusta and AZL get everybody’s favorite “final weekend double header.”
I suppose it’s about the right time of year for this. I can feel the broken branches and leaf-clogged draings hovering just at the edge of my imagination. It’s time for the great Bart Giamatti once again to put words to our inchoate emotions as we cling to this dastardly bastard game we love.