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SF Giants Minor Lines 5/28/18: Jalen Miller homers twice

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As we hit the traditional opening of summer, those no doubt who the standout performer has been for the system in the spring: former 3rd round toolbox, but underperforming MI Jalen Miller. He’s really put it all together so far in 2018 and transformed his tools into skills that always had been flashing. And he celebrated his breakout on Memorial Day Night with a huge performance.

HIGHLIGHTS: Luigi Rodriguez reached base three more times; Jalen Miller had three hits, two HRs; Jose Marte struck out a career high 9.

Sacramento lost to Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), 4-2

Another RiverCats game, another important Giant coming back from a DL stint.

Joe Panik singled and walked and scored a run in his first game action since April 27. Remember way back when the Giants had won every game of the year and Panik was on a pace for 162 HRs? Good times.

Hunter Pence picked up another hit. He’s batting .323 with Sacramento and his rehab assignment is coming to a rule-mandated end this weekend. There’s going to be a lot of creative roster shuffling coming this week with Bumgarner, Panik, and possibly Pence and Hanson all coming back this week and Bumgarner needing a 40 man spot (as will Melancon). With a lot of the Giants potential 40 man cuts protected by rule because of injury (Gomez, Valdez, Herb, Okert) it’s going to be interesting to see which way the team goes. Okert and Herb have both missed more than a month already so both could be moved to the 60 day DL easily enough, but those moves would move the Giants closer to the CBT max. Somebody surprising could be left on the onside looking in before the week is out.

Chase D’Arnaud is not a 40 man guy, but he sure is looking like an excellent depth option. D’Arnaud came a double away from a cycle, leading Sacramento with three hits including his 8th HR. D’Arnaud also made room for Panik’s appearance, by moving out to CF.

Ray Black has now allowed just two batters to reach base in his past 5 games (5.1 IP) while striking out 11. I humbly suggest — that’s really good (though the aforementioned 40 man issues come into play with this comment as well)!

Pitcher health is, of course, a mercurial thing and so as one arm seems to be finding a healthy zone, another one heads for season ending surgery.

Tyler Cyr was a 2017 Giants’ entry into the Arizona Fall League and was named the Best Relief Pitcher Prospect in the Eastern League in Baseball America’s annual best tools poll last year.

Richmond beat Akron Rubber Ducks (Indian), 5-3
splitting their series, 2-2

Ryan Howard singled in two to tie the game and help Richmond salvage the split in their four game series with first place Akron.

But let’s talk Luigi Rodriguez, shall we? The 25 year old continues to lay the Eastern League to waste in his third shot at the level, posting a 194 wRC+ as of Memorial Day, which it seems is pretty good. He was good there last year, too, posting a 120 wRC+ with these very Akron Rubber Ducks.

Once upon a time, Luigi was quite the prospect. Let’s check back on his Baseball America report from 2011 when he was named the #5 prospect in the AZL (right behind Clayton Blackburn!):

Making his U.S. debut at age 18, Rodriguez spent just 25 games in the AZL before earning a late-July promotion to low Class A. He made the most of his time in Arizona, batting .379/.408/.579 while demonstrating plus-plus speed and surprising power. Rodriguez has a natural ability to square up the baseball. He’s more of a gap-to-gap hitter but has enough pop to drive the ball over the fence. He’s showing signs of developing good plate discipline, which will help him better utilize his quickness on the bases. Converted from second base to center field a year ago, Rodriguez still is learning the intricacies of defense. Once he improves his reads and jumps, he should have plus range, and his arm is average. He’s a smart player who wasn’t overwhelmed by the jump to the Midwest League.

He topped out as the #5 prospect in Cleveland’s system. But multiple stops at levels became a consistent element of his development. He spent three years in the Midwest League, and followed that up with parts of four consecutive years in the A+ Carolina League. Rodriguez has the classic profile issue — that he’s a speed guy playing corner OF with minimal power (he has just 57 HRs in his 9 years of pro ball).

Rodriguez hit .276/.319/.497 last year with Akron — a slash that is more or less in line with his career norms. This year has not been fitting within his norms. This year, he is busting out of the Bell Curve of his life. Closing in on 150 PA, Rodriguez is hitting a crazy .415/.489/.559. Yesterday was his 17th multi-hit game of the year, and third in a row, and 6th in his past 10. He also walked and stole his 11th base of the year. I don’t know how long Luigi’s Crazy Ride is likely to last, but it’s fun to watch while it’s here.

San Jose beat the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 9-6

Jalen Miller and Frandy de la Rosa combined to drive in 8 of the Giants 9 runs. Miller helped kick start a 5th inning comeback rally with a solo HR and then brought the game’s biggest blow in the 6th with a tie breaking 3-run shot. That was Jalen’s third hit of the game and by far the loudest.

Miller has hits in 17 of his past 19 games and with a couple of days left in the month has really put together a statement May, hitting .330/.376/.540 for the month. His peripherals appear to be stabilizing not too far away from career norms with a K% down ever so slightly at 19% and a BB% at 6%, but he’s hitting the ball with much more authority this year, with an Iso that has leapt up to .153. Hopefully, this is the sustainable new version of Miller!

Melvin Adon scuffled through a lot of traffic in his 4.1 IP. He left with the bases loaded and unfortunately Peter Lannoo cashed in all three runs to harm Adon’s final line. In his previous start he had all three pitches working for strikes. In this game, Adon was getting the strikeouts, but struggling with his command and getting a lot of contact when forced into the strikezone late in at bats. In the 4th inning, Adon did a masterful job pitching through trouble. After allowing the Rawhide to get in a 1st and 3rd situation with no one out, Adon struck out the next two batters. On the verge of striking out the side to get out of the jam the Rawhide executed a semi-successful double steal that brought the tying run home for third while the back runner was retired in a rundown for the third out. Still, it was an inning to build on for Melvin. The education continues.

Augusta beat the Rome Braves, 12-5
winning their series, 3-1

Logan Baldwin and Manuel Geraldo both hit two-run homers during a big 5-run 3rd inning that helped propel Augusta to a big series win over the Rome Braves. Geraldo had his tenth multi-hit game of the month. He’s now 10th in the league in hitting and in the top 20 in OPS. He also is secretly tied for the team lead with 6 HRs, though his 6th won’t show up in the stat line until tonight.

Jose Marte fell behind early, giving up a two-run HR in the top of the 1st, but as David notes, he featured nasty stuff throughout and by the end of 5 innings he had a new career high with 9 Ks. For the season, the RHP now has 47 Ks in 44.2 IP against just 18 BBs. The Augusta rotation has lit the Sally on fire this year statistically, but Marte might well be the one whose stuff can continue to play in a starter role at higher levels.

With the win, Augusta’s lead in the Southern Division pushes up to 3.5 games with three weeks to go.

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Casey Kelly vs. Yency Almonte
Richmond: Shaun Anderson vs. Lucas Long
San Jose: Logan Webb vs. TBD
Augusta: TBD vs. Cutter Crawford; TBD vs. TBD

Of course, we can’t forget what was really important about Memorial Day around here. A Minor Lines shout out to our Bay Area brethren, the champs can’t be counted out!

Hope you all had as great a day as Steph and KD and all the Ws! Or as good as that Jalen kid did!