And a very different kind of celebrity first pitch — it is really amazing the staying power of the love of a fanbase, once earned. Dave Dravecky pitched barely 180 innings for the Giants—even including his scintillating post-season work—the last of those nearly 30 years ago. But it seems like I can remember every one of them. Great, great Forever Giant:
HIGHLIGHTS: Ray Black pitched back to back nights; Freddery Paulino struck out 7 over 5 shutout innings.
It has happened! Ray Black: successful back to back appearances! In fact, Ray has now pitched on three of the last four days and the result last night did not appear to be any reduction of stuff, even if he might have hit the bull mascot—twice:
That is some serious stuff.
I know some folks are all in on the Austin Slater bandwagon—I’m planting my flag firmly in the Free Ray Black movement! Now is the time. Bring him up, please! We don’t need to see any more of Cory Gearrin in this lifetime. Stuff Black in Samardzija’s backpack, I don’t care. Do whatever you have to do to get him to San Francisco. We must have full Black Out conditions at AT&T Park, stat (before that right arm of Zeus goes sproing again but I totally didn’t say that)!
Outside of Ray’s heat not much to pay attention to here. Matt Gage struggled through a nearly 40 pitch 1st inning. The RiverCats managed just four hits and got two of those guys thrown out on the bases. Your standard order blah night at the ballyard. For you Free Slater folks Austin got two more hits, though.
It’s possible that Richmond is engaged in a secret Pace of Play pilot experiment for Rob Manfred: play all games in a steady rain and call them early. The Squirrels have gotten in just 10 and a half innings of ball the last two days and they’ve completed two games. And hey, yesterday’s effort took just 2 hours and 25 minutes—if you don’t include the 2 hour and 5 minute rain delay that came at the beginning of the night. None of the innings they’ve gotten in the last two nights has been remotely dry or the least bit comfortable.
It’s just a soggy mess out here this summer. Yuck! I can’t imagine this has been much fun for players.
Conner Menez was a tad less effective in his second EL start, lasting just 3.1 innings while allowing 9 baserunners. He got in trouble immediately allowing two runs in the first, including a booming RBI triple from Baltimore’s #2 prospect Ryan Mountcastle Dylan Rheault, making his Richmond debut did his former San Jose teammate no favors by allowing both of his inherited runners to score.
The shoddy pitching undid a fine offensive effort for the Squirrels who scattered 12 hits across the lineup. The 2-3-4 hitters (CJ Hinojosa, Miguel Gomez, and Aramis Garcia) collected two hits and a double apiece. For Garcia, that boosted his batting average over the Mendoza line, though the .245 OBP and .316 SLG still make for a pretty ugly line.
Hinojosa has hit in all 8 games he’s played since his return to Richmond and unlike 2017, when he posted a Kelby-esque .075 Iso, four of his nine hits with the Squirrels this year have been of the extra base variety.
Luigi Rodriguez had just one hit but he ran it out of the park for his 7th HR. Four of those have been hit in the month of June, though he’s batted just .232 for the month. That’s following a May in which he hit .421 but had just five extra base hits and one HR all month.
Rodriguez would seem a shoe-in to represent the Squirrels at the Eastern League All Star game. From a prospect perspective, perhaps not the AA All Star rep you’d most want to see from your team, but certainly a very deserving honor nonetheless (I’d guess Shaun Anderson will join him as well, so more propsecty there).
Heath Quinn’s hitting streak is a thing of beauty! It is now 15 games long. It began with a three hit effort way back on April 29. It was up to 8 games when he went on the DL on May 9th. Since returning on June 10, he has played back to back games just twice, as the organization looks to protect him a bit, and of course there’s been an All Star break this week. So he’s hit in 15 consecutive games in which he’s played—over the course of 55 days. Amazing!
More importantly, the 2016 3rd round pick is really showing his batting skills this year—hitting .336/.392/.522 for the year. He extended his streak yesterday with his 5th HR of the year, helping boost his Iso up near the .200 line. All in all, Quinn is doing what’s needed to wash away the bitter memories of a brutal second half to 2017. Now if he can just stay on the field.
Mac Marshall gave up a season high 4 runs in his second start back from the DL and the culprit was the same as ever for the mercurial left hander—a wandering strike zone. He threw just 28 of 53 pitches for strikes, walking three. The first of those walks—to the second batter he faced—was immediately cashed in when he surrendered his first HR of the year, to Dodgers’ OF prospect Cody Thomas. Marshall has now walked 16 batters in just 23.2 IP this year and hit two more. For his pro career, he’s walked 99 batters in 113 innings. That dog won’t hunt.
San Jose hitters struck out 13 times yesterday—seven of those coming at the hands of Dodgers #11 prospect Dustin May. That included three different hat tricks in the lineup, from Jalen Miller, Quinn, and Gio Brusa.
Atlanta’s #23 prospect Huascar Ynoa—one of the giant dump truck of excellent pitching prospects in Atlanta’s system—shackled the Greenjackets on the way to a team shutout. Ynoa allowed just one-hit over six shutout innings while striking out 7 Augusta batters. Atlanta’s affiliates just keep coming at you with arms—a resource that I’m going to guess GM Alex Anthoupolos will be digging into in about a month from now.
(As an aside: every time Augusta plays Rome it annoys me how great a prospect Drew Waters is turning out to be. Waters was Atlanta’s 3rd round pick last year, and shenanigans with his signing bonus were part of MLB’s investigation into the Braves that ultimately cost former GM John Coppolella his future in baseball, but unlike all of Atlanta’s hinky international signings, they got to keep Waters, while surrendering a pick in this year’s draft. The 19 year old went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk yesterday, is OPS’ing .898 and impressing every scout who lays eyes on him. Grrrrr! But don’t tell David Lee I said that!)
Anyhoo, this be a drubbing. Augusta managed just two hits in the game and four walks in going down to the shutout defeat. Garrett Cave nearly matched Ynoa with 6 Ks, but he was much more hittable, allowing 7 hits and 3 runs over 4.1 IP. He also uncorked three wild pitches, as that breaking ball of his sometimes has a mind of its own.
Since we don’t need to pay much attention to this game, I direct your attention to a nice long piece on MiLB.com on Jacob Gonzalez and the adjustments of full season ball that is well worth a read, with tons of quotes from Gonzalez and VP of Player Development David Bell:
ICYMI over at @MiLB: I caught up with Jacob Gonzalez (and vice president of #Giants player development David Bell) to discuss the prospect's progress in his first full season with @GreenJackets. https://t.co/293oPk39sh pic.twitter.com/3BEg8jtAlP— Andrew Battifarano ⚾️ (@AndrewAtBatt) June 22, 2018
One other note, I have heard a rumor that we should be seeing Malique Ziegler back in action sometime around the 4th of July. That will definitely be a welcome sight, as Ziegler got off to one of the strongest starts in the system before going down with a torn groin.
Salem-Keizer won at Boise Hawks (Rockies), 7-1
sweeping their series, 3-0
Like several of their affiliated brethren, the Volcanoes are getting their season off to a very nice start, winning 3⁄4 of their games over the first week (time will tell if they’re able to sustain that success, something that has plagued other teams in the org).
Ricardo Genoves delivered a two-run double in the third—just his second hit of the season—and Robinson Medrano crushed his second homer of the year in the 4th to give starter Norwith Gudino a slim lead to work with. Gudino went 5 strong innings to help that lead hold up, and his relief offered four shutout innings to keep it. The offense blew things open with a four-run 8th to turn what had been a pitcher’s duel into a laugher.
After 8 games, the Volcanoes lead the league in batting average and OBP, and are second in the league in runs scored as the offense has been surging out of the gate. They picked up another 12 hits yesterday, including two more for Diego Rincones who is now 14 for 29 on the young season. Nicely done Diego!
Do you want to get to know your new prospects better? Sure you do! And the Volcanoes social media team is giving you just that chance:
Oh, it was a rough night in the AZL where very little went the Giants’ teams way. Team Black collected just two hits while striking out an amazing 16 times. Team Orange did them a little better as they managed 7 hits and 6 runs, though they also struck out 15 times.
Patrick Hilson collected a Platinum Sombrero and has thus far in his pro career struck out 7 times in 12 ABs. Hector Santiago picked up a hat trick and has 6 Ks in 7 ABs on the season. That mound thing; it might might be worth looking into for the fourth year player out of Puerto Rico.
The two clubs combined for just two extra base hits in their games: Algeddy Almanzar’s triple and young (17 year old) Edison Mora’s double.
Things went scarcely better on the hill for the Giants. Their pitchers managed just 11 strikeouts over the two games. Team Black starter Jerson Severino had none in his 3.1 innings, while Team Orange starter, lefty Marco Gonzalez was hit hard for 6 earned runs in his 4.2 IP. As a relative comparison of leagues, note that Gonzalez allowed just 14 ER total in his DSL season in 2017 over 13 starts and 69 IP.
The two Giants teams have managed to win just 2 of their first 8 games, and one of those came when they played each other. However, the point of adding a second team was to give raw young players more development time on the field—the natural side effect of that, of course, is to spread out their talent in the league, and very likely make them less competitive. So they are accomplishing their primary goal — more playing time for more young kids.
17 year old Freddery Paulino dominated in his finest pro start to date. Paulino allowed just 1 hit — setting the pace for a game in which the Giants allowed just 4 hits in all. Paulino also hit a new career high with 7 Ks, giving him 17 in 16.2IP on the young season. Not much is known about the right-hander, but he’s been a solid presence in the Giants’ rotation thus far.
The offense scattered 9 hits, with nearly every batter collecting one, but just Ghordy Santos and Ismael Alcantara managing two. Alcantara, playing the OF for just the second time, reached base four times, with a walk and HBP in addition to the two singles. Santos has just six hits on the year, but he stole his 5th base of the year in this game; his OBP is .442.
An interesting note about the 10-7 Giants thus far: they have 8 home runs on the season (which is pretty middle of the pack for the DSL), but just two players account for all of them, Luis Toribio and Jean Peña who have each hit four. The Dodgers “Guerrero” team leads the league with a whopping 24 HRs already.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Johnny Cueto vs. Colin Rea
Richmond: Garrett Williams vs. Brian Gonzalez; Conner Overton vs. TBD
San Jose: Raffi Vizcaino vs. Parker Curry
Augusta: John Gavin vs. Jasseel De La Cruz
Salem-Keizer: Miguel Figueroa vs. Adrian Del Moral
AZL: BOTH BLACK AND ORANGE OFF
DSL: Lylon Lopez vs. TBD
Allow me to sum up the important elements here in a single image:
Baseball. It’s pretty danged cool.