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SF Giants Minor Lines 6/23/18: Diego Rincones mashes; John Gavin quashes

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This kid turned 19 ten days ago but he gives zero respect to the college heavy pitching staffs of the Northwest League:

HIGHLIGHTS: Johnny Cueto returned; John Gavin threw 7 no-hit innings; Diego Rincones knocked out 4 more hits, 9 TB.


Sacramento lost to El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres), 3-1

Giants’ Baseball is about to get more fun again!

Yes! It’s the return of Johnny Cueto! And how was he, you ask? Well Johnny was damn near perfect. Limited to 50 pitches, Cueto made it two outs into the 4th, allowing just one batter to reach base while striking out 4. And all along he displayed a casual, “this stuff is easy” vibe that makes him so lovable.

Come back soon, Johnny! We miss you.

As for the rest of the RiverCats on this night, there wasn’t much doing. The offense was once again MIA, though Chris Shaw and Chase D’Arnaud did their bit, collecting four hits between them and a double apiece. That was two-thirds of the hits on the day for a unit that now has just 14 hits over the last three games combined. Not overly surprising, but they’ve scored just two runs in those three games. The RiverCats O seems to be languishing in the Horse Latitudes of the season at this point. That’s not going to be helped with team leader Austin Slater heading up to San Francisco, but that was certainly a move that was long overdue at this point.

At least Cueto could give an “attaboy” to his 3b, Ryder Jones:

Final note: Tyler Beede threw his first scoreless inning out of the Sacramento pen.


Richmond lost to Bowie BaySox (Orioles), 9-4 in Gm 1 (7 inn)

Richmond beat Bowie BaySox, 5-1 in Gm 2 (7 inn)

Garrett Williams took a pounding—one of his worst of the year. Normally the left-handers issue has been an inability to find the zone, with walks and hitters’ counts piling up in equal measure. Yesterday, he actually had one of his best strike throwing performances of the year (with 49 strikes in 75 pitches) but Bowie hitters were able to attack them with zeal, piling up 9 hits in just 19 batters faced. Interestingly, this was the second time this year that Williams has allowed 9 hits (in less than 4 innings both times) and in both games he had a higher than normal strike throwing ratio. Getting to that next level of throwing quality strikes still eludes the lefty with the electric stuff.

With the season more than halfway over, it’s time to take a hard look at things and note that, once again, too many of the system’s top prospects seem to be stepping backwards this year. The org’s top 10 coming into the year on MLB’s board was Ramos, Shaw, Duggar, Beede, Slater, Fabian, Garcia, Anderson, Williams, and Gonzalez. If I had to judge I’d say that Ramos, Duggar, Anderson, and Gonzalez could all be said to holding their own. Slater has been fantastic (as he was in 2017) and deserves his major league promotion. The rest? Shaw, Beede, Fabian, Garcia, and Williams have all taken steps in the wrong direction this year — in at least one of those cases it’s more “throwing the car in reverse and hitting the gas” than just a step. Fabian’s struggles are contextualized by their age. But that claim can’t be made for the others. Some folks need to step it up.

Orioles #2 prospect Ryan Mountcastle was especially tough on Williams and his mates, as he picked up 6 hits in 7 ABs across the double-header, including his second triple in two days and a double.

Old friend alert—the winning pitcher for Bowie in game one was former Giants’ prospect Luis Ylsa who fanned 8 over 5 innings while allowing just a solo HR.

Luigi Rodriguez continued his recent trend of trading hits for power as he homered for the 4th time in 5 games in the opener. He had no other hits in the double header, but he did drive in the go ahead run in game two with a bases loaded walk. Luigi Hero!

Miguel Gomez also had a big day, going 3 for 3 in the nightcap. Miggy went hitless in the opener, but he’s had a blistering week, going 11 for 19 since last Sunday. Put the barrel on the ball, Miggy! I just wish I could Time Travel Gomez back to the 70s so he could live out his fated destiny as a Pinch Hitter nonpareil! (stupid 40 man pitching staffs! Where’s Buster Olney’s petition? I’m in!)

Game 2 starter Connor Overton is a Richmond native. It must have been a big thrill for him to make his first appearance in front of the home crowd, no doubt full of friends of family to support him. Overton had made three previous relief appearances with the Squirrels, but all were on the road.


San Jose lost at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers), 5-2

Rodolfo Martinez served up a two-out, two-on HR to break a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 8th, sending San Jose to another defeat. The one-time Cal League All Star closer has 5 losses and two blown saves (out of six opportunities) this year. He’s allowed 16 earned runs in just 30.1 IP, and amazingly he’s given up 27 runs overall, as he’s shown no ability to pitch his way through errors. It’s just been a long patch of rough road for the one time prized power arm.

All Star Johneshwy Fargas led the offense with two hits in three At Bats including a double. Fargas also stole his 20th bag in just 44 games played this year. Talk about guys who could be useful role players in different times in baseball history. Fargas’ bat has been glacially slow in developing, but as a defensive replacement and pinch runner? He could help teams win for sure.

Of no relevance to this game, enjoy this awesome baseball photo of Jalen Miller circling the bases the other day:


Augusta beat Rome Braves, 1-0 (10 inn)
winning their series, 2-1

Game of the Day! John Gavin, the winning pitcher in the Sally League All Star game, came out firing on all cylinders in his first start of the second half. Gavin dominated an excellent hitting Rome Braves team, no-hitting them through 7 innings while striking out 9. Gavin lives very much in that Conner Menez zone of lefties with eye-catching stats, but stuff that leaves them a little short of interesting as prospects. Still we have living proof in Ty Blach that a path exists for that phylum of pitcher to rise up.

The no-hitter drama cranked up as reliever Franklin Van Gurp breezed through the 8th, but with one out in the 9th, the Braves Isranel Wilson lined a clean single to center to end the bid for a Combo no-hitter. However, the drama wasn’t over for the night, as Augusta had neglected to score throughout! Van Gurp held the free runner in the top of the 10th (despite a two-out infield single that came within inches of scoring the runner) and then Manny Geraldo lined a single to center in the bottom of the inning for the walkoff.

To the Highlights Machine!

Actually, it was really the Star Wars Night theme that got Gavin all jazzed up for the game.

Correction to make: I said yesterday that Malique Ziegler has a groin tear that has kept him out of action, it was actually an oblique issue.


Salem-Keizer won at Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), 9-5

Diego Rincones apparently spent the first two and half months of the 2018 season chomping at the bit to get on a real field and play real games, and when the chance finally came he came out seriously mashing. That’s now 18 for 34 on the young season with 3 doubles, two HRs, and 13 RBI in just 8 games. What does Rincones lead the league in? What doesn’t he?

Avg: .529
SLG: .794
OPS: 1.308 (only one other hitter in league is above 1.000)
Hits: 18 (second best is 12)
Total Bases: 27 (next highest is 18)
RBI: 13

Scouts have often given the youngster a “yeah...but” report as he’s got no other standout tools besides his ability to barrel up the ball and the body verges on “high maintenance.” So he’ll have to prove out level by level. Thus far he’s proving out at this one! This is called announcing your presence with authority.

You know else is putting together a decent record of putting the bat on the ball? Jose Layer. Layer doesn’t have a great record of not injuring himself, but when he’s on the field he’s produced results, with a career hitting line of .328/.413/.429. Stay healthy, Jose!

Keaton Winn got his second pro start, a brief two inning outing. He gave up just one bit of loud contact, a leadoff triple in the 2nd, but he deserved better than he got as his first run allowed was the result of an error, and his second was the result of some poor decision making. When’s the last time you saw a Sac Fly to the SS?


AZL Giants Black and Orange had regularly scheduled off day


DSL Giants beat DSL Pirates2, 1-0 (5 inn)

Ah but here’s the real no hitter! Sort of.

Ivan Armstrong, a 6’5”, 250 lbs 17-year-old hulkster, who sounds like he should be a poorly written villain from a late Rocky sequel, has been trending upwards ever since signing last year for $85,000. According to Ben Badler, the very large right-hander’s fastball has picked up several miles per hour since his signing and likely will climb even higher than it’s current 90-94 mph version.

Yesterday Sir Strong of Arm dominated his puny opponent, allowing no hits and runs for 5 innings before the rains came and washed the rest of the day away—leaving him with a professional no-hitter on his short résumé. He also matched his season high with 7 Ks, giving him 20 this year in 17.1 IP. Armstrong has proven extremely difficult to hit—he’s allowed just 2 hits over his past two starts and only 9 hits all year—and one can imagine he’s an intimating presence coming down off the mound. Not surprisingly, he’s had trouble repeating mechanics and throwing strikes (11 BBs) but he’s still a long way from growing into his body. It’ll be very interesting to see just where his body—and his stuff—goes from here.

As it happened, only one player in the game collected any hits, and that was Giants’ LF Ismael Alcantara, who picked up two. His first inning doubled brought around Ghordy Santos with the game’s only run. Later Alcantara added a single to complete the afternoon’s allotment of hits. After a three-hit opening day Ismael slumped for a week or so. But the big left-handed hitter now has five hits in his past seven at bats and is, perhaps, trending upwards.


Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Taylor Hill vs. Walker Lockett
Richmond: Jake McCasland vs. TBD
San Jose: Logan Webb vs. Tony Gonsolin
Augusta: TBD vs. TBD
Salem-Keizer: Miguel Figueroa vs. Jayson McKinley
AZL: TBD; TBD
DSL: OFF DAY

Have a great ball-filled Sunday, everyone. Remember: the game is meant to be fun!