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SF Giants Minor Lines 8/9/18: Diego Rincones, hit machine

minor lines

A Minor Lines Tip of the ol’ Cap for El Paso’s defensive replacement Dusty Coleman, doing what a defensive replacement ought to do. Sorry Specs.

HIGHLIGHTS: Hunter Strickland pitched a perfect inning; Heliot Ramos hit his 9th HR; Aaron Bond homered, stole a base and picked up OF Assist; Sam Coonrod struck out 4 in two perfect innings; Jose Maita struck out the side.

Sacramento beat El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres), 2-1

Sacramento broke a six-game losing streak by squeaking one out against first place El Paso. Chris Stratton had thrown just 4.1 total innings since his last start in the PCL, back on July 20. Those 4, of course, all came in the majors where Stratton was pummeled (9 runs scored) in two appearances with the Giants. But he was strong in his return to Raley Field, striking out 8 over 7 one-run innings. Stratton allowed just one run, on a solo HR to El Paso’s 3b Ty France who was making his AAA debut in the game.

Stratton was followed to the mound by Hunter Strickland, whose rehab looks to be going quite well.

See! Told you. So far, Strickland has made three appearances over three different levels (Rookie, A+, AAA). He’s faced 12 batters in all and struck out 5 of them. Yesterday was his first clean inning of the three, as he gets the arm back in mound shape. He still has nine days left to ramp up before he’s eligible to return to San Francisco. Let’s watch him dispatching the #5 prospect in a San Diego system that Baseball America just named the strongest in baseball.

In all, Sacramento pitching struck out 11 tiny pups, while the El Paso staff picked up just 2 Ks against Sacramento, in an apparent Turn Back the Clock to the Deadball Era theme night. I’m going to guess that a 2 K game has got to be just about the lowest pro ball has seen in 2018.

The offense looked like 2018 though, as every run scored on a solo HR. The RiverCats came out on top with two big flies, with Peter Bourjos providing the game winner.

With Aramis Garcia on the taxi squad in San Francisco, Sacramento’s bench depth was a little thin. That prompted a Pinch Hitting appearance from starter Jordan Johnson — who early in the year hit two HRs with Richmond you might recall. Johnson popped out to SS.

Richmond lost to Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets), 3-1
losing their series, 1-2

Offense contined to be in short supply in AA, where Richmond dropped the series to Binghamton. Richmond had a chances to get back in the game. Six of the teams eight hits came in the final two innings. In the 8th, they combined three hits — including a triple from Matt Lipka and a Ryan Howard double — with a walk, and yet scored just one run, with that coming on a Wild Pitch. Jonah Arenado struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat.

In the bottom of the 9th, the first three batters all singled (including two perfect bunts) to load the bases once again, this time with 0 outs. But Matt Winn, CJ Hinojosa, and Luigi Rodriguez all struck out to end an excruciatingly frustrating night.

The Squirrels’ pitching staff issued 7 walks on the night — two of which would ultimately turn into runs. Their primary problem on the night was 19 year old SS Andres Gimenez, the Mets #1 prospect. Gimenez doubled in a run and later singled, stole a base, and scored the Ponies third run. The prodigy was one of the high profile signings from the 2015 J2 class which turning out to be extraordinarily productive and incredibly quick-moving. That 2015 class includes 19 year olds who have made it to AA (Gimenez, Fernando Tatis, Jr.), AAA (Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.) and even the majors (Juan Soto), as well as a couple of slightly older players like Yordan Alvarez (currently in AAA) and the one-time Giant Lucius Fox who was also just elevated to AA. This class could be going down in history as one of the very best.

San Jose had an off day

Augusta beat Hagerstown Suns (Nationals), 3-2 in 8 inn
winning their series 2-0

Seems like we’ve heard this story before — the Greenjackets tried to get in a double-header to make up for a rain out. But after a 3+ hour rain delay started the night, they ended up playing just one. Thus a somewhat odd looking schedule for the night: just one game, but that one being an 8-inning “extra innings” game.

Augusta had just 4 hits in the game, but one of them was Heliot Ramos’ 9th HR of the year, a blast deep to the power alley in left. Ramos’ shot was well timed, coming right after Ismael Munguia had reached base via an error. Those were the only two runs that scored by any means of Augusta’s doing.

The game winner was a total freebie. Munguia started the bottom of the 8th as the free runner. After moving to 3b on a ground out, Munguia would come home on the classic Walk Off Balk!

Aside from Ramos’ HR, he also helped prevent Hagerstown from scoring in the top of the 8th as the threat of his arm kept the Suns from sending their free runner home on a single to CF. That runner would later be cut down at the plate on a grounder to Jacob Gonzalez.

Ramos was also involved in a play in the bottom of the 8th that I really need explained to me because this line in the log just does not make sense:

Because if it was a called strike, why exactly was the ball not in the Catcher’s mitt at the end of that strike? Very strange notation.

Salem-Keizer beat Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays), 11-10

The league’s best offense kept humming along, scoring 11 runs even without Joey Bart helping out much. But great night’s were all over the box score up and down the lineup. The team had 14 hits including 8 for extra bases.

Aaron Bond hit his 6 HR with Salem-Keizer and stole his 6 base. David Villar went deep for the 10th time, moving past his teammate Bart into 2nd place in the NWL. And Diego Rincones re-discovered his power stroke, going deep for just the second time since June 29 (June 29 was apparently a big power day for the system).

Speaking of Rincones, I went back to the Bart HR in the NWL-Pio All Star Game yesterday, but I failed to note that Rincones was actually the game’s MVP for his 4-hit night. Congratulations, Diego you hitting machine!

The Volcanoes also got two-hit nights from Mikey Edie and Wander Franco. Franco doubled and tripled in the game. Much like his big brother (no, not that one), Franco is specializing in non-HR power, hitting his 14th double of the year — third best in the NWL. Collectively, the Wanders Franco have hit 56 doubles this year, a pretty incredible total given that two of the three have only played in short-season ball.

Villar has both kinds of power — the over the fence and the ball in play kind. He hit his 10th HR and 12th double. More than half of Villar’s hits this year have gone for extra bases, leading to an eye-popping .298 Iso.

The Volcanoes OF also helped the team to victory with a fascinating statistical oddity — all three OF were credited with an assist, including nabbing two runners at 3b. In truth, all three of those assists went through MI cut-off men Kyle McPherson and Nico Giarratano, but the solid fundamentals helped the team sneak away with the one-run victory.

Once again, the Volcanoes pitchers took away what the Volcanoes hitters giveth. Blake Rivera was troubled by wildness in his 1.2 innings of work. He walked two, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, and even tossed in a balk. Not surprisingly he ended up allowing the Canadians to jump out to a 3-0 lead.

Solomon Bates continued two trends he’s had going this year — he struck out a bunch of guys and gave up a bunch of runs. Bates now has 33 Ks in 19.2 IP, but he’s also allowed 13 runs in that time. Twelve walks and two HB is part of the equation.

AZL Giants Black beat AZL Brewers, 11-2

AZL Giants Orange beat AZL Reds, 4-3

Several pitching performances deserve pointing out in yesterday’s AZL games.

Sam Coonrod might be getting close to heading back to full season ball. Sam pitched two perfect innings yesterday striking out 4 of the 6 batters he faced. The right-hander who had Tommy John surgery last July has made three appearances in Scottsdale, throwing 4.2 IP so far.

5’11” whippy-armed LHP Jose Maita was also perfect, striking out the side in his only inning of work. Maita had a couple of rough outings early on this season, but since July 1, he’s allowed just a single run on four hits in 7.2 IP. He’s walked 2 and struck out 6 over that time.

And big Logan Harasta continues to impress in his comeback from TJ. The big right-hander from SUNY-Buffalo has now struck out 17 of the 48 batters he’s faced in his return to pitching, while allowing just 13 base runners.

As with the NWL, the AZL is a short-season league that also divides itself into two extremely short halves. And consequently, as with Salem-Keizer, the AZL Giants’ teams have a second chance to compete for the (brief) AZL post-season. The Giants’ Black team is thus far taking the most advantage of that. With just 16 games remaining, the Black team, at 8-5, is in the middle of a divisional scrum, with four teams separated by just a half game.

DSL Giants lost to DSL Mariners, 12-3

So the good news for Juan Sanchez: he struck 9 of the 19 batters he faced, setting a career high in Ks!

Bad news for Juan Sanchez: three of the four hits he allowed left the field of play. Two of those came off the bat of young Julio Rodriguez, the jewel of the Mariners international development. Seattle shelled out $1.75 million last year for the 16 year old Rodriguez who has reached base safely in 47 of his 55 pro games.

For Sanchez, his 59 Ks now (in 57 IP) has him tied for 8th in the DSL in that category. That’s very near a 6:1 K:BB ratio for the year as the lefty has just 12 walks issued on the year.

That compares quite favorably to Yovanny Moronta, who walked 6 in just 1.2 innings of work yesterday. The hard throwing 22 year old Moronta has walked 25 batters in just 17.2 IP this year.

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Casey-Kelly vs. Kyle Lloyd
Richmond: Chase Johnson vs. TJ Zeuch
San Jose: John Gavin vs. TBD
Augusta: Tyler Schimpf vs. Durin O’Linger
Salem-Keizer: TBD vs. TBD
AZL: TBD, TBD, makeup double header for Giants’ Black team
DSL: Freddery Paulino

Before we go, a little light reading on the changing value of defense in the modern game: