DId you catch history’s very first two-pitch inning? Courtesy of the extra innings free base runner, I present something that hasn’t happened in three centuries of playing ball: one inning, two pitches, three outs.
HIGHLIGHTS: Daniel Camerena threw 7 shutout innings with 6 Ks; Bryce Johnson had three hits; Diego Rincones hit 2 HRs, 5 RBIs; Luis Moreno struck out 8 in 7 shutout innings.
Already an incredible facial expression pic.twitter.com/Dzp3hQbE8n— Madison Marie Parks-Valetta (@legaleagle88) August 11, 2018
A night that featured the return of Barry Zito to his AAA home for a special Q&A session with the fans appropriately turned into a pitchers’ duel on the field. With scheduled starter Casey Kelly suddenly called up to San Francisco, lefty Daniel Camarena was bumped up a night and delivered a sensational fill-in performance.
Camarena went 7 shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 6. And with help from Steven Okert and Roberto Gomez, RiverCats pitching shut down the 1st place El Paso lineup once again. It was the first time a Sacramento starting pitcher had had a scoreless outing of any length since Johnny Cueto threw 4 shutout innings in a rehab appearance on June 29.
Of course, where you have good pitching — you have good defense!
Wow! That may be the best play I’ve ever seen Kelby make!
Sacramento scratched out the game’s lone run in the bottom of the 8th. Peter Bourjos once again got things going with a leadoff double. But after a sac bunt it looked like the rally would fade when Bourjos was thrown out trying to score on a ground out. But Bourjos got in a rundown long enough to allow Ryder Jones to make it 2b. A two-out single from new RiverCat Cesar Puello brought Ryder around to score the game-winner.
This was the first time Sacramento won back to back games since July 15-16. And the whole thing was finished in a Rob Manfred approved 2:27! That’s how you play August baseball.
Richmond tried to emulate their big brothers with a 1-0 win. They got the “scoring 1 run” part right. But they neglected the “allowing 0 runs” side of the equation.
Chase Johnson was coming off his best, and longest, effort of the year — a 5-inning, two-hit shutout performance in his last start. And he started out last night just as promisingly, with two 3 up/3 down innings to open up. But things fell off the beam in a big way in the 3rd. Johnson gave up two straight singles to open things up and then things went wrong: a throwing error on a pickoff, a wild pitch, a walk. Before it was all over the Cats had three runs which would be all they needed, and Johnson would make it through just 3.1 IP.
New Hampshire would get an add-on run later on a solo homer from former 1st rounder Max Pentacost. Garrett Williams managed to avoid giving up any runs despite five baserunners in his 1.2 innings of work. Williams has really given up base-runners at an alarming rate this year, with a WHIP that is pushing two baserunners per inning (1.91). In his last eight appearances, covering 11 IP, the lefty has issued 10 walks, hit 3 batters, and given up 15 hits. That is a tough way to make a living!
Well, the Governor seemed to enjoy the evening anyway.
Like Joey Marciano before him, John Gavin’s promotion to the Cal League has been a bumpy ride. After giving up just 22 earned runs in 95 innings with Augusta, Gavin has given up 8 earned runs in just 9.2 innings with San Jose. And it’s not too hard to put your finger on the culprit — the San Jose native has been touched up for 5 home runs in his two Cal League starts! Youch! In all, San Jose coughed up three home runs in the game — two of which were three-run jobs.
Gavin did surrender 8 HRs with Augusta, which is a fairly elevated total for that league, so a penchant for the gopher ball was an element in his excellent Sally campaign. But Cal League hitters have really been punishing his mistakes so far. Keep it out of the middle, John!
San Jose pounded out 11 hits, but went just 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position, preventing them from mounting any sort of a comeback. Bryce Johnson provided 3 hits from the leadoff position. The 6th round switch hitter has hit just .255 this year, though he does have a .341 OBP. And when he gets on he’s a threat: he’s stolen 24 bases in 28 attempts and he’s scored 50 runs this year. The speedster comes with 0 power though, as he’s SLG just .319 for the year.
Dillon Dobson hit his 4th HR since returning to the Cal League (25 games). Heath Quinn had two RBIs on two hits, including his 19th double of the year.
It was interesting (to me) to hear in Joe Ritzo’s interview with Dave Hansen, the new system hitting coordinator, how much he talked about Jacob Heyward’s progress this year in improving his swing mechanics. We’ll see if that progress turns into production for Heyward going forward.
Meanwhile, back down in the Sally, Garrett Cave continues his struggles to deal with that level. Specifically, his struggles to get his pitches close enough to the strike zone for batters of that level to swing at them. Cave has walked 60 batters this year and hit 12 more in 92.2 IP. With 90 Ks that’s uncomfortably close to a 1:1 ratio of free base runners vs. dispatched flailers. And the trend has increased as the season’s gone on. Since July 1, Cave has 27 BB+HB to just 26 Ks in 32.2 IP. Famed wild man Kyle Crick, for reference, had 128 Ks to 79 BB+HB in the Sally over 111.1 IP. And, of course, he was three years younger at the level.
Tyler Schimpf has taken the mound with his own personal can of kerosene lately, allowing a whopping 12 runs over his past two appearances in just 2.1 innings. Yowza! Seems like guys are wearing down at this point. Camilo Doval, too, has taken a notable turn for the worse lately. After being simply dominant from May through July, Doval’s control has really evaporated on him in August, as he’s walked 7 batters in just 3.1 innings this month. The Dog Days really wear on the arms.
Heliot Ramos lined two clean singles to CF and worked a walk in this game. Let’s see if you can make an assault on .250 before the year’s up, Heliot! One aspect of Ramos’ game that really disappeared this year is the speed. He’s attempted just 14 SB this year and been caught on half of them after stealing 10 bases in 12 attempts in the rookie league last year.
Manny Geraldo went deep yesterday for the first time since June 1. He hit 7 of his 9 HRs on the year between May 1 and June 1. Still, the 21 year old has had an excellent year in his third shot at the Sally and should be ready to advance to San Jose next year.
Diego Rincones’ second HR of the game was a dramatic, two-out, three-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, sending the home crowd into a delirium. Sadly, the league’s worst pitching staff then went to work again and let in 4 runs in the top of the 10th for a serious anti-climax.
It continues to be a bit unsettling how bad the Volcanoes pitching staff is, given how much of the organization’s recent high profile pitching acquisitions populate it. 2018 second round pick Sean Hjelle got the game off on the wrong foot, allowing four runs in the 2nd inning, though Hjelle has generally been fine so far this year. The Volcanoes staff has given up the second most runs in the league, the second most HRs in the league, and struck out (by far) the fewest batters. One thing they do well is throw strikes — they’ve issued the second fewest walks in the league, though they’ve offset that by allowing the second most hits.
Ok, having dispatched that bit of business, let’s talk about Diego! The 19 year old OF is third in the league in hitting and OPS, and fourth in SLG, slashing .359/.381/.545. After having something of a power outage in July (when his average continued to be high), the power swing has obviously re-emerged this weekend, as he has three home runs in the last two days. And he’s doing this as the third youngest position player in the league.
The Giants don’t often send teenagers to the NWL (in fact, there tend to be very few teenagers in the league in general), so there’s not a ton of guys to compare him too, but let’s give a look at the best teenaged performances for the Volcanoes this century:
- Julian Benavidez (19): .319/.395/.537 in 215 PA in 2001.
- Travis Ishikawa (18): .307/.347/.386 in 96 PA in 2002
- Nate Schierholtz (19): .306/.382/.460 in 144 PA in 2003
- Pablo Sandoval (18): .330/.383/.425 in 327 PA in 2005
- Christian Arroyo (19): .333/.378/.469 in 267 PA in 2014
So we have quite a few old favorites on the list! Julian Benavidez, by the way, was a 3rd round pick out of Diablo Valley JC for whom I had high hopes back in the day! Another guy who I left off this list who Rincones bears some similarities to is Thomas Neal, who went to Salem-Keizer as an 18 year old and started out very hot before injuring his shoulder diving back into 1b on a pickoff play — an injury that would ultimately require multiple surgeries and effectively short-circuit a promising career.
Rincones is about three months older than Heliot Ramos, so that’s an important bit of context as well, and unlike someone like Ramos or Alexander Canario (who’s about a year younger than Rincones) he doesn’t bring much more to the field than his bat, so it’s going to really have to play to guide his path upwards. But there are scouts you hear from who believe it will. At some point he might want to be more discriminatory in his swings (just 4 walks this year), but the barrel to ball skills he’s showing are legit. Go get ‘em Diego!
Oh, hey! another day, another Aaron Bond HR. In 102 ABs in the NWL he’s posting a .934 OPS after having just a .519 OPS (and .218 SLG) in 78 ABs in Augusta.
By the way, the Volcanoes 62 HRs this year are 14 more than the second best team in the league — or about 33% more. They’ve hit nearly three times more home runs than Tri-City (23) and Eugene (24).
Luis Moreno threw the ultra-rare AZL Complete Game Shutout! The 20 year old Columbian right-hander allowed just 2 hits in going the distance, while setting a career high with 8 Ks. He moved into a tie for third in the AZL in strikeouts with 48 (tied with, among others, his teammate Israel Cruz). In his pro debut last year in the DSL, Moreno had just 38 Ks in 64 IP, but this year, he’s right at a strike out per inning.
Frankie Tostado went deep for the third time. After a little cool spell at the beginning of the month, the former California JC star has three hits the last two nights.
In a classic AZL scheduling oddity, the Black team’s second game win went to their first half record, while the loss counted against their second half record, as the second game was officially the “makeup” of a rainout. Had the records’ keepers decided the first game was the makeup they would have stayed a half game out of their division lead.
Eight of the 12 runs scored in the Orange team’s game came in the 10th inning, as the Giants team exploded for 5 runs in the top of the 10th — a rally that was punctuated by speedy 2b Anyesber Sivira’s two-run double. It was Sivira’s second hit of the game.
Ghordy Santos is having a little August kick to finish his season. He’s so far hitting .357/.538/.607 for the month and he hit his second HR of the season — and the month — in yesterday’s game. That’s the good news! The bad news is that the hot spurt has only lifted his season line to .199/.401/.287 because....oh June and July were not so good! Still, better late than never, Ghordy! The SS is still just 18 years old and has a reputation as a strong defender with a little wiry strength.
Let’s hear it for Rodolfo Bone! One of the lesser discussed six-figure signings from last year’s class, Bone hasn’t played extensively this year (just 19 games) but he’s performed when he’s had the chance. The 18 year old Nicaraguan Catcher signed for $150,000 last year and got some great buzz around the Tricky League (a competitive league set up specifically for J2 signings who can’t begin their pro career until the following season) last year for his defensive game.
Bone came a homer shy of a cycle yesterday, which doubled his extra base hit total for the season — he now has two doubles and two triples! The stocky backstop is hitting .340/.450/.468 is just about 50 PA in his pro debut.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: TBD vs. Logan Allen
Richmond: Logan Webb vs. Tayler Saucedo
San Jose: Dom Mazza vs. TBD
Augusta: Caleb Baragar vs. Enmanuel De Jesus
Salem-Keizer: Jake Wong vs. Jose Espada
AZL: Conner Nurse (Black), Jasier Herrera (Orange)
DSL: Ivan Armstrong