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SF Giants Minor Lines 8/19/18: Menez strikes out 11

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In honor of Conner Menez’ excellent day it’s time for some Minor Lines Trivia:

The system has featured ten different double digit strikeout performances this year, accomplished by seven different pitchers: can you name them? And who has the most?

HIGHLIGHTS: Conner Menez struck out 11 while allowing just 1 run over 5 IP; Robinson Medrano homered twice

Sacramento lost at Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), 7-1
losing their series, 1-3

Michael Connolly returned to the PCL after a month back down in Richmond, and he no doubt missed the pitcher-friendly climes of the Eastern League after this day. In just five innings of work, Connolly surrendered six extra base hits including two that left the building. Connolly stayed away from the big innings which had plagued Sacramento this series, but he was dinged up for a run or two in nearly every inning of his outing.

The punchless RiverCats lineup didn’t have much response left in them, though Miguel Gomez’ torrid week continued. Gomez had his fifth consecutive multi-hit game, pushing his average all the way up to .289 (it was .256 at the start of this streak). His double knocked in Sacramento’s only run of the game.

Kelby Tomlinson went hitless, breaking his 18 game hitting streak.

And speaking of Gomez and Kelby, Sacramento’s current lineup comes with some statistical oddities:

Richmond beat Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies), 4-3
winning their series 2-1

Conner Menez has juxtaposed some real Jekyll and Hyde outings over the last few weeks. In three of his last five starts (the 1st, 3rd, and 5th), he’s allowed 1 or 0 earned runs while striking out 27 in 16.2 IP. In the other two (the 2nd and 4th) he allowed 7 earned runs on 10 hits—not cumutively, BOTH times—though still striking out 9 in 9 innings.

In fact, Menez entire 2018 has had something of a Jekyll and Hyde nature. He’s been by far the best strikeout pitcher in the system this year. His 158 Ks (in 126.2 IP) is 34 more than any other pitcher in the system, with John Gavin’s 124 coming in 2nd.

However, when Menez hasn’t been striking batters out, he’s frequently giving up lots of hits and runs. Yesterday’s masterpiece brought his AA ERA down below 5.00 (over 65 IP); and that follows his 4.83 ERA in San Jose (over 50 IP). If you like FIP, you’ll love that Menez’ is 2.86! But if you worry that FIP isn’t particularly informative in minor league contexts, then that ERA might be bothering you a tad. There’s no doubt that Menez is showing the ability to put away hitters with a kill pitch; but he’s shown less ability to consistently get into the position to put batters away in the first place. Very confusing. Still, the lefty from The Master’s College had a most intriguing 2018 and definitely moved his name up the ranks of the interesting, I’d say.

Back in March of 2016, Ian Gardeck was ticketed for Richmond after being added to the 40 man that winter. Yesterday, Ian finally threw his first pitch for the Squirrels — four of them in fact! Gardeck finished off the 8th inning and gained his first AA hold. Better late than never, Ian!

The Squirrels got a good amount of their offense from their MI duo of CJ Hinojosa and Ryan Howard. The pair had three hits between them including a double each. CJ’s two-bagger put the Squirrels up for good.

For a little light reading — fresh on the heels of my plugging the great work of Squirrels play by play man Jay Burnham comes this excellent feature in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

San Jose beat Lancaster JetHawks (Rockies), 4-1
winning their series, 2-1

San Jose’s offense exploded for 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th, saving Mac Marshall from a most undeserved loss. Marshall turned in his longest outing of the year — and it was one of his best! Over a season high 5 IP he allowed just a single run on 5 hits and while striking out 5. Most importantly, he walked none—this comes on the heels of a 0.2 IP/4 BB effort his last time out.

Marshall was followed to the mound by Sam Coonrod, making his first appearance outside of the rookie complex in Scottsdale since going under the knife for Tommy John surgery. Coonrod pitched a clean, efficient inning, throwing just nine pitches—seven of them for strikes.

All of that good pitching might have gone for not without the late rally. Facing the upper 90s velocity of Rockies #22 prospect Robert Tyler, Brandon Van Horn started the rally with a double. Jacob Heyward then walked and stole second. And that put the hot hitting Heath Quinn in a position to give the Giants the lead. In an outstanding 8 pitch at bat in which he fouled off multiple two strike 97 mph fastballs, Quinn barreled one up.

Gio Brusa and Sandro Fabian would add RBI singles to give San Jose breathing room for the win. Fabian also walked twice in the game — giving the notorious free swinger five walks in his last three games. Fabian has eight walks in the month of August after coming into the month with just 13 all season. Interesting!

Augusta lost at Asheville Tourists (Rockies), 6-3

As we noted yesterday, Asheville is the Coors Field of the Sally with short lines and elevation combining to make pitchers’ lives miserable. Jose Marte met that environment with some good and some bad elements to his day, running up strike outs, hits, and runs, in near equal measure. His 9 Ks were one off a career best (trivia hint!), but 10 hits including 2 HRs sunk his outing—and the Greenjackets chance of winning.

Again, the Greenjacket hitters had a better night than the arms. Augusta got two hits apiece from each of their 2-5 hitters, with Manuel Geraldo, Heliot Ramos, and Ryan Kirby all adding an extra base hit. Ramos drilled an opposite field triple, his 6th of the year. Heliot is having his finest month of the year in August, when by all rights he should be pretty worn down. The most exciting element is that he’s once again showing power — SLG .542 for the month. Prior to August his best previous mark was a SLG of .408 in June. And his .254 Iso in this month is nearly double the best previous month this year.

Picked a good time to do well, too. Guess who’s in the crowd taking in the series?

Salem-Keizer lost to Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), 9-8
getting swept in their series 0-3

Once again, we have the “Just Enough to Lose” boys at work. A strong day from the bats was undermined by Alex DuBord’s 7-run “relief” effort. Sigh.

The Volcanoes let loose the long ball, hitting four home runs in the game. That included two from Robinson Medrano, giving the strong RHH 8 for the year. Medrano hasn’t shown a lot of hit-ability in his years in short season and rookie ball, but he definitely has raw power. His Iso is up to .200 this year.

Jake Wong has allowed 1 or 0 runs in 8 of this 9 starts this year, including the last 7. He’s gone 3 innings now in the last five of those starts, allowing a total of 10 hits and 1 run in that time. Quite a roll for Jake! He has 21 Ks to just 5 BBs in his 21.1 IP in his debut.

Despite the sweep, and the .500 record, the Volcanoes still are positioned to head to the playoffs. They have a two game lead over Boise with 14 to play. Boise comes to town for a three game set starting tonight.

AZL Giants Orange beat AZL Giants Black 5-4

The Orange needed to lay down a little here and let their compatriots gain a game in the standings! But such is not the nature of competition. Team Black let one slip away.

Anyesber Sivira unloaded the first home run of his pro career, in a two hit day that pushed his average up above .300. His OBP is up to .414. That’s how you use your speed, Anyesber! Get on base.

Yorlis Rodriguez added three more hits and a walk to the effort, giving him a line of .315/.404/.432. Nice work for the kid who just turned 19 a few weeks back.

Tyler Beede made his first appearance since July 30, striking out 2 in a clean inning. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tyler show up in the AFL this fall.

Alexander Canario rescued a brutal open to the season with a torrid July, but he now seems to be headed back in the negative direction at the season’s close. He’s now 1 for his last 22 with 8 Ks. Really a disappointing campaign for the electric athlete. He should be better than this at this level. Still, development isn’t linear. The tools are still there, the refinement can come.

Team Black is 2 games back and Team Orange 3.5 with just a week left to go in the season.

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: OFF
Richmond: Jake McCasland vs. TBD
San Jose: OFF
Augusta: Aaron Phillips vs. Lucas Gilbreath
Salem-Keizer: Greg Jacknewitz vs. TBD
AZL: Conner Nurse (Black), Marco Gonzalez (Orange)
DSL: Sonny Vargas vs. TBD

Trivia Answer:

11 Ks: Joey Marciano (4/20) Jason Bahr (5/10), Jason Bahr (5/18), Dereck Rodriguez (5/12), Conner Menez (8/19)

10 Ks: Conner Menez (5/3), DJ Myers (5/9 in relief), Jose Marte (6/3), Chris Stratton (7/20) Conner Menez (7/27),

Interestingly, half of the 10 K performances took place within a two-week stretch at the beginning of May.

Menez takes the crown with three different double-digit K nights this year. Jason Bahr’s two 11 K nights get special notice as they were back-to-back starts. DJ Myers incredible 5 inning, 10 K outing might be the most anomalous of the year.

Did you forget about Dereck Rodriguez’ 11 K effort back before his call up? That start caused Minor Lines to speculate that he was putting himself in line for a major league promotion. My best call of the year!