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SF Giants Minor Lines 8/29/18: Gregory Santos returns!

Plus a VERY welcome return in Salem.

minor lines

We never tired of “It’s a Game of Inches” Highlights! Lexington 1b Nick Pratto’s bid for an inning ending double play didn’t get the ump’s seal of approval. A couple of errors later, Augusta had scored four, two-out runs that led to victory. What do you think? Did he get him? Or didn’t he?

HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw hit his 24th HR; Jacob Heyward hit 2 HRs; Joey Bart hit his 11th HR.

Sacramento beat Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), 3-1

Tyler Herb bounced back from his worst start of the year to post his best effort and lead the RiverCats to victory. Herb allowed just one run on four hits and struck out 7 — after striking out just 5 in his previous two starts combined. It was his second highest K total of the year and also his first start with Sacramento without a walk. Herb kept the pace MLB-approved brisk, with the game lasting just 2 hours and 9 minutes—Sacramento’s shortest game of the year.

Herb was finished for the night when Chris Shaw made him the LOLWinning Pitcher, breaking a 1-1 tie with a monster blast off former Diamondback and Reds’ starter David Holmberg—home run #24 for the slugger. That was just Shaw’s 3rd homer of the year off a lefty, as southpaws have thoroughly dominated Chris this year — his season line vs LHP is just .204/.275/.366.

Shaw’s power has certainly shown up again this year. The disappointing aspect of his season continues to be his peripherals, which are badly out of whack at 142 Ks to just 21 BBs. Given the threat of his power he really needs to be a little more discriminating — whether he can take that step to honing in on the pitches he can kill and leaving alone the ones he can’t will go a long way to determining where his career ultimately heads from here. But there’s no denying the power plays. Plus, just look how charming he is!

After Herb hit the showers Steven Okert and the suddenly buzzed up Tyler Rogers finished off the one-run victory. Will both be showing up soon at a major league park near you?

Richmond beat the Reading Fightin’ Phils, 3-2

Another well-pitched, one-run victory! Conner Menez delivered what seems, by now, to be a recognizably Conner Menez 2018 game — he struck out a whole mess of people (9), but also struggled with his command enough to run up a huge pitch count (103) forcing him to leave the game early (4.2 IP). Menez is now up to 171 Ks and might have one more start left in his season. I think we might need to do a community research assignment here — when was the last time a Giants’ prospect got this close to 200 Ks? Bumgarner hit 164 in his amazing season at Augusta (and if you add in the playoff game that year he did reach 170). Eric Surkamp reached 169 with Augusta and 170 in 2011 (a year that ended with is major league debut, in which he K’d 13 more batters). Off the top of my head I can’t come up with another season above 150 just hunting through the logical suspects. Quite a year for Conner.

With Menez out of the game early, it was up to the bullpen to hold onto a one run victory, and Dan Slania, Ian Gardeck, and Dillon McNamara delivered 4.1 innings of shutout ball. Gardeck hasn’t allowed an earned run since his debut game at San Jose back on August 7. In 8 innings since then he’s allowed 6 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 6.

As for McNamara, here’s a note from Jay Burnham from earlier in the week — needs updating now:

McNamara was picked up for cash last year from a Yankees org that has serious 40 man crunch of late with all their high octane arms. He could be a comer. Another interesting 40 man decision come November.

Still, all that good pitching was near to going to waste, because the Squirrels have been in a serious, serious offensive funk this week. How serious? They set a franchise record and not one of the good kinds!

But down 2-1 in the 5th yesterday, they got a burst of power that put them over the top — from an unusual source.

That would be the final as the arms shut it down from there on out.

And as long as I’m poaching a bunch of Jay Burnham tweets, let’s all welcome a new member to the Giants org in a man who’s quite a favorite around the Eastern League and has spread positive vibes wherever he’s gone:

Welcome to the org, Mike Passanisi and Congratulations! (Seriously check out the mentions on twitter — Mike generates an awful lot of good will among people who’ve worked with and known him).

San Jose lost to Stockton Ports (A’s), 9-3

You may recall an interview we posted here several weeks ago with Joe Ritzo talking to Dave Hansen, the Giants Minor League Hitting Coordinator. In it, Hansen singled out Jacob Heyward for the work he’d done overhauling his swing mechanics during 2018. There’s always a lot of changes happening behind the numbers that we rarely get to see or know much about and it’s even harder to understand the relationship between mechanical changes (or other types of changes: diet, workout regime, etc) and production on the field.

Nevertheless, Heyward is ending his season with a nice little run. Since August 17 the OF is 15 for 39 with 9 BBs (11 Ks), raising his OPS 60 points in the process. He’s gotten even hotter this week with 5 multi-hit games in his last 7. That culminated with a huge game last night, as he picked up three hits and went deep twice. That gives him a career high 11 HRs on the year. Heyward led off the Giants part of the 1st by going deep against the mid-90s velocity of former 1st round pick Grant Holmes, who was making an extremely belated 2018 season debut after rehabbing a rotator cuff injury all summer.

Augusta won at Lexington Legends (Royals), 5-1

Lexington threw Daniel Lynch, the 34th overall pick in the 2018 draft, at Augusta yesterday and for three innings he gave the Greenjackets all they could handle. But once Lynch had left the field, Augusta went to work on his relief.

Lynch was the 3rd of the Kansas City’s four 1st round picks this year. The LHP from the University of Virginia was more or less immediately assigned to the Sally, and in 37 IP there he’s encountered little difficulty. Yesterday he gave up just one hit in 3 innings of work while striking out 6. However, that one hit was some loud contact from Jacob Gonzalez, who would come around to score the game’s first run.

As noted at the top of today’s post, however, it was the 4th inning that proved the heart of the game. Consecutive singles from Heliot Ramos, Orlando Garcia, and Gonzalez loaded the bases with one out. The near double play above ultimately would lead to 4 runs in the inning, as Lexington just couldn’t get a solid handle on the final out. Shane Matheny would reach on a K-PB. And following a HB that loaded the bases again, Ismael Munguia hit a grounder that got through the 2b’s glove for a two-run error.

Norwith Gudino took that 5 run lead and sailed with it, allowing only a solo HR over his 7 innings of work while striking out 8.

The 1st and 2nd rounders from last year collected more than half of the team’s hits, with Gonzalez’ double the lone XBH. Malique Ziegler suffered through an extremely rough day, wearing a Sombrero back to the hotel.

Not germaine to yesterday’s game, but as long as we’re highlighting relief arms:

Salem-Keizer lost to Eugene Emeralds (Cubs), 6-5

In an extremely welcome bit of news, Gregory Santos returned to the mound less than three weeks after being felled with a liner to the head. My strict adherence to organizing by levels has caused me to bury the lede because Santos return to the mound is easily the biggest news of the day. The experience of seeing Santos on the mound just 18 days after he was taken off the field in a stretcher and briefly hospitalized is in different ways exciting and concerning, especially in light of the extraordinarily emotional and insightful blog post that Mac Williamson’s girlfriend wrote this week. Are they rushing Santos back too soon. And yet, there is also the issue of getting over the fear of being back on the mound which many pitchers who have suffered such beanings have also talked about eloquently. With the season down to it’s final days, I can understand the desire not to have that issue lingering into the offseason.

On the whole, I’d say it’s more welcome than not to see Santos out there just one day after his 19th birthday. Happy birthday, Gregory! It’s good to see you again!

As for the game, it was the usual just enough to lost Volcanoes. They staged a comeback and in the final innings of the game had both Joey Bart and Diego Rincones up to the plate with the chance to tie the game or put the Volcanoes ahead and but they couldn’t find that final big hit.

However, there was an early big hit!

Ok. So let’s talk about the 34-37 Volcanoes, losers of 5 of their last 6 games, and the system’s last lingering hope for a playoff spot. The Hillsboro Hops have clinched the second half title just as they won the first half title (and are clearly the class of the division). Here’s what says about the Northwest League’s playoff procedures in the event that one team wins both halves:

If one team wins both the first and second half of the season, then the team with the best overall winning percentage in the second half will be declared the second half Champions.

So the first thing to note here is that that’s a horribly written sentence! Since “overall” record, in league’s with two halves, is a term used to describe the combination of a team’s record from the two halves, in really isn’t at all clear what they mean to say by “best overall winning percentage in the second half.” Are they referring to the 2nd place team in the 2nd half? Or are they referring to the team with the second best season record in the division?

My guess has always been that they mean the latter, since that makes the most sense. In that scenario, the stumbling Volcanoes are clinging to a 1 game advantage over the similarly listing Boise Hawks. If however, the former guess is accurate, and the 2nd half 2nd place team goes as Wild Card, then Salem is one game behind these Eugene Emeralds who they play for two more nights.

Either way, they need to figure out how to win a game and fast. Five games left, three of which come at the powerful Hops home field.

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento: Shaun Anderson vs. Jeff Hoffman
Richmond: Jake McCasland vs. Connor Seabold
San Jose: Mac Marshall vs. Wyatt Marks
Augusta: Jose Marte vs. Yefri Del Rosario
Salem-Keizer: Blake Rivera vs. Eury Ramos

Should be the final start of the year for Shaun Anderson, Mac Marshall, and Jose Marte. Let’s end on a good note guys!

And Jacob Heyward — hit two HRs, get two highlights!