Happy final Minor Lines of 2018! You’ve probably all read this, but if you haven’t: Read This!
Happy Labor Day. Unionize the minors. https://t.co/TXk6pXM8aD— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) September 3, 2018
And when you’re done with that, read these:
2. For some, it's intentional. There are players who have gotten what they wanted out of minor league ball, realize they won't become a big leaguer and decide to step away.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) September 3, 2018
4. Then there are the players who remain on rosters all offseason, come to spring training but get released during spring training. Every year, it's a numbers game where there are many more players than spots during the month-long lead-up to the season.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) September 3, 2018
6. They are in a select group, because very, very few players ever get to say they played in affiliated pro ball. Even fewer can say they made it to Class A. They are among the best baseball players in the world, even if their journeys end a few steps short of their ultimate goal— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) September 3, 2018
Let’s put this season to bed.
Sacramento lost at Las Vegas 51s (Mets), 4-3
Finished season 55-85, last place in the PCL Pacific Northern Division
You know what’s a fun way to end a season? The ol’ walk off HR. Slugger Peter Alonso gave the Vegas home fans a memory to warm their hearts over the long, cold winter, when he took Tyler Beede deep to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
Now that’s a REAL walk-off—Team Unison style!
It was, I suppose, a fitting end to an extremely disappointing year for Beede. He started the year with a chance to grab a rotation spot with the Giants, and ended up in Sacramento’s bullpen with a host of ugly stats on the back of his card: 7.05 ERA in the PCL. 56 BBs and 10 HRs in 74.0 IP. Just a full slate that needs to be wiped clean. From a pure stat line, it was uglier even than Kyle Crick’s gawd-awful 2016 — but the comp comes with its very own caveat. Development isn’t linear, it takes weird and unforeseen twists and turns. Turn the page, Tyler. We’ll see you in 2019.
Jacob Heyward had a pleasant little AAA cameo to finish his year, going 2 for 3 with a double and walk. New swing mechanics FTW!
New Giants Abiatal Avelino had a hat trick to finish the year. It will be interesting to see if the Giants add him to the bench for September to help rest Brandon Crawford.
Richmond lost to Harrisburg Senators (Nationals), 7-3
62-76, last place in the Eastern League Western Division
Conner Menez ended his season earlier, and more painfully, than expected. The Hollister native hurt his ankel during the first at bat of the day and was removed, hopefully for precautionary purposes (don’t want another Hinojosa situation where the final game of the season puts a player into rehab for the entire offseason).
That meant the bullpen got to soak up all 9 innings. Ryan Halstead gave the team an excellent three innings, and Dusten Knight a reasonable three innings. Sam Wolff had put together a pretty good run through August after a bumpy re-entry in July, allowing just 3 runs over his last 10 appearances (13.1 IP). But he ended the year with yet another big inning, pushing his ERA for the year up to an alarming 6.91. The 38 Ks in 27.1 innings were pretty, but not so the 16 walks and 21 earned runs allowed. We’ll just chalk 2017 up to rehab for Sam.
On the other hand, Dillon McNamara did pretty much what he’s done all year — retiring everyone he faced. McNamara was a force in the Richmond bullpen this year, with a 50 to 8 K:BB ratio in 45 IP, a WHIP of 0.82 and 1.20 ERA. His 8 innings in Sacramento were less successful, but the man from Adelphi University had a heck of a AA campaign.
Hard to feel great about a season hitting .168 with a monthlong stint on the DL, but at least Ronnie Jebavy ended things with a bang—homering on each of the season’s last two days.
Hey, and while we’re thinking of the players who’s careers are ending today, let’s not forget all the other special people who make the minor league experience what it is:
After 10 years and 9 amazing seasons, today marks my last MiLB game as a full time employee... and what a wild freakin ride it’s been. I’ve had the opportunity… https://t.co/Ti7U6CAT3M— Meg Angstadt (@meg_angstadt) September 3, 2018
San Jose beat Modesto Nuts (Mariners), 2-0
59-81, last place overall in the Cal League North division
Speaking of ending the year with a bang, how about Johneshwy Fargas homering on two of the season’s last three days? Fargas didn’t manage to steal three bases to reach the 50 mark, but given that he only played in 89 games, his total of 47 was plenty impressive enough.
Heath Quinn went 1 for 3 to finish the season exactly at .300. He and Jalen Miller were San Jose’s best bats all year long, both bouncing back from disappointing 2017s with San Jose. Quinn posted an excellent .300/.376/.485 line and heads now to the Arizona Fall League (after a couple weeks to catch his breath). After that it’s AA, where if we could make a little wish list we might want to see a touch more power from the LF.
For Miller, who showed excellent pop from the 2b position, a wish list might be upping that 5% walk rate and being just a touch more discriminating on those Out of the Zone pitches. Still, move on up to AA, Jalen. Job well done!
On the other end of the spectrum from Quinn, Sandro Fabian’s 0 for 3 perched his season ending batting average exactly on the Mendoza Line. It’ll be a return to the Cal League for Fabian in 2019, after taking a serious beating from Cal League pitching. Like Jalen Miller this year, Fabian will be one of the league’s younger players next year at 21.
Augusta beat Columbia Fireflies (Mets), 3-2
67-70, third place overall in the South Atlantic League Southern Division
Heliot Ramos ended the season on a down note, taking a hat trick for the final day, ending his year at .245/.313/.396. Still, there were a lot of positives to take from his final month of the year, when he showed his best power production of the year.
Credit to Heliot Ramos for finding a comfort level at the plate in the second half. He showed some positive things down the stretch. I'll certainly remember it for any offseason material.— David Lee (@David11Lee) September 3, 2018
Hopefully, he’ll be able to take those strides and build on them in Instrux, offseason workouts, and spring. Because next year (assuming the Giants advance him up a level) he’ll be right back in the deep end of the pool — likely the youngest player in the Cal League going up against pitchers who can throw rings around the guys who were giving him such troubles in the Sally this year. There are major strides still to come. Patience is the watchword (and probably we all need to just embargo comments on Ramos being an important part of the major league team in 2020).
If you’re a subscriber, you can see a report on Ramos — and also Seth Corry — in today’s “Monday Morning Ten Pack” at Baseball Prospectus:
Our last regular season Ten Pack has notes on Andres Gimenez, Esteven Florial, Helios Ramos, and more ($) https://t.co/XorK1XHTpp— Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro) September 4, 2018
Ramos’ good friend Jacob Gonzalez went the opposite direction in the late Georgia summer. Last year’s 2nd round pick hit just .199 the second half of the season with a .583 OPS. No doubt, Dad will have some comfort and wisdom for him this winter. Elder Gonzo did hit .252 in the Sally, but he got to play his home games in Asheville, the Coors Field of the league.
Camilo Doval posted an ERA of just 1.88 the second half of the year and has allowed just 3 runs since July 11. For his minor league career he’s record 153 strikeouts in 107 innings while holding all hitters to a .197 batting average. This is quite an arm. Let’s hope he figures out what to do with it.
Salem-Keizer lost to Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), 5-4
36-40, 2nd place overall in the Northwest League North division
Gregory Santos got a chance for a last impression, which was certainly doubtful three weeks ago. The just-turned 19 year old turned in a decent showing, allowing three runs on two homers, striking out 4 and walking 0. Santos took some lumps from the college heavy hitters of the NWL, but he might well feature the best pure stuff in the system, and his command took a step forward this year. Santos will be Rule 5 eligible a year from now, so the Giants have reason to be aggressive in trying to develop him to his true potential. He might be as big a part of some future competitive Giants team as anyone in the system.
Give a cheer for Dalton Combs, 35th round pick (2017) out of Huntington College in Indiana. He wasn’t the flashiest member of the 2018 Volcanoes, but he had himself a heck of a year, hitting .318/.375/.512 and flashed some fine leather.
None of the big hitters in the order appeared in this final game, so Aaron Bond ended up leading the club in homers (2nd in the league) by virtue of his two-homer game on Sunday night. Light ‘em up, Aaron!
That is about it for Minor Lines: 2018. What did we think of the ride? I’m sure there will be plenty of time to discuss the disappointments in the coming winter (as we humans are wont to do), but let’s go out remembering the advances of the year.
Steven Duggar is becoming the guy we thought he’d be. Reyes Moronta became the best homebred reliever the team had signed and developed since Sergio Romo. Ray Black went from near-retiree to the big leagues. And Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez gave the team the best young starting pitchers since Madison Bumgarner. Alen Hanson provided the big league club with electricity, and Austin Slater just keeps hitting.
Plus, did you see this danged thing go?
It was a plenty good year. Get ‘em next year: