It was a bit of a mixed day in the minors. There’s a bit to get to, but before we do, let’s have a little bit of fun with Ty Blach fielding.
At least he was fielding effectively.
Highlights: Jonah Arenado was 4-for-4 with a home run and double; Conor Menez struck out 8; Mac Williamson was 3-for-4 with a double; Jake Wong had his second good start in a row.
It almost looked like Sacramento had figured out how to beat Las Vegas, and then the Aviators just Vegased the River Cats again.
The Aviators knocked Ty Blach around to the tune of 10 hits in 3.2 innings, heading to a 5-0 lead through the top of the fifth, and then the River Cats began coming back. Henry Ramos and Abiatal Avelino kicked off the comeback with back-to-back home runs to score three runs in the fifth, and Aramis Garcia tied the game with a 2-run home run in the sixth. Austin Slater singled in the go-ahead run.
Aramis. Garcia.— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) April 19, 2019
TIE GAME pic.twitter.com/5vlimoL85q
But things fell apart from there. After errors from Zach Green and pitcher Williams Jerez, the bases were loaded. Jerez allowed back-to-back singles to score three runs and give the Aviators the lead again. A home run off of Sam Coonrod in the ninth iced the game.
The bright sides for Sacramento were all about the hitters. Most notable was one of the better games for Mac Williamson since his return, including his first extra-base hit since his return to the minors. The 3-hit game raised his average to .313. The other River Cat with three hits was Donovan Solano.
And the downside?
Ray Black is leaving the game in Sacramento after throwing a ball in the dirt at 95. He's hurt.— Doug (@moonwalkmcfly) April 19, 2019
Let’s finish on an upnote, with Michael Reed’s defense on display.
Let's not sleep on this Reed gem from earlier tonight pic.twitter.com/yjJA9j1f1O— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) April 19, 2019
If there was a belt to be given for the most dominating player on the field for the Squirrels, it clearly would be around Jonah Arenado’s waist now.
Arenado was 4-for-4 with his second double and first home run of the season, helping power the Squirrels to a big win. Arenado upped his batting line to .361/.410/.500 with the big game, as he starts his second season at Double-A Richmond. The little brother of the very rich Colorado third baseman has been a slow riser since being drafted in 2013, but he’s still just 24 as he develops. Notably, Arenado has a 0.14 Groundout/Flyout ratio, which is pretty extreme even in an 11 game sample size. His career ratio is 0.81.
Not to be missed is that Richmond had three home runs, which is notable doing so at home. Also notable is that the other two came from the middle infielders. Ryan Howard had a solo home run in the third inning, his second of the year. Then Jalen Miller hit his third home run in the 8th inning, ahead of Arenado’s. Howard’s career high in home runs was 9 in San Jose in 2017, while Miller had 14 in San Jose in 2018.
The home runs almost overshadow the strong start by Conner Menez. Menez ended up giving up his first earned run, but the nice eight strikeouts gives him 19 in 14.2 innings in the young season, with just four walks. Menez hasn’t finished a season with an ERA under 4 his entire career since being being a 14th round pick in 2016. He spent half of 2018 in Richmond, posting a 4.38 ERA in 15 starts, so it’ll be interesting to see if this hot start continues.
LHP Conner Menez (23.10Y) with another dominant start today:— GPT (@giantsprospects) April 19, 2019
5IP 6H 2R 1ER 1BB 8K.
Season: 14.2IP 9H 1ER 4BB 19K.
Video of three strikeouts from today: pic.twitter.com/dzzla0cXoi
The bullpen had a less-than-perfect day, but Rodolfo Martinez was able to get his ERA down from infinity, after giving up a run while walking three in his first outing. Rodolfo was an All-Star in San Jose in the first half of 2016, then was overwhelmed in a midseason promotion to Richmond, and he’s never really recovered.
Up until Thursday, Logan Baldwin had been having a pretty awful season, and had been batting ninth, with just a .158/.179/.237 line and zero RBI. On Thursday, he got put into leadoff and proceeded to collect the team’s entire RBI total in a losing effort.
Baldwin’s only hit of the day was a 2-run home run, his first of the season, in the third inning. In the seventh, he added a sacrifice fly to cap off the scoring. It only increased his batting line to .171/.186/.317, but it got the 21st round pick over a hump.
Baldwin’s day highlighted an otherwise lackluster effort by San Jose. Aaron Phillips struggled through three innings, giving up four walks and four hits, including his third home run allowed this year in 10 innings of work. He has allowed nine walks against 12 strikeouts in those 10 innings. In relief, John Russell got beat up a bit, allowing three runs in his 1.1 IP of relief.
One small bit of silver lining came with the 8 and 9 spots of the San Jose lineup, which collected five hits between the two of them. Kyle McPherson picked up a pair of hits, raising his average to .293. Meanwhile, Chris Corbett made his first start of the season and collected three hits. The catcher only played 28 games in 2018, and 21 games in 2017.
On your Heliot watch: 1-for-4, one strikeout. He’s been holding steady at .250 for the last couple of games.
Hidden on the back end of the San Jose bullpen was Chase Johnson, just recently out of Sacramento. There might have been a little bit of controversy, but Joe Ritzo dispelled any of that.
#SFGiants apparently gave Chase Johnson (2013 3rd rounder) the Chris Shaw treatment, sent him all the way down to A+ after 4 bad AAA appearances. 97-8 out the pen, mature delivery w. some effort, ball coming out crisp. SL lacked bite, but whole thing too much for hitters here— Wilson Karaman (@vocaljavelins) April 19, 2019
Expected to be temporary - SJ bullpen needs someone who can cover a few innings tonight. https://t.co/dWA6HSrHA7— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 18, 2019
Augusta used some uncharacteristic offense as they scored five runs and batted around in the second inning to get this win.
Augusta got five singles and a walk in the inning, with Shane Matheny and Jacob Gonzalez each getting 2-RBI hits in the rally. For Gonzalez, it was his only hit, but he also drew two more walks with no strikeouts. That gives him six walks against four strikeouts this season, and a .356 OBP. The walks didn’t lead to any runs scored by him (he hasn’t scored a run since April 6th), but it continues to show a big change in patience by the third baseman.
Shortstop Matheny has moved into the third spot in the GreenJackets lineup, and he responded with two hits and a walk of his own. However, he has collected 10 strikeouts over his last seven games, and has 6 walks against 14 strikeouts over 12 games.
That offense went behind Jake Wong’s second straight good start, allowing just two hits and one walk over five innings. Wong now has 11 strikeouts against four walks in 10.2 IP, but his peripherals look good other than his 4.22 ERA over his first three starts this year.
Tyler Schimpf had his first bad game in the bullpen this year, skyrocketing his ERA. He had a 5.36 ERA last season, mostly with Augusta. But 5’10” Jesus Tona picked up his third save, even though he gave up the first hit he’s allowed this season in five appearances. That means he’s allowed one hit and three walks (and one hit batter) in 7.0 innings, with 11 K’s. Here’s a bit of info on Jesus Tona’s stuff.
His fastball is in the mid-90s, occasionally reaching back for 97 from what I can see. His best pitch is his change, which sits between 78-80. Threw three-straight to a hitter tonight. He hasn't thrown more than 31 innings in a season, it's hard to tell. So far, his stuff plays.— Will Cheney (@CheneyAUG) April 19, 2019
Today’s Scheduled Starters
Sacramento (Enderson Franco) vs. Salt Lake (Alex Klonowski), 7:05 PDT
Richmond (Garrett Williams) vs. Altoona (Pedro Vasquez), 7:05 PM EDT
San Jose (DJ Myers) at Rancho Cucamonga (Victor Gonzalez), 7:05 PDT
Augusta (Seth Corry) vs. Charleston (Luis Gil), 7:05 PM EDT
A couple of good prospects hit the hill for the Giants tonight in Corry and Williams. Corry has 14 strikeouts and seven walks in seven innings, without allowing any runs. Meanwhile, Williams has a 3.00 ERA over his first two starts, but has 11 strikeouts without any walks yet over nine innings.
And let’s wrap up with a little light reading material, about Heliot Ramos and his improvement this season.