Injuries…All The Injuries
Yeah, this hasn’t been the best start to the prospect season.
If you’re in this column, you know Joey Bart has been injured as of last week, thanks to a broken hand from getting hit on the hand with a pitch. And Bart was just the big name.
Gregory Santos was removed from a game with a strained shoulder on April 11th. He finally was added to the 7-day Injured List on April 26th, backdated, so he probably won’t be on there only seven days. On Tuesday, Jacob Heyward was placed on the 7-Day IL for reasons that have not yet been disclosed.
And then, this week, things have exploded.
So, whether this came from an HBP or not, Ramos was out of the game. On Sunday, we learned more.
Clarification on Ramos injury from last night. Tweaked his knee on a swing during seventh-inning at-bat (would later double before leaving game). Injury not related to earlier HBP. He is not in the lineup for today's day game. https://t.co/8OwIB2bolC— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 25, 2019
Ramos was diagnosed with an LCL sprain in his left knee, with the initial estimate being out of action four to five weeks.
A left knee injury will keep Heliot Ramos out of action for the @SJGiants for at least a month (via @PavlovicNBCS) https://t.co/rSxKEB2NFP pic.twitter.com/i0bBPsAbDT— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 28, 2019
For both Bart and Ramos, we should expect to see them back around mid-June, which is a long time for the Giants to be without two of their top prospects…especially with a major league team that is struggling and needs hope.
Oh, speaking of hope. It’s somewhere in this absence of hope that GPT sent out this video…
We literally only know that Luciano came out of the game, but nothing about the injury. And there are no injury lists or reporting in extended spring training.
SS Marco Luciano hit on right hand with fastball. Looks to be okay, but pulled from the game. pic.twitter.com/gQJs2n2mnT— GPT (@giantsprospects) April 27, 2019
It’s tough being a Giants fan right now. It’s going to be a period of time without a lot of hope to see on the field, on any of the fields. Sorry. I’d offer some better news if I had it.
The Draft Always Brings Hope, Right?
As of right now, the San Francisco Giants (11-17) are in line for the #4 draft pick…uh, in 2020.
Okay, let’s talk closer hope.
In the latest mock draft released this week by Baseball Prospect Journal, we get the third straight to put UNLV shortstop Bryan Stott in the Giants’ crosshairs. Meanwhile, Perfect Game’s latest mock draft puts Vanderbilt OF JJ Bleday in the Giants’ slot.
But one interesting read (that doesn’t require a subscription) was MLB.com’s Jim Callis doing an AMA on Reddit’s MLB Draft subreddit as the NFL draft raged. There’s not a lot of Giants’ specific stuff in this draft, but one interesting comment came when he was asked about Hunter Bishop and the Toronto Blue Jays, who draft at #11. Among his comments, he said…
Anyway, as of right now, I can’t see Bishop getting to 11.
Hunter Bishop would be a heck of a match with the Giants in many regards. He certainly could go before #10 as well. But with this comment, it’s at least somewhat reassuring that the Giants probably would be one of ten stopping points for him.
That’s…the best hope I’ve got for you. It’s going to be a long May waiting for that June draft date.
Rethinking The Leadoff Spot
Willie Harris has been making some interesting choices in Richmond’s batting order this season.
It’s no secret that Richmond has some offensive issues. Only five players in the entire lineup have batting averages over .200, and only two have an OPS over .850. The team average of .216 is third-worst in the league, as is their .634 OPS. With an 8-12 record, appropriately the third-worst in the league, Richmond has a need to make offense happen if they want to win.
So, Harris has been making some changes to the lineup this week, and part of it has been the leadoff spot.
So far this season, Levi Michael leads the team by starting 11 games as a leadoff hitter. But Michael has struggled this season, including a 7-game hitless streak going into the past week. He’s hitting .164/.266/.236 this year. The career .259 hitter is not a prototypical leadoff hitter as it is, not quite a top hitter nor a speedster, but he had been Harris’ top choice. Johneshwy Fargas, who is batting .185/.214/.222 has been his second choice, but obviously neither is hitting well.
This week, Harris shook it up.
The team’s leading hitter, Jonah Arenado, got a turn in the leadoff spot on Wednesday. He went 1-for-4 with a walk, not a bad day at lead off. But whether the 7-2 loss mattered or not, that was his only game at the spot. After Michael returned to the leadoff spot, a new move happened: Chris Shaw.
Shaw played both days on the weekend at leadoff. Shaw certainly doesn’t have the expected speed you’d want in a leadoff hitter, with exactly zero stolen base attempts in his minor league career (he tried it once in the majors and succeeded). Shaw is showing some on-base skills, with seven walks in 17 games. He has a .268/.359/.482 batting line. .359 is fourth-best on the team, so relatively speaking, that’s good. The best, Jacob Heyward, is injured, and Arenado was second-best. Shaw has gone 3-for-9 with a walk over the two games, so it hasn’t been bad, and they won one of the two games.
How long will Shaw last in the top spot? We’ll see. But one thing is for sure: Harris has his hands full trying to make that lineup produce.
Top Prospect Updates
Week: 4-for-9, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 SF, 1 HBP, .444/.500/1.000
Season: 17-for-63, 12 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 14 BB, 20 SO, 2 SB, 2 CS, .270/.422/.587
Yeah, you already know what the overriding thing about Ramos’ week is.
Week: 11.2 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 14 SO, 1 HR, 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Season: 24.2 IP, 24 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 6 BB, 29 SO, 3 HR, 4.01 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
A solid week for Anderson, as his season continues. He finished the week with a season-high nine strikeouts, which helped his numbers stand out a bit.
Week: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Season: 21.0 IP, 18 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 7 BB, 21 SO, 1 HR, 2.14 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
Webb had the most dominating start of the young season, striking out nine in five innings of work.
Week: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 2 HR, 3.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Season: 16.2 IP, 17 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 16 SO, 2 HR, 3.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Wong had the longest start of the season, although he got hit around a bit in it.
Week: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP
Season: 22.2 IP, 21 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 5 BB, 22 SO, 2 HR, 3.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Hjelle took his worst start of the season in the weekend’s doubleheader., but his overall numbers aren’t so terrible.
Week: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP
Season: 13.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 26 SO, 1 HR, 2.03 ERA, 0.60 WHIP
Vizcaino’s season hit a speed bump last week, but otherwise it’s been outstanding. More impressive, take out the one start where he allowed three runs with four walks, and his ERA is 0.00 and he’d have one walk and 24 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.
On the bright side, Raffi Vizcaino continues his outstanding start to the season out of the #SJGiants bullpen. Five strikeouts over two perfect innings tonight. FB was 97-98. — Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) April 25, 2019
Vizcaino 24 K’s in 12 innings this year. Only 3 hits allowed.
On the bright side, Raffi Vizcaino continues his outstanding start to the season out of the #SJGiants bullpen. Five strikeouts over two perfect innings tonight. FB was 97-98.
Vizcaino 24 K’s in 12 innings this year. Only 3 hits allowed.
Week: 9-for-21, 6 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 7 SO, .429/.454/.762
Season: 23-for-62, 12 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 2 BB, 18 SO, .371/.394/.613
Williamson’s 10-game hitting streak ended on Sunday, but he’s still having a fantastic start to his season.
Week: 8-for-23, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 7 SO, 1 CS, .348/.400/.565
Season: 17-for-73, 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 25 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, .233/.260/.384
Baldwin’s been waking up over the last week and a half, although he hasn’t been quite overwhelming. With two top players out, there will be opportunity in May for players to set up.
Sacramento Litter Box
- Zach Green got on base three out of four times, going 1-for-2 with his fifth home run and with two walks. He has 14 walks and 28 strikeouts this season.
- Stephen Vogt picked up his third home run as he aims to get back to the Majors and be Buster’s backup. It was his first home run in 12 games.
- Mac Williamson’s 10-game hitting streak ended with his 0-for-4 day.
- Shaun Anderson went a season-high six innings and a season-high nine strikeouts (and a season-high two walks).
- It’s been nine games since Jalen Miller’s last 2-hit effort. In that span, he was 3-for-30, and his batting average dropped from .375 to .242.
- Brock Stassi has been 5-for-9 over his last two games, and the slugger got his first home run of the season.
BRAND NEW BALLGAME.@brockstassi28 launches a two-run homer and we're all tied up 6-6 in the 8th pic.twitter.com/oGdCIo5fiD— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) April 28, 2019
- Alfred Gutierrez took the start. He gave up a season-high six hits, and has a .321 average allowed and a 1.98 WHIP.
- Heath Quinn is on a bit of a run over the last three games, 5-for-13 with a double, raising his average from .109 to .169.
- Ronnie Freeman has now played three games this season, two in San Jose. He has a hit in each game. He’s 4-for-11 over his three games, with his first home runs.
- Bryce Johnson got another hit and walk, and picked up his first stolen base in the last four games. He now has been successful on five of eight stolen base attempts.
- Logan Baldwin’s hit streak is now at ten. He’s batting .233/.260/.384 on the season.
- Matt Frisbee made his first start for San Jose, and struggled a bit. A home run led off the scoring against Frisbee, which all happened in one inning. Frisbee has given up four home runs in 20 innings of work this season.
- Frank Rubio went two scoreless innings, but allowed two walks. They were his first walks allowed in eight games, since walking two in his first game.
Augusta Putt-putt Course
- Ismael Munguia extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has yet to hit a home run this season, but has a solid .347/.388/.440 batting line this season.
- Wander Franco collected his third home run of the season, and first since April 16th.
- Jesus Ozoria made his season debut, filling in for the promoted Frisbee. TAhe 20-year old played last season in the DSL for Seattle, posting a 2.19 ERA in five starts and nine relief appearances. Ozoria was received in the Tom Murphy trade with Seattle this spring.
- Solomon Bates work the majority of the relief work. The three innings was almost his longest of the season. With his five strikeouts, he now has a 22:1 K:BB ratio in 15 innings.
Let’s get back to some uni-related stuff.
San Jose’s Copa de la Diversion identity of the Churros has a nice callout that’s as team-specific as it gets, giving honor to a long-time concessionaire at the stadium. But that’s not the only team-related jersey they’re doing.
Tonights Smash for Cash jerseys! pic.twitter.com/z88AXQsj9f— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) April 28, 2019
If you haven’t seen the “Smash For Cash” promo between innings, it’s one of the oddest and more unique promos I’ve seen in my travels. A big, really old, really EPA-offensive taco-truck-style truck drives out onto the field. Two Giants players are chosen, each throwing for a randomly selected fan. The goal? From about 10 feet away, they need to hit one of the headlights of the truck to smash it to win their sponsored fan some cash, and each have two throws to do it.
I know that the bible of minor league baseball for many fans is Bull Durham, but the reality is that minor league baseball has changed from that. Stadiums are (mostly) modernized, scoreboards are electronic and getting huge, mascots specifically only resemble stuffed animals, everything is well-produced, and in some ways, the experience has gotten a bit normalized, with gags you’ll see everywhere, from the fake “No answer” to a proposal, to inevitable musical chairs and race on funny objects at every park. Coming up soon, washing across the country, will be Bat Dogs. I’m not kidding, nor am I the only one to think it.
But Smash for Cash is a throwback promotion. It’s silly, it’s simple, it’s fast, it feels like what mischievous kids did on a summer day in Nebraska in 1956, and it definitely feels like something a marketing intern came up with in the days before you could google “What’s a great mid-inning promotion?” I love that the Giants did this.
Don’t bring it to Oracle Park, though. The Majors are not ready.