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SF Giants Minor Lines 5/10/19: Chris Shaw goes very deep

Among the odd goings on for a Friday night we have a walk off..pickle?

minor lines

The wheel in the sky keeps on turning. More and more and more transactions!

You have to really be impressed with the job Farhan Zaidi did in locating useful relief arms this winter. Gustave could easily be another guy ready to step in soon if/when guys like Vincent, Gott, Dyson, Smith find their way to competing clubs this summer. In a season where the entire NL East is featuring Fright-A-Night pens, it’s an impressive collection of essentially free arms the Giants have acquired recently.

HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw singled, doubled, homered, and walked; Jalen Miller had two hits with a homer; Ismael Munguia reached 4x and stole his 5th base; Jesus Tona struck out 4 over 3 scoreless innings.

Sacramento beat Fresno Grizzlies (Nationals), 7-6 in 10 inn
losing their four-game series, 1-3

For the second consecutive night, Sacramento took Fresno to extra innings, but the second time was the charm as they rescued one game in this four-game series away from the Grizzlies.

There was lots of late inning drama in this one. Hometown boy Brock Stassi had a triumphant return to the RiverCats when he hit a two-out double in the bottom of the 9th, bringing home Mike Yastrzemski with the game-tying run. Ryan Howard, making his AAA debut, followed with a line-drive single that could have walked it off, but Stassi was nailed at the plate to send the game into extras.

As the final batter of the 9th inning, Howard was then placed on 2b to start the bottom of the 10th. A ground out and a HBP set up 1st and 3rd, one out — leading us to an ending I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before: the Pickle Off!

Prior to all that excitement, this being a 2019 PCL game, there were naturally many many HRs! Sacramento got three roundtrippers in this game, and not from the usual sources. Ronnie Freeman went deep for the first time since June 26 of last year, while Levi Michael hit his 2nd of the year (in just 5 games in AAA). The RiverCats media team came up with an obscure stat after the game — Sacramento has hit 18 HRs this year on the first pitch of an at bat. That leads the PCL by a lot — the next closest team has just 12 such HRs. In fact, Sacramento is 2nd in the league in total HRs (65) despite playing in one of the more homer suppressing parks in the league.

Here, have some homers!

Speaking of free relief arms, Sam Moll continued his run of fine work since joining the team. The left-hander did give up his first run of the season, but he now has 10 Ks to just 1 BB in 8.2 IP so far and a WHIP of just 1.04.

Richmond lost at Bowie Baysox (Orioles), 8-5

The Squirrels were simply carved up and served for Thanksgiving dinner last night by veteran lefty Bruce Zimmermann (Thanksgiving Squirrel? Blech!), who struck out 11 Richmond batters in 5.2 IP and had more than twice that many swing throughs. In fact, other than maybe a Tim Lincecum game or two, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as many swing and misses from a team as I saw last night, as Zimmermann simply threw everything he had (which was basically a lively low 90s fastball, slider that broke down out of the zone and change) by every batter he saw. It was simply astonishing. It was simply one two- or three-swing strikeout after another!

However, Zimmermann tired in the 6th and for the briefest of moments the game looked like it might swing in Richmond’s favor. Walks to Fargas, Shaw, and Heyward loaded the bases with two outs and a reliever was brought in to face PH Gio Brusa. On a 3-2 count Brusa was rung up on a very questionable strike 3 call that ended the threat and prevented Richmond from tieing the game.

And in the bottom of that same inning, Caleb Baragar, Gio Brusa, and Melvin Adon combined to create a disastrous 6-run rally for the BaySox. Baragar couldn’t throw strikes, and he and Brusa missed connections on a one-hopper back to the mound. Adon was called in to get out of a bases loaded situation, but he had absolutely no idea where his pitches were going, and for the first inning couldn’t get his slider to do much but spin. He WP in a first run, and then after loading the bases again with a walk hung a 1-2 slider that was deposited in the trees for a Grand Slam that broke the game open.

Adon was better in his second inning of work, but it was a rough look from him last night, despite a steady parade of 101 and better (he topped at 103 in the looks I got). The slider was MIA, and there were a ton of fairly non-competitive 101s coming from his right arm last night.

Raffi Vizcaino had an effective AA debut, sitting 95 and topping out at 97 with a tight but inconsistent slider that produced some swing thrus.

The offense perked up a bit in the second half of the game, with Chris Shaw and Jalen Miller having particularly nice nights. The pair were the only hitters in the lineup to connect against Zimmermann for hits, each lining a single against the starter. Shaw ended up reaching base four times on the night, including a walk and two extra base hits. Their finest moment came in the 8th, when the pair pounced on former Oriole Pedro Araujo for back to back monster HRs.

Shaw’s double led to two more runs in the 9th, but a called strike three to Heyward mercifully ended the game seconds before a massive downpour was going to end it anyway.

Heyward didn’t have much success at the plate on the night — he was a Two True Outcomes guy, never putting a ball in play but still reaching base twice. However, he showed his athleticism with a tremendous play in RF, taking away at least a double with a great jump-and-close on a shot down the line.

San Jose lost at Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres), 6-4

The Padres are pretty universally considered to possess the best and deepest farm system in baseball right now, and the Next Wave of it currently resides in Lake Elsinore. Though the Storm haven’t had great success this year (they possess just a 16-19 record) they have by far the youngest team in the Cal League, littered with guys on the back half of the Padres Top 30 who would almost certainly be Top 10 players in the Giants system, like 19 year old RF Tirso Ornelas (#20 prospect by BA), 20 year old Catcher Luis Campusano (#19), 19 year old CF Jeisson Rosario (#22), 20 year old 2b Esteury Ruiz (#26) and 19 year old Eguy Rosario. Rosario isn’t even in BA’s top 30, but sits at #38 on Fangraphs list of the system and graded as a 40 FV player, or major leaguer role player. Can you imagine a guy not on the Giants top 30 being a 40 FV grade?

In other words, the Storm are a vision of what Farhan Zaidi would like San Jose to be in the not too distant future. Who they are in the present is a team starting 23 year old Casey Meisner, recently released by the Cardinals after posting a 9.78 ERA over 20 innings in his second season in the Texas League (AA). And a team playing 23 year old UDFA Zander Clarke at 1b for his 2019 debut. And getting two hits from 23 year old UDFA Kyle McPherson at 2b.

In fact, of the starting 9 who took the field for the A+ Giants last night, eight players were 23 or older. Manuel Geraldo, who will turn 23 in September, was the baby of the group.

Please bring back Heliot Ramos and Joey Bart, baseball gods!

Augusta lost at West Virginia Power (Mariners), 5-3
losing their four-game series, 1-3

Augusta jumped out to a 3-0 lead in trying to split their four game series with the Power, but a collectively disastrous 4th inning doomed them a series loss. The 4th inning included four walks (from two different pitchers), a wild pitch, a passed ball, and a play which included throwing errors by both the pitcher and the CF. It wasn’t good!

Blake Rivera was all over the place, walking six batters in just 3.1 IP. He only allowed two hits, but they came in the form of back to back extra base hits in the middle of the big 4th inning rally. The RHP pushed his ERA up to 4.32 and now has 18 walks in just 25 innings of work — so far he seems to be pursuing the Garrett Cave development model.

The Greenjackets used their team speed and a nice night from resurgent Diego Rincones in building their lead. Ismael Munguia led off the game with a single and immediately swiped his 5th base of the year before coming round on a Rincones’ RBI single to open the scoring. The diminutive 20 year old Nicaraguan is off to an excellent start to the year. He reached base three times last night to push his line up to .330/.385/.438 from the leadoff spot.

Aaron Bond stole his team leading 7th base in the next inning and scored on a Jose Layer double. And in the 3rd inning, a Rincones’ triple set up their third and final run of the night.

This was the second multi-hit game of the series for Rincones (and remember, half the series was 7 inning games), who went 6 for 15 in West Virginia with two extra base hits and 4 RBI. The bat-to-ball prodigy had dropped down to a .235 average by the end of their most recent homestand. Hopefully, he can springboard off this series to point the numbers back up again. Interestingly, after putting the ball in play for each of his first 26 PA of the year, Rincones looks to be working on refining his approach — he actually has a 6.6% BB rate now, while keeping a very manageable 16% K rate. Though he has 7 XBH including two triples, the LF is still looking for his first HR of the season.

After allowing his first runs of the season in a Blown Save last time out, Jesus Tona got right back on the beam throwing three shutout innings to close things out included 4 strikeouts. The squat RHP now has 24 Ks in 19 innings of work (9 BBs). Since being converted from Catching, Tona has 72 Ks and just 17 BBs in 51.1 professional innings while allowing just 7 ER. Perhaps it’s time to move the 23 year old more aggressively.

It should be noted that Tona did need a little help from his friends to escape unscathed:

Nobody does it alone in this game!

UPDATED! Speaking of Rincones, friend of blog Adam McInturff drops knowledge on Diego and many of his Greenjackets teammates with a new release of scouting notes at 2080 Ball

Today’s Scheduled Pitchers:
Sacramento (Enderson Franco) vs. El Paso (Logan Allen)
Richmond (Conner Menez) @ Bowie (Marcos Molina)
San Jose (Aaron Phillips) @ Lake Elsinore (TBD)
Augusta (Jake Wong) @ Lexington (Jonathan Bowlan)

Oh look! More Padres prospects. Sacramento takes on San Diego’s #8 prospect Logan Allen, who’s probably not far removed from Petco Field himself. Lower down, two of the Giants’ better pitching prospects hope to keep on a roll. Conner Menez struck out 8 while allowing just 1 hit in his last outing. That’s totally unimpressive to Jake Wong who hasn’t allowed a hit since April 24 — three starts ago. How long can the streak last? We’ll see tomorrow!

Everyone have a great Saturday night at the ballyard!