Somewhat lost in the night that Heliot Ramos took a swing so mighty he twisted his knee and left us disconsolate and lonely for a month and gloom and sadness covered the land of Grim.... wait, what? Where was I going with this? Oh yes! I remember! Lost on the night of the Eternal Heliot-less Darkness...sorry, sorry... was 3b David Villar taking a fastball off the elbow and also heading to the IL. Villar, who led the Northwest League in extra base hits last year, returned to action Tuesday night and true to form cranked out a double in his first four at bats. But that was just a taste of things to come. Put on your disco pants, David, cuz we are going clubbing!
David Villar clubs first of two HRs on day. First two in Cal Lg. Villar went on IL same day as Heliot Ramos pic.twitter.com/b0aw7sPtCF— Roger Munter (@rog61) May 17, 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: Conner Menez struck out 9 over 6 IP; David Villar homered twice and walked twice; Jake Wong threw 6 shutout innings;
Sacramento suffered a rare rain out in Fresno
Tickets for Thursday's game may be exchanged for any future home game this season, except July 4.— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) May 17, 2019
A single-admission doubleheader vs. @RiverCats will be tomorrow (Friday) at Chukchansi Park, beginning at 5:05 p.m. #Growlifornia https://t.co/T1RBSFKXka
One could forgive Conner Menez a silent thought of “Wasn’t my fault” as the left-hander was once again brilliant over 6 innings. Menez had the Ducks swinging at air all night long, piling up 9 strikeouts for the second time this year. In fact, it was the sixth time that Menez has had 9 or more Ks in his 22 career starts in AA. Menez moved into 2nd place in the Eastern League in Ks, behind Erie’s Matt Manning (Tigers #2 prospect) with 51 in 41.2 IP.
That’s a lot of whiffing!
Menez did allow a solo HR to tie the game in his final inning of work — which moved his ERA UP to 2.38 — but his effort was little short of sensational nevertheless.
The bats, unfortunately, just couldn’t support him. Once again the 12-24 Squirrels couldn’t manage to get both elements of their game in sync. Johneshwy Fargas provided all the runs Richmond would manage on the night with an off-field slicing single, and some creative OF play from RF Conner Marabell.
Chris Shaw had the team’s lone extra base hit, cracking his sixth double while also working a walk. It’s hard to determine how to interpret Shaw’s AA numbers this year. It’s true that his BB/K numbers are far superior to last year in Sacramento when he posted just a 5% walk rate against a woeful 34% K rate. But they’re actually slightly lower than when he was last in AA, two seasons ago. The K rate is quite similar: 16.9% in 2017, 15.9% now; but the walk rate was actually better in 2017: 11.7% compared to this season’s 9.8%. He’s SLG more this time, with an excellent Iso of .265, but all of that comes in his third shot at the league at age 25. ‘Tis a puzzlement.
San Jose beat Inland Empire 66ers (Angels), 7-1 in Gm 2 (7 inn)
sweeping their series, 3-0
#SJGiants 3B David Villar blasts one 407 feet to left here in the second inning for his first California League home run. Second game back off the IL for Villar.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 16, 2019
As noted at the top, David Villar was the hero. The 3b hit HRs in each of the two games — erasing 66er leads with both swings. He also drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the 7th, that led to the walk off win in the opener. For the day he reached base safely in 4 of his 6 PA with 2 HRs and 2 BBs (he also struck out once for quite the TTT Ratio).
(Love the shadow play there by LF Kevin Williams, Jr.).
Villar’s heroics were the story in the lid-lifter, but in the nightcap (well, evening-cap really) things were spread out a bit more evenly among several newcomers. Peter Maris, the Rule 5 pick from Tampa Bay picked up two hits, capping a day in which he reached base in 6 of 7 PA with 3 hits and 3 walks, and also stole a base. And Catcher Fabian Peña, the 25th round pick last year out of the University of Manhattan, went deep for the second time in his three games with San Jose. Peña has three hits with the Giants and all three have gone for extra bases. The 22-year old hit .309/.376/.588 last year in the AZL, though it was in truth a low level for a college player.
Fabian Pena goes deep for his second HR since joining San Jose. Big day for newcomers as David Villar has also gone deep twice pic.twitter.com/TMunnrLrBu— Roger Munter (@rog61) May 16, 2019
San Jose got through the double header with just four pitchers, clamping down on a struggling 66ers offense. After Aaron Phillips surrendered 2 runs in the top of the 1st inning, Inland Empire would manage just 1 more over the next 13 innings. Camilo Doval finished things up with two scoreless innings to send the fans home happy with their afternoon. Following established pattern, Doval has now allowed just 4 runs over his last 12 appearances (17.2 IP) after allowing 7 runs in his first 1.1 innings of the year. The ERA is all the way down to 5.21!
Camilo Doval indices lots of swing thrus w whippet 95 mph fb and hard slider pic.twitter.com/AOkYWvYny1— Roger Munter (@rog61) May 17, 2019
Newcomers are helping the Giants find their footing a bit as they sweep a series for the first time this year. Still hope this team can get themselves into a second half groove once the stars come back from the injured list and maybe a big tall galoot finds his way from coast to coast.
Augusta lost to Columbia Fireflies (Mets), 5-3
losing their series 1-2
On the eve of a crucial four-game series against 1st place Charleston, Augusta blew a golden opportunity, when Ryan Walker surrendered 5 runs in the top of the 9th, ruining an excellent Jake Wong start and dropping a series that should have been theirs.
Before that disastrous 9th, the Greenjackets followed a familiar pattern: excellent starting pitching and just enough hitting. Jake Wong was once again terrific, with 6 more shutout innings, though he did allow a scandalous four hits. Wong has gone 6 innings in each of his past 5 starts and allowed just 4 total runs in that time. His season ERA is down now to 1.99 and his WHIP sits at a miniscule 0.91. He’s not missing as many bats as he did in Salem-Keizer, with just 34 Ks in 40.2 IP, so we’ll see how the overall package plays at the higher level. We’ve certainly seen college guys dominate the Sally recently but then hit a speed bump when moving up to the Cal. For Jake, it might be getting about time to test his transition ability.
Diego Rincones, who drove in one of the team’s runs last night, has raised his batting average 40 points since May 6. The LF has gone 14 for 36 over that period, albeit with just three extra base hits. Rincones is still looking for his first Sally league HR.
For more on Wong, he was the subject of a Melissa Lockhard piece in The Athletic just this week:
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Dereck Rodriguez) @ Fresno (Mario Sanchez) Gm 1
Sacramento (Ty Blach) @ Fresno (J.J. Hoover) Gm 2
Richmond (TBD) vs. Akron (Aaron Civale)
San Jose (Casey Meisner) vs. Lake Elsinore (MacKenzie Gore)
Augusta (TBD) @ Charleston (TBD)
Whew! That’s a lot of unknowns! Two-fifths of last years’ Giants rotation — and maybe two-fifths of later this year’s — goes up against the Grizzlies. Casey Meisner and his one-too-many syllables faces the young talented Storm lineup and one of the top pitching prospects in the game. I’d recommend dropping by Excite park and checking it out if you’re looking for fun on a Friday night!
Before we go, Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs have finally dropped their Giants Top Prospects List and it’s a real conversation starter — particularly the love for the ridiculously tooled up Patrick Hilson. But more important than the list are the detailed write-ups and look into what we might expect of a Zaidi led acquisition and development group. A great morning read, complete with brilliant sentences like this:
It’d be somewhat terrifying to acquire Doval if the outcome of a trade for him dictated one’s job security, but his stuff is bewitching
Top 29 Prospects: San Francisco Giants https://t.co/8DBzAQj6Zi— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) May 17, 2019
We’ve almost made it to the weekend everybody! Enjoy some ball!