As we approach the annual amateur draft, it’s been a fascinating week for the sport’s ongoing attempts to suppress player signing bonuses. First came the stunning news of Scott Boras and Carter Stewart’s bold and brilliant end run around the draft, which our own Kenny Kelly explored yesterday. It sounds like this is an “agreement” and the deal hasn’t been officially signed yet, which means there could still be some posturing involved here. But Buster Olney’s remark that this reminds him of Andy Messersmith’s and Dave McNally’s historic move isn’t completely hyperbole. Kiley McDaniel has a few thoughts on the matter here.
ICYMI this week, wrote up the Carter Stewart signing along with 6 big takeaways https://t.co/g9fJDet6wx also had @JeffPassan on the pod with @longenhagen and spent the full hour on what an international draft could mean https://t.co/GTFmj3BvFL chat coming tomorow, mock next week!— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) May 23, 2019
In the same week, MLB appears to be doubling down on trying to reduce potential bonuses for players seeking to enter their industry as Ben Badler brings word that MLB is working with Latin American trainers to institute an international draft that would hard slot 450 new players every year, with an eye towards implementing this in the next two seasons.
An international draft might be coming.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) May 23, 2019
Here's the latest, including a 15-round draft concept MLB discussed just recently: https://t.co/UduW4cjfYR
It would be interesting to see Japan get involved in the Dominican market, too (of course, NPB clubs currently have caps on how many foreign players can be rostered).
That’s a lot of big news for a holiday weekend!
HIGHLIGHTS: Ray Black returned; Bryce Johnson had four hits; John Gavin struck out 5, allowed one hit over 4 IP.
Sacramento lost to Salt Lake Bees (Angels), 7-1
I hope you weren’t coming here looking for offensive highlights this morning because they are nowhere to be found! Sacramento was one of three affiliates that managed just 1 run last night. In fact, the RiverCats managed just three hits in this game which under 2019 PCL rules is, I believe, cause for instant relegation down to the Cal League.
After pushing across their lone run of the night in the third on an Abiatal Avelino ground ball, Sacramento watched as Salt Lake ran off 6 unanswered runs the rest of the night, most of them off Ty Blach who is really scuffling with his return to AAA. Blach’s 2019 ERA is now up to 6.41, which is bad, even in the PCL-universe.
The best news for the Cats came out of the bullpen. LHP Sam Selman continued his dominance, throwing a perfect 1.2 innings with 3 Ks. Selman has allowed just 3 earned runs on the year (split between Richmond and Sacramento) over 24 IP. With Sacramento he’s featuring a tiny 0.71 WHIP, with just 5 walks and 7 hits allowed in 17 innings while striking out 27. Another pretty nice lefty option. Hang around, Sam, there may be some open spots for LH relievers coming later on in the summer.
And then this happened!
Making his first appearance since....well, a long time ago. Ray Black. pic.twitter.com/7hZKU7k6H5— River Cat Tales #ForeverRC (@R_CatTales) May 24, 2019
Black had some rust which showed in his control and wasn’t at his normal peak-Black velo. He started out around 96 or so, but gradually warmed his way up a bit:
Just hit 98.— Kristin (@legaleagle88) May 24, 2019
99!— Kristin (@legaleagle88) May 24, 2019
Richmond lost to Reading Fightin’ Phils, 6-1
losing their series, 1-2
Up to six hits...progress! But yeah, otherwise, it’s “second verse...same as the first...”
Chris Shaw and Jonah Arenado managed two hits apiece, which was two-thirds of the team’s offense. The pair teamed up on the lone run of the night thanks to an extraordinarily unusual occurance. Allow me to draw your attention to....
That would be the first stolen base of Shaw’s minor league career in 443 games played. Astonishingly, he does have a major league SB in his 22 game stint last September. So now the accounts are balanced. Chris will apparently do anything to get out of Richmond! Anyway, that led to the highlight:
.@SHAWESOME24 singles, @ArenadoJonah drives him home— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) May 24, 2019
We're on the board in the 8th pic.twitter.com/Bza8k6Om7z
Jacob Heyward, recently moved up to the leadoff spot, took a hat trick in the game. His K/BB ratio is starting to get a tiny bit out of balance at 40/26 now, so hopefully he can right that ship again going forward. Jalen Miller had one of each last night — his 11% walk rate this year is nearly twice his previous career high, though the batting average has slipped down to .241.
Perhaps after a dud of a game, it’s only right to take a moment to spotlight a man who’s been working tirelessly behind the scenes every day of the Squirrels’ existence to give the players and fans the best experience possible.
ICYMI, here's our pregame conversation with the one and only @Steve_Ruckman, now the proud owner of a golden rake!— Jake Eisenberg (@JakeEisenberg_) May 23, 2019
San Jose beat Modesto Nuts (Mariners), 6-1
winning their series, 2-1
Finally! My kingdom for some runs! San Jose continued their abrupt season turnaround, and fitting the Organizational Theme of 2019, they’re doing it with some major roster churn.
#SJGiants knock out 13 hits in a 6-1 win over Modesto tonight. SJ takes 2 of 3 in series. Johnson 4-for-4. Hawkins 3 hits. Maris with his first homer of the year. Phillips 5 IP, 1 R gets the win. Gavin 4 IP, 0 R, 5 SO collects his first save. Up next: 3-game series at Visalia.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 24, 2019
Four members of yesterday’s box score (Peter Maris, Courtney Hawkins, Fabian Pena and Randy Norris) have played 7 or fewer games this year, and two of them (Maris and Hawkins) have made their organizational debut within the last week. Heck, Zander Clarke, who came up from XST back on May 10 is practically old hat by now — and hitting just .184 he’d better watch out that New Hat doesn’t come along to replace him pretty soon.
Maris has been on fire since joining the Giants, going 9 for 21. Coming off his first hitless game it was time to take thing up a notch, so the DH went deep for his first time on the year. Though hardly known as a slugger, Maris is belting out a cool .810 SLG thus far with San Jose.
The Giants got tremendous pitching from both ends of their piggy back tandem. Aaron Phillips set the tone, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits over 5 innings. Then lefty John Gavin played a little one-upsmanship, going 4 scoreless on just 2 hits, while striking out 5. The hometown kid is enjoying a fine season in long relief in his return to San Jose. His ERA is down to 3.26 and he’s K’d 34 against just 13 walks in 30.1 innings.
Augusta lost to Rome Braves, 3-1
Yep, now we’re back to “you’ve lost that loving feeling” as the runs dried up again. But speaking of “who the heck are these guys?” Augusta had two different organizational debuts on the mound last night as they look to replace the pitchers who’ve moved on up, so let’s introduce, thanks to the inestimable GPT:
Giants signed RHP Keith Weisenberg (23.5Y, 6’5” 195) to a minor league contract. He was a 2017 14R pick by ATL out of Stanford. He was released last week. 91-92 FB t95, low 80s SL, command issues.— GPT (@giantsprospects) May 23, 2019
Career (Rookie to High-A): 103.1IP 111H 43BB 97K.
Giants acquired RHP Matt Seelinger (24.1Y, 6’0” 205) as the PTBNL from TB. He was a 2017 28R pick by PIT out of Farmingdale State. Good debut in NYPL. Traded to TB in 2018.— GPT (@giantsprospects) May 20, 2019
Career: 84IP 67H 29BB 111K. Low 90s FB with a good CB.
A really good read about Seelinger here: https://t.co/rV5mLb8gV9— GPT (@giantsprospects) May 20, 2019
Again, improving organizational depth and talent is the goal of 2019 (and likely 2020 and 2021). There should be no confusion about what the brass thinks of the talent that was on hand when Bobby Evans was dismissed. The world is going to keep on churning...
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Tyler Beede) vs. Salt Lake (Patrick Sandoval)
Richmond (Caleb Baragar) @ Akron (Tanner Tully)
San Jose (Casey Meisner) @ Visalia (TBD)
Augusta (TBD) vs. Rome (Gabriel Noguera)
Well that was a rather lackluster and disappointing Minor Lines. Get that groove back tonight fellows!
I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have goooot no rhythm pic.twitter.com/vXUfr9Yibr— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) May 24, 2019