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SF Giants Minor Lines 5/4/19: Empire trounces rebel alliance

The empire strikes back, as Giants go 0-4 on night

minor lines

The force was definitely not with the Giants’ org on Star Wars night, as the gritty rebels were pummeled in skirmishes all across the universe. Maybe fewer stormtroopers next time? I’m just saying — they lose a lot, you know!

But it looks like fun was had anyway:

HIGHLIGHTS: Mac Williamson reached based 4 times; Melvin Adon struck out 5 over 2.2 IP; Frankie Tostado homered and doubled.

Sacramento lost to Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 7-6

The RiverCats jumped all over Arizona’s #2 prospect Jon Duplantier, back in the PCL after making his third spot start of the season for the Diamondbacks. Duplantier lasted just 0.2 of an inning, during which time he walked three RiverCat hitters and surrendered this booming two-run triple to Aramis Garcia.

Walks would continue to bolster Sacramento’s offense, as they drew 10 in the game. They would get another timely big hit later from the other Garcia — Anthony — who now has five hits and six RBIs in the last three games. That stretch includes two doubles and a HR.

However, from there things did not go quite so well for the Cats. Olbis Parra, just stepping up from San Jose for some fill in work, created problems for himself when he issued back to back 2-out walks to load the bases. He appeared to get out of it with a fly ball to CF, but Henry Ramos flubbed it for a bases-clearing error that jump-started the Aces comeback.

They would complete it against Sam Coonrod, who opened the 8th with back to back singles and then a crushing three-run homer. After starting the year with five consecutive scoreless appearances — during which he struck out 10 over 5.2 IP — Coonrod has been taking it on the chin a bit lately. He’s now allowed 11 runs and 15 hits in his past 6.1 IP (7 appearances).

The best relief stint came in the form of 2 scoreless innings from Sam Moll, who’s now thrown 5.2 shutout innings with 5 Ks to 1 BB. The LH Moll was selected from Toronto in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft — so unlike Travis Begen the Giants are under no particularly onerous roster constrictions to keep him. Moll was the extremely rare minor league Rule 5 pick who actually has some major league time, having appeared in 11 games for Oakland in 2017 before succumbing to injury in 2018. An interesting LHP depth piece to keep an eye on.

Richmond lost to Altoona Curve (Pirates), 8-3

LHP Sandro Cabrera, who opened 2019 in XST, was sent to Richmond to help cover their thinned rotation for the start. Though he started out strong, with 2 Ks in his opening inning, by the 3rd Sandro was out of gas and the Curve blitzed Richmond with a huge 7 run rally that effectively iced the game. The Curve succeeded best by just watching pitches go by, as Cabrera and Chase Johnson combined to walk 6 batters in the inning. Johnson tossed in a run scoring WP as well.

So ends the competitive report of the game. But in the anti-climactic aftermath the Squirrels put on some very interesting power displays.

Heath Quinn started the year glacially cold, but his bat is starting to show signs of life with 10 hits last 8 games. That stretch now includes 2 HRs from the big power bat. Yesterday’s PH HR finally pushed is average over the Mendoza Line. His OPS is still just .598 but at least things are trending in the right direction. The HR in Richmond’s home park was also notable thanks to this little nugget of information:

In fact, Richmond is tied for 2nd most HRs in the Eastern League, behind Hartford which effectively plays in the Coors Field of the EL. Who knew the Squirrels had assembled such a power squad!

But, of course, I’m burying the lede here, because the REAL power came from the electric right arm of Melvin Adon.

Adon started the year looking curiously hittable, perhaps because the early spring chill wasn’t allowing him to get fully stretched out. But he’s hitting his stride now with 13 strikeouts in his past 4 games (8 IP). For the season, Adon has 19 Ks and 9 BBs in 15 innings, and he’s interestingly being used consistently in multi-inning stints. Last night he went 2.2 IP and his fastball stayed over the century mark for at least the first two of those innings. This is the Adon we were waiting for! Whew indeed!

And hey, before we go, since the Richmond social media people are being so generous with the highlights, let’s watch Levi Michael flash some leather.

Thanks definitely go to the Squirrels — they’re a must follow on Twitter as they are pushing out highlights with a passion. Squirrels management really gets it!

San Jose lost to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers), 7-3

Let’s let Joe Ritzo sum up just how bad the bad news is here:

Yeah, things are getting ugly at the Muni for the injury-thinned Giants. That’s now 10 losses in the last 12 games for San Jose which is really struggling to maintain any sort of competitiveness at this point.

The team got three 2019 debuts on the mound last night, two coming back from surgery with Caleb Simpson returning from a torn lat muscle and former Astro Jandel Gustave making his return from Tommy John surgery — both quite successfully!

Pitchers are moving around the organization in a dizzying blitz of transactions as all of the full season affiliates struggle to fill spot starts and bullpen roles. The lack of consistency probably is helping the results any, though last night it was starter Aaron Phillips — who has been in San Jose’s rotation all year — who absorbed most of the damage. The Dodgers #13 prospect Jeter Downs, who came over from the Reds in the Puig/Wood deal, swung the biggest stick last night with two home runs.

At this point San Jose’s season appears to be a death march through the first half and the hope that the return of Bart and Ramos, and perhaps elevation of Hjelle, will give them a boost for a 2nd half run.

Augusta lost to Hagerstown Suns (Nationals), 5-4

The GreenJackets dropped their second straight tight contest to the Suns though they did manage to maintain their share of first place in the Sally Southern Division. Jesus Ozoria, picked up from Seattle in exchange for longtime Giant Tom Murphy, made his second start for Augusta and was generally solid. Ozoria was touched up for 3 runs in the top of the first, but righted the ship thereafter. The 20 year old RHP is making a big leap, having pitched only in the DSL thus far in his career.

It’s possibly gotten lost in the shuffle, but Keaton Winn is being used in a very interesting way so far this year. Last year’s 5th rounder has effectively pitched as a piggy-back starter this year — the only such pitcher in the org as far as I can tell. With the exception of a single 1 inning appearance, all of Winn’s relief efforts have gone either 4 or 5 innings. And his work has been the equal of any of Augusta’s starters — in 23 IP Winn has posted a 2.74 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and a .233 BA. He’s struck out 19 against just 2 BB. And he’s been something of a ground ball machine as well — in yesterday’s game he picked up 10 ground ball outs against just one fly ball out. Unfortunately, there was another fly ball that went out, Winn’s second HR allowed on the year, and that ball ended up making the difference in the game.

On offense, the Jackets were remarkably efficient scoring 4 runs on just 5 hits, though four of those five hits went for extra bases. Once again the big bat was 1b Frankie Tostado who went deep for the 5th time this year to lead off the 2nd inning:

Tostado has shown excellent power the opposite way this year which is always a good sign for a youngster. In his next at bat he roped a double down the right field line. The lefty now has 13 extra base hits among his 30 hits on the year, boosting him to a .242 Iso. In the immortal words of the great Reggie Jackson “if you’re gonna stand in the corner, you better lean on the pole.” So far this year the 1b has been leaning on the pole to the tune of a .316/.375/.558 line. That’ll do!

In the end a tough one-run loss. At 14-13, Augusta is now tied for 1st with the Charleston RiverCats. They try to get back to their winning ways this afternoon, where I’m sure the crowd will be having a great time at the ballyard regardless of the final score.

And lastly, our good friend and awesome producer of Giants’ minor league content @GPT made another visit to the Giants’ XST camp yesterday:

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Ty Blach) vs. Reno (TBD)
Richmond (Conner Menez) vs. Altoona (Scooter Hightower)
San Jose: (DJ Myers) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (Victor Gonzalez)
Augusta: (Jake Wong) vs. Hagerstown (Francys Peguero)

Lefties dominate the slate, but Jake Wong represents the right-side of things. Ty Blach returns from wearing a rough outing against the Dodgers this week, and tries to get his 2019 headed in the right direction. While Conner Menez looks to bounce back from his first rough outing of the year. All in all though, Menez is continuing to establish himself as a potentially useful major league arm, posting a 2.49 ERA so far and pairing that with, again, excellent peripherals. Menez has 31 Ks vs 9 BBs so far in 25.1 IP this year.

Maybe the force will be with us today. Enjoy Cinco de Mayo everyone!