Beautiful day for All Star baseball. California League North All Stars visit the South in San Bernardino Ca. @66ersBaseball @CalLeague1 @ClubhouseCorner @MiLB Many photos from all the festivities later tonight. pic.twitter.com/sXnCdJvIjx— TheJerryEspinoza (@JEspinoza1634) June 18, 2019
Yes, it’s All-Star Day! Well, at least for the full-season A-Ball teams. The Giants lent three prospects to each All-Star Game, and we’ll take a look at who did what. But there is a lot going on up and down the system, now that the AZL is rolling, including four names on injury rehab.
Highlights: Henry Ramos was 3-for-4; The Squirrels gave scouts a good look at a Yankees prospect the Giants may try to trade for.
Uh oh, is it Henry Ramos’ turn on the patented Sacramento Outfielder Hot Streak™?
Well, no, probably not, but Ramos has been showing some life lately, and it’s been needed as the club is having some depth issues in the outfield lately (everyone, have you met Aramis Garcia, catcher and…uh, left fielder?). Ramos’ 3-hit day with his 12th double and two stolen bases gives him four multi-hit days over his last 11 games, and a 13-for-42 (.310) batting average with two doubles and three home runs over that span. He also picked up two stolen bases, giving him a total of three on the season. Ramos will have to do a lot more over a lot longer of a period to get Major League consideration, but Sacramento is reaping the gains.
Meanwhile, The River Cats managed just five hits among the rest of the team as they fell to Iowa. The only other extra-base hit belong to Travis Gerber, collecting his 15th home run with a 2-run shot in the 2nd inning. Gerber also has been on a bit of a tear, with five mutli-hit games over his last nine, going 12-for-41 (.293) with three doubles and three home runs in that nine game span. All three of those home runs have come in the last four games.
Yoanys Quiala had the rough start, giving up four earned runs on five hits and two walks. He wasn’t getting much help, though, as Sacramento combined for five errors! Ramos, Levi Michael, and Austin Slater each had one, and Aramis Garcia ended up with two. The River Cats bullpen didn’t have much news of note, although rehabbing Travis Bergen bounced back from giving up a pair of runs over the weekend with three strikeouts over two innings.
I specifically say that there wasn’t much news in the River Cats bullpen, because there was news in the Iowa bullpen. Making his season debut was Craig Kimbrel, recently signed by the Cubs after holding out until June because of draft pick compensation attached to him. Kimbrel pitched a quiet seventh inning, getting Ramos to fly out (his only out made), Slater to ground out and Chris Shaw to strike out to end the inning. It took him just eight pitches.
A quick note on Shaw, who had been really hot over the last week plus. Shaw went hitless, though he did pick up a sacrifice fly. Shaw has two hitless games out of his last three, and is batting .293/.364/.552 with Sacramento in 15 games.
Hey, okay, uh…let’s talk about a dream idea here.
The Squirrels went up against 20-year old Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia today. Garcia allowed a hit and a walk, and struck out 15. 15! The Squirrels are no offensive juggernaut, but still. Out of 21 batters, he did not strike out six of them. That’s the 4th double-digit strikeout game Garcia has had in the last nine he’s thrown. As the Yankees are talked about for a Madison Bumgarner trade partner, it’s hard not to like the idea of this guy coming back, despite being just 5’9”. It might be a pipe dream, as Deivi is the #4 ranked Yankees prospect, but one could hope. I hope the Giants had some scouts in New Jersey today.
As for the actual Giants prospects, there’s not much to say. The only two hits belonged to Gio Brusa, who actually hit his ninth double of the season off of Garcia. Brusa has slowly started to wake up a bit in Double-A, now 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles and a home run over his last four games.
Garrett Williams suffered the start, going just four innings and getting hit around a bit. The four earned runs was the most Williams had given up since May 17th, and the two strikeouts breaks a streak of four games with five or more.
I had to take a moment to shake my head after writing about that strikeout streak, after just writing about Deivi Garcia. Ugh.
Carlos Nava did get a nice looking pair of innings in relief with four strikeouts. Nava seemed to be getting a chance as a starter in Sacramento, but after some big struggles at the end of May, he was sent to extended spring training to work on some stuff, and about a week later, he came back to Richmond. He’s had two multi-inning relief appearances at Richmond since coming back, and has six strikeouts in 4.2 IP, with two hits.
The loss is the end of the first half, even though it doesn’t end the series with Trenton.
Heliot Ramos was undoubtedly the star of the San Jose All-Stars, and it didn’t take him long to get underway.
Ramos’ single to lead off the second inning was the start of a 3-run rally, a lead the North All-Stars would not give up. Ramos was one of five North All-Stars to stay in the entire game, but the second inning single would be his only hit in five at-bats. Ramos did get on thanks to an error in the eighth and later scored a second run.
Aaron Phillips getting in on the action. North team winning 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third. pic.twitter.com/YSK3lXDClw— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) June 19, 2019
Starting pitcher Aaron Phillips came into the game in the top of the third, with the North already up 3-0. It was a quiet inning, with Phillips getting two fly balls and striking out Lake Elsinore’s Esteury Ruiz (he’ll be back shortly). The first out was a tough one, though a San Jose teammate helped him.
Heliot Ramos just made a jumping catch at the warning track and slammed into the wall in center field to rob Ramon Marcelino of extra bases. Helped out his @SJGiants teammate Aaron Phillips on the mound there with that catch.— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 19, 2019
In the sixth inning, Camilo Doval came in throwing heat…
Camilo Doval (Giants) threw his first pitch of the sixth inning at 100 mph and his last pitch of the sixth inning at 100 mph.— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 19, 2019
On to the seventh we go. The North Division All-Stars lead the South Division All-Stars 3-1.
Unfortunately, the heat was not enough. The first batter he faced, Esteury Ruiz, took him deep. It was the only run the South All-Stars would score all game, and Doval did recover to finish off the inning. He was still throwing heat as the end.
The North defeated the South soundly, 7-1, helped by a late inning surge of four runs in the last three innings.
Augusta’s three All-Stars had a quiet All-Star Game in West Virginia.
The best day was had by Seth Corry, who threw the second inning. Corry struck out two of the four hitters he faced, although he did give up a hit, it was as good as he could be.
Fellow pitcher Jesus Tona came in for the 6th inning, after the South All-Stars had taken a 2-0 lead. It was an unusual appearance for the 23-year old. Tona walked the first batter he faced, and gave up a pair of hits around two outs, and Tona had given up a run and was lifted.
Augusta’s only hitter in the game was Ismael Munguia, who was batting ninth in the lineup. He was 0-for-3 on the day.
The game ended up heading up in the North’s favor. The eighth inning started with the South up 2-1, but the North team picked up four hits, including two doubles, to score five runs in the 8th to turn the tide.
This game started with very poor pitching at the front of the line, and it never recovered.
Last year’s 10th round pick Alex DuBord made his first pro start, and it didn’t last long. He couldn’t get through the second inning. DuBord made 10 relief appearances last season, and had a 10.32 ERA, allowing a .366 batting average allowed. Trevor Horn, the 39th round pick last season, came in for relief in his season debut, and lasted 1.2 innings to get 1.2 innings. Horn had a 5.02 ERA in 10 relief appearances with San Jose in April, but has been on the IL since then.
Things were quiet on the hitting side. Kwan Adkins had two hits, including his first double of the season. Adkins has at least a hit in all five games he’s played this season, going 6-for-21 (.286). Jeff Houghtby had the team’s other 2-hit game, picking up a walk as well.
The most interesting bit of offense came from someone without even a hit. Simon Whiteman stood out on the basepaths, stealing three bases (including third twice) despite only having a walk. In the second inning, he walked with a runner on third. As he was on first, he apparently was bothering Spokane starter Forencio Serrano, getting a pickoff throw his way that got away, allowing the runner on third to score. Whiteman went on to steal second and third. In the seventh, Whiteman reached and went to second when he hit into an error to the second baseman. He stole third from that as well. Whiteman also picked up an error, but it was an impressive showing for him.
The Noir Squad showed off some big run scoring in day two of the AZL season, and the biggest day was for 18-year old Jean Pena. Pena, batting seventh and playing third base, was 4-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. Pena was 0-for-3 with a walk in Game 1, so his batting average is just .571 after the small sample size. Pena hit .237/.355/.395 in the DSL last season, so there wasn’t a lot of groundwork laid for being a big prospect, but he had at least one nice day. He also had two errors, but we’ll stick with the positive.
Another nice day came out of Harrison Freed, who went 3-for-4 in his second game, although no extra base hits yet for the Big East slugger. 18-year old Jairo Pomares also picked up a pair of hits batting cleanup, and stole a base as well. Catcher Matt Malkin (who was signed as an undrafted free agent) was 2-for-4 with his first double of the season. And first baseman Carter Aldrete also picked up his first double in a 2-hit day.
The pitching staff featured a nice season debut for a starter, and two very familiar names in relief. Sonny Vargas, an 18-year old Venezuelan, made his US debut with five shutout innings, allowing just two hits. He only got one strikeout. Vargas had a 3.23 ERA in the DSL last season working mostly as a starter, but had just 48 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.
LHP Sonny Vargas (18.7Y) is also making his stateside debut tonight. Starting for AZL Giants Black. Vargas and Sanchez were probably the best pitchers for the 2018 DSL Giants, statistically. 88-92 FB, developing CB.— GPT (@giantsprospects) June 19, 2019
In the bullpen, two familiar names were getting some rehab work done. Nolan Riggs had made three appearances in Richmond to start the season before going on the IL. This was his first game back, pitching a scoreless inning. Later, Mac Marshall made his season debut after missing the first half, also working a scoreless inning. Marshall was last seen in 2018, putting up a 5.43 ERA as a starter for San Jose.
The Oranges box score was certainly a mix of highs and lows.
Let’s start with the highs. 19-year old Alexander Canario had a 3-hit game, collecting both of the Orange squad’s extra base hits with his first double and triple of the season. Canario had a lot of buzz going into last season, but he had just a .250/.357/.403 line in the AZL last season, with just five doubles, two triples and six home runs. This year, his 4-for-7 after just two games. Luis Toribio also picked up a single after his 3-hit start, and is 4-for-8 in his US debut.
On the low side, two prospects with a lot of buzz continued slow starts. Marco Luciano is hitless in his first eight at-bats, and struck out two times, giving him three on the season. He got on base for the first time, getting hit by a pitch. PJ Hilson (6th round, 2018 draft) got the sombrero with four strikeouts in four at-bats. Hilson was getting some raves for his raw talent in extended spring training. He’s 1-for-7 with five strikeouts so far this season.
18-year old Juan Sanchez made the start and his US debut, and sturggled a bit. He gave up four runs on four hits and two walks, striking out three across five innings. Sanchez had a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts in the DSL last season, with 63 strikeouts against 13 walks in 61 innings.
LHP Juan Sanchez (18.7Y) making his stateside debut tonight for AZL Giants Orange. He had a good debut season in the DSL as a 17-year old. Mid to upper 80s FB, feel for a breaking ball, throws strikes, listed 6'2" 165. 2018 Mid-season DSL All-Star.— GPT (@giantsprospects) June 19, 2019
Like the Black squad, familiar names were in rehab in the AZL. Heath Quinn missed a month after going on the IL in May, and was 0-for-2 in his first rehab game, but got a 1-for-3 in his second rehab game today. Rodolfo Martinez made his first appearance since May 17th, with a scoreless inning of work. Martinez had a 8.74 ERA in 10 appearances with Richmond before going on IL.
The Giants first chance to make up ground on division leader Pirates2, found them locked in a tight 5-5 battle going into the bottom of the 8th. But Robinson Escobar, who has been perhaps the team’s best reliever in the early going, had a disastrous outing that led to defeat. Escobar walked the first two batters in the 8th inning, threw away an attempted Sacrifice Bunt, and then walked two more. He’d ultimately walk 5 batters without completing an inning. Escobar came into the game with 10 Ks and just 3 BBs over 7.1 IP on the year.
Prior to that downer of an ending, the Giants saw several encouraging things on the day. Seventeen year old Jose Peralta is proving to be quite the hit king in the season’s first month. The middle infielder picked up three more hits including a triple, pushing his average to .358 (19 for 53). Peralta has hits in 12 of his past 13 games including five multi-hit efforts. He has just three extra base hits on the year, and interestingly they have all been triples! We can surmise he’s a speedy contact type hitter. Peralta also has an excellent plate discipline ratio with 8 BBs and 12 Ks.
Luis Matos has just one hit but it was his 2nd HR of the year. The CF is hitting .311 with a .533 SLG over his first 50 PA.
Catcher Rayner Santana was showing off a bit behind the plate — the strong armed 16 year old picked off two batters at 3b in the game! Don’t see that every day!
Today’s Scheduled Starters
Sacramento will have the day off
Richmond (Brandon Lawson) at Trenton (Nick Nelson)
San Jose will have the day off as part of the All-Star Break
Augusta will have the day off as part of the All-Star Break
Salem-Keizer (TBD) vs. Spokane (TBD)
It’ll be a short slate tomorrow for the Giants, with Sacramento, San Jose and Augusta taking the day off, the latter two as part of the All-Star Break. It’ll be a good day to focus on the short seasons. Hopefully, that means Marco Luciano will get plenty of spotlight for his first official pro hit tomorrow.
Have a good one, everyone. Please drive safely.