The solstice brings us roughly to the halfway point of the season. What have we learned? What do we know? How do we feel as we reach summer’s warmth at last? Feel free to post your mid-season reflections below!
My reflection? This is fun to watch!
HIGHLIGHTS: Austin Slater reached base 6 times including two doubles, homer; Conner Menez struck out 12, allowed 1 run; Marco Luciano had four hits including homer and SB.
Hi altitude? Bah! Low-seamed major league ball? Not a bother! Conner Menez acted like he was right back in Richmond, mowing down the high powered Aviators’ offense for 5.1 innings and reaching a career high in strikeouts with 12! In three starts since being promoted to AAA, Menez has now posted a season high in K’s each time! At this rate he’ll be up to 15 K’s by mid-July! That’s 31 strikeouts against just 5 walks in 16.1 innings in the PCL. He’s allowed just 6 earned runs — nearly all of which have come via the long ball, as was the case yesterday. Still, rack up the Ks and surrender the occasional solo HR? Perfectly good recipe for success. Mr. Pomeranz, I might be looking over my shoulder at about this point were I you? Regardless, the 14th round pick from The Master’s College seems almost certain to have a 2019 major league debut in his future before all is said and done.
Aviators weren’t just flailing at Menez’ offerings. They ended up with 21 Ks on the game against Sacramento pitching. They did, however, batter Jandel Gustave for a 4-run comeback in the bottom of the 9th that sent the game into extra innings.
The RiverCats then reasserted themselves, putting up a 6-spot in the top of the 10th. Run-scoring doubles from Ryan Howard and Austin Slater keyed the rally. Slater had a huge night — reaching base safely SIX times! That included two doubles, his 12th homer of the year, a single and two walks. Hard to be much more productive than that!
Excellent reaction from Parker Dunshee there! Slater’s OPS is just two point shy of 1.000 now, though that kind of production is good for “only” a 140 wRC+.
Brandon Beachy picked up his second pro win in the last four years going 6 strong innings and allowing just one run. Beachy was supported by three solid innings from Raffi Vizcaino and Tyler Cyr to lock down the win.
LF Gio Brusa went very deep for the second straight night. Brusa also walked twice on the night and now has a AA OPS up to .837, which coincidentally is almost exactly the same wRC+ as Slater’s .998 is good for up in the PCL (though I’ll caveat once again that wRC+ like most advanced metrics isn’t really made for nor tested in minor league environments and doesn’t include all the same factors).
This one is WAAAAY gone— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) June 22, 2019
Gio Brusa crushes a long homer for the second straight night and we're leading 4-1 in the 8th pic.twitter.com/bvYC06fFWA
Starter Jake Wong gave up a crooked number early and Camilo Doval gave up a crooked number late, and the two big innings combined to sink the Giants on a rainy night in Stockton.
David Villar led a solid all around offensive attack. Villar doubled and homered as part of a 10-hit attack that also included two-hit nights from Joey Bart, Bryce Johnson, and Manuel Geraldo. Heliot Ramos singled and walked. Much of the damage came against A’s #2 prospect AJ Puk, who gave up a lot of hard contact in his 3+ innings of work including singles to both Ramos and Bart, and doubles to Villar and Geraldo.
Bart’s hit just .224 since returning from the IL as he works to get back up to game speed and regain his hand strength. Last night he got the rare opportunity to show off his speed, stealing his first base of the year (he had two SBs in Salem-Keizer last year).
After pushing his OPS up to a high of 1.017 on June 13, Ramos has endured a 3 for 22 slide, dropping it down to .909. Your periodic reminder: he’s still 19.
But San Jose saw their 5-4 lead fritter away when Camilo Doval surrendered four runs in the bottom of the 8th. Doval threw fewer than half his pitches for strikes, walked two and was behind every hitter he faced. Extremely unusually, he didn’t record a single K. He can chuck it up there at 100, but like Adon, the command of that slingy arm action will need to long into place at some point.
Blake Rivera stumbled out of the 2nd half gate, tossing his first real clunker since opening weekend. Rivera’s 6 runs allowed were a season high as were his 7 hits allowed. The four walks he surrendered were his highest total since a 6 walk effort on May 10th. With 34 walks in 60 innings that is definitely the element of Rivera’s game in need of the most work.
But even the best quality Rivera effort likely wouldn’t have helped the Greenjackets last night as the offense snoozed through the evening. Jacob Gonzalez and Shane Matheny each had two hit nights, but the rest of the team managed just one further hit and there were no extra base hits on the night.
If you have questions about the Greenjackets team, I encourage you to drop a line to play by play man Rylan Kobre who is with them every day and has a great view on the progress. He’s also quite generous with his time and thoughts:
Twitter what’s happening?! I had 2 cups of coffee today & the Jackets are back playing ball for 70 more games starting the 2nd half in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Got questions about #SFGiants prospects? DM me, reply, add me on LinkedIn, or send me a postcard. pic.twitter.com/TU1MuFTH3P— Rylan Kobre (@RylanKobrePxP) June 21, 2019
Talked with some different people about this to get their thoughts & I brought it up briefly on last nights broadcast. A lot of it is 2-strike execution. He’s young and still trying to figure out how to get guys out and finish. Slider is legit (87-91 yesterday), but he’s only 19. https://t.co/h56fpqiqfs— Rylan Kobre (@RylanKobrePxP) June 21, 2019
The Volcanoes showed some real Can-Do effort last night — repeatedly coming back before finally taking a wild 10 inning victory that had to be the most satisfying game of the season so far.
Starter Luis Moreno put the team in a 6-0 hole, but SK came all the way back with a giant 6-run rally in the 6th — a rally that included home runs from both Franklin Labour and Ricardo Genoves. Both of the youngsters have really come into their native power this year. Labour currently leads the NWL and Genoves is in a scrum for 2nd place. It was noticeable when Fangraphs Giants’ prospect list specifically called out Genoves raw power. In the past he’s been a Defense first Catcher with limited strength at the plate, but perhaps the man strength is starting to come out for the 20 year old.
Sadly, after the Volcanoes big rally to tie the game, immediately let them down again, as Yoel Veras coughed up 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th to put them right back in a hole. But a Yorlis Rodriguez’ double helped them claw back a run in the 8th, and a two-out error in the 9th set up Sean Roby’s two-run single to tie the game and move it into extras. There a Tyler Flores Sac Fly would finally give the team it’s first lead of the night, and Israel Cruz pitched a dominated 3-K bottom of the 10th to close it out.
Alright, I know perfectly well that none of you actually read anything I wrote above this point. You all just skipped straight down to the AZL section to see what Luciano and Friends were up to (well, actually, you checked the box scores last night and already knew and maybe you’re not even here at all.....soundless scream).
Anyhoo! They did great!
Alexander Canario started things off on the right foot by going deep to lead off the game. That was his second HR in two games and he also added his second double later on to boost his SLG up to an absurd 1.125. Canario is 8 for 16 in the complex with 5 XBH. This is the scintillating athlete with the electric bat speed that got me so revved up in spring of 2018!
But once again, Center Stage belonged to Marco Luciano. The 17 year old followed up on his 3 hit effort Wednesday night with another 4 hits last night, including his 2nd HR — a blast into the LF bleachers. He also found time to steal his first base of the year (Combo Meal!) Bullets were coming off his bat left and right — and up the middle!
Luciano followed up the HR with an RBI 1B. He’s 3-for-3 tonight and has put together back-to-back 3-hit games. pic.twitter.com/vGyQbXTMwX— William Boor (@wboor) June 22, 2019
In all the Giants blistered Cubs pitching for 18 hits. That included two more from Luis Toribio — including the 18 year old 3b’s first extra base hit of the year. P.J. Hilson also picked up his first extra base hit among two hits. Hilson also drew his first walk of the year, having his first strong offensive showing. Being on base allowed Hilson to show off the speed and he stole his 2nd bag of the year.
The Orange team also got long balls from rehabbing Heath Quinn and from middle infielder Andrew Caraballo taking his first at bat of the year. Caraballo got some notice from scouty types like Eric Longenhagen during extended, but this was the first chance he’d had to get into a game (apparently nursing something that delayed his debut). He’s currently rocking a cool 5.000 OPS. Sustainable!
The Black Team effort was slightly less entertaining! Rehabbing Sandro Fabian finally picked up his first hit of 2019, a double that drove in two of the team’s three runs. Thirteenth round OF Harrison Freed also doubled in a run and showed off his arm a bit with two OF assists.
18 year old RHP Freddery Paulino had a strong debut, throwing 4 shutout innings though he did walk 4.
RHP Albenis Chango is having the roughest start to a career that I can remember. 4.1IP 5H 23BB 3K 29.08ERA in the DSL. He allowed 7 walks in his appearance today. Must be very tough for him to deal with. Rooting for him to turn it around.— GPT (@giantsprospects) June 21, 2019
A perfect tweet from our friend — empathy is always the proper impulse to watching someone struggle.
Chango was just one of the guys struggling with the Mariners offense yesterday. Marvin Brown had been nearly perfect for the season before failing to get through an inning yesterday. And though Luis Castillo picked up 6 Ks (14 for the year), he also suffered some big contact, including his 3rd HR in just 13 IP this year.
No Luis Matos in the lineup yesterday but Victor Bericoto got his average back up to .300 with a 2 hit day. The 17 year old Venezuelan is hitting a mighty .300/.488/.500 with 21 walks against 15 Ks in 82 PA.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Andrew Suarez) @ Las Vegas (TBD)
Richmond (Alfred Gutierrez) @ Binghamton (Andrew Church)
San Jose (Jose Marte) @ Stockton (James Kaprielian)
Augusta (Seth Corry) @ Kannapolis (Jason Bilous)
Salem-Keizer (Clay Helvey) @ Everett (TBD)
AZL Giants Orange (TBD) vs. AZL Indians Red (TBD)
AZL Giants Black (TBD) @ AZL Reds
DSL Giants (Jose Mullings) vs. DSL Tigers2
Huge power pitching matchup in Stockton tonight as the Ports send James Kaprielian to the mound to face off against Jose Marte. Kaprielian was the Yankees 1st round pick back in 2015 and has elite stuff when healthy — but those last two words have been the bugaboo for his career. He provides yet another excellent challenge for Bart and Ramos and the Giants. Meanwhile, we’ll all have our eyes glued on Scottsdale to see if Luciano and Canario can keep the good times rolling.
Shoot off the fireworks, it was definitely a Friday night, Fun night!