You know what’s always a fun way to start off the day? Walk-Off Dingers from your favorite teenaged prospect!
Walk it off, Heliot. #SFGiants No. 2 prospect Heliot Ramos delivered the game-winner for @SJGiants, his 13th homer of the season.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 31, 2019
Here's how all @SFGiants prospects fared Tuesday: https://t.co/KeSUYIKoLA pic.twitter.com/stAF00SQju
yeah, that’s fun!
We’re gonna talk about Sacramento’s efforts, because that’s what we do here. But before we do, it must first be acknowledged that this game belonged to Brewers #9 prospect — and no doubt trade target — Trent Grisham. The San Antonio CF had a monster performance, going 5 for 5 with a cycle and two HRs! That’s right! He hit for a cycle and then added a second HR like a cool playing card in the spokes! Wowza.
Trent Grisham was 4-for-4 with a single, a double & 2 homers when he came to the plate for @missionsmilb in the bottom of the 7th.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 31, 2019
The #Brewers' No. 7 prospect capped off the cycle with this triple, giving him an absolutely incredible 4-game stretch: https://t.co/BBxHo6q22f pic.twitter.com/X69ms4FfeF
Grisham homered in each of the game’s first two innings, helping push the Missions out to a 4-1 lead which they would never surrender.
The RiverCats got strong work from the top of the order, where the 1-2-3 hitters picked up six of the team’s eight hits. The trio — Steven Duggar, Joey Rickard, and Mike Gerber — opened the game with three consecutive singles off of rehabbing Corbin Burnes, though Burnes would stabilize to strike out 4 of the last 6 batters he faced in his short outing. For Rickard, the two hit game pushed his hit streak to 13 games. The ex-Oriole is now hitting .380 over 31 games since joining the Giants organization.
Duggar’s second hit of the day left the building, giving the leadoff hitter half of the team’s runs scored for the day.
Steven Duggar goes deep for third time as RiverCat in Sacramento’s 8-4 loss in San Antonio pic.twitter.com/sYVwUkM4F4— Roger Munter (@rog61) July 31, 2019
Despite the loss Sacramento maintained its 5 game divisional lead. And earlier in the day, the team announced yet another new acquisition!
It was a tale of big innings early and late in Richmond last night. Starter Brandon Lawson put the team in a hole with a huge 5-run 2nd inning. And after the Squirrels climbed back to within striking distance, Tyler Cyr somewhat shockingly surrendered 4 runs in the 9th. Cyr wasn’t hit particularly hard and three of the runs ended up being unearned thanks to his own errant pickoff throw (the bane of minor league box scores!) and Ryan Howard’s two out throwing error. Still, this was the first earned run Cyr had allowed in the month of July and the four runs allowed more than doubled his total for the month. In 12 IP in July, Cyr ended up allowing 7 runs — 6 unearned — on just 4 hits, while striking out 12.
Red Sox #2 prospect Bryan Mata held Richmond in check for his 5 innings of work, striking out 8. The Squirrels reached him for two runs coming on one big swing of the bat from Jacob Heyward. At one point this year, it looked like Heyward was sailing towards a new career high in HRs (12), but this was just his 3rd HR in the last two months and his first since July 1. Heyward has really scuffled through the heat of the summer, hitting just .176 since June 1.
Richmond’s other run came on a Sac Fly from Jalen Miller. Like Heyward, Miller too seemed headed for some career highs this year, but also like Heyward, he’s been mired in a slump that has lasted a long long time now. Since May 1, Miller has posted a .190/.259/.289 line with 71 Ks to 27 BBs. AA’s been a rough go for the 22 year old.
Well, I gave away the best part of this game at the top — Heliot Ramos’ 400’ shot to win the game in the bottom of the 9th. But let’s back up a bit to the bottom of the 1st, when the Giants put up a two-spot on one time Angels’ ace Garrett Richards. I must admit that I either didn’t notice or forgot the Padres signing the oft-injured Richards last winter. Richards was still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and was making his first appearance above the AZL level last night. Richards got through Manny Geraldo and Heliot Ramos to open things up, but then the middle of the order did some damage.
Joey Bart greets rehabbing Padres pitcher Garrett Richards with a 110 MPH line drive single to right.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) July 31, 2019
David Villar follows with a 412-foot home run to left - his eighth HR of the season.
So let’s talk about David Villar! The 2018 11th rounder out of South Florida is blazing hot right now. He’s had 20 hits in his last 42 ABs, a stretch that has included three doubles, a triple, and two home runs. Since the All Star break in early June the 3b has posted a .324/.394/.521 mark. After a slow start and an IL stint, Villar’s just continued to pick up steam as the season progresses, and he’s starting to look like a legitimate sleeper prospect with the bat.
Starter Sean Hjelle didn’t have his best stuff last night, allowing more than 3 runs for just the third time in his 13 starts with San Jose. Things might have been worse had not RF Sandro Fabian nailed a runner trying to go 3b to end a very long top of the 1st. The seven hits Hjelle allowed were his most since May 30 start, also against this Lake Elsinore team, when he allowed 5 runs on 10 hits.
But things went right in the end. Rodolfo Martinez, Frank Rubio — back down from AA Richmond — and Olbis Parra held the Storm in check over the final 4 innings, allowing San Jose to come back and setting up Ramos’ heroics.
The thriller was San Jose’s fourth straight win and boosted them into a share of 1st place. As Joe Ritzo noted last night, the last time Garrett Richards faced San Jose was in the Cal League Championship series of 2010 — the last championship of the great San Jose dynasty of the 00s. Perhaps his reappearance last night was harbinger of good things to come.
WALK-OFFS ARE TIGHT!!!!! Giants win 5-4 thanks to a homerun by Heliot Ramos! pic.twitter.com/lJWXGPNeQE— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) July 31, 2019
Augusta was OFF
Giving those Padres’ affiliates a good “what fer” last night. I like it!
I’m not a huge Chris Berman fan, but I did always like his Mike “Enough” Aldrete soubriquet so I’ll bring it back just this once for Mike’s nephew. Carter’s bases clearing triple in the bottom of the 8th was, in fact, “enough Aldrete” to give the Volcanoes a come-from-behind victory.
As in the San Jose game, Salem-Keizer got strong relief work, shutting the Dust Devils down for the final five innings of the game after falling behind 3-0. An Alexander Canario RBI single got the Volcanoes on the board in the 5th, and in the 6th, Yorlis Rodriguez drew a two-out bases loaded walk to creep within one run.
It remained a 3-2 game until the 8th. Logan Wyatt opened the inning with is second hit of the game and Armani Smith followed with a single of his own. Catcher Brandon Martorano’s sac bunt ended up loading the bases when Tri-City tried unsuccessfully to catch the lead runner. That brought up Aldrete and his blast would bring them all home.
Hunter Bishop singled, walked and stole his 4th base with SK. Bishop has successfully stolen 6 bases this year without a CS.
AZL Giants were rained out
DSL Giants have no information at press time
No rookie league lines today as both of the AZL teams games were postponed by weather and the DSL game never posted. Quite possibly that means they, too, were rained out but it seems like once or twice a year this kind of information brown out happens in the Dominican camp.
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (TBD) @ San Antonio (Aaron Wilkerson)
Richmond (Caleb Baragar) vs. Portland (Daniel McGrath)
San Jose (Aaron Phillips) vs. Lake Elsinore (Luis Patiño)
Augusta (Trent Toplikar) vs. Lakewood (Francisco Morales)
Salem-Keizer (Kervin Castro) vs. Tri-City (Angel Acevedo)
AZL Giants: OFF
DSL Giants (TBD) @ DSL Colorado (TBD)
San Jose gets a great challenge going up against the Padres’ #3 prospect, the fire-balling Patiño and Augusta gets the Phillies #8 prospect Francisco Morales, another guy who gets his heater up near the triple digit neighborhood with a gnarly breaking ball. Should be a fun challenge for the bats. Dereck Rodriguez is still listed on MiLB as Sacramento’s starter but the team is saying there’s no scheduled starter — DRod is almost certainly in Philadelphia this morning waiting to see if he’s needed.
So as we say farewell to July, we have to take a look around at what’s been a pretty exceptional 2019. Entering the final month of the season five of the system’s eight teams are either currently in 1st place or have already punched their ticket to the post-season (or both!). That’s an extraordinary turnaround from the last two seasons where the affiliates all competed with each other to see who could bury themselves deepest in the standings. At the same time, the upper talent has almost universally stepped up and delivered strong campaigns. The Giants already boast one top 20 talent in baseball in Joey Bart, and might well soon have a couple more in Ramos and Luciano.
Time to pull out that great Kurt Vonnegut quote (right down there in my signature) and really appreciate the moment:
I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
You’re right Kurt, this is pretty sweet! Let’s hope the final act brings more thrills.