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SF Giants Minor Lines 7/5/19: Luis Matos can hit!

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And Garrett Williams and Gregory Santos each break off some dazzlers

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It’s sort of a teen-lite day around here at Minor Lines (no AZL, Alex Canario getting an off day), so perhaps this a good time to lift outside our Giants-centric view and see what else there is to be seen around the minor leagues. Lots and lots of goodness, it appears!

As Kruk would say: enjoy this beautiful game!

HIGHLIGHTS: Zach Green homered two more times; Garrett Williams struck out 6 over 5.2, went 2 for 2 at plate; Yorlis Rodriguez had 4 hits; Luis Matos had 3 hits, SB.

Sacramento lost at Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 10-9

A: Hello, Reno!
Q: What are two words a PCL Pitcher never wants to hear?

Thirty hits. Fifteen extra base hits. Nineteen runs. Seven lead changes. And a walk a homer, of course.

Can’t say the fans didn’t get their money’s worth!

The top six batters in the RiverCats order had at least two hits. Joey Rickard had three doubles. Mike Gerber two more. Zach Green homered twice — giving him an incredible 10 homers in his last 14 games. It feels like that would be news in a different league! And in fact, Green’s rampage has him up to 8th place in HRs the PCL and third in OPS (tucked in between the Astros Yordan Alvarez and the Brewers Keston Hiura).

Dude hit it off his own face! That’s always good! I’m not entirely sure what the path is to Zach seeing some major league time this year is, given the Giants have a bit of a glut at the 3b/1b position at the moment, but maybe he’ll get his reward before 2019 is out.

There was no reward to be had on the pitcher’s mound however, where Dereck Rodriguez and Ty Blach continued their heavy trudge through tough tough years, and Jandel Gustave lasted just three batters before walking it off (people forget, in Tug McGraw’s originating definition, it’s the losing pitcher who actually does the walking off). No just reward for some good recent Giants. Three of Blach’s last four outings have come in Las Vegas, in El Paso, and now in Reno. And he’s been blasted for 18 runs in those three games. Troubled times for a Pitcher in the PCL.

Richmond split a double-header with the Reading Fightin’ Phils
Winning the 1st game 3-2
Losing the 2nd game 3-0

Garrett Williams continued his string of excellent outings yesterday, going 5.2 IP to help defeat Reading in the opener. Williams struck out 6 in the outing giving him 74 on the year over 72.2 IP. Since June 1, Williams has really locked in, allowing just 8 earned runs over 38 innings, striking out 41 over that time while walking 23. That stretch includes one clunker outing in Trenton in which he allowed 5 runs — otherwise he’s been near perfect. Even the walks have been improving as he’s now walked just 2 batters in three of his last four starts.

The key to his recent production appears to be the return of feel for his curve, which he is snapping in for strikes pretty much at will these days.

The hook sets up everything else for Williams. Putting that where he wants is a very positive sign for Garrett, and one we didn’t see too much of in 2018.

Setting that aside, Williams was also a

Hey a hit’s a hit! And Williams got two of them yesterday! Including contributing to the game winning rally with a bunt single. Quite an athlete!

All of the Squirrels’ runs for the game and the day came on one swing of the bat from Ryan Howard, who had three hits on the day — two for extra bases. Howard has a modest six game hitting streak going — signs of life?

San Jose lost to Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 4-0

This whole “assembling the pieces for a 2nd half run” thing is not quite working out as planned so far for San Jose. The Giants were shut out yesterday for the third time in four games and dropped into last place in the Northern Division with a 7-9 record (albeit just 2 games back). They’re sixteen games into a stretch of 20 straight games to open the half against division foes and they’re not exactly making hay in that stretch. They’ll try once again to win a series from Visalia today — a feat they have yet to accomplish this season as the Rawhide continue to exhibit a voodoo magic over them.

Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos left for Cleveland yesterday to participate in tomorrow’s Futures Game. They’ll return to the Giants on Tuesday.

Rodolfo Martinez struck out 4 in his return to Cal League action after a rehab stint in the AZL.

Augusta lost to Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox), 5-0

Nineteen year old Gregory Santos pitched four perfect innings out of six yesterday, retiring the side in order in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th. The Intimidators got him the other two, however, putting up two different two-spots against the right-hander. Still Santos showed off many moments of brilliance, recording a season high 6 Ks.

That total included two different strikeouts of the nation’s best college hitter this year — and one of the hardest to K — Cal’s Andrew Vaughan. The White Sox assigned the #3 overall pick in the draft to Sally League duty before the game. Santos mixed a fastball at 95-97 with his power breaking ball to fool Vaughan in both of their first two matchups — Vaughan no doubt thinking “they didn’t throw this pitch in the Pac-12!”

In their third matchup Vaughan reached Santos for a single, which immediately preceded a two-run HR that damaged Gregory’s overall line. But the youngster is rounding into great form as the season hits its midway point. He’s piling up groundballs at a tremendous rate (8 groundball outs yesterday) and most impressively, he’s really pounded the strike zone this year. He’s walked just 7 batters this year in his 31.2 IP, and he’s had no more than 2 walks in any start. Even without racking up Ks, he has an excellent K:BB ratio of more than 3 to 1.

Jose Layer has suffered through a miserable year so far, but he’s had two-hit games now in three of his last four starts.

Salem-Keizer beat Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays), 13-3

The Volcanoes hung an Area Code up on the scoreboard in the early innings, scoring 5 in the 2nd, 4 in the 3rd, and 3 in the 4th to win going away. Six members of the lineup had multiple hits as the team cracked out 19 overall. The hit parade was led by Yorlis Rodriguez, who had been scuffling a bit lately, going just 4 for 35 and seeing his average drop down to .213.

7th rounder Armani Smith — who’s now 6 for 19 as a Volcano — had three hits, as did fellow-newcomer Beicker Mendoza. Meanwhile, the old timers Sean Roby and Franklin Labour collected two hits, each including a double.

Alexander Canario had to be cursing his off day watching all of this — get me a bat! I want to hit off these dudes, too!

With their sixth straight win, Salem-Keizer surged back into 1st place in their division. That’s important, a the end of the 1st half in short-season ball comes up quickly. Punch that ticket, boys!

AZL Teams were OFF

Yes, I know! Me, too!

DLS Giants beat DSL Tigers2, 9-4 in 7 inn (rain)

But hey, we have one teenage prodigy to enthuse over at least — let’s talk Luis Matos! Three more hits, his 10th double of the season, his 8th SB, and an OF Assist? Hey for Dominican Rookie ball that’s worth a Toolsy Triple! It feels sort of redundant saying the same thing over and over again but — this kid hits!

How do you want to slice it up? He’s 11 for 21 in his last four games. He has an 8 game hit streak going. He’s hit in 19 of his last 21 games. In 24 games overall, he has 13 multi-hit games (amazingly for all that he’s just 9th in hits in the offense happy DSL). And for all that hitting, he’s not a slap guy or a singles hitter, as his current Iso of .277 amply proves. His 1.035 OPS is 7th in the league and his .629 SLG is 4th — fantastic for a 17 year old. Admittedly the 17 to 4 K to BB probably creases a brow on Farhan’s face, but... DUDE. CAN. HIT!

Elsewhere.... Venezuelan Catchers Ronaldo Flores and Rayner Santana each had two doubles on the day, which is a Doublemint Twins commercial waiting to happen. Santana doesn’t celebrate his 17th birthday for another month, making him one of the youngest players in all of pro ball this year.

Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Conner Menez) @ Reno (TBD)
Richmond (Brandon Beachy) vs. Reading (Bailey Falter)
San Jose (Jake Wong) vs. Visalia (Justin Lewis)
Augusta (Blake Rivera) vs. Kannapolis (Taylor Varnell)
Salem-Keizer (Luis Moreno) vs. Vancouver
AZL Giants Orange (Wilkelma Castillo) @ AZL Padres2 (TBD)
AZL Giants Black (Keyvius Sampson) vs. AZL Cubs1 (TBD)
DSL Giants (Rafael Martinez) vs. DSL Colorado (TBD)

Lastly, if you’ll indulge me: it’s been a particularly rough summer hereabouts, where we’ve lost two beautiful fans — and frequent Minor Lines contributors (even though I had to edit out most of their compositions).

In memoriam
Teufel and JoJo
You gave love, you brought joy, you welcomed us home.
You will be deeply missed