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SF Giants Minor Lines 8/14/19: Oye, ¿Cómo Va? Rayner Santana!

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Tight races coming down to the wire throughout the system

minor lines

The Ballad of Ray Black, who’s July 31 travels were slightly more complicated than Mauricio Dubon’s:

HIGHLIGHTS: Logan Wyatt hit his 1st HR for Augusta; Victor Bericoto had four hits; Rayner Santana homered for 7th time


Sacramento was OFF

Their magic number for a trip to the PCL playoffs is down to 13


Richmond lost at Bowie BaySox (Orioles), 4-0

In theory, hitters gain an advantage from familiarity with pitchers, but the Squirrels have been offering up a counter-argument to that particular theory in this series. Richmond and Bowie played their 7th consecutive game against each other last night — nearly an entire two turns of the rotation — and the more they see of Bowie’s excellent staff, the quieter they become.

Last night they made barely a whisper in getting shut out for the second consecutive game — they haven’t scored a run now since Joey Bart’s solo HR in the 4th inning of the first game of the series, 19 innings ago. In yesterday’s game it was all the work of one man — Sean Hjelle’s high school teammate Michael Baumman, who threw a Complete Game shutout. Baumann allowed just four scattered singles and pitched to just two over the minimum, as the first two baserunners he allowed were instantly wiped out trying to steal. Baumann threw a “Maddux” accomplishing the CG in just 97 pitches. Unusually, it was Bauman’s second CG ShO of the year as he had thrown a no-hitter in July.

There wasn’t anything particularly fancy about Baumann’s approach as he mostly just shoved 96 and 97 mph fastballs at Richmond all night. Heliot Ramos was a strikeout victim twice: once looking and once swinging, getting blown up by Baumann’s well-spotted velocity throughout much of the night.

Though Ramos did avoid becoming the game’s final out, producing the last of the team’s four hits, all of which were singles shot to the opposite field.

Interestingly, in each of the last two games Ramos has had an excellent chance to nail a runner trying to advance on him and in both cases he has muscled up and overthrown the play — which is unusual for Ramos. One wonders if the fast-moving 19 year old is getting caught up in trying to rise to the AA moment and make an impression rather than, in the parlance of the times, “letting the game come to him” and “staying within himself.” This is perfectly natural, of course — that’s the reason these baseball bromides exist, after all — but it can be a tricky mindset to get out of once you find yourself in it. Breathe, Heliot! Breathe!

Beyond that, nothing too much to report from Bowie, MD where a parade of soft contact led to Richmond’s sixth shutout of the year agains the BaySox. I’ll repeat that: they’ve been shutout six times this year — not overall, but just against this one team! Bowie has one of the league’s finest pitching staffs, but that’s still a tough one to swallow.

The endless series finally comes to a conclusion tonight as the two team’s play their 8th consecutive game — in just seven days. They’ve been playing each other so long that Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, and Sean Hjelle have yet to see another Eastern League team!

And speaking of Hjelle — stadium seats were not made for 6’11.5”


San Jose lost at Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks), 4-3

Matt Frisbee entered the game with a scoreless streak that went back to July 21, a remarkable stretch that covered 24 innings over parts of four games. He would add one more inning to the streak before allowing a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd yesterday. Still the Giants had to feel good with Frisbee on the mound once they’d claimed a 3-1 lead. But the 15th round pick from UNC Greensboro stumbled in his final inning, allowing two singles and two doubles within the span of five hitters to open the 6th. That brought in three runs for the Rawhide which ended up being just enough for the Northern Division heavyweight to sneak out the win.

David Villar and Fabian Peña both went deep for San Jose, and Heath Quinn added an RBI double. But unfortunately, they couldn’t produce any crooked numbers with their big swings, collecting just solo runs in three of the first four innings and none thereafter.

To the standings machine! All three of the non-Visalia teams in the Northern Division lost last night so the Tortoise Race for the Wild Card didn’t change at all. San Jose remains a half game behind Stockton and a half game in front of Modesto. The War of Attrition is on!

And speaking of attrition, tough break for Jake Wong and the San Jose rotation, as Wong heads to the IL. No information yet on what the issue for Jake is. Possibly just innings management as he’s pitched a lot in his first full year.


Augusta beat Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 5-0
winning their series, 2-1

Adam Oller and JJ Santa Cruz stifled the Drive, striking out 11 Greenville batters while allowing just five to reach base. Pitching has been the hallmark of this Augusta team all year — despite having sent much of it on to San Jose. They feature the second lowest ERA in the Sally and have piled up the second most strikeouts (in each case they are behind the Delmarva Shorebirds, who have been the class of the league all year).

Simon Whiteman capped a three-run rally in the 4th with a two run single. And in the next inning, Logan Wyatt just got enough of it to send out his 1st HR as a Greenjacket and 3rd overall.

Now comes the crucible: Augusta begins a critical seven game stretch that starts with a trip to Greensboro, where the 71-49 Grasshoppers are fighting for their own playoff berth in the Northern Division. After that they come home to take on the Asheville Tourists for the final time this year. Augusta and Asheville are currently tied atop the Southern Division standings. Big week!


Salem-Keizer lost at Eugene Emeralds (Cubs), 4-2

Former Fresno St. star Ryan Jensen walked the game’s first three batters last night, setting the Volcanoes up for a big inning right out of the shoot. But Salem-Keizer was only able to parlay Jensen’s wildness into one run as Jairo Pomares and Armani Smith struck out back to back and Marco Luciano was thrown out at home trying to score on Carter Aldrete’s two out single. The failure to make more out of that golden opportunity would haunt the Volcanoes the rest of the night as they would manage just one more hit over the final 8 innings and fall to Eugene in the series opener.

What will hopefully become a dynamic offense for Salem-Keizer hasn’t quite jelled yet, as the youngsters Luciano and Pomares are still adjusting to the advanced speed of the NWL and Hunter Bishop still looks to regain his timing after the layoff between his Pac-12 season and pro ball. Hopefully things will start to percolate for this exciting group before the year is up!

Prelander Berroa, the live-armed 5’11” righty obtained from Minnesota was much better in his second start in the Giants org. Berroa allowed just three hits of his own and struck out 6 over 5 IP. Next spring I’m making it a goal to try to get a photo of Berroa and Hjelle together!

Interestingly enough, this game was big news in Salinas, where they’re proud of their local kids.


AZL Giants Orange beat AZL Cubs1, 5-4

AZL Giants Black lost to AZL Padres2, 3-2

The Giants AZL Orange team has made a habit this year of putting up big numbers late in games, and they did it again last night with a four-run rally in the 9th. Randy Norris three-run homer was the big swing of the bat, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. It was the end of a big night for Norris who had doubled and walked earlier.

Remarkably, six of the Orange team’s seven hits in the game went for extra bases, including Luis Toribio’s 14th double of the year.

I seem to have done an excellent job reverse-jinxing Garrett Frechette, who popped right back into the lineup as soon as I noted his long absence. Frechette singled and walked.

I also said the other day that Trevor McDonald would be the final debut of 2019, but I was so wrong there too! Brac Warren, the 17th round pick of the 2017 draft finally took the mound for his first time as a pro. Warren was an important member of the Oregon Ducks’ pitching staff, but he’s spent two years rehabbing from injury.


DSL Giants beat DSL Royals2, 13-12

Luis Matos had an extremely disappointing 3 for 6 day that extended his hit streak to a paltry 12 games with nary an extra base hit, causing his OPS to plummet from 1.011 all the way down to 1.010. And now that we’ve dispensed with that obligatory mention, let’s turn our attention to players who weren’t thoroughly underachieving on the day:

Like, for instance, Rayner Santana, who had a three hit day that included his 5th HR and fourth double of his last seven games. The Venezuelan Catcher who celebrates his 17th birthday this morning — Happy Birthday, Rayner!!! — has gone 13 for 30 over those seven games with those 9 XBH. He also has 7 BB and 7 Ks in that stretch. Heating up into the offseason — excellent note to end things on!

Also not underachieving like .363-hitting Matos was Victor Bericoto who boosted his OBP up to a ridiculous .472 with a four-hit, one walk day. Bericoto has 49 BBs and 49 Ks on the year — that’s a fantastic 19% (bb) rate! but also a less than fantastic 19% (K) rate!

Seriously, on Matos, read Fangraphs’ new scouting report on him if you want something else to be excited about in the system:


Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Burch Smith) @ Reno (Jon Duplantier)
Richmond (Sean Hjelle) @ Bowie (Tyler Herb)
San Jose (Johnny Cueto) @ Visalia (Justin Lewis)
Augusta (TBD) @ Greensboro (Noe Toribio)
Salem-Keizer (Conner Nurse) @ Eugene (Yovanny Cruz)
AZL teams: OFF
DSL Giants (Luis Castillo) @ DSL Royals2 (TBD)

Johnny Cueto takes a big step towards his San Francisco return with a trip to my old stomping grounds. Sean Hjelle tries to recover from a rocky AA debut. And Burch Smith makes his organizational debut in Reno.

Finally — What the heck? Why is San Jose honoring my old friend and college roommate Dirk Niebaum with a bobblehead? [Spit take] That’s supposed to be BOCHY? Verisimilitude is not, apparently, one of the cardinal virtues of the Bobblehead Artiste.