Friend-of-Minor-Lines Jason Pennini, who you can hear on the most recent Unnamed Prospect Podcast, dropped a whole lot more knowledge about the Giants’ prospects in the desert yesterday. This is as in depth a read on the rookie league level of the system as you’re going to find anywhere. Give it a read and then give Jason and his website a follow!
Just wrote up thoughts on the Giants AZL teams @ProspectsLive. Marco Luciano, Jairo Pomares, Luis Toribio, P.J. Hilson, Dilan Rosario, Grant McCray, Garrett Frechette, Caleb Kilian, and Wilkelma Castillo were among those mentioned. https://t.co/0yXFGaL9VK pic.twitter.com/zUyfIdC4gJ— Jason Pennini (@JasonPennini) August 15, 2019
HIGHLIGHTS: Manuel Geraldo homered and doubled twice; Kai-Wei Teng allowed three hits, struck out 6 over 5 innings; Kwan Adkins reached base four times.
The RiverCats are stumbling a bit down the stretch as they try to capture the Pacific Northern title. Having gone just 3-7 over their last ten games, Sacramento needs to pick up at least a couple of wins in this four game road set against second place Reno.
But last night in the first game, two Sacramento errors opened the door for a four run-rally in the 2nd inning. Abiatal Avelino made up for one of those errors when he hit a go-ahead HR in the 6th, but a two-out, two-run double off of Sam Selman in the 7th inning tipped the game away from them.
New guys were a big help to the offense at the top as Mauricio Dubon and Jaylin Davis combined for four hits and three RBIs including Jaylin Davis’ 3rd HR for Sacramento and 28th overall this year.
Melvin Adon had his second consecutive scoreless outing with 4 Ks as he begins to settle into the PCL.
Sacramento is now 6 games up in the division over these Aces. Their magic number remains at 13. They could do themselves some real good towards clinching if they’d win some games in Reno.
Richmond lost at Bowie BaySox (Orioles), 4-3
losing their series, 1-3
As he had in his first AA start (also against these Bowie BaySox), Sean Hjelle opened with a flourish last night. He struck out the side in the 1st: called strike on a well spotted fastball, swinging on a curve in the dirt, and swinging on a high fastball. He relied prominently on a surprisingly easy 94-95 fb and mixed in his hard breaking curve, which lost a little of its bite as he went on. I didn’t see a whole lot of his changeup last night, though he repeated in a pregame interview with Jake Eisenberg that he had started the year as a two pitch guy and had refined his changeup while in Augusta.
Sean Hjelle strikes out side in 1st, throwing a very easy 95 and then burying the curve pic.twitter.com/aUZUUuFEVC— Roger Munter (@rog61) August 15, 2019
Are you ready for a little more Hjelle pic.twitter.com/dOwDSxVZ9x— Roger Munter (@rog61) August 15, 2019
In the second he allowed a weakly hit single and a well-struck double into the corner, but pitched out of trouble by getting his fourth — and as it turned out, final — strikeout of the night.
Contact getting louder against Hjelle second time thru order. But here’s another look at a beautiful breaking ball pic.twitter.com/EahezXt47z— Roger Munter (@rog61) August 16, 2019
But the second time through the order the contact picked up in both frequency and volume and his stuff lost just enough of the sharpness he had earlier that he stopped putting batters away. He wasn’t crushed by any means — TJ Nichting’s second inning double was the only XBH he allowed on the night — but BaySox hitters were increasingly able to spoil his put away pitches until they got something they could handle.
Two infield singles — both of which might have been converted into outs with a more natural 1b than Gio Brusa — set up a long 4th inning that tied the game and went a long way to shortening Hjelle’s night, which would end with two outs in the 5th.
Old friend Tyler Herb — sans flow this year — took the mound for BaySox after having pitched most of the year in the International League. I must admit that seeing Tyler again immediately put me in a good mood, as it reminded me that he was the reason why the Giants have Mike Yastrzemski! However, the Squirrels hitters didn’t seem to enjoy him near so much. Aside from a 3-run rally in the 2nd (which broke a 19 inning scoreless stretch), Herb mostly dominated Richmond, striking out 8 over 5 innings by mixing a wide variety of speeds from the low 70s to the low 90s. He particularly toyed with Heliot Ramos, who had a miserable night and seemed always to be guessing wrong, looking at fastballs down the shoot and flailing at breaking balls off the plate.
One guy who was not fooled was Johneshwy Fargas. Fargas broke up that long scoreless stretch with his 5th HR of the year and would later draw a walk (and make a nifty catch). Would it surprise you if I pointed out that Fargas’ .252 batting average is the highest of any qualified hitter on the team? Considering all facets of the game, you could make a strong argument that Fargas has been the best player on this 2019 Richmond team.
Johnny Cueto brought the shimmy to Recreation Park last night, throwing an efficient 2.2 innings and surrendering one run on a solo HR.
Johnny Cueto’s night is done. 2 2/3 innings and 49 pitches (36 strikes) for the #SJGiants in Visalia. Allowed one run on a third-inning solo homer - was the only hard hit ball. No walks, two strikeouts. FB was at 92, topped 93. Mixed in all his offspeed. Looked sharp.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 16, 2019
Johnny Cueto's first rehab start with @SJGiants: 2 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts. He threw 49 pitches, 36 for strikes. Should have one more with San Jose.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 16, 2019
Following Johnny’s effort there was the usual Visalia frustration. Despite hitting three home runs and three doubles the Giants managed just 5 runs and late three run rallies against both Jose Marte and Olbis Parra doomed San Jose to another Recreation Park loss.
Much of that extra base pop came courtesy of Manuel Geraldo who had a perfect night with two doubles, his 4th HR and a walk. The 22 year old has really had his struggles this year (.236/.283/.334) but he’s having a strong August run so far so maybe he’ll finish 2019 on a strong note and have something to take with him into the offseason.
Cueto wasn’t the only pitcher who made the trip up from Scottsdale, as Patrick Ruotolo also has progressed his rehab up to full season level. Hopefully he makes it back up to Richmond before his year is done.
You can see some highlights from Cueto’s outing from Channel 24 news at the following link. Click on it! It does the heart good to see some Cueto action!
The Greenjackets just keep getting strong pitching out of their rotation. Yesterday it was newcomer Kai-Wei Teng who gave them a fantastic outing, surrendering just three hits and one unearned run over 5 innings. The 20 year old from Taiwan has had a fantastic A ball season in 2019, posting a 1.81 ERA in 59.2 IP across the Midwest League and Sally. He started the year in XST and didn’t make his full season debut until June 2, but he’s been excellent since he got into action. He’s struck out a batter an inning while walking just 18, helping him to a 1.07 WHIP. A ball hitters have batted just .203 against him this year. So get to know your Kai-Wei!
Teng’s strong start was backed by 10 hits, including RBI doubles from ex-Volcanoes Franklin Labour and Sean Roby that helped the Greenjackets cruise to the win, starting this crucial four game road set on a winning note.
Asheville kept step with a win of their own last night, maintaining the 1st place tie between the two teams.
The Emeralds blitzed starter Conner Nurse with a 4-run second and the Volcanoes new look offense continues to be quiet, sending them to defeat. Despite drawing 8 walks in the game (two each from Kwan Adkins and Hunter Bishop up at the top of the lineup), Salem-Keizer struggled to put runs on the board, going a miserable and frustrating 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
A lot of that frustration came in the WHIFF form as the team piled up 15 strikeouts on the day, including hat tricks from Bishop and Jeff Houghtby. Bishop has been a Two True Outcomes hitter for the Volcanoes with an astonishing 52 of his 102 PA ending in either a walk or a strikeout. Hey Hunter — don’t forget about the Third True Outcome!
Kwan Adkins, who has bounced back and forth between the NWL and AZL this year, gave the team a great night out of the leadoff position, reaching base four times, but they were able to score him just once.
AZL Giants teams were OFF
So go back and read Jason’s piece on their players again!
Victor Bericoto boosted his OPS up to .976 with a two-hit day that included his 5th HR of the year. In a rarity, Bericoto didn’t walk but his day was cut short by a different free pass when he was HBP in the top of the 7th and lifted for a PR. The home run got the 17 year old’s SLG up to exactly .500.
A more difficult day was had by 16 year old Luis Castillo, who had been pitching some pretty good ball of late. This was his roughest outing of the year though, giving up a career high 8 hits along with 3 walks to produce a career high 6 earned runs. That pushed Castillo’s ERA back above the 5.00 line. His WHIP is 1.60, which isn’t so hot.
But sing a hymn of praise for Albenis Chango who had the first scoreless outing of his career yesterday and just the second appearance without a walk! Chango has walked 33 batters in 11 IP so far this year, but has hit on a process improvement lately. The RHP has just 1 walk over his last three games (3.2 IP). A quick look at the vitals line gives us some insight into Chango’s extreme issues throwing strikes this year — the beanpole is listed at 6’5” and just 175 lbs. I’m guessing there’s a little growing into the body that’s going to be necessary there. But wow has he had himself a tough go of it so far — I hope the 19 year old is around long enough for things to get better!
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
Sacramento (Conner Menez) @ Reno (Taylor Clarke)
Richmond (Caleb Baragar) vs. Harrisburg (TBD)
San Jose (Casey Meisner) vs. Inland Empire (TBD)
Augusta (Seth Corry) @ Greensboro (Steven Jennings)
Salem-Keizer (Kervin Castro) @ Eugene (Josh Burgmann)
AZL Giants Black (Bryce Fehmel) @ AZL Athletics Gold (TBD) GM 1
AZL Giants Black (TBD) vs. AZL Athletics Gold (TBD) GM 2
AZL Giants Orange (Caleb Killian) vs. AZL Cubs2 (TBD)
DSL Giants (Jose Mullings) vs. DSL Pirates2 (TBD)
Seth Corry continues his assault on both the Sally league and our collective hearts tonight, and Conner Menez looks to get himself and Sacramento back into the winning groove in Reno.
We’ve made it to Friday once again! Not too many more of these minor league weekends left to us at this point — so get out to the ball yard and enjoy a game or two while they last!