Jimmy Glowenke Delivers Title for Eugene!
SF Giants Minor Lines, September 16, 2022
We got drama!
We got hard hitting action!
And most of all, we have players jumping around on a field hugging each other!
With a Friday night this power-packed, we just have to have a Saturday Supplemental! And let’s make it a Free For All for everybody to enjoy! Championship celebrations are for all!
And we will get to a little championship action in just a moment, but first, important off-season news broke yesterday afternoon, so let’s start today with the Arizona Fall League.
The Giants’ AFL contingent this year won’t be quite as eye-popping as last season, when they sent three #1 picks and a top 15 prospect in baseball (along with an interesting pitching staff that included Seth Corry and soon to be big leaguer Cole Waites), but there are some intriguing elements.
The eight prospects representing the Giants this fall will be:
OF Luis Matos
1b Logan Wyatt
RHP Will Bednar
RHP Tyler Myrick
RHP Hunter Dula
The assignment that jumps out immediately is 2nd round pick Whisenhunt being sent to the AFL before he’s even had a full-season assignment. Generally, top pitching prospects don’t take part in the AFL, as teams are highly protective of their arms, but with Whisenhunt, it makes sense. He was ineligible to take part in his Junior season at East Carolina State due to an NCAA suspension for a failed drug test, so his entire action in 2022 consists of 16 innings in the Cape Cod League and 7.2 innings with the Giants. But aside from the workload, this assignment would seem to indicate that the Giants might be inclined to push Whisenhunt’s development. Kyle Haines told Joe Ritzo, in a pregame interview during the Cal League playoffs, that all of the late-season additions to the San Jose would return there next season. If there’s going to be an exception, Whisenhunt would be the guy.
And another top pick and top prospect heads to the desert, as 2021 1st round pick Bednar attempts to recoup some of his lost innings from this season. Bednar only threw 43 innings this year himself, and was last seen way back on June 12. Bednar showed up in spring with stuff that was down from what he had shown in the College World Series in 2021, and never quite found a rhythm this year before being put on the IL in June, reportedly for back discomfort.
Two types of players that every AFL team needs in abundance are relievers and catchers, and the Giants are sending two of each to help the Scottsdale club absorb innings and bullpens. Dula and Myrick both played this season for San Jose and Eugene (in fact, Myrick was just picking up three important outs for Eugene last night), and both have fastballs that can help push them up the system.
Sugastey, who won’t turn 20 until late October, is one of the youngest players in this year’s Fall League, and he’s a really intriguing inclusion in this year’s compliment of players. Sugastey struggled a bit with the bat in his full season debut, but the Giants still love his makeup, his leadership, his arm, and his ability to hit. He missed a chunk in the middle of the season with a strained quad. Catchers usually only play once a week in the AFL to lighten the load — which is another reason why having several of them is vital to each club.
Of course, the most exciting prospect in this year’s group is Matos, who ended a disappointing season with a nice end of year push, hitting .283 with five homers after August 1. Seeing him carry that success into the AFL would help his case for a promotion to Double A next spring. One player who is missing is Marco Luciano, who was part of last year’s AFL group. Luciano missed a lot of at bats in the middle of this season, but he’s headed to the Dominican Winter League to make those up. Luciano was the top draft choice of the Estrellas Orientales (whose GM, Felix Peguero is a high-ranking member of the Giants’ International Scouting Department), and will play an important part on this year’s club.
And, since I’m talking off-season stuff, for those of you new to There R Giants who weren’t around last winter, some quick housekeeping. Once the minor league season is concluded, the site goes to a three-post per week off-season schedule (typically M-W-F). There will be season wrap ups, player profiles, in depth looks at Rule 5 protection decisions, way too early looks at next year’s Opening Day rosters, and, of course, a brand new There R Giants’ Top 50 rollout. And, yes, I will keep an eye on the fall and winter league action, too! So even though the games are ending, there will still be plenty of content rolling towards your Inboxes throughout the winter to keep the hot stoves burning. In March, I’ll make a trip to minor league camp to give you early views of the whole system — and, you never know, sometimes those early spring looks turn out to be meaningful!
So it’s a great time to become a There R Giants’ subscriber for all of the content coming your way this winter.
HITTER of the Night: Jimmy Glowenke (Eug), 2 for 5, HR (1), 2 RBI
PITCHER of the Night: Kai-Wei Teng (Rich), 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K
In truth, Ricardo Genovés and Carter Aldrete had the better pure numbers cases for Hitter of the Night, but when you…..well, you’ll see!
NWL Championship Series
Eugene won @ Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays), 9-7 (10 inn)
Winning Best of Five Series, 3-0
SWEEP! But it wasn’t easy! In a raucous, back and forth struggle that involved big swings of the bat from both sides, the Eugene sluggers ultimately bashed last, completing their conquest for back to back league championships in the minimum number of games. In fact, Eugene has lost just one post-season game now in these two years of triumph! And it’s worth noting that while the Eugene franchise itself can now claim two straight championships, more unusually, many of the players on the squad can make the same claim, as nine different Eugene players who took part in Friday night’s game ended the 2021 season in a scrum in the middle of the field as well — either in Eugene or in San Jose.
While the game devolved into a slug fest, there was strong pitching at the top of the night. Starter Nick Zwack, one of the three pitchers who came over from the Mets in the Darin Ruf deal, gave the team four reasonably solid innings, though with six hits allowed, he was more or less in constant danger. He mostly limited the damage though, thanks to well-spotted fastballs that picked up five strikeouts — four of them called.
Zwack also survived a line drive to the pitching arm (seen at the top) more or less intact — working three more innings after absorbing that shot. And, for what it’s worth, maybe I need to rethink my pitcher inclusion on the All Defense Squad, because Zwack moves around pretty well out there!
For all that fine work, however, the Ems fell into an early 2-0 hole. The solution? Deploy the Dinger!
Luis Toribio, who finished second in the NWL in HR with 21 (one of nine different prospects who have reached the 20 mark so far this year — can you name them all?), turned the game around with a Giant swing in the 5th, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead.
But that was the only big swing of the bat for the Ems for most of the night, as Vancouver pitching did a good job of quieting the powerful Eugene offense. Vancouver’s starter, 22-year-old Chad Dallas, just poured slider after slider down the young Ems’ throats, picking up seven strikeouts over his 5.1 innings of work. In all, Eugene only managed seven hits in this entire game — but they made them count!
The 3-2 lead was extremely short-lived. Pitching to the first batter of the bottom of the 5th, Zwack’s night ended when he gave up a leadoff triple to Dasan Brown, who was the most consistently dynamic player in this series, putting up a stupid 1.700 OPS over the three games. Brown would score to send the game into the late innings tied at 3. A Sac Fly from Matos briefly gave Eugene another one run lead, but this one was erased with extreme prejudice in the bottom of the 8th, when the Canadians jumped on Georgetown U’s Nick Morreale for three runs — an inning that jump-started the extreme mood swings that dominated the final two innings of this elimination game.
Down to their final three outs, Toribio gave Eugene another boost when he led off the 9th with a double. A Hayden Cantrelle walk brought Grant McCray to the plate — sitting on an 0 for 4 with 3K kind of night. Leading off the game, Dallas had made McCray look silly, striking out on a slider that just about took off his kneecap, but this time McCray got a hanger that sat in the middle of the zone — and did he know what to do with that!
Did that excite the bench? Reader, it sure did!
But the highs and lows of this game were not over just yet! Closer Juan Sanchez couldn’t seal the deal. A leadoff grounder just barely found a crease in the defense for a leadoff hit. That would turn into the game-tying run, when Blue Jays #14 prospect, Gabriel Martinez, somehow took a breaking ball at his ankles and roped a ball off the wall to deep left field — a ball that would have been a walk-off two-run homer had it been hit about 10’ further to the left, where it would have settled into the notch down the left-field line at Nat Bailey Stadium. The old park just managed to contain it, however, and Sanchez escaped into extra innings with a tie.
There, it was Jimmy Glow’s turn to shine. After making two quick outs, the Ems were in danger of stranding their Manfred Man, when Glowenke got yet another hanger at the belt and drilled it out to deepest center field with what turned out to be the final, championship winning blow. Glowenke had a difficult season — missing a big stretch of the summer to injury, and struggling to get his average much above the Mendoza Line. But he does have big power for a middle infielder, and when he ties into one, he can take them where the Big Boys go.
And that was that! Myrick gave the team a drama-free 10th, striking out one and getting the final out of the season on a harmless fly to right field. Ballgame. Series. Season!
That gives the organization its second league championship of the 2022 season. There’s one more post-season drama left to play out, which brings us to…
After two straight nights of extra-innings tension that tested patience and wrung even the steeliest nerves at The Diamond, Richmond enjoyed a good ol’ fashioned romp on Friday night. It was a game that re-wrote the Richmond record book in a couple of different ways, with both strong pitching and power hitting.
But let’s start with the pitching. It hasn’t always been an easy season for Kai-Wei Teng, but he’s been a workhorse for sure! The 23-year-old Taiwanese right-hander has thrown the most pitches in the Eastern League this season, as well as the most innings in the most games. He also, unfortunately, has the league’s highest walk total — by a lot. With four more last night, he ended his season with 85 of them — the third highest total in the league was just 51! And Teng’s ERA of 5.51 is fourth highest in the league amongst qualified pitchers.
But the big man can also miss bats, and piled up strikeouts in huge numbers all year. Last night, he made that pile higher than any other pitcher who has ever donned a Flying Squirrels uniform. Going into the game, he needed six Ks to tie Eric Surkamp’s franchise record of 165, and he got a good start on that figure when he struck out the side in the 1st.
And then he kept going, and going, and going. Though he looked to be on the ropes in the 6th when he lost the zone, Teng ended up plowing his way through seven strong innings, and ended the year with a franchise record 169 strikeouts. That figure also snuck him past Erie’s Reese Olson for the top number in the league. Olson has already pitched in this series, so Teng should be able to claim the league K title. According to Richmond Director of Communications, Trey Wilson, it’s the most strikeouts by an EL pitcher since 2011 — coincidentally, the same season that Surkamp set the now-defunct Richmond record.
Congratulations, Mr. Teng, you are absolutely the K-King around this town!
But Teng wasn’t the only Squirrel who could claim a record on this night. In a call back to the season’s opening week, Richmond once again hit a franchise record five home runs in a game. That first five HR game came way back on April 13, in just Richmond’s second home game of the season. Sean Roby started his historic campaign with a booming two-homer night, and Shane Matheny, Jacob Heyward, and Brandon Martorano all went deep, giving the franchise its first ever five-dinger game.
In a highly satisfying echo of that early spring game, Richmond equaled the feat in its third-to-last home game of the year, and amazingly, there wasn’t one single player who took part in both outbursts. Instead, this time, it was Ricardo Genovés who went deep twice, while Brett Auerbach, Riley Mahan, and Carter Aldrete swatted one apiece. Aldrete’s shot, a three-run homer that turned the game into a late innings laugher, was the conclusion of a huge night that also included two doubles and a pretty nifty play in left field!
When history calls, why not sit back and listen? So let’s just enjoy the rockets red glare in their totality. Here’s all five of Richmond’s historic dingers:
Do NOT sleep on Geno’s power! When he gets that substantial base of his into a ball it takes the long route home!
With the win, Richmond pushed Erie a game back of Bowie in the race for the second half title — and everybody on this team is certainly aware that a one-day trip to relatively close by Bowie, MD (124 miles, one way) is infinitely preferable to a one-day trip to Erie, OH — a 445 mile one-way trip that takes roughly eight hours of driving. So keep pushing, Squirrels. There R Giants wants a seat in the Press Box for Game 1, after all!
There may not be a more jarring juxtaposition of minor league atmosphere possible than moving from a rowdy Friday night at The Diamond, where nearly 7,000 loyal enthusiasts whoop it up over a dinger-thon, to a quiet and empty Sutter Health Park, playing out an unscheduled “road” game in the quiet of a tomb.
I mean, they did have a homer! And, apparently, one guy watching the game!
But otherwise, there really wasn’t much to recommend about this snooze-fest. The season is probably starting to feel pretty long for some of these guys, as they eye their fall vacation plans.
But, in one tiny bit of good news, Heliot Ramos did continue his recent bit of hard-hitting. Getting a cutter at the belt, he got out in front of it and roasted a ball at 113.8 mph into the left-field gap.
That’s exactly the kind of swing we’re hoping to see more often from the 23-year-old. A little more hot hitting, and just maybe Ramos can play his way into one more call up before the season is done?
The team does have yet another new player, however, another lefty-mashing corner guy to add to the total:
Today’s Scheduled Starters:
And then there were two! The season is over for all but the top two levels of the organization, and by the time Monday’s post comes around, Richmond’s regular season will be concluded as well. Once we get through the Double A playoffs, I’ll transition to off-season programming, with three posts per weeks, starting with a host of season wrap up material. So you have that to look forward to as the long winter starts to close in around us.
At least we can bask in the warm glow of some enjoyable memories!