Week 6 in Review: Who's Heating Up?

Say, I don’t know if you’ve noticed

but the top prospects in the system

are off to pretty nice starts!

Maybe not sensational, but the top three prospects in the system (Marco Luciano, Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos) are all putting up wRC+ of 135 or above — in other words they’re all performing about 35-40% better than their leagues. And in two of those cases — with 19-year-old Luciano and 21-year-old Ramos — they’re doing so despite being one of the youngest players in their leagues. I said this yesterday about Ramos, the weekend didn’t jump out at you as sensational — 1 for 4 each day — but he reached base at least twice in each game and had an extra-base hit in each one (in fact, his last five hits have all gone for extra bases). That’s the kind of “unsensational” game lines that add up to a pretty sensational season over time.

So if you’re a devotee of the philosophy that the best thing that can happen in a minor league season is for the top guys to do well, then you’re enjoying 2021. Luciano (.266/.355/.540) is posting the third highest slugging percentage in the Low-A West despite being one of the twelve youngest players in the league. He’s one off the league pace in homers (7), and for a teenager, he’s even showing excellent plate discipline with an 11% walk rate against a reasonable 20% K rate. He seemingly never hits a ball lower than 100 mph or shorter than 400 feet.

Similarly, in Double-A, Ramos (.281/.374/.477) is posting the 20th best slugging percentage in the league despite being at least two years younger than all but two of the players above him. Like Luciano, Ramos is also showing solid plate discipline with a 12% walk rate (though the strikeout rate is still high at just under 28%). And Ramos is heating up lately, with a lot of loud extra-base hits in the last week. Bart meanwhile, homered three times in the last five games and is hitting .318/.362/.568 in ten games since returning from slight groin tightness. Bart is the one of the trio who is struggling with his BB/K ratio, walking just 6% of the time while striking out 29%.

So that’s all great news! But there are some guys further down the prospects lists who maybe you mentally checked out on because of their slow starts. Well, maybe it’s time to check back in on some of them! How are those guys doing? Who’s starting to turn things around and who’s still trying to get out of the starting gate this year? Let’s dive in with our Week 6: Week in Review!

Casey Schmitt

The 2020 2nd round pick got off to a distressingly slow start, picking up just eight hits in May and posting just a .192 OBP. The few hits were loud — four of them went for extra-bases, including three home runs — but there were a lot of 0 for 4s along the way. But the peripherals suggested there was a better play in there — Schmitt paced the league for much of May with a tiny 15% strikeout rate. So, lots of contact, good power, pretty decent walk rate — all those pointed towards better things ahead. And “ahead” has come with the month of June. The first half of this month Schmitt has busted out, going 13 for 35 with 5 HR and a 1.236 OPS. Schmitt exploded over the weekend, hitting four home runs in three games in the homer friendly Banner Island Ballpark. If he can continue that kind of hitting as the team moves to the much more difficult Modesto park (and team), then a real breakout should be in the offing. Schmitt was very deservedly honored for the huge week, and could have more honorifics coming in his future.

It’s sadly been a video-free week in Stockton, but let’s just go back in time a couple of weeks to the previous trip and imagine that the weekend looked a lot like this:

Alex Canario

You remember when Alex Canario was hot to start the year? Unfortunately, that lasted just three days. Then the talented RF went into a slide that lasted the rest of the month. He ended May hitting just .167/.291/.319. Worse yet, the strikeouts that the Giants were working with Canario to cut down had gotten out of control again, as he K’d 29 times (against 13 walks) in 86 PA. Canario would mix in a two- or three-walk night, but then a barrage of Ks and O-fers would come as he seemed to be working on that fine balance that separates patience from controlled aggression. Sometimes he was too passive, sometimes he reverted to being overly aggressive. But gradually the plate appearances started looking stronger, the takes a little better, and you could feel a turnaround was on the horizon. Canario can do massive damage when he gets his pitch, the key is to wait for that moment in the at bat and then attack. That’s started to happen. In June, Canario has posted a sterling 4 BB to 7 K ratio in 49 PA. And with the improved selectivity, the numbers have shot up — he’s slugging .558 over that time with two homers, three doubles (one of which left his bat like a shot at 109 mph on Sunday), and eight RBI. When you have the bat speed this guy has, you don’t have to go crazy with the swing, you just have to hone in on your prey.

Luis Toribio

Yet another member of the prospect-laden San Jose roster, Toribio is the inversion of Canario’s experience. While his batting average hovered in the low .100s throughout the month of May, he was consistently taking great at bats, drawing his walks, and getting ahead in counts. He was also making plenty of contact — he just wasn’t getting the hits to fall. Think of him like the Low-A version of Mike Tauchman! A 1 for 19 start is tough to come back from, but gradually over time the quality of the at bats has proven to be the more important indicator and the stat line has begun to adjust itself. As with most everybody on the team, an encounter with Stockton perked things up as he hit his first two home runs of the season. He also ended the series with a dramatic punctuation, bashing a game-tying two-run double when the team was down to its final strike. Toribio’s now working on a six-game hitting streak and has his season OPS up to .713 and climbing. His 14.3 % walk rate is the second best on his talented team.

Tyler Fitzgerald

The 2019 4th rounder has struck out too much (30%) for a guy with limited power. Still, his 60% hard hit rate suggested all along that his batting average shouldn’t have been hovering around the Mendoza Line. Gradually, things have started to turn around for the versatile infielder. He’s hitting .302/.388/.442 in June, bringing the season line slowly up. Fitzgerald has shown the ability to hit the ball hard, and to hit it far (as his 4 bombs have all been, well, explosive). Now he just needs to work on that swing and miss, as he’s still whiffed on 15 of 49 PA this month.

Sandro Fabian

In a system that fetishizes BB/K ratios, Fabian goes his own way by avoiding both. He has just one walk and only 13 Ks so far this year. I’m not sure exactly how well that sits with the front office, but it seems to be working for the husky OF. Fabian is hitting a blistering .438 (with a .438 OBP to match, natch) this month and scalding the ball to all fields. That includes five very hard hit doubles and his third home run of the year. Fabian puts nearly everything in play somewhere — he has just 4 strikeouts in 32 at bats this month — and lately it’s going everywhere with a purpose. Fabian seems free of the thyroid issues that affected him in 2018 and is showing off the swing that made him one of the team’s top prospects back in 2016/17. The Giants have always liked his work ethic and it’s good to see that work translating into success on the field.

Armani Smith

The De La Salle High School alum didn’t get off to a slow start on the field — Smith was hitting .321/.355/.536 after his first 8 games — but he did suffer a near month-long absence from the field while he dealt with back pain. When he finally returned to San Jose’s lineup, however, he looked like he hadn’t missed a game, hitting .355 over his first seven games back with three home runs and two doubles — good for a 1.085 clip. That kind of production has apparently allowed Smith to ace his Low-A test — it looks like he’s on to bigger things.

As for guys who haven’t yet turned it around? Well, things haven’t gotten going for Patrick Bailey yet — at least not on the offensive side of the ball. The 1st rounder is currently suffering through a 5 for 43 stretch. The strikeouts have come down some and he’s drawing plenty of walks, but so far the hits haven’t been falling in. The switch-hitting catcher (and let’s take a moment to think about the workload involved in all of that) is having a particularly tough time from the right-hand side, where he’s just 2 for 20 with 8 strikeouts so far in his career. One of those two was a home run, to end on a positive note.

HITTER of the Week: Casey Schmitt (SJ): 9 for 20, 4 HR, 9 RBI, .450/.522/1.050

PITCHER of the Week: Kyle Harrison (SJ), 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 10 K
3.04 season ERA


Sacramento River Cats: 14-20
(2-4 week)

I’ve never actually seen any studies on when “Run Differential” begins to be meaningful, but if you’re a Differential believer then it looks like the River Cats have under-performed this year and should be posting a winning record. Of course, given the degree of flux that reigns over this roster, I’m not sure it makes sense to even think of them as a team. It’s more like a nightly pick up game. You set a time and location and wait to see who’s showing up today. I’d imagine pregame in the Sacramento locker room is something like this:

— “hey, LaMonte, long time, man! It’s good you’re here. I wasn’t sure we’d have enough OF!”

— “you coming back tomorrow? Ah, flying to Texas huh. That’s too bad. Hey, if you run into Vosler, tell him I’m looking for him. He promised he was gonna help me move this weekend.”

— “Aris-what-dee?”

— “Who you looking for? Your buddy Sammy? I don’t know no “Sammy,” man. Oh, oh yeah the dude who wouldn’t let anybody else touch the ball! Yeah. He ain’t here no more…You can use his locker if you want.”

So perhaps looking for any overall team personality is a bridge too far with this group. Manager Dave Brundage is just trying to hold things together with the resources on hand every night.

One resource the team has definitely had on hand is the long ball. Sacramento is second in the Triple-A West in HRs with 56, ahead of such homer-friendly climes as Las Vegas (52), Reno (49), and Albuquerque (40). The River Cats bashed out 8 long balls this week, including three from Bart. To fit in with the theme of the above “comedy” bit, none of that came from the team’s offensive leader, Thairo Estrada, who was “on assignment.”

But, also keeping with the day’s theme, newcomers stepped in to fill the void. Jaylin Davis, who just rejoined the team on a rehab assignment, went deep in each of his first two games.

Arismendy Alcántara, who just played his first game of the season on June 3 after his own lengthy IL stint, has already gone deep three times, including a dramatic 9th inning homer against Tacoma (a game they’d ultimately lose on an equally dramatic Tacoma homer).

Joe McCarthy didn’t go deep but he did continue his recent tear, pushing his hitting streak to 15 games, during which he’s hit .390/.478/.729. McCarthy, last week’s Player of the Week in the Triple-A West, has failed to reach base in just three games this year and has hits in all but four. His .985 OPS is the 16th highest in all of Triple-A. Is he heading for another major league stint (this time hopefully with hits!)? There’s a long OF depth chart on the Giants right now, so the path isn’t clear.

The power brigade helped the team split a series in Reno this week, barely pulling out the finale thanks to big hits from Bart and Mitchell Tolman. They’ll need to come back again as they’re trailing Tacoma currently 1-2 in their series (whelp, so much for that, now 1-3, see below).

The Sacramento pitching staff has gone through more turnover than any other part of the roster. Gone are Tropeano, Yamaguchi, Sherfy. Here and gone was Sammy Long. Gone and now here is Scott Kazmir. Ty Weber jumped up from San Jose, pitched a nice game, and returned to Low-A. John Russell did the same, substituting Eugene for San Jose. And mostly all that turnover hasn’t produced great results (the only category they lead the league in is walks issued). But there is one guy I need to shine a light on who has mostly escaped our notice over the last month.

The veteran Sam Wolff is healthy and having one heck of a season. The right-handed reliever who represents the last tiny bit of Matt Duffy’s value in the organization (Wolff was part of the return from Texas in the Matt Moore deal), has faced 30 batters this year — four of them have reached base. He’s struck out 12. He hasn’t allowed a run to score; he hasn’t allowed an inherited run to score. He’s been very nearly perfect. A There R Giants salute to Sam Wolff and a hope that he catches that dream he’s chasing someday.


Richmond Flying Squirrels: 21-15
(4-2 week)

Transactions:

Delete RHP Tristan Beck (placed on 7-day IL)
Add LHP Michael Plassmeyer (assigned to Richmond)
Delete INF Ryan Howard (released)
Add RHP Akeel Morris (assigned to Richmond)

Richmond has found itself stuck in the wrong half of this league. Over here in the perplexing geographic locale know as the Northeast-Southwest Division, a +18 run differential and six games over .500 has you stuck at the kids table. Over in the redundant Northeast-Northeast Division (which, I guess is just REALLY northeast), only one team out of the six has scored more runs than they’ve allowed and only two teams have a winning record.

The good news is that Richmond gets to face one of those Weak Sisters of the North this very week! The bad news is that the one they’re facing is actually the division leading Somerset Patriots, bearers of the league’s best pitching staff and a +49 run differential. The Patriots are the only team in the league that has allowed fewer runs than the Flying Squirrels. They’re the only team that has a lower staff ERA, the only team that has surrendered fewer home runs, one of just two teams that has collected more strikeouts.

Another thing that connects the two clubs? They’re both getting reinforcements!

With Luis Medina added to Luis Gil, the Squirrels will face off against two starting pitchers who are among the Yankees’ Top 10 prospects. Somerset also just added 21-year-old shortstop Oswald Peraza, who is the Yankees #6 prospect, so there’s going to be some good talent for Richmond to match itself up against this week. There’s also an #Old Friend Alert on the Somerset staff in 2016 Giants draftee Matt Krook.

The Squirrels themselves, meanwhile, got the help that their painfully stretched staff desperately needed. In return for DFA’d reliever Matt Wisler, the Giants acquired LHP Michael Plassmeyer from Tampa Bay. Plassmeyer is an extreme strike thrower, known for his plus plus command, which has always made his stuff (which on paper looks rather pedestrian) play up. Originally drafted by Seattle, Plassmeyer has now been acquired by two pretty smart organizations — the Rays and Giants — which suggests there’s something interesting there.

In a separate move, the Giants signed RHP Akeel Morris out of the independent Atlantic League. Morris saw a little major league time way back in 2015 with the Braves and Angels.

Both pitchers have been assigned to Richmond, which has been operating with just four healthy starting pitchers including swingman Trenton Toplikar and the demoted Phil Pfiefer. So I’m sure Steve Kline’s relief is palpable. You can listen to Caleb Kilian discussing his transition to Double-A in the latest There R Giants podcast, by the way!

At the same time, to make room for the pitchers on the roster, Richmond said good bye to a very well-liked and respected old friend.

Howard has been struggling with arm issues that limited his ability to play the left side of the infield this year. Limited to playing mostly 1b and pinch hitting duties, Howard hit .207/.270/.379 in 63 PA. Good luck to a good player. Here’s hoping he catches on somewhere and finds health and happiness.

Coming into this week’s series with Harrisburg, Heliot Ramos hadn’t had an extra-base hit in a week and a half. He gave notice almost immediately that things were about to change when he drilled the second pitch he saw on Tuesday to the wall deep in right-center field — a ball that was almost certainly knocked down by a stiff wind. In his next at bat, he pulled a ball to the base of the wall that was somewhat controversially called foul, before ultimately drawing a walk. In his third PA of the week, he ripped a double. Yup, the power bat was back. Ramos collected just five hits during the week, but that doesn’t tell the real story. All five went for extra bases including his 4th and 5th homers of the year. The first came when Harrisburg starter Carson Teel tried to double him up with changeups and Ramos drilled it out deep to left. The second was a fastball down and in that he shot out to right-center, again displaying his all-fields power. Ramos also drew four walks, was hit by a pitch, and only struck out five times on the week, all good for a very tidy .250/.400/.700 series that has me wondering if my time getting to watch him in Richmond is nearing its end. The Squirrels are on the road for the next two weeks. Will Heliot return with them?

The Richmond bullpen has the second best ERA in the league (behind only the Harrisburg Senators), and features two pitchers who are in the league’s top five in Saves — Norwith Gudino and Pat Ruotolo. Five different Richmond relievers have Called or Swinging Strike percentages above 33% — an elite ratio. That group is led by the huge power arm of Jose Marte (42%) and also includes Gudino (40%), Joey Marciano (36%), Frank Rubio (34%) and Matt Seelinger (34%). It’s a real wrecking crew!

Finally, not only did Richmond win their series, they might have won some fashion awards as well for these snappy new “Fauxback” unis that I seriously love! This should really be the new everyday look for the Squirrels!


Eugene Emeralds: 20-15
(1-4 week)

Transactions:

Delete INF/OF Carter Aldrete (placed on 7-day IL)
Add OF Diego Rincones (return from Temporary Inactive List)
Add RHP John Russell (reassigned from Sacramento)

It was a rough week for Eugene. Not only did they stay on the road for a second consecutive week against the best team in the league, but the Eugene lineup spent the entire week facing the best the Mariners system had to offer. For five consecutive nights, they went up against a starting pitcher who was one of the Top 30 prospects in a strong Mariners system, including two of the very best Mariners prospects: Emerson Hancock, who was the 6th overall pick in last year’s draft, and rising star George Kirby, who was picked 20th overall. So, perhaps it’s not that surprising that the Emeralds had it handed to them all week, dropping four of the five games in the series.

But whether Everett’s hot arms or Eugene’s cold bats were the primary cause — there’s no doubting this two week trip against the league’s two best teams has coincided with a team-wide slump that has seen numbers sliding for most of the roster. Bailey’s OPS is under .600. Will Wilson’s OPS, which started the trip at a healthy .953, has lost nearly 100 points in two weeks, as he heads home carrying an .859 mark. Franklin Labour lost 100 points of OPS, Sean Roby lost 50. Ismael Munguia — who spent one of the two weeks at the Olympic qualifying games — lost 50 points off his solid .773 mark entering the trip. Even the return of Diego Rincones didn’t help much, as he went just 1 for 10 with two walks in three games after returning from the Olympic qualifiers.

The only members of the lineup who saw their batting lines move in a positive direction on the two-week trip were the aforementioned Fitzgerald, who hit a solid .302/.388/.442, and Logan Wyatt who began the month with a dismal .511 OPS (.184/.287/.224) and did manage to nudge it up to a slightly-less-dismal .622, mostly thanks to the 12 walks he drew on the road trip. This is a team that can definitely use Armani Smith’s bat!

Things aren’t much brighter on the pitching side of the equation, as the Emeralds have been stretched trying to cover innings since Caleb Kilian headed to Richmond, Nick Morreale headed to the IL, and Kai-Wei Teng headed to the Sticky Stuff suspension list. To help bridge the gap, Eugene turned to relievers Nick Avila and Travis Perry for starting depth, while also adding Aaron Phillips from XST. Admittedly facing tougher competition in Vancouver and Everett, the Replacement Guys haven’t given the team quite the same level of value. Avila’s allowed 13 earned runs in 10.2 innings in his three starts. Perry did slightly better — allowing 7 runs, but just 4 of them earned, over 7 innings in his two starts. Phillips has so far produced a 5.89 ERA and is striking out a team low 5.9 per 9 innings.

Teng should return from his suspension this week, which should help. And the team is still getting valuable starts from Seth Corry, despite his 30 walks allowed, which is the highest by any pitcher in the minor leagues. Corry’s 46 strikeouts are second best in the league, and he’s surrendered just 16 hits in 28.2 IP. He’s tremendously difficult to hit when he makes competitive pitches, but his failure to do that consistently is holding him back right now. Hard to put lipstick on a 9.4 BB/9. That’s ugly no matter how it’s dressed up .

Things are looking much better in the bullpen. R.J. Dabovich hasn’t allowed a hit since May 7 (10.2 IP). And in that same time, he’s struck out 23 of the 30 batters he’s faced. He’s allowed just two hits all year (in his first two games) and both were solo home runs (Richmond’s Pat Ruotolo has the same statistical oddity going: 3 hits, 3 solo HR) Dabovich’s left-handed compliment Chris Wright has been equally dominant. Since coming to the High-A level, Wright has rid himself of 15 of the 24 batters he’s faced with a whiff of the hand. He’s given up 1 hit in 6.1 innings. The pair now has even more help coming to join them with John Russell’s return. Like Wright, Russell doesn’t have Dabovich’s velocity but he’s always run produced high strikeout rates that suggest the ball has some hidden characteristics. Altogether, the group is helping produced the 5th highest strikeout totals in the minor leagues.

The one bright point of Eugene’s week came on a single dramatic swing of the bat from Sean Roby, who crushed a mammoth 3-run homer to give the Emeralds their lone win, a late inning come-from-behind thriller. You can hear Alex Stimson’s call of that dramatic moment here:


San Jose Giants: 24-12
(5-1 week)

Transactions:

Add RHP Ty Weber (reassigned from Sacramento)

San Jose is on a roll, having won 13 of their last 16 games. Along the way, the Giants have started to establish themselves as the predominant players of power baseball in Low-A, and perhaps in the entire minor leagues. What the Giants do, they do well. The team leads the league in HRs (47) and Total Bases (527) on the offensive side, while leading all minor league teams in strikeouts (465) on the pitching side. They’ve allowed the fewest hits and the fewest home runs. Lead the league in dingers and give up the fewest? Lead the league in striking out the opponents and strike out yourselves less than anybody? Those are some winning indicators in the current game of baseball.

It’s also how you end up with an announcement like this:

San Jose’s destruction of Stockton — the only team in their division with a losing record — was as thorough as could be. The Giants have put on an almost unbelievable power display in Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark this year. In two series — twelve games in all — they’ve now hit 31 of their 47 home runs for the year in Stockton’s home park. It’s a homer-friendly stadium, but it’s not exactly Coors Field!

And what home runs! The Giants had Joe Ritzo chanting like an auctioneer trying to spit out all the amazing Trackman data:

  • Armani Smith: 455 feet out to dead center

  • Ricardo Genovés 422 feet to left 

  • Casey Schmitt 443 feet

  • Luis Toribio 427 feet. 

  • Marco Luciano: 403 foot triple

  • Alex Canario blasted a line-drive double off the wall at 110 mph and then produced a “Whoa Nelly!” with his parting blow.

It was a cannonade seemingly without mercy. The leader of the pack was, without a doubt, last year’s second round pick Casey Schmitt. Did I say just last week, that for a college player in Low-A I expected a little more? Well, asked and answered counselor! After posting just a .121 batting average with a .464 OPS (!) in May, Schmitt has gotten red hot in June to the tune of .371/.436/.800 over the first two series of the month. He simply went off in the final four games of the Stockton series, hitting four home runs in three games to vault over Marco Luciano into a tie for the league lead in home runs (8). While swinging for the fences, Schmitt has maintained a fantastic strikeout rate, just 15.7%. That’s fifth best in the league and top 20 in all Low-A leagues. Power and contact is a killer combination, particularly when matched with a strong defensive profile at an important position on the field.

Over his last three series, Marco Luciano is slugging .621 with four HRs, 11 extra-base hits, and has as many walks as strikeouts (12). His fellow teenager Luis Matos is having himself a month as well, hitting .325/.391/.500 in June with MORE walks (4) than strikeouts (3). The two prodigious talents are doing a good bit more than “holding their own” with a challenging assignment — they’re thriving.

But the Giants power game wasn’t just on display in the batter’s box this week. Every starting pitcher seemed to out do the previous one. Prelander Berroa struck out 8 Ports in 4 innings. For Carson Ragsdale it was 9 punchouts (albeit he got knocked around for five runs), and for Kyle Harrison 10! But the finest performance of all came from the veteran Wil Jensen, who well deserved his Pitcher of the Week honors with his six innings of one-hit, shutout ball. San Jose’s rotation dominates the strikeout leader board with Ragsdale tops in the league (54), Harrison #4 (49), Ryan Murphy #8 (46), and Jensen #12 (41). One of the team’s best arms might be hiding out in the bullpen, as Ivan Armstrong continues to shine in relief. Armstrong has allowed just 3 runs this year (1.29 ERA) over 21 innings, while striking out 25 of the 81 batters he’s faced. He’s been stingy with walks and hits leading to a tiny 0.95 WHIP. For much of the year, Armstrong’s been throwing multi-inning stints, as high as 4 innings in a game. But recently, he’s been moved into the 9th inning role. The hulking right-hander can get his fastball up near the century mark, so he’s another who could rise quickly if he’s kept in a short-stint/high-leverage role.

With all of their success, San Jose still hasn’t been able to pull away from those pesky Fresno Grizzlies, who have taken an alternate path to success. Fresno is allowing the fewest runs in the league — the only team to allow less than four runs per game — and while they aren’t among the leaders in strikeouts, they walk the fewest batters in the league. On offense Fresno’s calling card is speed as they’ve stolen 70 bases — almost 10 more than the nearest competitor. San Jose is actually holding of the bottom of the league in that category with 32. The two teams provide a fun matchup of styles and strategies when they get together, and between the two they are dominating all comers.


About Last Night

Sacramento lost @ Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), 5-1

Thairo Estrada’s first at bat since returning from San Francisco looked a lot like most of his previous at bats with the River Cats: he belted a triple VERY deep to CF in the top of the 1st inning. When Joey Bart’s two-out single brought Estrada home, it looked like Sacramento might be starting off a nice night at the plate. Sadly, the early fireworks presaged a sleepy night from the offense, which wouldn’t score again the rest of the night.

Bart provided most of the night’s offense, picking up half of the team’s six hits, including his sixth double of the year. Bart now has 12 hits over his last six games. Joe McCarthy managed to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, just sneaking a double in down the LF line. McCarthy is within two of the Giants-era River Cats record of 18 consecutive games, held by fan favorite Kelby Tomlinson.

John Brebbia started but failed to get through an inning of work, throwing 22 pitches while recording just one out. Brebbia should pitch again tonight marking a major milestone in his rehab — his first back to back. Kervin Castro followed with 1.2 clean innings. That’s Castro’s third consecutive scoreless appearance, and the right-hander has issued just one walk in those three outings against 4 Ks. Perhaps the youngster is beginning to crawl his way up that incredibly steep learning curve he was given.

Gerson Garabito was scheduled to make his Triple-A starting debut, instead coming out of the pen to give the team four “bulk innings.” Garabito was mostly effective, though he did give up a two-run homer to Evan White in his final inning of work. Mariners top prospect Jarred Kelenic also continued to harry Sacramento pitchers, drilling a solo shot off Luis Gonzalez for the game’s final tally.

The two teams finish their series tonight as Tyler Beede makes another rehab start. This is the final start of his 10-day “rehab extension,” but the Giants have the option of two more 10-day extensions — an option, of which, I suspect they’ll be taking advantage.


What’s On Tap?

After having just three games over the last two days, we should be back to a full slate tonight. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the weather systems in the northwest and northeast are favorable! In Modesto, I imagine the only weather worry is the “surface of the sun” heat that is plaguing the San Joaquin Valley currently.

Sacramento (Tyler Beede) @ Tacoma (David Huff), 6:05 pm MiLBTV
Richmond (Michael Plassmeyer) @ Somerset (Glenn Otto), 4:05 pm, MiLBTV
Eugene (Conner Nurse) vs. Hillsboro (TBD), 7:05 pm, MiLBTV
San Jose (Carson Ragsdale) @ Modesto (TBD), 7:05 pm, MiLBTV

In addition to Beede’s continued rehab, we should get our first view of brand new Giants prospect Michael Plassmeyer tonight. Carson Ragsdale takes his league leading 54 strikeouts into battle in Modesto, as San Jose hopes to maintain its share of first place. And Eugene finally gets to come home, lick its wounds, get a good home cooked meal, and finally take on a team with a losing record for a week. They need to make some hay to get their fortunes pointed back in the positive direction.

And all of it will be on glorious MiLBTV. So enjoy the action everyone! We’ll be here to cover everything of interest tomorrow and all week!

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Here we’ll bring you the Sammy Longs of the system when they’re still regular ol’ Sams!