San Francisco Giants’ Alex Dickerson follow through on a two-run double against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
On the MLB podcast with Daniel Dullum:
1 A’s pitcher Frankie Montas gets 80-game suspension from MLB for PED policy violation
2 Report: Rays could start splitting seasons between Tampa Bay and Montreal
3 Giants’ OF Dickerson swinging hot bat after call up from Sacramento
4 Twins have still not lost three straight games this season; sign reliever Cody Allen to minor league deal
5 Nomar Mazara of Texas hits 505-foot dinger
6 Wilkin Castillo’s first major league hit in 10 years a game-winner for the Marlins
SAN FRANCISCO — Sometimes, on Sunday morning, there is no news around the ballpark, but today is there is a lot of news surrounding the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants traded pitcher Cory Gearrin, outfielder Austin Jackson and Minor League pitcher Jason Bahr to the Texas Rangers in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
To replace both Gearrin and Jackson on the roster, the Giants purchased the contracts of right-handed pitcher Ray Black and outfielder Steven Duggar from Triple-A Sacramento.
Both Black and Duggar will be making their first appearances on a major-league roster, and Manager Bruce Bochy is wasting no time with Duggar, as he is hitting lead-off and playing center field in today’s series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals.
It has been a tough road to the majors for Black, who was drafted by the Giants with their seventh selection in the 2011 draft, but missed his first two professional seasons in 2012 and 2013 due to a torn labrum.
That was not all of Black’s injuries, as he detailed all of his injuries he has occurred since his days at the University of Pittsburgh.
While with the Panthers, Black had knee and hand surgeries in both 2009 and 2010, then came the labrum. Black then tore the Lat muscle in his arm in 2015, and finally his elbow was scoped in 2017.
His first surgery came in 2006, as he underwent Tommy John surgery as a high schooler in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Duggar, who was drafted by the Giants out of Clemson University in the sixth round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft played in just 42 games between the Arizona Giants, San Jose Giants and the Sacramento Rivercats in 2017, as he missed the first seven weeks of the season with a flexor strain in his right elbow, and then he was out with a left hamstring strain.
This season with the Rivercats, Duggar was hitting .272 with four home runs and 21 runs batted in, as he played in 78 games for the Rivercats.
In 21.2 innings pitched this season, Black was 2-0 with a 2.91 earned run average in 22 games. Black walked just seven batters, while striking out 38 in those 21.2 innings for the Rivercats. He also picked up one save.
The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. A Triple-A team serves two purposes for a major league franchise:
It is the place where the major team stashes its backup players they may need if injuries or poor performance require an immediate roster change without having to make a trade or having to go to the waiver wire.
Triple-A is the highest rung on the minor league ladder. It is where the final determinations are made whether a player can or cannot make it in “the show”. Being promoted to Triple-A is no guarantee of making a major league roster before your career is over. Triple-A can also be the end of a very long road for a player.
The River Cats play in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Divison along with the Fresno Grizzlies (Astros), Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) and Reno Aces (D-Backs). There are four divisions and 16 teams in the PCL. The other Triple-A association is the International League which is comprised of 14 teams.
The Pacific Coast League has traditionally been known for high batting averages and inflated Earned Run Averages. This is due in part to the fact that many of the teams play at higher altitudes or in weather conditions where the ball tends to carry farther. Player personnel directors have always had to hope that pitchers ERA’s would improve over their Triple-A stats and expect that hitters batting averages would be at least 50 to 100-points less in the majors than they were in the PCL.
The Giants called up three players from Sacramento on Saturday. Because of the doubleheader on Saturday, San Francisco was able to expand the roster to 26 for Saturday only. RHP Derek Law from the River Cats was called up to cover that special spot.
The Giants had to place second baseman Joe Panik on the 10-day disabled list due to a left thumb strain. San Francisco selected the contract of Alen Hanson from Sacramento to take Panik’s place on the roster.
Right fielder Mac Williamson has been put on the seven-day disabled list because of a possible concussion. River Cats outfielder Austin Slater received the temporary promotion to the MLB.
Sacramento can also be a rehab location
Giants outfielder Hunter Pence went on the 10-day disabled list on April 20 with a right thumb sprain. Pence was batting just .172 when he went on the DL, but the Giants would certainly be happy to have a player with his experience and leadership ability back with the club as soon as possible because Pence will not stay below the “Mendoza Line” much longer.
Pence played in Sacramento on Friday night on a rehab assignment. He played in right field and went 0-3 at the plate striking out twice but Pence did score the first run of the game for the River Cats. Pence reached first base on a throwing error in the bottom of the first inning and ultimately came home to score. Sacramento won the game downing Reno 6-4. It was the River Cats third consecutive win.
River Cats current situation
Sacramento is 10-11 so far in the month of April and is in third-place in the PCL Pacific North. They are 4.5 games back of division-leading Fresno. The River Cats are 5-4 at home and 5-7 on the road. They are 5-5 in their last 10-games and have won three games in a row.
It is important to keep in mind that winning games, divisions and league championships is not the number goal for a Triple-A franchise. The number one goal is player development followed closely by keeping backup players for the “big club” in shape and ready to go at a moments notice.
The Giants would we very happy to see the River Cats fighting for the PCL championship because it would mean their prospects are playing great baseball and their backup players are not needed in the majors because the major league stars are not getting injured. That is a perfect scenario that seldom exists as the Giants have already demonstrated this season.
Who to watch in Sacramento
The key prospects to watch in SAC are:
OF/1B – Chris Shaw – he is not on the 40-man roster. Currently, Shaw is playing left field which makes sense with Brandon Belt having a career year at first base. He is batting .247 with an on-base percentage of .310. Shaw has hit five home runs and has posted 15 RBI in 19 games. He is rated the number two prospect in the Giants minor league system.
OF – Steven Duggar – another player who is not on the 40-man roster. Duggar is playing outfield and leading off for the River Cats. He is currently hitting .274 with a .354 on-base percentage. Duggar has walked nine times and has three steals. He has one home run, six RBI and has scored 14 runs in 18 games. Duggar is the number three rated Giants minor league player.
RHP – Tyler Beede – this player is on the Giants 40-man roster. Maybe no other minor league player in the Giants system has been talked more about than Beede. Drafted in the first-round in 2014, Giants fans have been expecting him to join the starting rotation almost every year. There was much anticipation that Beede might be brought up last season but control issues and a season-ending groin injury put that idea to an end. He did make two starts this season for San Francisco recording a no-decision in the first start and a loss in the second start. Beede is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts with the River Cats since being sent back to Triple-A. He is ranked the number four best prospect in the system.
OF – Austin Slater – has been called up to the Giants because Pence and Williamson are on the DL. In 14 games with the River Cats, Slater was hitting .358 with a .435 OBP. He posted one home run, eight doubles, and 13 RBI. Slater scored 13 runs. He is rated the number five player in the system.
LHP – Andrew Suarez – he is a member of the 40-man roster. Suarez did get a start with the Giants vs Arizona and was hung with the loss. He has made three starts for SAC and has a 2-0 record with a 1.08 ERA. Suarez has struck out 16 hitters, walked 7 and has a WHIP of 1.02. He listed as the number 10 prospect. Keep your eye on this pitcher.
LHP – D.J. Snelten – another member of the 40-man roster. This 6-foot-6 lefty is making the transition to becoming a reliever. Snelten has made six appearances for Sacramento and has a record of 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 9.0 innings of work. He has allowed just six hits (no home runs), walked five, struck out seven with a 1.22 WHIP. He is listed as the 27th best minor league player in the Giants system.
There will be many moves to come
With April just coming to a close, there are many more moves involving the Sacramento River Cats to made during the 2018 season. More players will travel west to San Francisco. Some players will travel east to SAC. Other player players will get promoted from Richmond and will go from being a Flying Squirrel to being a River Cat.
Watch for weekly updates, special features, and updates as needed as Sports Radio Service keeps you informed on the happenings down on the farm in Sacramento.
With the regular season starting in just five days, the San Francisco Giants have returned to Northern California after breaking camp in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Before their exhibition ending three-game series against the Oakland A’s beginning on Sunday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Giants headed 90 miles north to Sacramento, the state capital of California, to face the Sacramento Rivercats.
Shaun Anderson started the game for the Giants, as he went 3.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), not walking a batter and striking out four. However, he did not fare in the decision.
Jerry Sands hit a two-run home run off of Cory Gearrin in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Rivercats hung on to defeat the Giants 6-5 at Raley Field.
D.J. Snelten struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning to pick-up the victory for the Rivercats, who open the season on April 5 against the Tacoma Rainiers.
In his only inning of work, Gearrin gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and walked two, before giving way to Jose Valdez.
Despite giving up two hits in the top of the ninth inning, Reyes Moronta struck out the side to pick-up the save for the Rivercats.
The Giants played their regulars Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Austin Jackson and Nick Hundley went a combined 7-for-23 against Rivercats pitching.
Kelby Tomilnson went 1-for-2, as did Jordan Arenado, the younger brother of Colorado Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado.
NOTES: Madison Bumgarner underwent surgery on his left pinkie, where pins were inserted into the hand. Bumgarner will miss six to eight weeks.
UP NEXT: The Giants and A’s begin their annual Bay Bridge Series on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum, before heading across the Bay to finish the last two games at AT&T Park.
Right-handed pitcher Sam Coonrod is ranked the fifth best player in the Giants farm system, and Sam is having a very good 2016 season.
Coonrod started the year off in San Jose in the high Class-A California League. That assignment had him right on schedule for player development as he had spent 2014 the in short-season rookie league and 2015 at Class-A Augusta.
By June 12th, Coonrod had made 11 starts for San Jose and had posted a record of 5-3 with 1.98 ERA. That outstanding start earned him a promotion to the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels in mid-June.
Since being promoted to Richmond, Coonrod has continued to be successful. He has made 10 starts and has posted a record of 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA. In 61.0-innings pitched, he has 19 runs (14 earned) off 45 hits. Coonrod has allowed just five home runs. The one area that needs immediate improvement is his walk to strike out ratio. He has walked 29 and struck out 34 batters in those 10 starts for the Flying Squirrels. Coonrod has a WHIP of 1.21 and a batting average against of .209.
The 23-year old Coonrod is 6-foot-2 and weights 225 pounds. He was selected by the Giants in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Southern Illinois.
The fastball is is Coonrod’s number one pitch. He throws it in the 91-96 mph range with good command. His second pitch is a plus-slider that hits the mid-80’s. The change-up is Coonrod’s third pitch and it is a work in progress. He will need to master that change-up in order to remain a candidate to be a starter.
Coonrod’s accelerated progress to the Double-A level has moved up the timeline for him to make it to the major leagues. Based on his current success, fans should expect to see Sam Coonrod in a San Francisco Giants uniform sometime in 2017. That would mean he would start the year in Triple-A at Sacramento and move up the show sometime after the All-Star Break and no later than the September call-ups.
When the Oakland Athletics broke camp in March, they did so leaving behind third-string catcher Stephen Vogt. The omission of Vogt came as no surprise. It was a difficult decision, and Vogt may well have been the last player left off the roster, but he feel victim to the numbers crunch. In the offseason, General manager Billy Beane acquired left-handed hitting John Jaso to compliment righty Derek Norris. Jaso, a prototypical Athletic if ever there was one, gets on base, works well inserted in and out of the line-up and provides some sock of the bench. His arrival rendered Vogt, a lefty himself, superfluous despite any goodwill the unlikely hero earned by hitting a walk-off single in game two of the ALDS against Detroit last season. No, not even Vogt’s strong Spring campaign capped by a .364 batting average and three long balls could earn a spot over a player like Daric Barton or Sam Fuld when March turned to April and the dozens of players in big league camp were whittled down to 25 Athletics.
Fast forward to June 1st and you’ll see the name of a baseball battler penciled into the sixth spot on Bob Melvin’s line-up card in what would be a 6-3 Oakland win. Vogt, a veteran of eight minor league seasons, went 0-for-4 for the green but despite a rocky 2014 debut, the 29-year-old backstop returns to the A’s with confidence.
Certainly, Vogt’s promotion from Triple A came out of necessity. AL West-leading Oakland opens a three-game set at Yankee Stadium with question marks surrounding the health of starting right fielder Josh Reddick (hyperextended right knee) and clean-up hitter Brandon Moss (strained right calf). Vogt’s presence allows Jaso to split time at designated hitter in Moss’ stead while not surrendering the platoon advantage against right-handers (of which Oakland will see in two-of-three games in the Bronx). Vogt, a veteran with over 50 games of experience at first, catcher and left field, also provides some depth in the outfield and first base while granting Derek Norris some relief behind the dish.
The call-up, as brief or as long as it can be, also serves as the carrot on a string, the reward for Vogt’s impressive start with the River Cats. At the time of his promotion, Vogt had an impressive .364/.412/.602 line (including a .413 average against right-handers) with Sacramento, building on his 2013 Pacific Coast League All-star campaign in which he hit .324 with 13 home runs. For a baseball lifer, a nomad who has toiled away in baseball outposts like Durham, Hudson Valley and Charlotte, a taste of the Show every now and then is enough to labor away on the long bus rides for months on end.
The A’s are expected to activate reliever Ryan Cook from the disabled list, possibly as early as Tuesday, meaning a corresponding roster move must be made. Depending on the long-term outlook for Reddick, Vogt could be optioned back down to Sacramento to make room for the reliever. If he’s a casualty once again of the numbers game, he’ll at least take with him a peace of mind that his performance won’t go unnoticed. If Vogt continues to hit Pacific League pitching, the Oakland brass will almost undoubtedly beckon him back to the bright lights of the Bigs before season’s end.
Rumors are flying that the owners of the Sacramento River Cats are looking to switch their affiliation from the Oakland Athletics to the San Francisco Giants. The rumor was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle who cited unnamed sources.
The rumor has gained traction because the affiliation agreements for both the Giants and Athletics expire at the end of the season. Major League teams usually evaluate and sign agreements with minor league affiliates after the end of the regular season.
The story has caused a flurry of responses from both Sacramento and Fresno.
Mark Ling of the River Cats told KCRA-TV that it was just a rumor and no discussions are being held at this time. He went on to point out that Sacramento would be subject to tampering charges for talking to other teams during the season.
The Fresno Bee talked with Derek Franks, executive vice president of the Fresno Grizzlies, who said his team believed that the Giants would renew their contract with his club. The Grizzlies have had a 17-year affiliation with the Giants.
Both Sacramento and Fresno have first class facilities. Raley Field in West Sacramento opened in 2000 and seats 14,014 people with a beautiful view of downtown Sacramento from the stands. Sacramento leads the league in attendance.
Chukchansi Park was built in 2002 in downtown Fresno and holds 12,500 fans with views of the downtown city center.
This reporter has visited both parks and has found them to be comparable in all areas. Both facilities give fans a close up and personal experience at the games. The concessions are Major League quality. Ticket prices are affordable. Both clubs provide a very fan friendly experience.
Why would the Giants want to change cities after a very successful run in Fresno? The fact is they might not be interested unless they get a better deal than they have in Fresno. It would be closer for team officials and players to shuttle back and forth to San Francisco. There might be a small bump in interest with the minor leaguers winding up with the Giants.
The bottom line is the owners of the River Cats may see a potential monetary advantage by becoming an affiliate of the Giants. Sacramento is seen as a Giants town and the River Cats organization may want to exploit that association.
The River Cats may also see the Athletics as a wounded team. No one knows where the team will be playing in the future. A new Bay Area stadium is just a pipe dream. At this point, who knows if the A’s will be in Northern California five years from now? The River Cats may want to bet on the sure thing which would be the San Francisco Giants at this time.
Two areas favor the A’s when it comes to staying in Sacramento. First, the River Cats win. They are perennial favorites to win the PCL championship and are in first place in their division at this very moment. The Grizzlies have struggled to attain winning seasons let alone win a championship. Secondly, a starter – especially pitchers – in Sacramento tonight may be a starter in Oakland tomorrow night. Most of Oakland’s key players were once River Cats. Oakland is much more dependent on their farm system than are the Giants.
The other possibility is the River Cats may be trying to get a better deal out of the Athletics. Sacramento may be setting up some competition to get more out of the miserly A’s. That is a very dangerous game to play with a team who believes less is more. The Athletics might be very happy to have their Triple-A team in Fresno in 2015.