The Sacramento River Cats have been getting a nice boost from major league talent over the past few games, as their Wednesday night lineup in New Orleans consisted of All-Star second baseman Joe Panik, utility infielder Kelby Tomlinson, former Giants' backup catcher Andrew Susac, and 2014 postseason hero Travis Ishikawa. Two of the four are rehabbing with the Triple-A squad, with Panik looking to make his return this weekend in the Bronx.
All four aforementioned players recorded extra-base hits during the team's 10-4 victory over the Zephyrs, including home runs from Susac and Ishikawa and doubles from middle infielders Panik and Tomlinson.
Susac began the year in a hard slump, batting .220 in his first 146 plate appearances with just eight extra-base hits (.317 SLG). But since June 27, Susac's injuries may be finally getting out of the way of his bat. In the last 16 games (70 PA), Susac has racked up six doubles and four home runs, among 21 total base hits. The tallies add up to a .318/.329/.591 slash line over the stretch, plus he's striking out at a 12.9 percent clip — down from 20.5 percent in his first 37 games.
Austin Slater also homered for the River Cats, which was his third in Triple-A and second in the last four games. Through 115 plate appearances at the new level, Slater has put up a .233/.313/.359 line, but encouraging is his above-average 10.4 percent walk rate and average 20.9 percent strikeout rate. The hits will come for Slater, who has played mostly left field since joining the River Cats.
— Chris Stratton will make his fourth start since returning to the River Cats from a month-long stint as a rarely-used long reliever in San Francisco. In his last outing, Stratton struck out 12 in eight strong innings at Round Rock, and overall has allowed just 13 baserunners in 16.2 innings since being optioned.
— In 16 games since being promoted to the River Cats, middle infielder Ali Castillo has totaled 23 hits and struck out just five percent of the time. His 2016 season has been spectacular, striking out less than once per 10 at-bats and averaging .328 in just under 300 plate appearances split between Richmond and Sacramento.
— C.J. Hinojosa had a three-hit night for the Flying Squirrels, raising his average to .311 since his promotion. In 372 plate appearances, Hinojosa has a .299 average this year and continues to draw almost as many walks as strikeouts. He walks at a 11.3 percent clip while striking out just 14 percent of the time. He continues to prove himself to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season. He does continue to struggle defensively, recording five errors at shortstop in 15 games with Richmond.
— 2015's fourth round pick Mac Marshall is still looking for a solid outing. Even since his demotion to Salem-Keizer, he's walking a batter per inning while opposing hitters are slugging near .500 off the lefty. He has a career ERA of 5.71 and WHIP of 1.869.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 2-for-4, R, 2B
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Phil Bickford: DNP
- Lucius Fox: 0-for-3, 2 BB, SO
- Chris Shaw: 0-for-4, RBI, SO
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Adalberto Mejia: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
- Clayton Blackburn: DNP
- Jalen Miller: 1-for-5, RBI, SO
- Ray Black: DNP
- Chase Johnson: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Okert: DNP
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 2-for-4, 2B, SO
- Austin Slater: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SO
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Michael Santos: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- Steven Duggar: 1-for-5, R, RBI, SO
- C.J. Hinojosa: 3-for-4, RBI
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Mac Marshall: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: DNP
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Dylan Davis: DNP