River Cats win behind Beede's soft contact

BOX SCORES: SAC / SJ

Only two games were completed by San Francisco Giants farm teams on Tuesday, as both squads back east had their contests postponed due to inclement weather. For the Augusta GreenJackets, it was the second day in a row for weather postponement. 

On the dry west coast, Tyler Beede took the mound for the Sacramento River Cats and had his shortest outing (pitch count wise) since April 14 — his second start of the season. The move to pull Beede after just 83 pitches was interesting, considering he entered Tuesday's start averaging 92.3 pitches per game, and had gone 96 and 98 in his previous two. He departed with one down in the sixth inning having just surrendered his third walk of the game, but nothing appeared off about Beede's stuff or stamina.

In hindsight, it was a successful move because Tyler Rogers coaxed a double-play grounder in just two pitches to end the inning. But Beede's sinker had been ramped up to a consistent 93-94 in the final two frames after beginning the outing mostly 92. Soft contact was being generated during a majority of the outing thanks to the sinker, as well as the high-80s cutter that had so much movement at times it looked like a slider. And he threw about seven or eight curveballs in the low-80s that got swing-throughs from right-handers, as well as locked-up looking strikes.

He did mess with a circle-changeup at times, but didn't appear to have a good feel for it. The best offering was the sinker. It was down in the zone often and helped force nine ground balls in 22 batters faced. At 56.5 percent, Beede owns the second highest ground ball percentage in the organization, trailing only Mike Connolly at 57.2%. And among qualifying pitchers, it's the 39th highest in all of the minor leagues.

Concerning, perhaps, is his almost-seven percent drop in strikeout rate, but his ground ball rate is up almost nine percent, which helps increase soft contact and is at times better than a strikeout. And opposing hitters own a .109 isolated slugging, compared to .105 last season in a pitcher-friendly Eastern League. The numbers for Beede might not be flashy, but that's kind of what you get with a pitch-to-contact guy.

Out of the bullpen in the ninth came Kyle Crick, who is reinventing himself this year with the River Cats. He came into the evening having surrendered four hits and five walks in his last 10.1 innings pitched while striking out 15.

He threw 18 four-seam fastballs in 24 total pitches with an average velocity of 95.9. He touched 97 four times, but was mostly 95-96. He threw four sliders in the 81-83 range, one of which was a swinging strike three, and two firm changeups at 89. 

In total, he logged five swinging strikes, four from the fastball and the one from the slider.

Through his first 15 games in Triple-A, Crick has lowered his walk rate to a career low 10.3 percent, and his 32.1 percent strikeout rate is highest since his breakout season in San Jose, though he was walking hitters almost 14 percent of the time then. 

OTHER NOTES

Aramis Garcia has hit a bit of a wall during his last 13 games. After starting off the season with an OPS above 1.000 in his first 15 games, he's slashing .137/.214/.196 during this most recent span. Thankfully, it doesn't appear that strikeouts are to blame, as he was striking out at a 27.3 percent clip during the hot streak and that number has actually dipped to 26.8% during the cold streak. He's rocking an unsustainable .194 BABIP in his last 56 plate appearances.

— With the news of Chris Shaw's promotion to Sacramento, the question now becomes where he'll be inserted into the defensive lineup. Ryder Jones has started nine of his last 12 games in left field, while Shaw is currently in a streak of 11 consecutive games in left. My guess is Shaw and Jones will split time equally in left field, rotating between there and their original positions of first base. 

TOMORROW'S STARTERS

TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP

  1. Tyler Beede: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K
  2. Christian Arroyo: 0-for-4, 2 SO
  3. Bryan Reynolds: DNP
  4. Steven Duggar: DNP
  5. Chris Shaw: DNP
  6. Sandro Fabian: DNP
  7. Heath Quinn: 2-for-4, R, SO
  8. Joan Gregorio: DNP
  9. Jordan Johnson: DNP
  10. Andrew Suarez: DNP
  11. Sam Coonrod: DNP
  12. Matt Krook: DNP
  13. Aramis Garcia: 0-for-5, R, 2 SO
  14. C.J. Hinojosa: DNP
  15. Reyes Moronta: DNP
  16. Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
  17. Austin Slater: 2-for-4, BB, SO
  18. Kelvin Beltre: DNP
  19. Dan Slania: DNP
  20. Cory Taylor: DNP
  21. Chris Stratton: DNP
  22. Chase Johnson: DNP
  23. Jalen Miller: 0-for-5, 2 SO
  24. Melvin Adon: DNP
  25. Garrett Williams: DNP
  26. Dylan Davis: DNP
  27. Ryder Jones: 0-for-3, BB, 2 SO
  28. Hunter Cole: DNP
  29. Miguel Gomez: DNP
  30. Ryan Howard: 2-for-5, SO

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