A larger crowd was on hand Thursday night at Raley Field. Most of them were likely there for Thirsty Thursday, featuring two-dollar beers. Some others were there to see the Sacramento River Cats, featuring their brand new left fielder.
Chris Shaw made routine plays in left, fielding a few ground ball singles and catching a fly ball hit essentially directly at him. It was an easy night for him there. And it was a relatively easy night for him at the plate, too. Facing a left-hander, he went 1-for-4 with no strikeouts and an effortless-looking, opposite-field double that one-hopped the wall and scored a run.
Shaw hasn't had trouble facing left-handers, so his solid plate appearances against Marco Gonzales shouldn't have come as a surprise. The lowest he has ever OPS'd in a season against southpaws was his debut year in 2015 when he posted a .772 mark in 65 plate appearances.
One other note from Raley Field is a positive one about former top prospect and now re-emerging prospect Kyle Crick. He leads the organization with a 16.5 swinging strike percentage, and struck out three in a scoreless, yet stressful ninth inning to preserve a River Cats victory. Crick's walk rate is now down to 9.6%, almost four percent lower than 2016 and a whopping 12 percent lower than 2015. He's thrown 65 percent strikes in his 19.2 innings, compared to 59% in 2016 and 55% in 2015. It seems throwing more strikes helps.
But of course the strikes have to be hard to hit. Which leads us to his .240 opposing batting average, which is currently 25 points lower than 2016, but 35 points higher than 2015. Truthfully, he was walking people at such an insane rate that season that naturally people weren't hitting him. They were just taking free passes.
— Jae-Gyun Hwang tripled in a run, making it 10 extra-base hits in his last 12 games. His batting average is 50 points lower in May than April, but his slugging percentage is 86 points higher.
— Matt Krook made it back-to-back quality outing for the San Jose Giants, heavily using his sinker, according to Joe Ritzo, to get through six innings — his longest start of the season. Krook has posted this line in his last two starts: 11.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K. Now, that may not look all that impressive. But when you compare that to what he had done in his first six starts, you know it's a sign of hopefully some better times for the big lefty.
- Sacramento: Chris Stratton (5.59 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
- Richmond: Matt Gage (4.23 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
- San Jose: Mark Reyes (6.38 ERA, 1.96 WHIP)
- Augusta: Garrett Williams (0.00 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Christian Arroyo: 0-for-3
- Bryan Reynolds: 1-for-4
- Steven Duggar: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-4, R, 2B
- Sandro Fabian: 1-for-4, SO
- Heath Quinn: 1-for-4, R, HR
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Matt Krook: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K
- Aramis Garcia: 1-for-4, 2B
- C.J. Hinojosa: 2-for-4
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- Austin Slater: 0-for-5, R, 3 SO
- Kelvin Beltre: 1-for-4, R, 2B, 2 SO
- Dan Slania: DNP
- Cory Taylor: 5 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 2 K
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jalen Miller: DNP
- Melvin Adon: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K
- Garrett Williams: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 0-for-4, SO
- Ryder Jones: DNP
- Hunter Cole: DNP
- Miguel Gomez: DNP
- Ryan Howard: 0-for-4, SO