2019 San Jose Giants Season in Review
The San Jose Giants finished the 2019 regular season with a 66-73 record and qualified for the playoffs as the wild card team in the North Division. It marked the first time since 2016 that the Giants reached the postseason. San Jose was swept three-games-to-none by the Visalia Rawhide in the best-of-five North Division Series.
Inside The Record
San Jose went 30-39 in the first half - 15 1/2 games behind Visalia in the North Division standings. The Giants' 36-34 second half record was their first winning half since the first half of the 2016 season. San Jose finished only three games back of the Rawhide in the second half North Division race. The Giants went 34-35 at home and 32-38 on the road. San Jose had a sub-.500 overall record for a fourth consecutive season (first time in team history).
The Giants won 10 of their final 12 games of the regular season to reach the playoffs. San Jose won a season-high eight consecutive games from August 22-29 to vault to the top of the North Division wild card standings. The Giants clinched a playoff berth with a victory over the Stockton Ports on the final day of the regular season (September 2). San Jose finished the year 1 1/2 games ahead of the Modesto Nuts in the wild card race.
San Jose's playoff run this season was brief as the Visalia Rawhide rolled to a sweep in the North Division Series. The Giants suffered losses of 3-1 in Game 1 and 5-3 in Game 2 at Excite Ballpark to open the series. Visalia then cruised to a 13-6 victory in Game 3 at Recreation Park to complete the sweep. The Rawhide (83-53) were 18 1/2 games ahead of San Jose in the North Division standings during the regular season.
San Jose's 2019 team awards: Heliot Ramos (MVP and Offensive Player of the Year), Matt Frisbee (Pitcher of the Year), David Villar (Defensive Player of the Year), Olbis Parra (Relief Pitcher of the Year) and John Gavin (Good Guy Award). Ramos along with pitchers Camilo Doval, Aaron Phillips and Frank Rubio were named midseason California League All-Stars. Ramos was San Jose's lone representative to the postseason California League All-Star team.
The Giants endured an in-season managerial change in 2019. Bill Hayes began the year as San Jose's skipper marking his return to the California League after previously serving as the Giants manager during the 2002 season. Hayes resigned as San Jose's manager on July 13 with the club at 39-53 overall. Hector Borg took over at the helm four days later and directed the team to a 25-19 record for the remainder of the season. San Jose was 5 1/2 games out of the wild card lead when Borg assumed the role of manager before rallying to a postseason spot.
At The Plate
The Giants ranked fourth in the eight-team California League in batting average (.250) and sixth in runs scored (4.5 per game). San Jose's 115 home runs was second-most in the North Division (behind Modesto) and ranked fourth overall in the league. For the third consecutive year, the Giants set a team record for strikeouts (1,374 - previous record was 1,346 set in 2018). San Jose's .321 on-base percentage was sixth in the league.
On The Mound
San Jose's 3.95 team ERA ranked fifth in the California League and was the club's lowest mark since the 2015 season. The Giants pitching staff issued the second-most walks in the league (554), but also allowed the third-fewest home runs (97). San Jose's 1,308 strikeouts ranked second-most in team history (record: 1,345 strikeouts in 2015). Giants starting pitchers had a 4.19 ERA this year compared to a 3.68 ERA for the bullpen.
In The Field
The Giants' 110 errors this season were third-fewest in the California League and a considerable improvement over the league-worst 159 errors committed by the 2018 San Jose team.
72 players suited up for the San Jose Giants during the 2019 season (31 position players and 41 pitchers). Among the 72 total players, three were San Francisco Giants on major league rehab assignments: Travis Bergen, Johnny Cueto and Nick Vincent.
Six players on the current MLB.com San Francisco Giants Top 30 prospects list saw time in San Jose this season: #1 Joey Bart (C), #2 Heliot Ramos (OF), #6 Sean Hjelle (RHP), #11 Jake Wong (RHP), #16 Sandro Fabian (OF) and #18 Tristan Beck (RHP).
The San Jose Giants established a new team record for runs scored in a home game with their 20-5 victory over the Modesto Nuts on August 9 at Excite Ballpark. The Giants eclipsed the previous team mark of 19 runs in a home game set back in 1994. San Jose scored three runs in the bottom of the first before a nine-run third inning to take a 12-0 lead. The Giants would later add two runs in the fifth, three runs in the sixth before a three-run bottom of the seventh to set the record. San Jose also finished the game with a season-high 22 hits.
Odds And Ends
San Jose's best month of the season was July (16-13) while their worst month was April (9-17) ... The Giants had six walk-off wins this year, including one via a walk-off home run (Heliot Ramos on July 30 vs. Lake Elsinore) ... San Jose went only 4-9 in extra-inning games, including 2-6 in the second half ... The Giants' longest game of the year was an 8-7, 14-inning loss at Lake Elsinore on August 6 (game time: five hours & eight minutes) ... San Jose played three doubleheaders in the first half after several rainouts in May ... The Giants were unable to make-up their May 19 rainout against Lake Elsinore and thus did not play their full schedule of games (140) for the first time in team history ... The Giants' eight-game winning streak in late-August was their longest win streak since the club won eight straight in May 2015.
San Jose finished with a final home attendance total of 155,253 (2,317 fans per game average) - an increase over last year's figure of 147,668 (2,110 average). The Giants had six sellouts among their 67 home dates. San Jose's largest home crowd of the season was on July 4 (4,471).
Joey Bart, C (57 G, .265 AVG, 12 HR, 37 RBI) - Opened the year ranked as the #1 prospect in the Giants farm system. Suffered a fractured hand on April 15 when he was hit by a pitch and missed seven weeks before returning in early-June. Had 10 doubles and 12 home runs in 57 games with a .793 OPS. Hit .289 with six home runs in July. Was promoted to Double-A Richmond on August 9.
Tristan Beck, RHP (6 GS, 3-2, 2.27 ERA) - Sent to San Jose after he was acquired via trade from the Atlanta Braves on July 31 (Mark Melancon deal). Fashioned a 2.27 ERA in six starts for the Giants over the final month of the season. Struck out 37 batters in 35 2/3 innings. Over his last three starts, pitched 19 innings with only one run allowed. Picked-up the win in San Jose's playoff clinching victory on the final day of the regular season (7 IP, 1 R, 6 SO).
Camilo Doval, RHP (45 G, 3-5, 3.83 ERA) - Led the Giants staff with 45 appearances. Named a midseason California League All-Star. Struck out 80 batters in 56 1/3 innings while limiting the opposition to a .200 batting average. Had a 2.67 ERA and .150 opponents batting average in the second half. Surrendered only one earned run over his final 16 innings.
Sandro Fabian, OF (44 G, .287 AVG, 5 HR, 33 RBI) - Enjoyed a bounce back year after hitting only .200 with San Jose in 2018. Missed the entire first half of 2019 due to an illness and then emerged as one of the Giants' top hitters during the second half. Hit .400 with runners in scoring position.
Matt Frisbee, RHP (22 G, 20 GS, 9-8, 3.17 ERA) - Was San Jose's Pitcher of the Year after leading the staff in wins, innings pitched (116 1/3) and strikeouts (131). Finished third in the California League in ERA, fifth in wins and fifth in strikeouts. Also had the lowest WHIP (1.07) of any qualifying pitcher in the league. Had a 25-inning scoreless streak in the second half. Posted a 1.27 ERA over his final seven starts.
Manuel Geraldo, SS (121 G, .255 AVG, 5 HR, 53 RBI) - Served as the Giants' primary shortstop. Led the team with 121 hits and 18 stolen bases (tied). Nine triples ranked tied for third in the California League. Batted .303 after the All-Star break.
Courtney Hawkins, OF (88 G, .256 AVG, 21 HR, 59 RBI) - Led the Giants in home runs and RBI's despite not joining the team until mid-May. Hit 13 home runs from August 1 through the remainder of the regular season. 21 homers overall ranked fourth in the California League.
Sean Hjelle, RHP (14 GS, 5-5, 2.78 ERA) - Top prospect pitcher anchored the Giants starting rotation during his stint with the club from late-May to early-August. Logged a 2.78 ERA and allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his 14 starts. Struck out 74 batters and issued only 19 walks in 77 2/3 innings before his promotion to Double-A.
Bryce Johnson, OF (68 G, .265 AVG, 2 HR, 26 RBI) - Returned for a second season in San Jose and spent the first half with the Giants before a promotion to Richmond. Was among the Cal League leaders in stolen bases (18) and on-base percentage (.365) at time of his promotion. Hit .304 in May and .303 in June, primarily from the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Olbis Parra, RHP (36 G, 6-2, 2.12 ERA, 3 SV) - Was named San Jose's Relief Pitcher of the Year. Fashioned a 2.12 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 51 innings. Also collected three saves. Owned a sparkling 0.95 ERA over his final 29 appearances of the season (four earned runs allowed in 38 innings).
Aaron Phillips, RHP (25 G, 21 GS, 8-7, 4.62 ERA) - Ranked second on the Giants staff in wins, innings pitched (115) and strikeouts (101) while his 21 starts led the club. Was named a midseason All-Star and twice earned California League Pitcher of the Week honors.
Heath Quinn, OF (52 G, .289 AVG, 5 HR, 30 RBI) - Returned to San Jose following an early-season injury in Double-A and was a top performer in the Giants lineup throughout the second half. Produced 14 doubles and five home runs in 52 games (.831 OPS). Hit 29 home runs over the last three seasons in San Jose (.275 AVG).
Heliot Ramos, OF (77 G, .306 AVG, 13 HR, 40 RBI) - Youngest player on the team (19 years old) had a banner season in the California League. Was named to both the midseason and postseason All-Star teams, in addition to garnering team MVP honors. Ranked among the top five in the league in batting average, slugging (.500) and OPS (.885) at the time of his promotion to Double-A in early-August.
Frank Rubio, RHP (32 G, 2-1, 1.89 ERA, 7 SV) - Led the Giants with seven saves to go with a 1.89 ERA over 32 relief appearances. Struck out 51 batters in 47 1/3 innings and limited the opposition to a .204 batting average. Was named a midseason California League All-Star. Remarkably allowed only one earned run throughout the entire first half (0.29 ERA).
David Villar, 3B (113 G, .262 AVG, 13 HR, 57 RBI) - Was the club's primary third baseman and occupied a spot in the middle of the lineup throughout the entire season. Led the Giants with 24 doubles and was also second on the club in hits (111), home runs and RBI's. Hit nine of his 13 homers after the All-Star break. Was also named San Jose's Defensive Player of the Year.
TOP 10 2019 SAN JOSE GIANTS GAMES
(listed in chronological order)
April 9 at Stockton (4-3 win)
The Giants enjoyed a successful opening week of the season on the road and the April 9 victory in Stockton would feature a little bit of everything. Heliot Ramos hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the sixth, catcher Joey Bart threw out four runners on the bases in a dominant effort behind the plate while reliever Israel Cruz, who was added to the roster that day from Extended Spring Training, tossed two scoreless innings to finish the game for the save. Ahead by a single run in the bottom of the ninth, the Giants threw out the potential tying run at the plate to preserve the lead before the game ended on a wild defensive play.
April 11 vs. Visalia (6-2 win)
Top prospect Joey Bart announced his presence during the Giants home opener win over Visalia. Bart broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth and then sent the crowd at Excite Ballpark into a frenzy with a two-run home run an inning later. Bart finished the game with three hits while Heliot Ramos added a pair of hits, including an RBI double.
June 30 vs. Stockton (13-1 win)
Legendary former manager Lenn Sakata had his #14 retired in a pregame ceremony marking the first number retirement in team history and the Giants would celebrate the occasion with a convincing win over first-place Stockton. The 13 runs and 16 hits in the game were at the time both season-high totals. David Villar blasted three doubles and drove in four runs to lead the offensive attack while Joey Bart added a home run. Matt Frisbee set the tone for his banner second half with seven scoreless innings to pick-up the win.
July 13 at Lancaster (17-5 win)
Bill Hayes had abruptly resigned as San Jose's manager only hours earlier, but the Giants would respond with a breakout performance at the plate in a blowout win at Lancaster. Sandro Fabian and Heath Quinn got the scoring started with back-to-back home runs in the second (San Jose's first back-to-back HR's of the year). The Giants would go onto score a season-high 17 runs as Joey Bart and Logan Baldwin added homers. Bart finished the game with four hits while Fabian drove in four.
July 30 vs. Lake Elsinore (5-4 win)
The Giants had become the hottest team in the league throughout the second half of July under new manager Hector Borg with this victory over Lake Elsinore providing one of the great highlights of the season. San Jose rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh and the bullpen duo of Frank Rubio and Olbis Parra had combined to keep the Storm off the board late. Heliot Ramos then stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and launched the first pitch of his at-bat over the fence in deep right center for a walk-off home run - the Giants' only walk-off homer of the year. The win moved San Jose into a tie for first place with Visalia in the second half race.
August 9 vs. Modesto (20-5 win)
The top prospect trio of Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Sean Hjelle had just been promoted to Double-A earlier in the day seemingly hindering the club's chances of making a run to the playoffs. The remaining Giants though made a strong statement that night showing they had no intention of falling back in the wild card hunt. San Jose exploded for 20 runs in an historic effort to set a single-game team record for runs scored in a home game. David Villar and Courtney Hawkins smacked back-to-back homers in the first before a nine-run bottom of the third stretched the Giants lead to 12-0. San Jose would add two runs in the fifth, three in sixth and three more in the seventh to set the record. Hawkins and Manuel Geraldo finished with four hits apiece. Six players in the lineup had multi-hit games.
August 18 vs. Inland Empire (4-0 win)
Aaron Phillips became the first Giants pitcher in nine years to throw a nine-inning shutout when he accomplished the feat in a key mid-August home victory over Inland Empire. Phillips surrendered only one hit and retired 27 of 28 batters faced in his masterful start on the mound. He set down the first 15 Sixers hitters of the game before yielding a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Phillips then retired 12 more hitters in a row to complete the shutout. Phillips struck out eight in the win.
August 22 at Modesto (6-4 win)
The Giants had lost the first two games of their pivotal series in Modesto and were in danger of falling further back in the wild card race. In desperate need of a victory, San Jose fell behind early by a 4-0 margin, but would stage an impressive comeback to avoid the sweep. A three-run fifth inning highlighted by a Manuel Geraldo two-RBI single got the Giants back into the game. San Jose then tied the score in the sixth before Geraldo came through again, this time with a go-ahead two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth. Relievers Camilo Doval and Frank Rubio combined to throw four scoreless innings as the Giants matched their largest come-from-behind win of the year. The victory marked the first of eight straight wins during the stretch run that vaulted San Jose into the wild card lead in the North Division.
August 25 at Stockton (15-1 win)
San Jose's final road series of the season was highlighted by a blowout win in Stockton as the Giants raced to the top of the wild card standings. Diego Rincones jump-started the offense with a two-run home run in the top of the first, but it was Courtney Hawkins and Shane Matheny that stole the show on this night. Hawkins matched a San Jose Giants single-game record with three homers as the slugger hit a key three-run homer in the second before solo shots in the fifth and ninth innings. Matheny, who replaced the injured Sandro Fabian in the first inning, homered twice off the bench, including San Jose's first grand slam of the season. The Giants would not relinquish the wild card lead following their four-game sweep in Stockton.
September 2 vs. Stockton (7-1 win)
A rollercoaster ride of a regular season came to a close on the Labor Day holiday with a convincing win against the Stockton Ports at Excite Ballpark. The Giants entered the final day of the season with a magic number of one over Modesto to clinch the wild card. San Jose raced out early as first-inning home runs from Diego Rincones and Courtney Hawkins propelled the club to a 3-0 lead. For Hawkins, it was his seventh homer over the final nine days of the regular season. Heath Quinn's fifth-inning three-run blast broke the game open while newly acquired Tristan Beck dazzled on the mound allowing just one run over seven strong innings to pick-up the win. A double play in the top of the ninth closed out the victory and sparked a wild celebration as the Giants had reached the playoffs for the first time in three years.
PREGAME RADIO INTERVIEWS
A full archive of radio pregame show interviews as Joe Ritzo visited with San Jose Giants players, coaches, front office staff and San Francisco Giants player development personnel throughout the season.
A LOOK TO 2020
The 33rd season of San Jose Giants baseball begins on Thursday, April 9 in Lancaster. The opening week features a seven-game road trip to Lancaster and Rancho Cucamonga. San Jose's home opener at Excite Ballpark is scheduled for Friday, April 17 against the Lake Elsinore Storm.
The schedule features holiday home games on Memorial Day (Monday, May 25), Father's Day (Sunday, June 21) and Independence Day (Saturday, July 4).
The Stockton Ports host the 2020 California League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 23.
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California League Stories from September 11, 2019
- Lake Elsinore Takes Game 1 of the Championship Series - Visalia Rawhide
- 2019 San Jose Giants Season in Review - San Jose Giants
- Storm Win Game One of Championship Series 5-2, Final Home Game Tonight at the Diamond - Lake Elsinore Storm
- 2020 Anchor Club Memberships on Sale Now - Stockton Ports
- OF Kyle Lewis Receives the Call - Modesto Nuts
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