What To Watch As Bees Return Home To Face River Cats
SALT LAKE CITY – After turning the page on a difficult June, the Salt Lake Bees hope to flip the script as they welcome in the Sacramento River Cats this week.
The Bees are coming off of a tough stretch of games as they dropped four of six, including three walk-off losses, to the Tacoma Rainiers. According to voice of the Bees Steve Klauke, this marks the third time in franchise history that they have had three walk-off losses in a single series; the others coming in four games sets at Edmonton in 1996 and at Tuscon in 2006.
Congratulations to Bees manager Lou Marson who recently celebrated a career milestone. With the Bees 10-3 series opening win over Tacoma, Marson picked up his 150th career victory with Salt Lake. Marson is in his third season at the helm of the Bees.
Win No. 1⃣5⃣0⃣ for our skipper! pic.twitter.com/zOm54JHgm6
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) June 29, 2022
Reinforcements on the way
After a brief sojourn with the Houston Astros organization, outfielder Dillon Thomas returned to the Bees in Tacoma and made an immediate impact.
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) July 2, 2022
Thomas went 3-20 in the series with two extra-base hits. Overall he is batting .281 with 10 homers and 41 runs batted in this year. His bat will be critical to a struggling Bees offense breaking out of a slump.
On the mound, Salt Lake is expected to add 2014 first round pick Touki Toussaint to the rotation after he was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in a trade last week.
Toussaint made his major league debut back in 2018 with the Atlanta Braves. Ranked in Baseball America’s Top-100 three different seasons, Toussaint has struggled to find the consistency needed to carve out a big league role.
The Angels acquired RHP Touki Toussaint from the Braves for cash considerations.
Toussaint has not pitched in the majors this season. He has a 6.26 ERA in 41.2 IP at AAA.
In his career, he has a 5.46 ERA in 145 major league innings. Last season he had a 4.50 mark in 50 IP.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 4, 2022
In 2022 with the Braves Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers Toussaint appeared in 13 games, starting eight. Struggling to a 6.48 earned run average, Toussaint has allowed 42 hits and 25 walks in 41.2 innings pitched.
Sacramento River Cats
The River Cats, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, make their first journey of the season to Salt Lake where they will face the Bees in an Independence Day matchup on Monday, July 4 with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (MST). The series will continue on Wednesday, July 6 after an unusual Tuesday off-day.
No. 5 Heliot Ramos – Outfielder
A 2017 Giants first round draft pick (19th overall), Ramos slashed .254/.323/.417 with 14 homers and 15 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
Considered an advanced prospect for his age, Ramos has taken a step back in the first half of 2022. Slashing .218/.307/.329 for Sacramento in 61 games, he has struggled to adjust to a full season of Triple-A pitching.
Heliot Ramos was 3 for 5 with three singles (one at 105mph EV), two RBIs and a run scored in Tuesday’s victory over Reno pic.twitter.com/ppV4mu27XF
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) July 1, 2022
Ramos made his major league debut for the Giants in April. He limped to a .154 batting average, registering just two singles in 13 at-bats across seven games.
No. 14 Gregory Santos – Relief Pitcher
Signed by the Boston Red Sox out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Santos has been in the Giants organization since 2017.
Relying primarily on a fastball/slider two-pitch mix, Santos touches triple-digits on the radar gun since becoming a full-time reliever in 2021.
Santos has made four major league appearance since 2021 to mixed success. At the Triple-A level, Santos has been reliable out of the bullpen in 2022 in spite of the 12 walks he has allowed. In 21 games with Sacramento he has amassed a 3.18 earned run average in 22 innings of work.
No. 16 R.J. Dabovich – Relief Pitcher
Dabovich was a Giants fourth round pick (114th overall) out of Arizona State in the shortened 2020 draft.
Another two-pitch pitcher, he pairs a mid-90’s fastball with a curveball that is considered plus-plus according to MLB.com.
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 1, 2022
Dabovich began the season in Double-A before being moved up to Triple-A Sacramento near the end of June. With the Richmond Flying Squirrels he saw action in 22 games out of the bullpen. He limited batters to a .182 batting average against while allowing less than one base runner per inning. He walked a batter but did not allow a hit in his single appearance with Sacramento on June 30.
No. 19 Kervin Castro – Relief Pitcher
Signed as an international free agent by the Giants in 2015, Castro made 10 appearances out of the bullpen for the Giants in 2021.
With a high 90’s fastball and low 80’s curveball in his repertoire, Castro’s 2022 season has been plagued by walks.
Kervin Castro struck out 2 in his single inning of relief in Sunday’s victory over El Paso pic.twitter.com/XRAbuTov4a
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) June 30, 2022
Across two seasons with Sacramento, Castro has appeared made 51 relief appearances. Castro’s numbers have regressed in 2022 after he allowed a stellar 2.86 earned run average on his way to a 6-1 record last season. In 21 games this season, Castro has a 4.88 ERA and has walked 22 batters while striking out 23.
No. 26 Sean Hjelle – Starting Pitcher
Measuring in at 6’11, Hjelle surpasses Hall of Fame pitcher Randy “Big Unit” Johnson as the tallest player in MLB history.
Featuring a low to mid-90’s fastball, Hjelle relies on a knuckle-curveball as his most effective pitch. He uses a changeup on occasion, but the pitch has not developed enough to be trusted consistently.
Sean Hjelle struck out 6 over five shutout innings in Sunday’s victory over El Paso pic.twitter.com/PX3KgRImgQ
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) June 30, 2022
A 2018 Giants second round pick (45th overall), Hjelle made his major league debut earlier this season when he allowed two hits and two walks while striking out six in two games out of the bullpen for the Giants. In 12 starts with Sacramento, Hjelle has a 4.50 earned run average and is allowing a .271 batting average against. He has a 3:1 strikeout/walk ratio.
The Pacific Coast League wins leader Jake Kalish (8-2) is scheduled to start for the Bees as Salt Lake hosts the Sacramento River Cats on July 4 in a rare Monday night game. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (MST) with an Independence Day fireworks show scheduled to follow the game. Bees tickets can be found at slbees.com and all Salt Lake Bees games can be heard on the The Zone Sports Network.