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Ex-Giants in AAA

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These are the guys who are trying to play good enough baseball in the minor leagues to make it back to the major leagues

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
Last year, I went the whole article without telling you where Eugenio Velez was. Never again.
Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images

Last Thursday, I wrote an article about ex-Giants in the majors with other teams. This is the version of that article for AAA teams. It’s sadder. Sorry.

PCL

American Northern

Oklahoma City Dodgers (Dodgers)

Why, they’ve got Charlie Culberson and pitching coach Matt Herges. Culberson has been with the Dodgers for a couple years now, and hit the homer that clinched the division last year for Los Angeles. Matt Herges, meanwhile, is now in his seventh year of teaching Dodgers minor leaguers to do the pop-up point at the sky when they give up a home run, and bless him for passing on this important bit of baseball tradition that only he ever did.

Oh, and there’s Trayce Thompson, for all you Warriors fans out there.

Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals)

None.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Brewers)

Nick Noonan is here, and let me say, as weird as it is to remember Kevin Frandsen being on that 2015 Giants team, it’s just as weird that Noonan was there too.

Iowa Cubs (Cubs)

None.

American Southern

Round Rock Express (Rangers)

None, other than 2016 Richmond Flying Squirrel Preston Claiborne.

Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)

None.

Nashville Sounds (A's)

Pitching coach Rick Rodriguez spent the 1990 season playing with the Giants, but that’s a deep pull and you probably don’t care. Wait, no. Definitely. Definitely don’t care.

New Orleans Baby Cakes (Marlins)

None. What a boring division.

Pacific Northern

Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)

Sure, you knew about Chris Heston. He threw a no hitter and spent four months in 2015 being the hero of the rotation before fatigue and a loss of fastball velocity got to him. You keep track of guys like that. And I guess it’s possible you also knew that Gordon Beckham was a Rainier. Gordon Beckham, who spent six days on the Giants roster last year and inspired the team to a 5-1 record. All Gordon Beckham right there. But I doubt you knew that Jean Machi was with Tacoma too. Giants fans don’t spend much time thinking about Machi, but he was here for a couple years, and he farted one time, and bless him for that.

Fresno Grizzlies (Astros)

No former Giants, though Max Stassi is from Yuba City. Yuba City is not the San Francisco Giants. I regret bringing this up.

Reno Aces (Diamondbacks)

He’s hurt at the moment, but this is where we talk about Gregor Blanco. Blanco was a great Giant, and although his 2016 season wasn’t very good, because he had an injury that he kept playing through and STOP DOING THAT PLAYERS STOP IT IT’S NO GOOD STOP IT. But Blanco had a great Giants career. He was an integral part of two World Series winning teams, he was a fantastic defender, very fun to watch on the basepaths, and gosh what would the Giants give right now for a healthy Gregor Blanco to play left field. A lot. They would give a lot.

Sacramento River Cats (Giants)

See, the joke I went with last year, which I will be reusing here, is to pretend that I don’t know that the River Cats are the AAA affiliate of the Giants, and to then express surprise that Clayton Blackburn, Steven Okert, Josh Osich, Matt Reynolds, Chris Stratton, Albert Suarez, Kelby Tomlinson, and hitting coach Damon Minor are all on the team. It’s a fine joke, and recycling is good for the environment.

(If you’re wondering about Mac Williamson, Michael Morse, and Trevor Brown, they’re on the major league DL and therefore not listed here. But really, you know where they are. Stop being pedantic.)

Pacific Southern

Salt Lake Bees (Angels)

Here’s where a lot of stupid baseball knowledge really pays off. Tony Sanchez, who was called up to the Giants the same day they acquired Gordon Beckham, is the only ex-Giant on this team, and one day this post will be the only remaining evidence he was on the 2016 Giants, and on that day my legacy will be secure.

Las Vegas 51s (Mets)

None.

Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)

They’re managed by Glenallen Hill! I wouldn’t have thought a homer-or-bust shoulda been DH type would be a manager at a high level, which just goes to show my biases are bad and dumb and you shouldn’t ever listen to me about anything. Also, Chris Denorfia was in the Giants system last year, although he never made it to the majors, and Ryan Hanigan is on the team too, and he is prominently featured in one of the all time great Giants GIFs.

latos

Maybe that doesn’t count. I dunno. I’m not a baseball scientist. I just know enough to take any excuse to post it.

El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)

Their pitching coach is Bronswell Patrick, winner of the coveted Most Padres Name In Giants History Award. Anyway, now he works for the Padres. Sometimes things work out the way they’re supposed to, you know?

IL

International League North

Syracuse Chiefs (Nationals)

It’s an ex-Giant party! They’ve got Mike Broadway, Joe Nathan, and Grant Green, and Emmanuel Burriss isn’t on the active roster because of his suspension, but he’s there in spirit. His spirit gets mad whenever anyone hits a home run, but it’s the thought that counts.

Rochester Red Wings (Twins)

None.

Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays)

There are no ex-Giants on this team, but there is Mat Latos, who is prominently featured in one of the all time great Giants GIFs.

latos

Gets better every time.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees)

Ruben Tejada was only on the Giants for a minute last year, and it wasn’t an impressive one. But it’s stated clearly in the United Adrianza Theory: any baseball player who has a proven ability to play a major league caliber shortstop will always, always get a job. That’s probably where we’re at here.

Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)

Erik Cordier! This is exactly why this article is fun. You didn’t wake up this morning thinking you would have any idea where Erik Cordier was pitching now, and yet here you are, having learned something.

Lehigh Valey IronPigs (Phillies)

Bench coach Charlie Hayes! Hayes came up with the Giants, got traded away and came back. He was a pretty decent player in 1998 and an egregiously awful one in 1999. When he was with the Yankees, he also caught the final out of the 1996 World Series, so he has more World Series rings than you. He doesn’t have more World Series rings than Joaquin Arias, but he has more than you.

International League South

Durham Bulls (Rays)

None.

Gwinnett Braves (Braves)

The Braves signed David Hernandez, who was just in camp with the Giants but didn’t make the team. Then he went away and the Giants signed Ryan Webb to fill that gap in their AAA bullpen. And wherever Ryan Webb was in camp, that team probably signed another former major league reliever and sent him to the minors. It’s all a big circle. What’s the goal? For guys to make lots of friends! It’s a very nice goal.

Norfolk Tides (Orioles)

None.

Charlotte Knights (White Sox)

Jake Dunning is on the Knights, and he’s already on the 7-day DL, so that’s probably not his favorite thing. Now, in the minors, the DL doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re hurt; it’s often just a spot to stash players so that the team can have 30 guys for a 25 man roster. It kinda sucks being in the minors. But for some guys, it’s better than not being in baseball at all. Guys like Jake Dunning!

International League West

Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)

Juan Perez is in Toledo, and while it didn’t work for him last year, not getting a callup from the Iowa Cubs at any point, he’s just going to keep working and hope for the best. And also, he’s just going to keep being very positive to people.

Way to stick to your niceness guns, Juan.

Columbus Clippers (Indians)

None.

Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)

Dan Runzler! Man, he’s still at it, trying to teach his body to throw strikes. If he succeeds, he will give hope to a generation of pitchers whose bodies cannot quite make that leap to major league quality. That, in itself, would be worth something.

It’s unlikely.

Louisville Bats (Reds)

Their pitching coach is Jeff Fassero! Fassero was very, very old when he was with the Giants, and I haven’t checked, but probably the passage of time means that he’s gotten even older since then. He is therefore now quite old, but he’s still coaching in the minors because, hey, it’s too late to get a regular job now.

Mexican League

Tigres de Quintana Roo

Look, I’m not gonna do a full league breakdown of the Mexican League, but I think it’s important for you, the reader, to know where Eugenio Velez is playing at any given time. He is here. This is the team that Eugenio Velez is currently on. Buy your tickets today.