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Minor League round up, April 10

Recapping Sunday’s action from the San Francisco Giants Minor League affiliates.

Salt River Rafters v Scottsdale Scorpions
AA shortstop Will Wilson hit 2-5 with a double on Sunday
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

All four of the San Francisco Giants affiliates whose seasons have started (the Arizona Complex League and Dominican Summer League have yet to get underway) were in action on Sunday. None of them are in action today, however, so there will be no round-up on Tuesday.

Let’s dive in.

Link to the 2022 McCovey Chronicles Community Prospect List (CPL)

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (4-2)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Astros) 8-1
Box score

Sacramento’s lineup got significantly less interesting for Sunday’s game with the news that outfielder Heliot Ramos (No. 4 CPL) had been called up. Apparently the loss of Ramos deflated the River Cats, because they forgot how to play baseball in the finale of an otherwise quite successful opening series.

The offense couldn’t find traction at any point, as they settled for just 3 hits, all of which were singles. Designated hitter Luis González drew a trio of walks, which is the closest thing we got to a standout offensive performance, and he now has 6 free passes in 25 plate appearances to start the season, after a standout Spring Training. Left fielder Ka’ai Tom and shortstop Arquímedes Gamboa both reached base twice.

On the pitching side, it was another rough start for RHP Jakob Junis, who is on a Major League contract. Junis gave up 8 baserunners in 4 innings, though he managed to limit the damage to just 2 earned runs. Through 7.1 innings this season, Junis has now allowed 11 hits, 4 walks, 1 hit batter, 2 home runs, and 7 earned runs, with 6 strikeouts. There’s some work to be done before he’s ready to help out the big league squad.

RHP Taylor Williams also got roughed up, as he allowed 5 earned runs in 1.2 innings. But it was another nice appearance for RHP Yunior Marte, who was perfect in 2 innings, with 3 strikeouts. Marte has yet to allow a baserunner in 4 innings this season.

AA Richmond (2-1)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 11-6
Box score

The Flying Squirrels may have dropped their first game of the season, but there were plenty of things to get excited about. Let’s start with shortstop Will Wilson (No. 18 CPL). The former first-round pick’s 2021 struggles have been well documented, so we don’t need to rehash his poor batting line or his heaps of strikeouts.

But his second stint in AA is going much better, and hitting 2-5 with a double on Sunday only added to that, raising his OPS to 1.063 — he also has as many walks as strikeouts. We’re very early in the season, but in 51 AA games last year Wilson had just 7 multi-hit games and 2 multi-walk games. In 3 games this season he’s already had multiple hits twice and multiple walks once.

But the offensive star was third baseman Sean Roby, who drew a walk and hit his first AA home run. Roby had 19 big flies in High-A last year, so this is likely the first of many.

Second baseman Brett Auerbach (No. 28 CPL) also had a nice game, hitting 2-4 with a walk to raise his OPS to .875. And while we’re on the note of catchers that are also utility players, it’s worth noting that the Giants started Robert Emery at first base. Emery, like Auerbach, was an undrafted free agent catcher after the five-round draft in 2020.

He played catcher primarily last year, but also played a little bit of first base and a splash of third. With three catchers on the roster in Richmond — Auerbach, Emery, and Brandon Martorano — we might see Emery fly around the diamond a bit, so keep your eye on that. Though he also had 2 errors in this game, so maybe not.

The pitching was less exciting, as RHP Bryan Brickhouse got tagged for 4 runs in 3.1 innings, and the Flying Squirrels never recovered. RHP Blake Rivera made his first appearance of the season after an injury-plagued 2021, and struggled, allowing 3 hits, including 2 home runs, 4 runs, and 3 earned runs in an inning of action, though he did strike out the side.

High-A Eugene (0-2)

The Eugene Emeralds’ game against the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) was suspended in the 4th inning due to rain, with the score tied 1-1
Box score

Eugene barely made it a third of the way through their game before weather cut the opening series short. But there were still some fun performances, highlighted by LHP Nick Swiney (No. 17 CPL), who made his first start of the season. It would have been nice to have seen that start last longer than 3.1 innings, but he allowed just 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 earned run in that time, while striking out 4 batters.

Offensively the Emeralds drew 4 walks in their 3 innings of work, including a pair by right fielder Armani Smith (No. 41 CPL). They only had 2 hits, both of which were singles, but the small ball approach was fun. In addition to the many walks, they also had 3 stolen bases: a bag each by center fielder Luis Matos (No. 3 CPL), DH Hunter Bishop (No. 10 CPL), and third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 24 CPL).

Low-A San Jose (2-1)

San Jose Giants beat the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 6-5 (10 innings)
Box score

One of the overlooked prospects in the Giants organization is RHP Mason Black (No. 42 CPL). Black was a 3rd-round pick in 2021, but with the Giants slow-playing their draftees, he never debuted last season. He has some electric stuff, and some people far smarter than I am are really high on him.

Those people look really good after Black’s debut on Sunday, in which he started the game and allowed just 1 baserunner (a single) in 4 innings, while recording 7 strikeouts. I would say that starting a game and striking out more than half of the batters you face is a good way to make a professional debut, but what do I know.

He wasn’t the only 2021 draftee to display strong stuff on the mound, though. Black was replaced by RHP Landen Roupp, a 12th-round selection last year. Roupp did make his debut in 2021, though he only pitched 8 innings. Sunday was his season debut, and he allowed just 1 hit, 0 walks, and 0 runs in 3 innings, while punching out 5 batters.

And, in keeping with the theme, RHP Tyler Myrick, a 2021 14th-rounder, allowed just a single in 1.1 innings, while striking out 4. All in all an awesome day for pitchers from the 2021 draft.

Also of note on the pitching front: LHP Esmerlin Vinicio (No. 40 CPL) pitched the 10th inning. Vinicio, who is still just 19 years old, was a starter last year in the ACL. San Jose is overflowing with starting pitchers, so Vinicio’s use as a reliever may not mean anything long-term, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Offensively, the hero was right fielder/first baseman Victor Bericoto, whose 10th-inning home run gave the Giants a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The bats struggled most of the day, with 16 strikeouts and just 5 hits, but 4 of those 5 hits went for extra bases, including a trio of long balls.

There were three different hitters who had the unfortunate strikeout hat trick: left fielder Vaun Brown, shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 12 CPL), and catcher Rayner Santana, though the latter two contributed home runs.

Designated hitter Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL) had his best game of the season, drawing 2 walks and hitting a triple, which raised his OPS to .929.

Home runs

AA Sean Roby (1)
Low-A Aeverson Arteaga (1)
Low-A Rayner Santana (1)
Low-A Victor Bericoto (1)

Schedule

Sacramento: Off day
Richmond: Off day
Eugene: Off day
San Jose: Off day