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Minor League round up, April 12

Recapping Tuesday’s action form the San Francisco Giants Minor League affiliates.

San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies
Utility player Brett Auerbach had 2 singles, a walk, and a stolen base for AA Richmond
Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

After a day off on Monday, the San Francisco Giants Minor League affiliates were back in action on Tuesday, with three games going on. The ACL and DSL seasons have still yet to begin, and High-A Eugene’s game was postponed due to bad weather. It will be made up with a doubleheader this weekend, weather permitting.

Let’s jump into the action.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (4-3)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) 11-4
Box score

It was not a great game for Sacramento, but it was yet another great game third baseman David Villar (No. 19 CPL), who mirrored Brandon Belt’s Tuesday performance with a walk, a single, and a home run.

Villar, who is only a season removed from setting the Richmond Flying Squirrels single-season home run record, is now hitting 5-19 with 3 home runs and 6 walks in his introduction to AAA. The righty was a sleeper pick to make the MLB roster at some point this season, and if he’s able to keep hitting the ball like this he’ll have a pretty strong case. It’s good to see him so successfully adapting to a higher level of pitching.

But while Villar continued his hot streak, a few other MLB hopefuls continued their struggles. Left fielder Jaylin Davis, who is still on the 40-man roster, hit 0-4 with a strikeout, lowering his OPS to .444. Second baseman Jason Vosler, also on the 40-man roster, hit 1-4, which actually raised his OPS to a still-bad .457. We’re still very early in the season, but a tough start for two dudes who are trying to state their case to not just get an MLB call-up, but to stay on the 40-man.

It was, however, a nice day for right fielder Austin Dean, who broke out of his early season slump with a pair of doubles.

The pitching was not notable for Sacramento, as all four of their arms gave up runs. LHP Michael Plassmeyer, who pitched very well in his season debut, got knocked around a bit in this one, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 earned runs in 4 innings, though he struck out 5 batters, which raised his FIP to 5.53. RHP Matt Carasiti, who has visions of joining the MLB bullpen this year, struck out the side in an inning of work, but also allowed 2 hits and a run.

AA Richmond (2-2)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Altoona Curve (Pirates) 3-2
Box score

Richmond’s offense has been very slow to start the season, and this game was no exception. The Flying Squirrels did have 8 hits and 2 walks, but with only 2 of those hits going for extra bases — and none clearing the fence — they had a hard time getting runs across home plate.

But every day is a good day to keep tabs on Brett Auerbach (No. 28 CPL), and the catcher had a pair of singles, a walk, and a stolen base in this one, raising his OPS to .929. He sure feels like a player that can fly through the system given his versatility and comfort against every level he’s played against.

Joining Auerbach in the multi-hit club were center fielder Michael Gigliotti and designated hitter Frankie Tostado, who both singled and doubled. And while shortstop Will Wilson (No. 18 CPL) did not have a hit, he did draw a pair of walks, which continues a nice development for him to start the season. After having 81 strikeouts to 22 walks in 221 plate appearances in AA last year, Wilson has started this year with 5 strikeouts to 6 walks in 21 plate appearances. That’s been a big part of him jumping from a .587 OPS and 65 wRC+ a year ago to a .924 OPS and 170 wRC+ this season. If he can keep this up it will be one of the best stories in the Minors this season.

On the other side of things is second baseman Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 35 CPL), who had a pair of strikeouts, bringing his total to 10 in just 18 plate appearances (with only a single walk and hit, too). It’s been a tough adjustment to AA for him.

RHP Tristan Beck made his season debut after a rough 2021 in which injuries held him to just 12 games, and he offered up some reminders as to why he was considered one of the top pitching prospects in the organization when the Giants traded for him, but also some reminders as to the struggles he had last year returning from injury. Beck struck out 6 batters in 4 innings, but allowed 8 baserunners and 2 earned runs. He’s got all the tools, he just needs to stay healthy and find some rhythm.

The bullpen was strong, as RHP Frank Rubio, RHP Taylor Rashi, and LHP Chris Wright combined for 5 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit, 3 walks, and striking out 5. Wright did not record a strikeout, which only happened 3 times in 37 appearances last season.

Right fielder Franklin Labour contributed to the nice defensive game with a pair of outfield assists.

Low-A San Jose (3-1)

San Jose Giants beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 5-1
Box score

This game, as so many will be in San Jose this year, was all about the pitchers from the 2021 draft class. The baby Giants used four pitchers, and all of them were selected last July.

It started with LHP Matt Mikulski (No. 14 CPL), a 2nd-round pick, who made his season debut and looked quite strong, striking out 5 batters in 4 innings, while allowing just 4 baserunners and a single run. Mikulski is considered by many to be the second-best left-handed pitching prospect in the organization, so his performance is worth keeping an eye on. He also seems to have a little bit of Johnny Cueto in him, as he had 2 pickoffs in this game.

Mikulski was relieved by RHP Mat Olsen, a 9th-round pick, who allowed 3 hits in 3 scoreless innings, striking out 4. Then it was RHPs Hunter Dula, an 18th-round pick, and Ian Villers, an 8th-round pick, who threw scoreless innings to finish up the game. Dula had a pair of strikeouts, and Villers had 1.

The offense hit just 3-15 with runners in scoring position, but that was still plenty good enough given the pitching performance. Catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 27 CPL) and second baseman Dilan Rosario both hit 2-3 with a walk, raising their OPS’ to .606 and .762, respectively (Rosario also stole a base). Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL), who has been having a very nice start to the season after some quality moments in big league camp, had a double, and now has a .899 OPS on the year.

Home runs

AAA David Villar (3)

Schedule

Sacramento: @ Reno Aces, 6:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. Altoona Curve, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. Spokane (Rockies), 7:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: vs. Fresno Grizzlies, 6:30 p.m. PT