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Minor League round up, April 14

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

Peoria Javelinas v Scottsdale Scorpions
Shortstop Marco Luciano was 2-3 with 2 doubles for High-A Eugene
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants had an off day on Thursday, but their affiliates did not. All four Minor League teams that are in season (the ACL and DSL have yet to get started) were in action on Thursday, so let’s dive straight into the games.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (5-4)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) 6-2
Box score

Well this was not a particularly good game! The River Cats had just 5 hits and 2 walks on the day, with 13 strikeouts and no extra-base hits. Second baseman Jason Krizan was 0-2 with 2 walks, which made him the offensive “star” of the day, as he was the only River Cat to reach base multiple times. He and shortstop Alex Blandino, who had a strikeout hat trick in this game, are both competing to be infield depth, and neither is particularly stepping up to the plate, as they sport OPS’ of .428 and .450, respectively.

The pitching got off to a strong start, with LHP Enmanuel De Jesus K’ing 5 batters in 4 innings, with no runs allowed.

But the wheels came off for RHP Luis Ortiz, who replaced De Jesus and promptly gave up 5 runs in a single inning of work.

A nice outing for RHP Kervin Castro (No. 26 CPL), who struck out 2 in a perfect inning. He’s yet to allow a hit or a run in 3 innings this season, though he has issued 3 walks (he has 6 strikeouts, though).

AA Richmond (4-2)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Altoona Curve (Pirates) 5-4
Box score

Ahh, this game is much better than Sacramento’s. Let’s revisit some of what I said in yesterday’s round up ... not because I want to look smart, but because it highlights how hot two players are. After a double-dinger game, I said this about Sean Roby:

Roby is replacing David Villar at third base in Richmond, and already looks like he has his sights set on Villar’s franchise record of 20 home runs that he hit last year.

And after hitting his first bomb of the season, I said this about catcher Brandon Martorano:

I would like to use this space to give him his flowers. Martorano is a catcher, and it’s pretty hard to stand out as a catcher in a system that has Patrick Bailey, Ricardo Genovés, Brett Auerbach, Adrian Sugastey, and Juan Perez, all with Joey Bart in his rookie year. But Martorano has been on fire to open the season

You can see where I’m going with this one: both of them homered.

That raised Martorano’s OPS, which admittedly is still an extra small sample size, to 1.074. And Roby, who also drew a pair of walks? He’s now sitting on a 1.308 OPS in 27 plate appearances, good for a 240 wRC+. He wins the unofficial award for hottest first week of the season in the Minors.

It was also a nice game for left fielder Frankie Tostado, who had a pair of doubles to raise his OPS to .840. He’s overcome a slow start and is finding some rhythm.

Another mediocre start from LHP Jake Dahlberg, who allowed 3 earned runs in 4 innings. But a brilliant appearance for one of the organization’s top strikeout artists, RHP Patrick Ruotolo, who pitched 2 perfect innings with 5 strikeouts. Ruotolo has now been perfect in 3 innings of work this year, and has struck out 7 of the 9 batters he’s faced.

High-A Eugene (1-3)

Eugene Emeralds beat Spokane (Rockies) 7-3
Box score

It’s the first win of the season for the Giants most interesting affiliate. And their best hitter Thursday was the organization’s top prospect, as shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 1 CPL) hit 2-3 with a pair of doubles and a pair of runs batted in. Third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 24 CPL) also had a very nice game, hitting 2-3 with a walk to lead the Emeralds in times reaching base.

Schmitt’s walk was the only one of the game for Eugene, compared to 10 strikeouts. First baseman Luis Toribio (No. 39 CPL) had the strikeout hat trick in his second game of the year.

On the mound, RHP Prelander Berroa (No. 31 CPL) was excellent in his first appearance of the season, allowing just 2 baserunners and no runs in 4 innings, while striking out 4. RHP Abel Adames struck out 3 in 2 innings, and RHP Cole Waites whiffed a batter in his inning of work, though he also allowed a run.

Low-A San Jose (4-2)

San Jose Giants lost to the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 9-5
Box score

The baby Giants did a good job hitting the ball on Thursday, but no one introduced them to the concept of extra-base hits. San Jose had 11 hits (that’s great!) and all of them were singles (that’s not great!).

Shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 12 CPL) and first baseman Garrett Frechette led the way with 3-hit games, which raised Arteaga’s OPS to .879 and Frechette’s to .781. And that’s really all there is to talk about from an offensive standpoint.

The pitching struggled, too, as San Jose allowed 14 hits, 6 walks, and 9 runs, while striking out just 6. It was a promising start for RHP Keaton Winn, who shook off an ugly first appearance of the year by allowing no runs in 2 innings, while striking out 3. Winn is one of the organization’s more unknown prospects. He was a 5th-round pick in 2018, and had a nice 2019 in A-ball. But 2020 was a lost season due to the pandemic, and Winn sat out the entire 2021 campaign with an injury. A lot of people forgot about him along the way, and now he’s trying to prove that he can still be a top pitching prospect in the organization.

It was not, however, a nice game for LHP Esmerlin Vinicio (No. 40 CPL). Vinicio, who only turned 19 earlier this year, has been moved to the bullpen (hopefully temporarily) given the amount of pitchers in San Jose. His inning of relief in this game was slightly disastrous, as he allowed 5 hits, 1 walk, and 4 earned runs.

The Baby Giants used 6 different pitchers before deciding to turn things over to designated hitter Rayner Santana, who is usually a catcher. Santana gave up 3 baserunners in his inning of work, but also recorded a strikeout and didn’t allow a run, which is more than 4 of the 6 pitchers could say. Add in his hit and walk drawn as the DH, and it was a pretty solid game for him.

Home runs

AA Sean Roby (4)
AA Brandon Martorano (2)

Schedule

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