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Minor League round up, April 28

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

Giants left-handed pitcher prospect Kyle Harrison throws a pitch in 2018 when he was a high schooler
LHP Kyle Harrison struck out 11 batters for High-A Eugene
Photo by Peter DaSilva/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Some pretty exciting performances from the San Francisco Giants prospects on Thursday, so 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 (11-2)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies) 13-2
Box score

We kick things off with a very, very boring game, in which the River Cats got rocked while not offering up much on offense. Sacramento’s hitters had 7 hits and 1 walk, with a double by catcher Jhonny Pereda being the team’s only extra-base hit.

Center fielder Bryce Johnson and shortstop Arquímedes Gamboa both had 2-hit games, with Johnson raising his OPS to .798 and his wRC+ to 109, and Gamboa, who has struggled to start the year, raising his OPS to .683 and his wRC+ to 91.

Third baseman Kevin Padlo, whom the Giants recently acquired, made his Sacramento debut and hit 1-4 with a strikeout.

It was a brutal day for LHP Michael Plassmeyer, who gave up 7 earned runs in 4 innings, with just 3 strikeouts, raising his ERA to 5.40 and his FIP to 7.08. He’s been up and down this season.

An even more brutal day for RHP Matt Carasiti, who allowed 5 earned runs in just a third of an inning. He had dreams of being Major League depth this season, but right now he’s far away from that, as his ERA ballooned to 10.50.

RHP Trenton Toplikar made his season debut — and his AAA debut — and retired both batters that he faced.

AA Richmond (10-8)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 5-4
Box score

First baseman Frankie Tostado is starting to find some rhythm. The 2017 19th-round pick hit 3-4 with a double on Thursday, knocking in 3 runs. It gave him a 5-game hitting streak, and during that time the lefty is hitting 9-20 with a home run, a double, a walk, and 2 strikeouts.

His batting average sits at an excellent .328, though the Giants will be hoping for more power from him soon, as that’s translated to a .809 OPS and a 123 wRC+. Those are quite good numbers, but if he flashes a little more of that corner outfield pop, they could be dynamic numbers.

A nice day for shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 35 CPL), who hit 1-2 with a double and 2 walks. Fitzgerald had a brutal start to the season, and has been striking out like it’s going out of style (he has 30 Ks in 66 plate appearances), so it’s always nice to see him have a good game and start turning around that OPS, which is currently .594 (67 wRC+).

Also a nice day for second baseman Will Wilson (No. 18 CPL), who continues to put his rough 2021 in the rearview mirror. Wilson really struggled with strikeouts and walks last year, but hit 1-2 with 2 walks in this game, continuing his improvement in both areas. He now has a .795 OPS and a 119 wRC+.

Catcher Brandon Martorano had another good day, hitting 2-4 with a double, while left fielder Jacob Heyward and designated hitter Robert Emery both had hitless days and strikeout hat tricks.

On the pitching front things weren’t great. RHP Bryan Brickhouse had a tough start, giving up 4 hits, 5 walks, and 3 earned runs in 4.2 innings. He also threw 3 wild pitches and had 3 bases stolen on his watch, though he did strike out 7. The 29-year old is not quite looking like the MLB depth that he and the Giants were hoping for.

LHP Chris Wright (No. 29 CPL), one of the organization’s top strikeout artists, had 2 Ks in 1.1 innings, though he also allowed a hit and 2 walks. Wright now has 7 strikeouts in 6.2 innings, so he’s still finding his 2022 footing after recording 79 strikeouts in 45 innings a year ago.

High-A Eugene (9-7)

Eugene Emeralds beat the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels) 4-1
Box score

There’s nothing better in the Minor Leagues than when a team’s top prospects have the type of performances that justify their prospect standing. And that was the case in Eugene, San Francisco’s most talent-stacked affiliate.

It started on the mound, with the organization’s top pitching prospect: LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 5 CPL). Harrison gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and an earned run in 4 innings of work, but struck out a stunning 11 batters — and he only faced 18!

Harrison has just 27 career starts in the Minors, and has struck out 8 or more batters in 11 of them, which is rather remarkable when you consider how short most MiLB starts are. The 20-year old’s introduction to High-A has been nothing short of brilliant, as he’s given up 11 hits, 5 walks, and 5 earned runs in 15 innings, with 32 strikeouts, good for a 3.00 ERA and a 2.29 FIP. Having 19.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 plays anywhere, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Harrison doesn’t get too acclimated with the Oregon weather before finding himself heading across the country to Richmond.

Speaking of people who might be headed to Richmond before long, shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 1 CPL) hit 2-4 with a home run.

The Giants are seeing exactly what they wanted out of Luciano, who was promoted to High-A halfway through 2021, but initially struggled. He had a .578 OPS, a 59 wRC+, and a 37.2% strikeout rate in Eugene a year ago. This season? A .968 OPS, a 168 wRC+, and a 23.0% strikeout rate. This is very exciting.

Not a good day, however, for fellow top prospect Luis Matos (No. 3 CPL), who hit 0-4 with 2 stirkeouts. The center fielder is really struggling to start the year, with a .374 OPS, though his strikeout rate is just 18.8%. As we’ve learned from Luciano, don’t fret about top prospects struggling when they first get introduced to new levels. Matos has just 64 plate appearances in High-A. He’ll be fine.

Also rough days, and the continuation of rough seasons for left fielder Hunter Bishop (No. 10 CPL), who was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, which lowered his OPS to .417, and catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 9 CPL), who hit 0-2 with a walk, and now has a .509 OPS.

First baseman Carter Aldrete, who is trying to shake off a slow start, hit 2-3 with a walk and a double, raising his OPS to .501.

Brilliance from the bullpen, as LHP Juan Sanchez, RHP Brooks Crawford, and RHP Nick Morreale combined for 5 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 7.

Low-A San Jose (11-7)

San Jose Giants lost to the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 5-0
Box score

Left fielder Vaun Brown was the offense for San Jose. The Baby Giants had just 3 hits on the day, but Brown had 2 of them, including the only extra-base hit, a double. He also stole 2 bases. After a slow start, Brown has come on very strong lately, and has raised his OPS to .749 and his wRC+ to 107.

First baseman Garrett Frechette drew 2 walks, which were the only free passes of the day. Another tough game for center fielder Alexander Suarez (No. 37 CPL), who struck out in all 3 of his plate appearances. His introduction to A-ball has been difficult, as he has a .472 OPS, a 43 wRC+, and 18 strikeouts in 43 plate appearances.

San Jose’s pitchers had some walk issues, as they allowed 7 free passes. RHP Mason Black (No. 42 CPL) had an up-and-down start, allowing just 2 hits and 1 earned run in 3 innings, with 4 strikeouts, but also walking 4. Those were the first walk issues of the year for the third-round pick in 2021, and Black is still sporting a tremendous line on the season: 14.2 innings, 13 hits, 5 walks, 6 earned runs, and 22 strikeouts.

Home runs

High-A Marco Luciano (4)

Friday schedule

Sacramento: @ Albuquerque Isotopes, 6:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. Bowie Baysox, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: @ Tri-City Dust Devils, 6:30 p.m. PT
San Jose: vs. Modesto Nuts, 6:30 p.m. PT