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Minor League round up, May 1

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

Giants prospect Kevin Padlo swinging a bat while with the Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It was a dinger party for the San Francisco Giants Minor League affiliates on Sunday. Let’s dive straight into it.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (13-11)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies) 16-8
Box score

This game was ... a lot. And, as the score would indicate, some of that (the offense) was good, while some of it (the pitching) was not.

So let’s start with the good. And specifically, let’s start with one of the most recent players to join the organization: Kevin Padlo, who played first base and left field in this game. The Giants acquired Padlo, a 25 year old, last week for cash after the Seattle Mariners had designated him for assignment. He’s a player who has shown a ton of talent before (he had a 151 wRC+ in AAA as a 22 year old in 2019), but has been struggling a little lately.

The Giants are trying to work their magic on his bat, and so far the returns are good. He had a 3-hit game on Sunday. The 1st hit? A home run.

The 2nd hit? A home run.

The 3rd hit? A home run.

Padlo has 6 dingers this year for 2 teams, and all of them have come in Albuquerque, which is not the team he played for before.

He also stole a base, and rose his OPS to .833 — and 1.618 in his 4 games with the Giants. It’s too early to say the Giants struck gold, but the early returns are very exciting.

Speaking of exciting, designated hitter Ricardo Genovés (No. 20 CPL) hit 3-4 with a walk and a double. He started the season strong, cooled off a bit, and is now putting things back together. His OPS is now .769, and his wRC+ is 97 — those numbers don’t stand out until you remember that he’s a defensively-talented catcher who skipped AA and doesn’t turn 23 for a few weeks. Seen through that lens, it’s been a wildly successful season for him.

Also another good day for third baseman David Villar (No. 19 CPL) who reached base 4 times: twice by getting plunked, once by drawing a walk, and once by doing the thing he does better than perhaps anyone in the system: hitting a home run. He now has a whopping 8 of them this season, leading to a 1.024 OPS and a 156 wRC+. He entered the season as someone you thought might be able to make the big leagues at some point this year. Now it’s starting to feel like a matter of when, not if.

The pitching, however, was awful, and it unfortunately started with RHP Sean Hjelle (No. 30 CPL), who got rocked for 11 hits, 2 walks, 2 hit batters, 8 runs, and 7 earned runs in just 4.1 innings. Hjelle now has struck out just 14 of the 98 batters he’s faced this year. But thanks to a low walk rate (he’s issued just 5 free passes in 22.2 innings), and great dinger suppression (he’s given up just a single home run) his FIP (4.14) is still outperforming his ERA (4.37).

Either way, it’s been a really weird season for him.

Also getting rocked was RHP Gregory Santos (No. 32 CPL), who is not having the season that people were hoping for after he shot up on prospect lists a year ago. Santos gave up 5 hits, 1 walk, and 3 earned runs in 1.1 innings of work, with 1 strikeout. He has a 4.91 ERA and a 6.11 FIP, and has not been striking out batters the way that he has the potential to.

A few other notes from this game:

There were 3 different players who got hit by pitchers (Villar and a pair of Isotopes), but all 3 were hit twice.

Outfielder Heliot Ramos (No. 4 CPL) had another rough offensive day as he continues to struggle with the bat, but he had 2 outfield assists — one at second base, and one at home.

And finally, first baseman (but usually a catcher) Cesar Gonzalez made his season debut and hit 0-2. Gonzalez is just 20 years old, and hadn’t played above rookie ball before Sunday. It’s not clear what circumstances led to his season debut being at AAA, but I would assume we’ll see him in San Jose soon.

AA Richmond (13-8)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 8-1
Box score

Padlo wasn’t the only player in the organization to have a multi-homer day, as center fielder Shane Matheny popped a pair of balls over the fence for Richmond. It’s been a quietly strong year for the 25 year old, who is repeating AA after hitting below average there a season ago. It looks like he’s made some serious adjustments, as he’s sporting a .912 OPS ... in the pitching environment that Richmond plays in, that’s good for a 156 wRC+. And he’s certainly endearing himself to the front office as he has nearly as many walks (9) as strikeouts (10).

All in all, it was a good day for some less-heralded prospects, as right fielder Franklin Labour and first baseman Frankie Tostado also hit long balls.

Tostado added a double, raising his OPS to .882, and his wRC+ to 146. But unlike Matheny, his strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t looking so pretty, as he has 16 Ks to 3 free passes. Given that he’s hitting .348 with nice power, it’s safe to say he’ll be looking like a very exciting player if he can start drawing some walks too.

LHP Jake Dahlberg was brilliant on the mound yet again, slinging 6 scoreless innings with just 5 hits allowed, and registering 4 strikeouts. The good news about Dahlberg is that he’s allowed just 27 baserunners in 26.1 innings, with 28 strikeouts, and has a 1.71 ERA and a 3.49 FIP. The bad news is that he’s 28 and in AA. Do with that what you choose.

RHP Taylor Rashi struck out 2 batters in a scoreless inning, and has still yet to allow a run. In 8.2 innings he’s given up just 3 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 14.

High-A Eugene (10-9)

Eugene Emeralds split a doubleheader against the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels), winning 3-0 and losing 3-2
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score

We’ve got ourselves a no-hitter!! Sure, it was a combined no-no, and yeah, because it was in a Minor League doubleheader it was only 7 innings, but whatever. The Emeralds no-hit the Dust Devils in the first game of the doubleheader, and that’s cause for celebration.

The star was the starter, and one of the organization’s top pitching prospects: LHP Nick Swiney (No. 17 CPL). Swiney pitched 5.1 innings and allowed only a walk (that and an error were the only baserunners of the day), and struck out 7. Swiney’s second year as a pro is going fairly well, though there are issues to work on: in 13.2 innings he’s allowed 7 hits, 7 walks, and 5 earned runs, with 14 strikeouts. The Giants will definitely take that.

Swiney was relieved by RHPs Cole Waites and Nick Avila, who handled things quickly and easily to complete the no-hitter.

The Emeralds got on the board in the 3rd inning with a solo home run from third baseman Carter Aldrete. He’s struggling this year — his OPS is .571 and his wRC+ is 51 — so it was good to see him have a nice swing.

They didn’t need any more runs, but got some anyway, scoring again in the 4th and 6th. Shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 1 CPL) had the only multi-hit game with a pair of singles, though both he and Aldrete went hitless in the 2nd game of the doubleheader.

In that 2nd game the Emeralds registered just 2 hits, both singles, though they did draw 5 walks. No one on the team reached base twice in the game. The bullpen once again did shutdown work — this time it was RHPs Ty Weber, Abel Adames, and Nick Morreale — but the starting pitching wasn’t, as RHP Wil Jensen got knocked around, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 earned runs in 3 innings.

Despite that, it’s been a nice season for Jensen, who’s allowed just 12 baserunners in 12.1 innings, with 17 strikeouts.

Low-A San Jose (12-9)

San Jose Giants beat the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 5-3
Box score

The Baby Giants kept the home run party going, as a trio of San Jose hitters smashed balls over the fence. They were all solo home runs, but who cares? It was enough for a victory.

Shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 12 CPL) had one of them, and it was a nice sight to see. Arteaga, who only turned 19 a few weeks ago, started the season hot but had cooled off. He hadn’t hit an extra-base hit since April 23. Still, his OPS sits at .752 and his wRC+ at 104 — not bad numbers considering his age and position.

Speaking of low-offense positions, center fielder Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL) hit 2-4 and also homered, raising his OPS to .732 and his wRC+ to 100.

And third baseman Yorlis Rodriguez, who has been struggling mightily in his first year of A-ball, had his first homer of the year, while also drawing a walk. He’s been putting together much better at bats lately.

Also a nice game for catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 27 CPL), who hit 2-4 with a double. The Giants catcher depth is absurd.

RHP Keaton Winn, trying to put his nice prospect status back together after missing 2021, allowed 3 earned runs in as many innings, but struck out 5. He’s been struggling with run prevention (he has a 7.20 ERA), but has 16 strikeouts in just 10 innings. The stuff is still there, he just has some rust to work off after two straight lost seasons.

Another nice outing for RHP Trevor McDonald, who allowed 1 walk, 1 hit, and 0 runs in 2 innings, with a strikeout. He now has a 1.32 ERA and a 2.85 FIP, with 19 strikeouts in 13.2 innings. RHP Nick Sinacola struck out 6 in 3 scoreless innings, giving him 22 Ks in 15.2 innings ... and just 17 baserunners allowed.

Home runs

AAA David Villar (8)
AAA Kevin Padlo, 3 (6)
AA Shane Matheny, 2 (3)
AA Franklin Labour (2)
AA Frankie Tostado (2)
High-A Carter Aldrete (1)
Low-A Aeverson Arteaga (3)
Low-A Grant McCray (2)
Low-A Yorlis Rodriguez (1)

Monday schedule

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