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Minor League round up, May 19

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

Marco Luciano smiling
Top prospect Marco Luciano homered for the second straight game
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

We’re getting closer to the start of the ACL and DSL seasons, but for now it’s still just the San Francisco Giants AAA, AA, High-A, and Low-A affiliates, so 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 (19-20)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) 11-0
Box score

You would think, given that the River Cats allowed 11 runs (all earned) that the starting pitching was awful. But you would be wrong! It was actually tremendous, as LHP Enmanuel De Jesus had one of his best performances, pitching 4.1 scoreless innings while allowing 5 baserunners and striking out 9. It gave him 39 strikeouts in 29.1 innings, and lowered his ERA to 4.85 and his FIP to 3.99.

RHP Gregory Santos (No. 32 CPL) then struck out 2 batters (with a walk) to get Sacramento out of the 5th inning unscathed.

And then the wheels fell off, as the bullpen did not-so-good things.

It started with RHP Patrick Ruotolo, who gave up 5 baserunners and 4 runs in just 0.2 innings. And it ended with RHP Cody Carroll, who gave up 5 baserunners and 3 runs in just 0.1 innings.

And in between, RHP Matt Carasiti and LHP Joey Marciano also got roughed up.

The offense was also quite bad, as the River Cats had just 3 hits and 1 walk, with 11 strikeouts. Left fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 4 CPL) doubled, and now has an OPS of .610 and a wRC+ of 61. Hopefully there are many more extra-base hits in his future.

AA Richmond (21-15)

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

It was a nice day for second baseman Simon Whiteman, who is in the market for some nice days. He’s struggled this year, with just a .491 OPS and 48 wRC+, but days like Thursday help, as he went 2-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base.

Speaking of nice games for players who have been struggling lately, catcher Brett Auerbach (No. 28 CPL), who has been having a difficult time since hitting the Injured List with an illness, hit 1-3 with 2 walks.

Also hitting 1-3 with 2 walks was center fielder Shane Matheny, who continues to be one of Richmond’s top hitters, with a .907 OPS and a 156 wRC+, while playing all over the diamond (albeit with a lot of errors).

LHP Jake Dahlberg had a very Jake Dahlberg outing, giving up 9 baserunners and 4 runs in 5 innings, but striking out 9. It feels like he has a decent amount of games where he does some very cool stuff but also gets a little rocked.

RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 16 CPL) pitched 2 no-hit innings, issuing 1 walk and striking out 3. His strikeout rate is still way behind what it was last year, but he’s keeping hard contact from being made, and has just a 1.41 FIP, albeit with a 4.05 ERA.

High-A Eugene (17-14)

Eugene Emeralds beat Spokane (Rockies) 6-5
Box score

Only 6 runs for the Emeralds, but there are lots of awesome offensive performances to highlight, as 7 of the team’s 10 hits went for extra bases. That included a 2nd home run in as many days for shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 1 CPL), who hit 2-5.

The organization’s top prospect started the season strong, then cooled off, and is now finding his groove again. He wasn’t very good after his midseason promotion to Eugene last year, so his numbers this season — .896 OPS and 159 wRC+ — are very encouraging, especially since they come with a dramatically decreased strikeout rate (37.2% to 23.2%) and vastly improved power (1 home run in 145 plate appearances to 6 in 112). A very good season for a very good prospect.

It hasn’t been a very good season for center fielder Hunter Bishop (No. 10 CPL), but it was a good Thursday, as the former first-round pick hit 2-4 with 2 doubles and a stolen base, raising his OPS to .554 and his wRC+ to 66. It’s baby steps, but after posting a .417 OPS in April, he has a .705 OPS in May.

Joining Luciano and Bishop in the good game party was first baseman Carter Aldrete, who hit 2-4 with a home run and a double. Aldrete is repeating High-A after spending all of 2021 in Eugene, but struggling. 2022 is going much better, as he has a .783 OPs and a 128 wRC+.

RHP Randy Rodriguez (No. 22 CPL) led a pitching staff that had 12 strikeouts to 1 walk. He gave up 3 earned runs in 5 innings, but also gave up just 5 hits and 0 walks, while striking out 7. It was the first time he’d thrown more than 3 innings all year, and the first time since the Dominican Summer League in his rookie year in 2018 that he threw 5 innings. Apparently the Giants were serious about stretching him out into a starter role eventually.

Low-A San Jose (23-13)

San Jose Giants beat the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) 9-3
Box score

It was a very funny game for the Baby Giants hitters. They had 15 hits on the day, but 14 of them were singles. They drew just 2 walks, but struck out 15 times. A little odd.

Left fielder Vaun Brown led the way by hitting 4-5, which raised his OPS to 1.037, his wRC+ to 168, and his batting average to .336. I think he’s proven all he has to prove in Low-A, as has center fielder Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL), who doubled for the team’s only extra-base hit, and now has a 1.024 OPS and 162 wRC+.

Right fielder Najee Gaskins hit 3-4 and stole a base, and is quietly having a nice season (.831 OPS, 131 wRC+).

RHP Keaton Winn is still trying to shake off the rust after missing 2020 and 2021, and this was far and away his best performance of the year, as he allowed 2 hits, 0 walks, and 1 run in 4 innings, while striking out 8. With 33 strikeouts to 8 walks in 20.2 innings, Winn is starting to round back into exciting prospect form.

The final pitcher of the day was a cool one: RHP Spencer Bivens who, at age 27, was making his Minor League debut. Bivens has spent his career playing in three different independent leagues, as well as in France. But on Thursday he finally played in an MLB product after the Giants signed him to a Minor League deal earlier in the week. He pitched a perfect inning, with a strikeout.

Awesome stuff.

Home runs

High-A Marco Luciano (6)
High-A Carter Aldrete (3)