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Minor League round up, May 25

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

Marco Luciano leaving the batter’s box
Marco Luciano had a home run and two walks for High-A Eugene
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants AAA, AA, High-A, and Low-A teams were all in action on Wednesday. Let’s break it down.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (21-23)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Salt Lake Bees (Angels) 5-1
Box score

A mostly uneventful game for the River Cats. The offense had just 4 hits and 2 walks, with left fielder Austin Dean providing half of the hits, and the team’s only extra-base hit, a double. The nice day bumped Dean’s OPS to .853 and his wRC+ to 101. It’s been a nice few weeks for him.

But rough games for a pair of Sacramento’s top prospects, as second baseman David Villar (No. 19 CPL) hit 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and designated hitter Heliot Ramos (No. 4 CPL) hit 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Bad days happen, so no need to worry about Villar, who is having perhaps the best season of any Giants Minor Leaguer. And it’s noteworthy that he was playing second base, rather than his usual spots on the corner of the infield. The Giants have a lot of right-handed hitters who can play third base right now, so Villar being able to play second could get him to the Majors more quickly.

It might, however, be time to be worried about Ramos, who has just a .553 OPS and a 47 wRC+. In 158 plate appearances this year, Ramos has just 6 extra-base hits (3 doubles and 3 home runs), and 42 strikeouts.

Nothing of note on the pitching front, except that RHP Norwith Gudino made his season debut, giving up 3 baserunners and 1 run in 2 innings. LHP Sammy Long (No. 21 CPL) struck out 3 in 1.1 scoreless innings, as he tries to find his groove after being optioned.

AA Richmond (23-18)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies) 4-3
Box score

Another not particularly interesting game, though at least Richmond won! RHP Blake Rivera is still trying to get back on track after struggling with injuries a year ago, and he had a quality outing, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 run in 3 innings, with 2 strikeouts.

But the best performance came from RHP Trenton Toplikar, who only recently returned to the field after starting the year on the IL. Toplikar allowed just 1 hit in 3 scoreless innings, while striking out 5 batters. On the season Toplikar has given up just 2 hits, 2 walks, and 0 runs in 6.1 innings, with 9 strikeouts.

The offense really didn’t do much, but the big hit was a 2-run triple from catcher Brandon Martorano, who raised his OPS to .837 and his wRC+ to 128.

High-A Eugene (18-18)

Eugene Emeralds lost to the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels) 10-1
Box score

Well, not a good game for the Emeralds, but it was a good game for shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 1 CPL), as the organization’s top prospect continued his excellent season, hitting 1-2 with 2 walks, and supplying the only run of the game with a homer.

With an OPS of .936 and a wRC+ of 165, Luciano has very quickly put any concerns about his second-half performance in 2021 to rest, and might soon be joining fellow highly-touted prospect LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 5 CPL) in Richmond.

On the pitching front, a bad 8th inning did Eugene in, as RHP Nick Morreale gave up 7 runs (though just 2 earned runs) in 0.1 innings, with the help of some errors.

But it was an excellent start for RHP Randy Rodriguez (No. 22 CPL), who is starting to get stretched out as a starter again. Rodriguez became a hot topic over the offseason, as he followed up an excellent 2021 with a spot on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft that never happened.

He came out of the gates a little slowly this year, but showed off on Wednesday, with 4 scoreless innings in which he allowed just 1 hit and 2 walks, and struck out 8, lowering his ERA to 3.65 and his FIP to 4.64.

Rodriguez is the only player on the Giants 40-man roster who hasn’t played in the Majors this season, though that probably won’t be changing any time soon. But with more performances like this one ...

Low-A San Jose (25-16)

San Jose Giants beat the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 7-6
Box score

I think at this point left fielder Vaun Brown must be wondering what he has to do to get a plane ticket to Eugene. The 10th-round pick in 2021 hit 3-4, finished a home run shy of the cycle, drew a walk, stole a base (his 14th!), and had an outfield assist at home.

He now has a 1.073 OPS, a 176 wRC+, and basically no reason to still be in San Jose.

Also having a superb day was right fielder/first baseman Victor Bericoto, who also reached base 4 times, hitting 2-3 with 2 doubles and 2 walks. He’s really been swinging the bat well lately, and has a .771 OPS and 109 wRC+ on the season.

The Baby Giants had 3 triples on the day, with 1 each from Brown, center fielder Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL) in his only plate appearance of the day, and shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 12 CPL), who also singled.

Add in a single and a home run for catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 27 CPL), who now has a .702 OPS and a 92 wRC+ (reminder: he’s a 19-year old catcher), and it was a great offensive day for San Jose.

The pitching wasn’t as good, as the starters, RHP Keaton Winn and LHP Esmerlin Vinicio (No. 40 CPL) both struggled. But the relievers played well, as RHPs Evan Gates and Jose Cruz gave up neither a hit nor a walk. Gates now has a 1.42 ERA and a 4.65 FIP, while Cruz has a 3.18 ERA and a 2.08 FIP.

Home runs

High-A Marco Luciano (8)
Low-A Adrian Sugastey (3)