Some really fun games from the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates on Sunday. The Arizona Complex League and Dominican Summer League had the day off, but the A-ball affiliates were all in action.
Let’s jump into it.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
AAA Sacramento (30-42)
Sacramento River Cats beat the El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) 5-3
As is so often the case, the River Cats game was primarily about MLB-adjacent players. It started with RHP Sean Hjelle (No. 30 CPL), who has worn a Giants jersey a few times this year, and will surely wear one a few more times this year.
Hjelle’s AAA journey has been up and down, but it’s been a lot better lately, and Sunday was no exception. He dealt 5 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits and 0 walks, while striking out 6. Excellent!
In his last 5 starts for Sacramento, Hjelle has the following line: 23 innings, 15 hits, 7 walks, 3 earned runs, 23 strikeouts. You love to see it.
RHP Kervin Castro (No. 26 CPL) pitched a scoreless inning of relief with 2 strikeouts. That’s the good. The bad is that he walked his 22nd hitter in 23 innings of work this year.
Recently-optioned RHP Mauricio Llovera pitched a scoreless 9th for the save. He hasn’t been great with the Giants this year (he’s been fine, though), but he’s yet to allow a single run (earned or otherwise) in 18 innings with Sacramento this season.
On the offensive front, the best day came from recently-acquired DH Willie Calhoun, who hit 3-4 in his 2nd game with Sacramento.
Willie didn’t just want his first hit as a River Cat, he also wanted his first RBIs!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) June 26, 2022
Cats - 3
Yappy dogs - 0 pic.twitter.com/Use4xtv1WN
Catcher Joey Bart (No. 2 CPL) hit 0-3, but drew a walk and didn’t record a strikeout. The Giants will take that. He also made a tremendous defensive play.
Left fielder LaMonte Wade Jr. made another rehab appearance, and hit 0-3, while first baseman/left fielder Austin Dean had a nice day, hitting 1-3 with a double and a walk, raising his OPS to .807 and his wRC+ to 92.
We love Dean Doubles!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) June 26, 2022
Austin doubles home David and we are on the board!! pic.twitter.com/2QfLlRhDgT
AA Richmond (40-29)
It’s the Kyle Harrison (No. 5 CPL) show and we’re all just living in it. The LHP continues to make Minor League hitters look like they’re just learning how to play baseball.
Harrison pitched 7 innings on Sunday, and allowed just 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, while striking out 11 batters. There are certainly things for Harrison to work on — he’s issued 16 walks and allowed 5 home runs in 31.1 AA innings — but he continues to be one of the top K prospects in all of baseball. After starting the year by fanning 59 of the 118 batters he faced in High-A, Harrison has struck out 50 of the 131 batters he’s faced in AA. Elite.
New Double-A-high 11 strikeouts for Kyle Harrison pic.twitter.com/dZxOZGjgTu— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) June 26, 2022
A lot of good offensive performances to note. Shortstop Shane Matheny hit 1-1 with a double and 3 walks (he also stole a base) which gives him a .911 OPS and a 158 wRC+. Center fielder Michael Gigliotti and first baseman Frankie Tostado both walked, singled, and doubled.
And third baseman Sean Roby — who has been hitting bombs, but having a hard time drawing walks, getting non-homer hits, and avoiding strikeouts, hit 2-3 with a homer, a single, a walk, and no strikeouts. It gave the dinger-masher a .788 OPS and a 112 wRC+.
High-A Eugene (40-26)
Eugene Emeralds beat the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels) 9-4
Eugene isn’t as talent-stacked as they were when the season began, thanks to Harrison’s promotion and Marco Luciano’s injury. But they keep racking up the wins.
A lot of players to highlight in this one, but perhaps none more than center fielder Hunter Bishop (No. 10 CPL), who is putting it all together for kind of the first time in his professional career. He hit 2-4 with a triple and a walk on Sunday, which raised his OPS to .735 and his wRC+ to 113. Not eye-popping numbers, but given how cold he was to start the year, it’s a sign of how well he’s playing now.
Bishop had a .472 OPS in April, and a .703 OPS in May. But so far in June he’s hitting 24-86 with 11 extra-base hits, 11 walks to 28 strikeouts, and 6 stolen bases to 1 time being caught. That’s good enough for a .927 OPS and, I’m guessing, a promotion before too long if he can maintain it.
Also having a nice day was right fielder Vaun Brown, who hit 1-3 with 2 walks and a stolen base. After destroying Low-A, Brown has been excellent in 2 High-A games, hitting 3-7 with 1 double, 2 walks, just 1 strikeout, and 2 stolen bases.
The ole’ broken bat for RBI exchange, courtesy of Vaun Brown. pic.twitter.com/1B8nwD0Qep— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) June 26, 2022
RHP Wil Jensen got the start and it was a good but slightly odd one, as he gave up 7 hits in 5.2 innings with just 3 strikeouts, but only walked 1 batter and allowed just 1 unearned run. It’s been a nice season for him, as he has a 2.92 ERA and a 3.39 FIP.
Low-A San Jose (43-26)
San Jose Giants beat the Stockton Ports (A’s) 7-6
Another day, another dynamic offensive performance by the Baby Giants. And another day, another dynamic offensive performance by left fielder Carter Williams.
The Giants trailed by 2 runs entering the 9th, but Williams tied the game up with a home run. It capped off a day in which he hit a perfect 4-4, and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
I’m still not quite sure why Williams got moved from High-A to Low-A a few weeks back, but he’s responded with a nearly unfathomable 1.649 OPS and 288 wRC+. If those numbers are too big to really wrap your head around, here are the conventional ones: 21-38, 4 home runs, 4 doubles, 10 walks, 10 strikeouts. He also stole his 2nd base.
Probably time to return him to Eugene.
The very next batter in the 9th, second baseman Riley Mahan, hit a homer to give the Giants the lead, and set the final score. Mahan now has an .879 OPS and a 123 wRC+. He’s also 26, so don’t get too excited.
Also joining the dinger party was catcher Ronaldo Flores, who had a single, a walk, and a stolen base as well. Like Williams, Flores went from High-A to Low-A, and he’s responded with a .972 OPS and a 136 wRC+. San Jose was likely the plan for him all along, as he only turned 20 last month.
The pitching was less promising, as LHP Matt Mikulski (No. 14 CPL) got roughed up. The lefty lasted just 3.1 innings, and allowed 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs ... though he did strike out 7 batters. I don’t think a 5.53 ERA and a 5.05 FIP were what Mikulski or the Giants had in mind for the 2021 2nd-round pick’s inaugural full season of pro ball.
AA Sean Roby (19)
Low-A Riley Mahan (7)
Low-A Carter Williams (4)
Low-A Ronaldo Flores (3)
After pitching a scoreless inning of relief for AA Richmond on Sunday, RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 16 CPL) has been promoted to AAA. It’s been a quick rise for the 2020 4th-round pick.
Per industry source, the #SFGiants are promoting R.J. Dabovich to Triple-A.— Marc Delucchi (@maddelucchi) June 27, 2022
One of the best relief-pitching prospects in the #SFGameUp system, Dabovich has been dominant this year at AA, posting a 2.81 ERA with 37 strikeouts and just 5 walks in 25.2 innings (21 appearances).
The aforementioned super hotness of Carter Williams and Hunter Bishop earned them Player of the Week awards. Joining Williams was his teammate, RHP Nick Sinacola.
San Jose Giants sweep the California League weekly honors!⁰⁰Link below to read more about the performances from outfielder Carter Williams and RHP Nick Sinacola!— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) June 27, 2022
: https://t.co/hln7xemmR9 pic.twitter.com/AV19tZ0yp5
ARE YOU KIDDING!? HUNTER BISHOP JUST WON PLAYER OF THE WEEK! THE STUD WON THE AWARD THE SAME WEEK HE TURNED 24! pic.twitter.com/pH9Uee7S3a— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) June 27, 2022