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Minor League round up, June 26

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

Sean Hjelle throwing a pitch
Sean Hjelle threw 5 scoreless innings for AAA Sacramento
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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.

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

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
Box score

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.

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.

AA Richmond (40-29)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) 7-2
Box score

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.

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
Box score

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.

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
Box score

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.

Home runs

AA Sean Roby (19)
Low-A Riley Mahan (7)
Low-A Carter Williams (4)
Low-A Ronaldo Flores (3)

News

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.

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.

Monday schedule

Sacramento: Off
Richmond: Off
Eugene: Off
San Jose: Off
ACL Orange: vs. ACL Dodgers
ACL Black: vs. ACL Brewers Blue
DSL Orange: vs. DSL LAD Mega
DSL Black: vs. DSL Tigers 2