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Minor League round up, July 28

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

Shane Matheny in the batter’s box
Shane Matheny homered and doubled for AA Richmond, and was then promoted
Richmond Flying Squirrels

All of the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates were in action on Wednesday, so let’s get right into it!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (42-54)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Round Rock Express (Rangers) 7-6
Box score

The River Cats got walked off, which is never fun. And it happened against RHP Kervin Castro (No. 26 CPL), who gave up 3 hits in the 9th inning, ending the game before he recorded an out. After making his MLB debut in 2021 and allowing no earned runs in 13.1 innings (and making the postseason roster), Castro has taken a pretty big step backwards this year. He has a 4.94 ERA and a 5.72 FIP, and while his control has been significantly better in the last few weeks, he’s still issued 23 walks in just 31 innings, with only 31 strikeouts.

On offense, catcher Andrew Knapp, who only joined the organization a few days ago, had the big hit of the day, going 2-4 with a go-ahead 3-run home run in the 8th inning.

Shortstop Arquímedes Gamboa hit 2-4 with 2 doubles, though he’s still having a tough year, with just a .711 OPS and an 83 wRC+. He remains very good defensively and on the basepaths, but has never been a notable hitter at any point in his professional career.

Curt Casali made his 2nd rehab appearance, this time as the designated hitter, and hit 0-2 with 2 strikeouts. He’s struck out in all 5 of his plate appearances since beginning his rehab assignment, though I wouldn’t read anything into that, other than that rehab assignments are important.

AA Richmond (47-46)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost a doubleheader to the Somerset Patriots (Yankees) 7-1 and 6-3
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score

Well, not a very good double header, though second baseman Shane Matheny apparently didn’t get the memo. On a day where Richmond only had 8 hits across 2 games, Matheny went 3-8 with a double in Game 1 and a home run in Game 2, with a walk sprinkled in for good measure.

He’s been excellent all year long, and now has an .834 OPS and a 132 wRC+. Given that he’s 26 and repeating AA, could we perhaps get a look at him in Sacramento before the year ends? I hope so. Update: Matheny has been promoted.

First baseman Carter Aldrete, playing in just his 3rd and 4th games with Richmond following a promotion, had a nice day, hitting 2-5 with a double and a walk. Welcome to AA, Carter!

But another tough day for third baseman Brett Auerbach (No. 28 CPL), who hit 0-3 with 2 strikeouts in both games. Auerbach has now struck out 103 times in 312 plate appearances this year.

The starting pitching wasn’t very good, with RHP Wil Jensen giving up 6 hits, 5 walks, and 6 runs in just 3.2 innings in Game 1. RHP Matt Frisbee was better in Game 2, but still had a lot of struggles, allowing 8 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs in 5 innings, albeit with 6 strikeouts.

RHP Nick Avila made his 2nd appearance since a recent promotion, and while he allowed both a hit and a walk in just an inning of work, he didn’t allow a run and struck out 2 batters.

High-A Eugene (54-36)

Eugene Emeralds lost to the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) 8-4
Box score

Not too much going on in this game, though there was a home run from a rare source: designated hitter Max Wright.

Wright has played sparingly this year — it was just his 9th game in High-A, to go along with 29 games in Low-A and a lone appearance in AAA. But he’s done decently at each step, and posted a .729 OPS and 113 wRC+ in San Jose, and now a .738 OPS and 105 wRC+ in Eugene. Not eye-popping numbers, but not bad for an unheralded catcher.

Second baseman Riley Mahan, playing in just his 7th game with the Emeralds following a promotion, hit 2-4 with a double, which gives him a 1.002 OPS and a 165 wRC+. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s 26.

Also a good day for third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 24 CPL), who hit 1-2 with a double and 2 walks. With an .852 OPS and a 141 wRC+, it will be fascinating to see how far he shoots up on prospect lists after the season.

But bad days for the 2 players who have been offensive stars for Eugene lately, as right fielder Vaun Brown went 1-5 with 4 strikeouts, and third baseman Luis Toribio (No. 39 CPL) hit 0-3 with a walk and 3 strikeouts.

The pitching was meh, with piggybacking RHPs Jake Wong and Brett Standlee both having poor outings. RHP Ofelky Peralta made his Eugene debut and allowed a hit, a walk, and an unearned run in 2.2 innings, with 3 strikeouts. He’s been good since the Giants signed him in June.

Low-A San Jose (54-39)

San Jose Giants lost to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers) 3-2
Box score

A very nice day on the mound for RHP Trevor McDonald. In 5 innings he gave up just 5 baserunners (2 hits, 2 walks, and 1 hit batter), and 1 unearned run, while striking out 7. His season numbers are excellent — 2.62 ERA, 3.07 FIP, and 78 strikeouts to 23 walks in 65.1 innings — but they’re even better when you just focus on his recent results. After a few bumps in the road to start the year, McDonald figured things out, and since the start of June he’s posted the following line: 10 games, 37.1 innings, 32 hits, 17 walks, 7 earned runs, and 35 strikeouts. The walks are obviously a big issue at the moment, though.

RHP Jose Cruz struck out 2 batters in a perfect inning, and now has 59 strikeouts to 15 walks in 32.2 innings this season.

Nice offensive games from 4 different hitters. Second baseman Hayden Cantrelle hit 2-4 with a triple (.816 OPS, 118 wRC+); designated hitter Alexander Suarez (No. 37 CPL) hit 2-4 with a double (.709 OPS, 81 wRC+); left fielder Carter Williams hit 2-3 with a double and a walk (1.177 OPS, 196 wRC+); and center fielder Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL) hit 2-4 with a walk and a stolen base (.902 OPS, 131 wRC+).

ACL Orange (9-27)

ACL Giants Orange lost to the ACL D-backs Red 2-1 (7 innings)
Box score

Not much going on here, though there was a season debut from designated hitter Damon Dues (24, 2021 UDFA), who hit 1-2. On the whole, the Giants Orange team had just 7 hits and 0 walks, with nobody reaching base twice. Second baseman Irvin Murr III (19, 2021 19th-round) had the only extra-base hit with a double, which raised his sluggish OPS to .545 and his wRC+ to 54.

RHP Brayan Palencia (19, 2020 J2) had a nice outing, allowing 3 baserunners and 0 runs in 3.1 innings, with 2 strikeouts. He’s got a 3.81 ERA but a 4.89 FIP, though his strikeout to walk numbers are elite: 29 to 6 in 28.1 innings.

RHP Yoniel Ramirez (21, 2017 J2) struck out the side in a scoreless inning, allowing just a walk. He has 20 strikeouts to 4 walks in 12.2 innings.

ACL Black (24-11)

ACL Giants Black beat the ACL Rockies 6-0 (7 innings)
Box score

Excellent pitching in this one, starting with RHP Nomar Medina (19, 2020 J2), who gave up 4 hits and 1 walk in 5 scoreless innings, while striking out 5. That lowered his ERA to 2.05 and his FIP to 3.20, and gave him 50 strikeouts to 10 walks in 44 innings.

And then RHP Willian Suarez (24, 2015 J2) struck out 5 batters in just 2 innings, allowing only a hit and a walk. He has a 3.60 ERA and a 3.24 FIP on the season, and also has 50 strikeouts to 10 walks ... albeit in just 25 innings. That’s remarkable, but it bears repeating that he’s 24.

The best offensive performance came from left fielder Mauricio Pierre (18, 2020 J2), who hit 1-3 with a double and a walk, bouncing his OPS up to .674 and his wRC+ to 89. There were 2-hit days for center fielder P.J. Hilson (21, 2018 6th-round), who has a .901 OPS and a 138 wRC+, and shortstop Anthony Rodriguez (19, 2019 J2), who has a .685 OPS and an 88 wRC+.


DSL Giants Black (15-25) beat the DSL Giants Orange (16-22) 2-1 (7 innings)
Box score

The Giants Black team beat the Giants Orange team despite having just 1 hit (a single) and 1 walk all day long. And not only that, but they were caught stealing twice. But sometimes all you need to score 2 runs is have the other team commit 3 errors.

A sensational game from Giants Orange starter RHP Jorge Martinez (20, 2019 J2). He pitched 6 no-hit innings, allowing just 1 walk and 1 hit batter, while striking out 6. It gave him a 3.03 ERA and a 3.89 FIP, with 49 strikeouts to 16 walks in 38.2 innings.

His counterpart was nearly as good, as LHP Ricardo Estrada (20, 2020 J2) also struck out 6 in 6 innings, surrendering 4 hits and 1 run. That performance helped him out of a funk, as it dropped his ERA to 6.14 and his FIP to 3.78, and gave him 32 strikeouts to 15 walks in 36.2 innings. Not a good year for him, but a few starts like that will change the equation.

Following up Estrada was RHP Luis Yepez (20, 2019 J2), who allowed just a walk in a scoreless inning, with 2 strikeouts. In 19.2 innings this year Yepez has allowed 11 hits, 7 walks, and just 1 run, while striking out 20 batters.

No offense to speak of, as neither team had a player reach base multiple times. Giants Orange left fielder Oswaldo Ladera (19, 2019 J2) had a double for the only extra-base hit in the game, which raised his OPS to .726 and his wRC+ to 103.

Home runs

AAA Andrew Knapp (5)
AA Shane Matheny (10)
Low-A Max Wright (2)


As mentioned earlier, Shane Matheny has been promoted to AAA where he’ll try and continue his excellent season.

Friday schedule

Sacramento: @ Round Rock Express (Rangers), 5:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. Somerset Patriots (Yankees), 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: vs. Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers), 6:30 p.m. PT
ACL Orange: vs. ACL D-backs Black
ACL Black: vs. ACL Angels
DSL Orange: vs. DSL Nationals
DSL Black: vs. DSL Cardinals