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Minor League round up, August 11

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

Grant McCray in the batter’s box
Grant McCray had a grand slam and a double for Low-A San Jose
Shelly Valenzuela - San Jose Giants

A fun day in the organization on Thursday, as all eight of the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates were 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 (47-61)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Salt Lake Bees (Angels) 9-3
Box score

Second baseman Isan Díaz sure is making a push to get added to the roster here at some point. He had a 3-5 day, with 2 of those 3 hits being home runs.

Díaz is having a blistering August, hitting 10-28 with 3 home runs, 1 triple, 1 double, 4 walks, and just 4 strikeouts, which has brought his OPS up to .995 and his wRC+ to 139. It will be interesting to see if the Giants decide to clear a 40-man spot and give him some run in San Francisco, though he’s trailing someone on the infield call-up depth chart.

That person is third baseman David Villar (No. 19 CPL), who — surprise, surprise — homered in this game, giving him 3 in 5 games since getting optioned. He’ll almost certainly be back in San Francisco this year.

A good day for left fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 4 CPL), which is always good to see. He hit 2-4, drew a walk, and stole a base (though he also got caught stealing, which has happened 6 times to just 5 successful steals).

Big command issues on the mound for RHP Sean Hjelle (No. 30 CPL), who walked 5 batters in as many innings, while also allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, hitting a batter, and throwing a wild pitch. Hjelle seems to have the profile of someone whose game is more equipped for the Majors than AAA, but it’s still hard to get past the 5.18 ERA, the 5.51 FIP, and the 62 strikeouts to 33 walks in 81.2 innings. Could he be in danger of losing his 40-man spot this winter?

A pair of recent additions to the Sacramento bullpen had great games. RHP Michael Stryffeler, part of the Darin Ruf trade, pitched a 1-hit scoreless inning, with 1 strikeout. Since joining the organization, Stryffeler has allowed 2 hits, 3 walks, and 0 runs in 4 innings, with 5 strikeouts.

And LHP Ben Bowden, whom the Giants acquired a few weeks ago from the Tampa Bay Rays, struck out 3 in a perfect inning. He has 14 strikeouts to 4 walks and 3 hits in 7.1 innings since joining the team.

AA Richmond (51-53)

AA Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) 6-5
Box score

The Flying Squirrels lost due to allowing a 5-run 8th inning that came courtesy of a bullpen collapse by 2 recent additions to the roster. RHP Ofelky Peralta got rocked for 4 runs in 2.1 innings in his first game since getting promoted, while RHP Nick Avila, in his 7th game since getting promoted, allowed his first run in Richmond.

That allowed Portland to get back in it after LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 5 CPL) had done what he does best, and made hitters look foolish. It wasn’t Harrison’s most dominant outing, but it was still damn good, as he went 5 innings (his longest outing in a while) and gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run, while striking out 6.

Harrison now has 84 strikeouts in 57.1 innings since getting promoted, though the Giants will hope he can cut back on the 30 walks. Still, a taste of AAA life at the end of the year seems likely for the star prospect, who has a 2.83 ERA and a 3.85 FIP.

Offensively, it was another nice day for first baseman Riley Mahan, who hit 2-3 and was hit by a pitch. He’s hitting 5-14 with a home run and 2 walks since getting promoted.

And a home run for designated hitter Jacob Heyward, who really needs to end the season strong if he wants to stay in the organization.

Heyward survived the first round of cuts as draftees were added to the system, but a .576 OPS and a 60 wRC+ for a 27-year old in his 3rd year of AA means I wouldn’t expect him to be in the organization this time next year.

Third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 24 CPL), playing in his 2nd game since getting promoted, had his 1st AA hit.

High-A Eugene (63-39)

Eugene Emeralds beat the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) 4-2
Box score

A very nice game for a handful of exciting Giants prospects. Designated hitter Jairo Pomares (No. 7 CPL) continues to find his bat after a mediocre start to the season. He hit 2-3 with a double, raising his OPS to .776 and his wRC+ to 118.

Those are exciting numbers considering that Pomares only turned 22 last week. But most importantly, Pomares has been showing improvement most of the year. He started cold, with a .552 OPS in April and .722 in May. He bumped it up to .787 in June, before dipping back to .676 in July, but he’s rebounded with a 1.345 OPS in August, in which he’s hitting 17-36 with 7 extra-base hits. Keep it up, Jairo!

Speaking of keeping it up, another fine day from left fielder Carter Williams, who hit 1-4 with a home run.

His demotion to Low-A — where he demolished pitchers — seems to have paid off, as he’s hit 5-13 with a home run since returning to Eugene.

In news that surprises no one, right fielder Vaun Brown had a very good day, hitting 1-1 with 3 walks and 2 stolen bases. He’s up to a 1.047 OPS and a 188 wRC+, with 17 stolen bases in 36 games since getting promoted. Is he the greatest hitter in baseball history? Stay tuned.

RHP Mason Black (No. 42 CPL) showed off his strikeout stuff, fanning 7 batters in 5.1 innings, while allowing just 5 baserunners and 1 run.

He still has a high 4.79 FIP in Eugene, but a 3.86 ERA and 62 strikeouts to 19 walks in 56 innings is exciting.

Low-A San Jose (59-46)

San Jose Giants lost to the Stockton Ports (A’s) 10-9
Box score

It would seem that center fielder Grant McCray (No. 34 CPL) is very good. He had himself yet another outstanding day, hitting 2-5 with a grand slam and a double.

McCray started slumping a little bit around the time that calls came for his promotion following a blistering start, but he’s rebounded and then some. He’s back up to an .896 OPS and a 128 wRC+, and it’ll be interesting to see if he gets to Eugene this year.

Also a tremendous day for right fielder Alexander Suarez (No. 37 CPL), who hit 2-3 with a homer and a walk.

His season numbers aren’t great — .694 OPS, 78 wRC+ — but he’s been putting it together lately. Since July 3, Suarez is hitting 18-69 (nice) with 2 home runs, 5 doubles, 7 walks, and 19 strikeouts.

A 3-hit day for first baseman Victor Bericoto bumped his OPS to .738 and his wRC+ to 93.

But the pitching did not do well, namely RHP Eric Silva (No. 38 CPL), who made it through only 2 innings, giving up 8 hits (3 of which were homers) and 7 runs. He did strike out 5 batters though. Silva’s overall numbers aren’t very good — he has a 5.79 ERA and a 4.85 FIP — but 90 strikeouts to 31 walks in 74.2 innings likely has the Giants pretty excited given that he’s still 19.

ACL Orange (13-33)

ACL Giants Orange beat the ACL D-backs Red 5-2 (7 innings)
Box score

The ACL is particularly fun this time of year, since new members of the organization start showing up in games. And after going hitless in his first 2 professional games, second baseman Andrew Kachel (21, 2022 16th-round pick) got busy in this one, hitting a perfect 3-3, drawing a walk, and stealing a base.

Welcome to professional baseball, Andrew!

Left fielder Matt Higgins (23, 2022 UDFA) had a double for the team’s only extra-base hit, while shortstop Will Wilson (No. 18 CPL) hit 2-3 in his second rehab appearance. He’s now 4-5 in the ACL, and hopefully will be back in Sacramento soon.

A nice outing from RHP Mikell Manzano (19, 2019 J2), who gave up just 4 hits in 5 scoreless innings, with 4 strikeouts. His 4.50 ERA isn’t great, but everything else about his season is: a 3.51 FIP, and 69 strikeouts to 15 walks in 48 innings.

RHP Jorge Garcia (20, 2018 J2) gave up his 1st runs of the year in his 5th appearance, surrendering 2 runs in 1.2 innings. But he struck out 4 batters, and has now earned 11 of his 17 outs this year by way of strikes.

ACL Black (30-15)

ACL Giants Black lost to the ACL Rockies 3-2 (7 innings)
Box score

A strikeout-heavy game for LHP Esmerlin Vinicio (No. 40 CPL), who fanned 6 batters in 4 innings. Unfortunately he also allowed 6 hits, 2 walks, hit a batter, and gave up 3 runs, which was the story of his season in Low-A, and seems to be the case now that he’s been demoted, too.

But the bullpen was awesome. RHP Liam Simon (21, 2022 5th-round) made his professional debut and pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and striking out 2. His college teammate, LHP John Bertrand (24, 2022 10th-round) followed it up with a perfect inning, and has yet to allow a run — or issue a walk — in 3 appearances and 3 innings.

On offense, center fielder Wade Meckler (22, 2022 8th-round) had the team’s only extra-base hit, going 1-3 with a double and a walk.

2-hit days for 3 batters: left fielder P.J. Hilson (21, 2018 6th-round), who has a .943 OPS and a 150 wRC+; second baseman Anthony Rodriguez (19, 2019 J2), who has a .761 OPS and a 110 wRC+; and catcher Onil Perez (19, 2019 J2), who has a .712 OPS and a 98 wRC+.

DSL Orange (21-27)

DSL Giants Orange beat the DSL Cardinals 9-8
Box score

Bad pitching, so let’s just focus on the hitting here. First and foremost there was a home run, which is a rarity in the DSL. It came courtesy of third baseman Jhosward Camacho (18, 2020 J2), and gave him a .785 OPS and a 118 wRC+ on the year.

Center fielder Estanlin Cassiani (19, 2019 J2) continued his brilliant season, hitting 3-4 with a double and a walk. He has an .868 OPS and a 139 wRC+, and he’ll be tons of fun to keep an eye on in Arizona when his time comes.

Also nice days for shortstop Jose Ramos (19, 2019 J2) who hit 1-2 with a double and 2 walks, and second baseman Jose Astudillo (18, 2020 J2), who hit 1-4 with a triple and a walk.

DSL Black (17-33)

DSL Giants Black lost to DSL Colorado 7-3 (7 innings)
Box score

Pretty bad game here. Bad pitching, so let’s ignore it. And not much on offense. First baseman Guillermo Williamson (18, 2021 J2) had a nice outing, hitting 1-2 with 2 walks to raise his OPS to .726 and his wRC+ to 98.

Left fielder Diego Villegas (18, 2020 J2) had the team’s only extra-base hit, hitting 1-3 with a double. He now has a .733 OPS and a 101 wRC+.

Home runs

AAA David Villar (24)
AAA Isan Díaz, 2 (23)
AA Jacob Heyward (6)
High-A Carter Williams (4)
Low-A Grant McCray (18)
Low-A Alexander Suarez (10)
DSL Jhosward Camacho (1)

Friday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Salt Lake Bees (Angels), 5:35 p.m. PT
Richmond: @ the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox), 3:00 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays), 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: vs. the Stockton Ports (A’s), 6:30 p.m. PT
ACL Orange: vs. the ACL D-backs Black
ACL Black: vs. the ACL Angels
DSL Orange: vs. the DSL Blue Jays
DSL Black: vs. DSL Tampa Bay