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Minor League round up, September 1

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

Casey Schmitt in the batter’s box in college
3B Casey Schmitt had 2 home runs for AA Richmond
Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State

Thursday brought about the first day of the final month of the year for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates. The Arizona Complex League and Dominican Summer League have already wrapped up their years, and soon the A-ball teams will, too. But we’ve still got games to discuss before that happens!

So let’s dive in.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (57-69)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) 10-1
Box score

Awesome performance from the hitters and pitchers alike in this one. Let’s start with the latter so we can highlight someone: RHP Wei-Chieh Huang. A 28 year old whom the Giants signed as a Minor League free agent in February, Huang was mediocre for much of the year, before hitting the Injured List.

Perhaps that rehab stint fixed a lingering issue, because he has been lights out since then. He pitched 5 innings in this one, giving up just 4 hits, 0 walks, and 1 run, while striking out 6 batters. It was his 6th start since returning from the IL and, remarkably, it was the 1st run he’d allowed.

Here’s his line for his 6 presumably healthy games: 23.2 innings, 15 hits, 8 walks, 1 run, 24 strikeouts. He’s suddenly a very intriguing depth piece.

Near perfection from the bullpen, with 1 inning each from recently-outrighted LHP Andrew Vasquez (1 hit, 2 strikeouts), RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 16 CPL, perfect inning, 2 strikeouts), LHP Joey Marciano (perfect inning, 3 strikeouts), and RHP Yunior Marte (perfect inning).

Fun offensive day, with 13 hits and 10 walks drawn. A hilarious day from center fielder Bryce Johnson (whom I’d expect to see in San Francisco at some point this month), as he hit 0-1 but drew 5 walks (and stole a base). Drawing 5 walks is funny enough as is, but it’s especially funny for Johnson, who needed 45 games to start the year just to draw 5 walks total. He’s started working the plate a lot more lately, so the walks aren’t as rare anymore, but it’s still pretty funny.

Third baseman Jason Vosler had a very nice day, hitting 3-5 with a double, as he keeps trying to put his poor AAA numbers behind him and play more like the guy who has excellent MLB numbers this year. Shortstop Dixon Machado hit 2-4 with a double and a walk, and is really starting to find his groove: in the last 11 games he’s hitting 14-39 with 3 home runs, 4 doubles, and 2 walks.

Another 2-hit day for right fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 4 CPL), who is starting to find the hits, which is great to see.

AA Richmond (58-64)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 8-4
Box score

Outfielder Vaun Brown (who remains sidelined with a mild injury) might win everyone’s award for player of the year in the Giants system, but third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 24 CPL) deserves consideration. Schmitt is having an outstanding year, and I would guess will be comfortably on everyone’s list of the team’s top 10 prospects when rankings come out over the winter.

He excelled in this one, hitting 2-3 with 2 home runs and a walk.

Since getting promoted, Schmitt is hitting 25-71 with 3 home runs, 1 triple, 6 doubles, 6 walks, and 18 strikeouts, good for a .995 OPS and a 169 wRC+ (nice). Add in his defense, which is quite arguably the best in the Giants system, and you have a player to bold, italicize, highlight, circle, and, most importantly, watch.

If he can keep up this performance I’ll be curious to see if he starts 2023 in Sacramento. Either way, if you’re thinking best case scenario, start dreaming of a mid-season MLB debut for him, and a start on Opening Day in 2024.

Second baseman Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 35 CPL) had a fine day, hitting 2-4 with a double to raise his OPS to .754 and his wRC+ to 104. He also made a standout defensive play.

He’s showing some very exciting tools this year, though the Giants certainly will want to see him improve his contract, as he has a .228 batting average and a 33.3% strikeout rate.

RHP Matt Frisbee got knocked around a bit, giving up 10 baserunners and 4 runs in 5.1 innings, but the bullpen was elite, as 2 pitchers having fine years had fine games. LHP Chris Wright (No. 29 CPL) struck out 2 in 1.2 perfect innings, giving him a 3.49 ERA, a 3.30 FIP, and 67 strikeouts to 30 walks in 49 innings. If he can cut back on the walks he’ll be fantastic.

And RHP Ryan Walker struck out 2 in 2 scoreless innings, allowing just a walk, to lower his ERA to 3.02 and his FIP to 3.11, while giving him 54 strikeouts to 23 walks in 44.2 innings.

High-A Eugene (73-47)

Eugene Emeralds lost to the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) 6-4
Box score

Right fielder Luis Matos (No. 3 CPL) continues to remind us all to never give up on excellent prospects just because of a bad month or three. Matos was rather dreadful for much of the year, but has been turning his season around very quickly, and Thursday was another day of doing just that, as he hit 3-5 with a home run.

Despite the very modest numbers — .640 OPS, 79 wRC+ — Matos is swinging the bat as well as anyone right now. Since the start of August he’s hitting 33-106 with 5 home runs, 1 triple, and 7 doubles. The one stain is a lack of walks (just 2 in that time), but he’s making up for it by rarely striking out (just 18 strikeouts).

Also a nice day for catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 9 CPL), who hit 1-3 with a double and a walk. He’s quietly been putting together a quality season, as he has a .757 OPS and a 112 wRC+ after a slow start to the year.

Starting LHP Nick Swiney (No. 17 CPL) didn’t pitch well, but the piggybacking starter, RHP Trevor McDonald sure did. McDonald was making his Eugene debut after a recent promotion, and I’d say he likes it there. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 5 hits, 0 walks, 3 runs, and just 1 earned run, while striking out a whopping 11 batters. Excellent stuff.

Low-A San Jose (69-54)

San Jose Giants beat the Stockton Ports (A’s) 10-3
Box score

After watching him tear up the ACL, we’re finally getting to see center fielder P.J. Hilson try his hand at Low-A. So far the results are excellent, and on Thursday he hit 2-5 with a home run and a stolen base. It’s a tiny sample size, but 3-8 with a home run and 2 stolen bases is a great introduction to A-ball.

Speaking of introductions, catcher Zach Morgan, the team’s 7th-round pick in July, made his San Jose debut and hit 1-4 with a triple and a hit by pitch. Welcome to A-ball, Zach!

Getting promoted shortly before Hilson and Morgan was second baseman Damon Dues, an undrafted free agent from 2021. He went 0-2 in this game, but drew 3 walks and stole 2 bases, giving him an OPS of .946 and a wRC+ of 176, to go along with 5 stolen bases in his first 10 games in San Jose. Good stuff.

Another great day for the doubles machine, shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 12 CPL), who hit 3-5 with his 35th double of the year and a stolen base, bringing his OPS to .765 and his wRC+ to 98. What an awesome player. And third baseman Anyesber Sivira, who has flown under the radar this year, hit 3-4 with a walk, giving him an .844 OPS and a 119 wRC+.

The pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts while walking just 1 batter. After July’s 3rd-round pick, RHP William Kempner gave up a run in 2 innings in his Low-A debut, RHP Hayden Birdson (July’s 6th-round pick) took over and casually pitched 2 innings of 1-hit ball, recording all 6 outs by strikeout.

The rookies were followed by RHP Spencer Bivens (4 strikeouts in 2 perfect innings) and RHP Willian Suarez (1 hit and 1 walk in 2 scoreless innings, with 5 strikeouts).

Home runs

AA Casey Schmitt, 2 (3)
High-A Luis Matos (11)
Low-A P.J. Hilson (1)

Friday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
Richmond: vs. the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)
Eugene: vs. the Everett AquaSox (Mariners)
San Jose: @ the Stockton Ports (A’s)
ACL Orange: Season over
ACL Black: Season over
DSL Orange: Season over
DSL Black: Season over