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Minor League round up, April 13

The latest news and scores from the Giants Minor League affiliates.

Clint Coulter with his bat on his shoulder at media day
Outfielder Clint Coulter hit 3-4 with 2 doubles for AAA Sacramento
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Thursday was a fun day for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates. Let’s dive into the action.

Link to the 2023 McCovey Chronicles Community Prospect List (CPL)

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (6-6)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) 8-6
Box score

So, uhh ... maybe right fielder Clint Coulter is a thing? It was another brilliant day for the Minor League free agent who is — wait for it — playing his 12th season in the Minors, and still looking for his MLB debut.

He did a little bit of everything on Thursday, hitting 3-4 with 2 doubles, stealing a base, and throwing out a runner at home. He’s rocking a 1.085 OPS and a 173 wRC+, with more walks than strikeouts. We’re only 49 plate appearances in, but it’s never too early to be excited and hopeful.

As a team, the River Cats will have made Farhan Zaidi smile with their 12 walks drawn. That featured 2 walks each from center fielder Brett Wisely (No. 33 CPL), designated hitter Gary Sánchez, and left fielder Shane Matheny. Sánchez and Matheny also singled.

And a good bounce-back game from second baseman Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL) who had an awful Wednesday. He hit 3-5 with a double in this game, boosting his OPS to .625 and his wRC+ to 50. Progress is progress.

Speaking of exciting infield prospects, it was another nice day with the bat for third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL), who hit 3-5. Schmitt’s overall offensive numbers aren’t great, as he hasn’t flashed much power and he has a rough strikeout-to-walk ratio, so his OPS is .803 and his wRC+ is 89. But he’s showing great bat-to-ball skills with a blistering .353 batting average. It was his 6th multi-hit game of the young season, and he’s registered at least 1 hit in 10 of his 12 games.

The pitching was less noteworthy, and it was a bullpen game for Sacramento. RHP Nick Avila, who was returned to the Giants after being a Rule 5 selection, pitched 2 scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit. Avila has allowed just 3 hits and 2 runs in 6 innings this year, but he’s walked 3 batters and only struck out 2.

RHP Nick Duron also pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 walk, and striking out a batter. His ERA is 1.42, but he’s walked 7 batters in just 6.1 innings.

AA Richmond (4-2)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 4-3
Box score

One of the uglier years in the Giants organization last year came from second baseman Simon Whiteman. After an exciting 2021 in which Whiteman showed enough offense to let his baserunning and defense play, he fell down the stairs in 2022. He had just a 38 wRC+ in AA and was demoted to High-A, where he wasn’t much better, with a 70 wRC+. He was below the Mendoza line at both levels, and hit just 1 home run in 320 plate appearances.

He’s attempting to put that behind him. Thursday was a brilliant day for the 26 year old, as he hit a home run in his only official at bat, and drew 3 walks. That gave him a .967 OPS and a 175 wRC+. That’s just a touch better than a 38 wRC+.

Catcher Andy Thomas also had a nice day in the batter’s box, hitting 1-3 with a double and a walk. It’s been a slow start to the year for Thomas, who came over in the Curt Casali trade. With the offensive environment of AA, Thomas’ .671 OPS is good for a 134 wRC+. But he’s accomplished it in a hilarious manner, as he has a batting average of just .100 (his double was his first hit of the year), and a slugging percentage of just .200, but an on-base percentage of .471, thanks to 7 walks in 18 plate appearances.

The star of the early season for Richmond, Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) didn’t start the game, but drew a walk in a pinch-hit appearance. It’s his 4th walk in 23 plate appearances, with just 2 strikeouts.

RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) made his 2nd start and struggled quite a bit, walking 4 batters in as many innings, and giving up 3 runs with just 1 strikeout. It’s been a slow start to the season for him.

But RHP Wil Jensen had a nice outing, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, and 1 unearned run in 2.2 innings, with 5 strikeouts. He has 7 strikeouts in 4.2 innings this season.

High-A Eugene (2-3)

Eugene Emeralds lost to Spokane (Rockies) 4-3
Box score

Some pretty solid pitching by the Emeralds, who were done in by a rough outing from RHP Mat Olsen, but otherwise excellent. RHP Nick Sinacola kicked things off with 3 scoreless innings, giving up 2 walks and a run while striking out 2. He has a 1.80 ERA and a 3.48 FIP after 2 appearances. Then it was RHP Spencer Bivens, who also gave up just 1 run in 3 innings, allowing 2 hits and 0 walks while striking out 4. He has 7 strikeouts in 5 innings so far this year.

RHP Brett Standlee pitched the final inning, giving up just 1 walk. It’s the only baserunner he’s allowed in 2 innings this season.

On offense, right fielder Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL) continues to look like the real deal. The Giants clearly think so, since they gave him a good look in Spring Training, then started him in High-A despite having just 50 plate appearances in both rookie ball and Low-A. At this rate he might only have 50 in High-A, too! He hit 2-4 with a double and a walk, raising his OPS to 1.024 and his wRC+ to 210. He’s drawn 3 walks in 24 plate appearances, with just 3 strikeouts. That’s been his MO — across the 2 levels last year, he had 20 walks to 16 strikeouts in 100 plate appearances, and in his final year of college he had 53 walks to 49 strikeouts.

A 2nd consecutive strong day for left fielder Jared Dupere, who hit 2-4 with a double and a stolen base, though he also struck out twice. He has an .862 OPS and a 157 wRC+, though he’s struck out 10 times in 19 plate appearances, with no walks. But hey, the Giants do love their boom or bust guys, right???

A tough day at the top of the order for 2 excellent prospects who are trying to get acclimated to Oregon. Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL), who ended last year in Eugene but only played 14 games there, hit 0-5 with 4 strikeouts, though he stole a base. He has a .641 OPS and an 83 wRC+, with 8 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances. Strikeouts have been the biggest weakness for McCray throughout his career, so hopefully he can start turning that around. And shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) hit 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and was hit by a pitch. Arteaga, who I will remind you daily is very young for the level (he turned 20 less than a month ago), has a .592 OPS and an 84 wRC+, and also has 8 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances.

Low-A San Jose (3-3)

San Jose Giants lost to the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 5-4
Box score

If there’s one thing that’s certain in San Jose, it’s this: LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 8 CPL) can strike batters out. Whisenhunt’s 2nd start of the year wasn’t the cleanest, as he allowed 4 hits, 1 walk, 2 runs, and 1 earned run in 2.2 innings, while hitting a batter. But he struck out 4 batters, bringing his season tally to 8 in just 5.2 innings. He could move through the system quickly.

The rest of the pitching was so-so, with RHP Liam Simon striking out 4 in 2 innings, but also allowing 3 hits and 2 walks.

On offense, a whole bunch of players from the 2022 draft class stood out. Designated hitter Thomas Gavello hit 2-4 with a double and a walk, bumping his OPS to .868 and his wRC+ to 163. Third baseman Andrew Kachel hit 1-3 with a double and 2 walks, which gives him an .889 OPS and a 144 wRC+. And left fielder Matt Higgins (not a 2022 draft pick, but a 2022 UDFA) had his best day of the year, hitting 2-3 with 2 walks, which moved his OPS up to .620 and his wRC+ to 82.

Exciting stuff everywhere!

Home runs

AA Simon Whiteman (1)