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Weekend Minor League round up

The latest scores from the Giants Minor League affiliates.

Kai-Wei Teng in his WBC jersey on photo day, holding a baseball in front of him
RHP Kai-Wei Teng struck out 8 in 4 scoreless innings for AA Richmond
Photo by Mary DeCicco/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

First off, apologies for the lack of Minor League round ups lately. A few things got in the way, but let’s make up for lost time and cover both the Saturday and Sunday games from the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (10-11)

Saturday: Sacramento River Cats beat the Round Rock Express (Rangers) 3-2
Box score

The biggest news to come out of this game was that center fielder Austin Slater and designated hitter Mitch Haniger appear ready to head to San Francisco. They’ve yet to be reinstated, but both players joined the Giants on Sunday to have the medical team check them and potentially clear them. Haniger is expected to rejoin San Francisco today, and his bat looks ready: he hit 1-4 with a home run in this game, and is 4-13 with 2 home runs and just 2 strikeouts during his rehab assignment. Slater hit 1-3, and he’s 6-18 with a homer, a double, and 3 walks. It sure will be nice to see them with the Giants.

The River Cats didn’t do much on offense other than Haniger’s homer. Catcher Ricardo Genovés had the only notable day, hitting 2-2 with a walk to raise his OPS to .808 and his wRC+ to 108. With Austin Wynns out of the system, Roberto Pérez on the 60-day IL, and Gary Sánchez not looking like a lock to be added to the roster at his May 1 trigger date, Genovés may be emergency as the team’s depth at the catcher position.

Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) hit 1-3 with 2 strikeouts, and spent another day at shortstop. After winning the Minor League Gold Glove Award at third base last year, Schmitt has now spent 106 innings at shortstop and just 72 innings at third this year. Do the Giants think he’d be better off at short? Do they think he has nothing left to learn at third and just want to get him up to speed elsewhere? Or do they think that between J.D. Davis and David Villar (and maybe a moving Marco Luciano?) that they have third base covered and need a shortstop prospect as Brandon Crawford’s career inches towards a close and Carlos Correa continues to not be employed by the Giants? Who knows.

Not too much of note on the mound in a bullpen game. RHP Tanner Andrews pitched well, giving up just 2 baserunners in 2.2 scoreless innings, with 3 strikeouts. He’s walked 7 batters in 12 innings, but has otherwise been very good.

RHP Cole Waites (No. 16 CPL) also pitched well, striking out 1 batter in a perfect inning. It was his 2nd straight strong outing after getting rocked twice in a row.

Sunday: Sacramento River Cats lost to the Round Rock Express (Rangers) 3-1
Box score

A somewhat hilarious day by the River Cats bats. They managed to score just 1 unearned run, despite having 12 hits. But all 12 of those hits were singles, they only drew 1 walk, and they hit a Giants-esque 0-13 with runners in scoring position.

Shortstop Casey Schmitt had the best day, hitting 3-5, moving his OPS to .731 and his wRC+ to 79. He’s really been getting his strikeouts down, which is nice — he’s at just a 22.7% K rate. Catcher Ricardo Genovés had another nice day, hitting 1-3 with a walk, while first baseman Ford Proctor and designated hitter Colton Welker had 2-hit days.

Also having a 2-hit day was center fielder Cal Stevenson, who also had an outfield assist in his 2nd game since the Giants traded for him.

Not very notable pitching. RHP Melvin Adón was the only Sacramento pitcher to not allow a run, and struck out 3 batters in 2 innings, but also allowed 3 hits and a walk. That’s been Adón’s season ... in 10.2 innings, he’s struck out 16 batters ... but allowed 22 baserunners.

AA Richmond (9-6)

Saturday: Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) 2-0
Box score

A very exciting pitching day for the Flying Squirrels, highlighted by an absolutely dazzling performance from someone who has been flirting with putting it all together: RHP Kai-Wei Teng.

Since the Giants traded for Teng in 2019, he has been one of the best strikeout pitchers in the Minors, while also struggling mightily with command, racking up both walks and hit batters. Last year, for instance — which he also spent in AA — he pitched 136.1 innings and had 169 strikeouts ... but also 85 walks and 18 hit batters.

His first start of the season was a huge step forwards, as he had just 1 walk in 4 scoreless innings, while striking out 10. Progress! His second start of the season was a huge step backwards, with 3 walks and a hit batter in 3.2 innings. Regression!

And his third start, on Sunday, was another huge step forwards. Teng pitched 4 brilliant scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit, 0 walks, and hitting 1 batter, while striking out 8. He has a staggering 25 strikeouts in just 11.2 innings this year, with a completely fine 4 walks and 2 hit batters. Another start or two like this and he’ll be in AAA.

After Teng it was LHP Nick Swiney (No. 26 CPL), who gave up 4 hits and 1 walk in 4 scoreless innings, with 4 strikeouts. Swiney has a 0.90 ERA and a 3.11 FIP this year, with 11 strikeouts to 3 walks in 10 innings.

The best offensive day came from second baseman Hayden Cantrelle, who hit 2-3 with a double.

But most notable was right fielder Carter Williams, who hit 1-3 with a double in his AA debut.

Williams began last year in Low-A and beat the brakes off of pitchers, hitting better than Vaun Brown. That earned him a High-A promotion, but he was very mediocre there, and was demoted back to Low-A by the end of the season. He started this year in High-A and crushed it in all of 3 games before getting a quick promotion. Hopefully this promotion goes better than last year’s!

Sunday: Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) 6-5 (10 innings)
Box score

Lots of exciting performances in this one, but the most exciting by far was the return of RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL). Roupp was one of the breakout stars of the system last year, when the 2021 12th-round pick had a 1.67 ERA and a 1.68 FIP in High-A, and looked comfortable after a late season promotion to AA. He began this year in extended Spring Training and made his debut on Sunday, and it went swimmingly: in 3 scoreless innings, Roupp gave up just a single, a walk, and a hit batter, with 6 strikeouts.

Given that the organization is high on him, and that he’ll turn 25 in September, he probably doesn’t need too many of these performances before he gets the call to head to Sacramento.

RHP Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL) backed him up and had some struggles, allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit batter, and 2 runs in 3.2 innings, though he struck out 4.

There was a star on offense, as first baseman Riley Mahan homered not once, but twice. It hadn’t been the best season for him to that point, but that day boosted his line above average, as he now has a .751 OPS and a 103 wRC+.

And another strong day for right fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL), who continues to make his poor 2022 look like an outlier. He hit 2-4 with a walk and a double in this one, raising his OPS to .841 and his wRC+ to 146, while now having 10 walks to just 5 strikeouts in 61 plate appearances. Designated hitter Patrick Bailey also had a 2-hit day, bringing his OPS to .851 and his wRC+ to 148.

High-A Eugene (10-4)

Saturday: Eugene Emeralds swept a doubleheader against the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), winning 8-1 and 4-2
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score

If center fielder Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL) ever gets the call to the Majors, you can bet that Duane Kuiper — if we’re still blessed to have him calling games — will say “he can hit!” about a million times. Because my goodness he can hit.

Meckler had yet another multi-hit game (his 9th already this year!!) in the 1st game of the doubleheader, and had the big hit, crushing a grand slam and also drawing a walk. He’s rocking a 1.227 OPS and a 239 wRC+ ... not bad for an 8th-round pick who entered the year with all of 100 career plate appearances.

First baseman Logan Wyatt also continued his strong start to the year in Game 1, hitting 2-3 with a double and a walk. He has a .983 OPS and a 172 wRC+ in what is starting to look like a breakout year.

Meanwhile, it was also a star performance on the mound, with RHP Eric Silva (No. 13 CPL) striking out 5 batters in 4 scoreless innings, ceding just 1 hit and 2 walks. The 20 year old only has 9 strikeouts in 12 innings this year, but he also only has allowed 10 baserunners (5 hits, 4 walks, 1 hit batter) and 1 run.

In Game 2, the offensive star was first baseman/left fielder Victor Bericoto, who hit 3-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle. After a meh year in Low-A, Bericoto is crushing it in High-A, with a .814 OPS and a 123 wRC+.

Shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) also had himself a nice game, hitting 2-4 with a double and a stolen base. He has a .649 OPS and an 86 wRC+ and is trending in the right direction in a big way.

The pitching wasn’t notable, but RHP Spencer Bivens struck out 4 in 2 scoreless innings and now has a 2.00 ERA and a 3.99 FIP.

Sunday: Eugene Emeralds beat the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) 6-4
Box score

Left fielder Victor Bericoto may have finished a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday, but he found it on Sunday, hitting 1-2 with a triple and 2 walks. The 2-day cycle isn’t quite as exciting, but we’ll take it.

It was an exciting day, however, for second baseman Ghordy Santos. Santos missed the start of the season, but is starting to find his rhythm now, and hit 1-3 with his 1st homer of the year. He now has a .690 OPS and a 102 wRC+.

A sensational day for right fielder Jared Dupere, who hit a perfect 3-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, bringing his OPS to .789 and his wRC+ to 122. A dramatic improvement over his stint in High-A last year.

Unfortunately, LHP Matt Mikulski did not make a dramatic improvement over his 1st pair of starts to the year, which were quite strong. The 2021 2nd-round pick got rocked in this one, allowing 7 hits and 3 runs in 4 innings, with just 2 strikeouts. But he didn’t walk anyone, and it’s been a strong year on that front for him: he’s given up just 2 walks and 1 hit batter in 10.2 innings.

Low-A San Jose (10-5)

Saturday: San Jose Giants beat the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) 15-6
Box score

Well talk about some offense! There were great performances everywhere for the Baby Giants, starting with second baseman Jose Ramos, who hit 2-4 with a triple, a double, and a walk.

Ramos was solid last year in the Dominican Summer League and, after turning 20 over the offseason, the Giants sent him to Low-A rather than waiting for rookie ball. He’s rewarding them for that decision, as he has an .850 OPS and a 134 wRC+. He’s quickly becoming exciting.

But he was far from the only exciting player on Saturday. Right fielder Alexander Suarez had one of his best games of the year, hitting 3-4 with a double and a hit by pitch. He has just a .600 OPS and a 63 wRC+, but the performances are getting better.

And another nice game for catcher Onil Perez, who hit 3-5 with a walk. Perez continues to be one of the most overlooked prospects in the organization ... but a defensively-skilled catcher who has an .869 OPS and a 143 wRC+ in Low-A as a 20 year old is pretty exciting.

RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL) got rocked for 5 runs in 2 innings, but LHP Nomar Medina and RHP Dylan Cumming pitched well. Medina gave up just 1 unearned run in 4 innings to give him a 0.90 ERA and a 3.31 FIP, while Cumming dealt 3 scoreless innings, leaving him with a 0.00 ERA and a 2.81 FIP.

Sunday: San Jose Giants beat the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) 11-7
Box score

A pair of monster offensive performances in this one. Center fielder Carter Howell, the leadoff batter, kicked things off by hitting 3-5 with a home run and a stolen base. The mammoth day gave Howell, an undrafted free agent last year, a .756 OPS and a 102 wRC+.

Then it was the guy immediately behind him in the order, catcher Thomas Gavello, who hit 2-4 with a home run, a walk, and a stolen base. Last year’s 13th-round pick is off to an absolutely blistering start to the year, with a .972 OPS and a 174 wRC+.

Second baseman Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL) also got in on the action, hitting 3-5 with a double. It’s still a small sample size, but Velasquez has a .756 OPS and a 112 wRC+, and this is your reminder that he won’t turn 20 until after the season ends. Talk about an exciting player, especially if he keeps making defensive plays like this one:

Shortstop Jose Ramos had another lovely game, hitting 2-4 with a double and a walk.

Not much happening on the mound, where RHP Manuel Mercedes had a rough start, giving up 10 baserunners in 4 innings, with 5 runs and 4 earned runs. Mercedes had been spectacular in his 1st pair of starts this year, so let’s hope this outing was an outlier.

Home runs

AAA Mitch Haniger (2)
AA Riley Mahan, 2 (3)
High-A Victor Bericoto (2)
High-A Wade Meckler (1)
High-A Ghordy Santos (1)
Low-A Thomas Gavello (2)
Low-A Carter Howell (1)

Monday schedule

Sacramento: Off day
Richmond: Off day
Eugene: Off day
San Jose: Off day
ACL Orange: Season not yet started
ACL Black: Season not yet started
DSL Orange: Season not yet started
DSL Black: Season not yet started