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Minor League round up, April 28-29

The latest news and scores from the Giants farm.

Vaun Brown holding a bat at media day
CF Vaun Brown made his first appearance of the year in a rehab start for Low-A San Jose
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We’ve got two days of action from the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates to recap, so let’s jump straight into all the action from Friday and Saturday’s games!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (10-15)

Friday: Postponed
Saturday: Sacramento River Cats lost to the Oklahoma City Dodgers 5-1
Box score

Not much to report with the River Cats, who lost Friday’s game due to rain and Saturday’s game due to playing poorly.

The offense did very little, recording just 4 hits on the day. The only strong offensive performance came from second baseman Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL), who hit 1-3 with a double and a walk, recording the only extra-base hit of the day for the team. With a .559 OPS and a 33 wRC+, Wilson is still trying to find his footing in AAA, but he’s started to address his strikeout issue. After having 23 strikeouts in his first 17 games this year, Wilson has K’d just 4 times in his last 7 games, lowering his strikeout rate to 27.3%, which is lower than it was last year in AA.

Shortstop Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL), who went 0-4, is doing the same. He had another strikeout-less game, lowering his rate to 21.4%. He has just 2 strikeouts in his last 5 games, after 22 strikeouts in his first 20 games. Both players need to improve what they’re doing when they put the ball in play, but good to see them addressing that hole in their games.

Catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL) played in his 2nd game since getting promoted and reached base for the first time, hitting 0-3 with a walk. Designated hitter Gary Sánchez hit 0-3 with a walk but 2 strikeouts, and it’s looking nearly certain that the Giants will let him go tomorrow at his opt-out date.

Right fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 12 CPL) hit 0-3 with a hit by pitch, but stole his 5th base of the year and had another outfield assist.

The pitching was equally bad, with zero notable performances. RHP Drew Strotman struck out 5 batters in 3 innings, but gave up lots of everything else. RHP Jorge Guzmán gave up a walk in an inning, and was the only player to not allow a run. He has a 3.08 ERA but a 5.19 FIP on the season.

AA Richmond (13-7)

Friday: Postponed
Saturday: Richmond Flying Squirrels split a doubleheader against the Bowie Baysox (Orioles), losing 1-0 then winning 6-4
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score

It was a tale of two games for the Flying Squirrels’ bats. In Game 1 they were 1-hit, with a double from center fielder Ismael Munguia being the only action. Munguia, who is starting to turn it on, then hit 2-3 in Game 2, bringing his OPS to .676 and his wRC+ to 95. In his last 10 games, Munguia is hitting 15-43 with 2 home runs and 1 double.

A pair of good prospects off to good starts to the year struggled in Game 1, only to rebound in Game 2. Left fielder/center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts and his 1st error in the matinee, but bounced back to hit 1-3 with a walk, giving him a .714 OPS and a 111 wRC+. He’s cooled down since his blistering start, but the bat control at the level (he has an 11.0% strikeout rate) given his age (he turned 21 in late January) is so encouraging.

And shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) also hit 0-3 with 2 strikeouts in Game 1, but was the star in Game 2, hitting 2-4 with a home run and a double. With a .998 OPS and a 178 wRC+, it’s safe to say that Fitzgerald has responded very well to being tasked with repeating AA.

Designated hitter Riley Mahan was also excellent in the second game, hitting 2-4 with a pair of doubles, while second baseman Hayden Cantrelle hit 1-2 with a triple and a walk. Mahan bumped his OPS to .755 and his wRC+ to 104, while Cantrelle rose to .812 and 137, respectively.

A pair of exciting starters took the mound, each with mixed results. In the first game it was RHP Kai-Wei Teng, who struck out 5 and allowed just 1 run in 3.2 innings, but did give up 4 hits and 2 walks. Teng, who is repeating AA, has a 2.93 ERA and a 1.64 FIP to go with a blistering 17.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. Even with the walks on Saturday, his walks per 9 innings have dropped from 5.6 last year to 3.5 this year. As soon as he proves that the walk improvement is here to stay, he’ll be in Sacramento.

In Game 2 it was RHP Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL) who struck out 4 batters in 4 innings, but gave up 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit batter, 2 runs, and 1 earned run. After missing much of 2022 due to injury, Murphy is still trying to find his footing this year, with a 5.09 ERA and a 4.50 FIP, but he has 18 strikeouts to 5 walks in 17.2 innings, and that’s good news.

LHP Nick Swiney (No. 26 CPL) was brilliant in the first game, striking out 3 batters in 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing just a hit and a walk. He’s handling his first AA assignment well, with a 0.73 ERA, a 2.90 FIP, and 14 strikeouts to 4 walks in 12.1 innings. It’s a little unclear whether the Giants view him as a starter or a multi-inning reliever.

Fellow southpaw Erik Miller was great in the second game, striking out 2 in a perfect inning. Through 6 games this year, Miller’s line is electric: 10.1 innings, 3 hits, 4 walks, 1 run, 15 strikeouts.

High-A Eugene (12-7)

Friday: Eugene Emeralds lost to the Vancouver Canadians 7-2
Box score

Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) has been off to a very slow start to the year, but started to find his High-A groove on Friday. He only hit 1-5, but he did slap his first home run of the season, and that’s always cause for celebration.

A very nice day for left fielder Jared Dupere, who hit 2-3 with a double and a walk. Perhaps most impressively for Dupere though was that he didn’t strike out ... which was only the second time that’s happened this season. Dupere has an .874 OPS and a 133 wRC+, but 30 of his 44 outs have come by way of strikeout. With a 41.7% strikeout rate and a .516 BABIP, something’s got to give in one way or the other.

Catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 22 CPL) also had a lovely day, hitting 2-4 with a double. He has just a .616 OPS and a 66 wRC+, but he also didn’t turn 20 until the offseason, and is a defensively-talented catcher.

LHP Seth Lonsway had a very rough go of it, ceding 5 runs (4 earned) in 3 innings, with just 1 strikeout. He has a 9.69 ERA and a 6.16 FIP on the season, with just 8 strikeouts in 13 innings to go with 7 walks and 4 hit batters. He’ll be looking to put the first month of the season behind him.

LHP Joe Kemlage had a very bizarre game. On the downside, he gave up 4 hits and a walk in just 2 innings. On the upside, he didn’t allow a run, and recorded all 6 of his outs by strikeout. The 2021 undrafted free agent has a 5.00 ERA and a 5.97 FIP on the year.

Saturday: Eugene Emeralds lost to the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) 11-1
Box score

Saturday was a strugglefest across the board for the Emeralds. The offense had only 5 hits compared to 15 strikeouts, but left field Jared Dupere at least provided some entertainment with a home run.

There were no other good offensive days, but there were plenty of bad ones. Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) hit 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, after having 2 Ks on Friday. McCray is struggling to pick up where he left off last year in terms of offensive success, with a .557 OPS and a 61 wRC+. But he’s unfortunately picking up right where he left off last year in terms of striking out, with a sky-high 35.7% rate.

Shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) also had a rough day, hitting 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, though he did draw a walk (and doubled on Friday). His strikeout rate isn’t terrific, but at 26.9% that’s not at all concerning for a High-A player who turned 20 last month.

Designated hitter Logan Wyatt hit 1-4 with a strikeout, a day after hitting 0-4 with 3 strikeouts. His wildly hot start to the season has come tumbling back towards earth, as he now has an .830 OPS, a 126 wRC+, and a 30.3% strikeout rate.

A brutal day for LHP Matt Mikulski, who lasted just 1.1 innings, giving up 3 hits, 4 walks, and 4 earned runs. Mikulski’s start to the year had looked like a strong improvement after his disastrous 2022, but this was some mega regression, as he now has 6 walks in 12 innings, to go with a 5.25 ERA and a 4.86 FIP.

Low-A San Jose (12-8)

Friday: San Jose Giants beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 11-0
Box score

Bit of a funny offensive game for the Baby Giants, who scored 11 runs without hitting a home run ... and with just 2 extra-base hits. But 15 total hits and 8 walks will do wonders.

The 2 through 4 hitters all reached base 4 times, with shortstop Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL) hitting 3-5 with a walk, catcher Zach Morgan hitting 0-2 with 4 walks and a stolen base, and left fielder Matt Higgins hitting 3-5 with a walk.

Velasquez’s performance was particularly exciting, as he is starting to put things together in his second stint of Low-A baseball. His .782 OPS and 126 wRC+ are exciting enough as is, but doubly or triply exciting when you remember that he’s a middle infielder who won’t turn 20 until the offseason. Morgan, a 7th-round pick last year, has always been big on drawing walks and limiting strikeouts, and now has 14 walks to just 8 strikeouts on the season. That’s pretty cool.

First baseman Andrew Kachel also had a lovely day, hitting 2-4 with a double and a walk. He has a .786 OPS and a 128 wRC+ on the year, so his first full season of professional baseball is off to a strong start.

The pitching in the shutout was even funnier than the offense, as the Baby Giants threw a 2-hitter ... and only recorded 3 strikeouts. RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL) had one of his better starts of the year, throwing 4 no-hit innings with 2 strikeouts, though he issued 3 walks. Maldonado, who only just turned 19, is a very exciting arm, though he’s walked 11 batters in 12.2 innings.

LHP Nomar Medina continued his stellar start to the year, giving up 2 hits and 1 walk in 4 scoreless innings, though he had just 1 strikeout. Medina has given up just 1 earned run and 4 walks in 14 innings, but also has only 10 strikeouts.

Saturday: San Jose Giants beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 4-1
Box score

The biggest news of the day, by far, came from the Baby Giants, because it featured the season debut of center fielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL). Brown, who was injured during Spring Training and has been getting up to speed in extended Spring Training, will be in AA Richmond soon enough, but is starting a rehab stint in San Jose. He got up to speed pretty quickly, as he hit 2-5 and stole 2 bases. Can’t wait to see him on that stacked Flying Squirrels roster.

Third baseman Edison Mora continued his surge, hitting 2-4 with a pair of doubles. His overall numbers aren’t great — .663 OPS, 91 wRC+ — but he’s been on fire lately, and it’s understandable that he’d be slow to start the year given that he missed all of 2022 due to injury.

Slow he was, as he began the year hitting just 1-20 with 0 extra-base hits, 3 walks, and 12 strikeouts. Since then he’s 8-23 with 1 home run, 3 doubles, 3 walks, and just 4 strikeouts. Awesome.

RHP Manuel Mercedes continues his bizarre bounceback year. He pitched 4 no-hit innings but walked 2 batters and didn’t have a strikeout. He’s walked just 5 batters in 16 innings ... but only has 11 strikeouts. Still, the 2.8 walks per 9 innings is a massive improvement over the 7.0 that he had last year.

Home runs

AA Tyler Fitzgerald (2)
High-A Jared Dupere (3)
High-A Grant McCray (1)

Sunday schedule

Sacramento: Doubleheader @ the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 12:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: Postponed
Eugene: @ the Vancouver Canadians, 1:05 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Fresno Grizzlies, 1:05 p.m. PT

A reminder that all Minor League games are now available to watch with an MLB TV subscription.