On Saturday, all four of the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball A-ball affiliates were in action for the first time this year. How exciting!
Let’s jump into how they did.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
AAA Sacramento (4-4)
Sacramento River Cats beat the El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) 12-4
The Giants catcher depth at the Major League level has been tested early this year. They broke camp with three catchers on the active roster, but Joey Bart hit the 10-day IL after one game, and veteran Gold Glover Roberto Pérez hit the 60-day IL shortly after. That left just Rule 5 draftee Blake Sabol, so the Giants were forced to add last year’s backup, Austin Wynns, to both the 40-man and active rosters.
But at the AAA level, Saturday was a reminder that reinforcements are on the way. Bart began his rehab assignment and hit 2-3 with a walk and a stolen base. He’s eligible to come off the IL on Monday, but with neither Sabol nor Wynns being optionable, I’d guess that Bart stays in Sacramento rehabbing for a while longer.
And making his organizational debut was designated hitter Gary Sánchez, who hit 1-4 with a walk. Sánchez has to be added to the Major League roster by May 1 or he can leave the team, and if he hits at all like the player who made two All-Star appearances, he’ll probably be the team’s starting catcher when that day rolls around.
El Gary joins the fun and gets his first 2 RBIs as a River Cat!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) April 9, 2023
Cats - 9
Chihuahuas - 0 pic.twitter.com/pkzpUnLsze
Just to add to the depth, Ricardo Genovés, who remains an intriguing prospect, relieved Bart late in the game and singled in his only at-bat.
Elsewhere, it was another great game for right fielder Clint Coulter, who is trying to be this year’s Mike Yastrzemski. The MiLB veteran hit 3-5 with a double, raising his OPS to 1.100.
Too Cold Coulter joins the fun and get ✌️ of his own! pic.twitter.com/BqwkyvCihu— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) April 9, 2023
Second baseman Brett Wisely (No. 33 CPL) also had a nice game, hitting 1-4 with a double and 2 walks, while first baseman Ford Proctor had the walk hat trick.
On the mound, RHP Ryan Walker got his second start and pitched 3 perfect innings. In 6.1 innings this year Walker has allowed just 1 hit, 2 walks, and 0 runs, while striking out 6.
RHP Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL) had his first hiccup of the year, giving up 3 hits and a run in an inning of work, while RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) showed improvement on the walk front with a scoreless and walkless inning in which he allowed 1 hit and struck out a batter. In his first appearance of the year, Dabovich walked 2 batters in 1 inning, and in his second appearance he walked 3 in just 0.1 innings. So this is great improvement.
AA Richmond (2-0)
What an outstanding welcome to Richmond for center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL). A year ago the future seemed brighter than bright for Matos, but he struggled mightily in his first year of High-A ball, sporting just a 74 wRC+. But the organization remained high on the process and praised the swing changes he made in the offseason, while also stressing that some swings and approaches play better at higher levels. And so, despite the rough 2022, Matos moved up a level to start this year.
Seems like the Giants knew something. In the first game of the doubleheader, Matos hit 3-4 with a towering home run. In the second game, he hit 0-1 but drew 2 walks. That’s how you start a season on the right foot.
There were a few other nice offensive games. Catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL) hit 1-3 with a double in the first game, before sitting for the second game. He received tremendous reviews from the Giants this spring, with the higher-ups even expressing optimism that he might be a strong Major League player as early as this year.
Left fielder Ismael Munguia, who missed all of 2022 due to injury, hit 3-6 with 2 walks over the pair of games. What a great sight to see. The walks were especially encouraging because while Munguia has always had amazing bat-to-ball skills, he’s been dreadful at drawing walks. In his last season, in 2021, he drew a paltry 13 walks in 337 plate appearances.
Flying Squirrels take the lead!— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) April 8, 2023
Munguia takes ball four with bases loaded and Simon Whiteman crosses home. Squirrels lead 4-3 in the sixth pic.twitter.com/MO2XL0spjr
The games were started by a pair of pitchers who came over in the Darin Ruf/J.D. Davis trade.
For Game 1, it was RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) who made his AA debut. It was hot and cold, as he gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs (just 1 earned) in 4 innings, while striking out 3. But in Game 2 it was LHP Nick Zwack (No. 39 CPL), who was also making his AA debut, and he dominated. Zwack faced 13 batters, retired 12 of them, and struck out 9 of them. Amazing stuff.
The other pitchers in Game 1 did swell. RHP Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL), who lost a good chunk of 2022 to injury, gave up 2 hits and 1 walk in 2 scoreless innings, while striking out 5 batters. RHP Blake Rivera, who has a lot of excitement in his arm, struck out 2 in a scoreless inning, albeit with 2 hits.
Unfortunately, Game 2 had a rough pitching performance, as RHP Randy Rodríguez (No. 32 CPL) returned to AA where he pitched just 10 innings last year before a promotion to AAA. He struggled mightily in this game, walking 4 of the 5 batters that he faced. Given that he’s in his second year of being on the 40-man roster, he’ll need to show that he’s close to the bigs sooner rather than later.
High-A Eugene (1-1)
Eugene Emeralds beat the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) 4-3
Count second baseman Jimmy Glowenke among those trying to bounce back this year, and getting off to a great start. His middling 2022, in which he posted a 99 wRC+, was enough for the Giants to assign him to Eugene to repeat the level. And in his season debut, he told the team that he has his eyes on not finishing the year in Oregon, as he had a nearly perfect game, hitting 3-3 with a home run and a walk.
He wasn’t the only hitter with a good game. The pair of outfielders who shined on Friday shined on Saturday as well, with center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) hitting 2-5 with a double, and left fielder Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL) hitting 2-4 with a walk.
Designated hitter Luis Toribio also had a nice game, hitting 1-2 with a double and 2 walks, while first baseman Logan Wyatt did the one thing that he can reliably do at a high level, as he also walked 2 times.
RHP Eric Silva (No. 13 CPL), arguably the top righty prospect in the organization, made his High-A debut with mixed results. He gave up just 1 run in 4 innings, with 3 hits and 2 walks, though he registered just 1 strikeout. RHP Ty Weber had an awesome outing, striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in a perfect 9th inning, earning himself the save.
Low-A San Jose (1-2)
San Jose Giants beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 5-4
Baseball scorekeeping is funny. RHP William Kempner started the game for the Baby Giants by pitching 3 scoreless innings. RHP Dylan Cumming ended the game by pitching 4 scoreless innings.
In between, RHP Miguel Mora gave up 4 runs in 2 innings ... and is credited with the win. Go figure. The future is still bright for Mora, who only recently turned 21 and had a strong year of rookie ball last year, but that probably isn’t the way he wanted to record his first Low-A win.
Kempner, who was the team’s 3rd-round pick last year, struck out 3 batters in his 3 innings, though he did give up 2 hits and 3 walks. Cumming had a funny outing, giving up 7 hits in 4 innings, but avoiding any runs (in part due to no walks). If you’re not familiar with that name, it’s because Cumming — an undrafted free agent after the 2022 draft — was making his professional debut.
The offense didn’t do too much. Center fielder Carter Howell had a nice game, hitting 2-5 with a double, while second baseman Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL) hit 2-4 and stole a base. But San Jose’s offense was primarily the result of stringing together hits at the right time.
BOT 5— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) April 8, 2023
Giants 2 | Grizzlies 4
Carter Howell gets one back with an RBI single. pic.twitter.com/YQM5BlBi6m
AA Luis Matos (1)
High-A Jimmy Glowenke (1)