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Minor League round up, April 30

Recapping Sunday on the farm.

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Carson Whisenhunt throwing a pitch
LHP Carson Whisenhunt struck out 6 in his High-A debut
Photo by Jerry Kime/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates played their usual four games on Sunday, but they weren’t the normal four. AAA Sacramento played a doubleheader, while AA Richmond had their game postponed.

Let’s jump into the action.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


Finally, an update on shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL). Per The Athletic’s Melissa Lockard, Giants farm director Kyle Haines expects Luciano to make his season debut with AA Richmond this week. No word on whether or not there will be a rehab stint with Low-A San Jose first.

In less good injury news, Lockard reports that outfielder Jairo Pomares (No. 14 CPL), who is dealing with a quad injury, is not expected to return anytime soon.

AAA Sacramento (11-16)

Sacramento River Cats split a 7-inning doubleheader against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, losing 9-4 and then winning 5-1
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score

A good doubleheader for a pair of 40-man outfielders who may be called up to provide depth at some point.

Center fielder/left fielder Cal Stevenson, a recent trade addition, hit 2-7 over the 2 games, and bashed a leadoff game run in Game 1.

Stevenson is a left-handed hitter who can play center field, so he could be an option for the Giants with Mike Yastrzemski presumably hitting the Injured List today (they might just stick with Brett Wisely, though). He also stole his 4th base of the year in Game 2, and currently has an .837 OPS across the two organizations.

Less likely to replace Yaz is right fielder/center fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 12 CPL), since he’s a right-handed hitter. But he’s still proving to be a notable depth piece. He homered in the second game, finishing the day 2-7 with a big fly, a walk, and his 6th stolen base of the year.

Ramos’ .832 OPS and 96 wRC+ don’t jump off the page, but the certainly represent some excellent improvement over last year’s poor season. He also keeps impressing on defense.

Also an awesome day for designated hitter Colton Welker, who played both games and was not retired, hitting 3-3 with 3 walks and a double. What a day! That bumped his OPS up to .780 and his wRC+ to 112.

Game 2 was started by LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL), which is always exciting. And it was a start that embodied his time in AAA, which is to say pure electricity and heat with command issues. Harrison pitched 3.2 no-hit innings with 7 strikeouts, which is amazing. He also walked 4 batters, which is not.

As soon as Harrison can figure out the walks, he’ll be ready for the big leagues. Through 15.2 innings he’s given up just 10 hits, while striking out a whopping 27 batters. But he’s also issued 21 walks. Hitters can’t beat him, but right now he’s beating himself a little bit.

Also pitching in Game 2 were RHPs Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL) and Ryan Walker, who both pitched perfect innings with a strikeout. For the former it was a bounceback after some awful outings, and for the latter it was the continuation of an excellent season.

The pitchers in the first game struggled mightily, particularly LHP Daniel Tillo, who walked 4 of the 6 batters he faced. LHP Chris Wright, recently promoted to AAA, recorded all 4 of his outs by strikeout, but also gave up 2 hits and 3 walks.

High-A Eugene (12-8)

Eugene Emeralds lost to the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) 2-0 (10 innings)
Box score

My dad always told me that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. I may not have heard him, but it sure seems that LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 8 CPL) did.

Whisenhunt, the organization’s 2nd-round pick last year, was making his High-A debut in just his 9th professional appearance. And he absolutely dominated. He gave up just one basurenner (a double) in 4 scoreless innings, while striking out 6 batters. He only needed 45 pitches to get through those 4 innings, and 36 of those 45 pitches were strikes.

Across Low-A and High-A this year, Whisenhunt has faced 70 batters. He’s struck out 26 of them, while walking just 4 of them, and hitting just 1 of them. This guy could fly through the system.

He was followed by RHP José Cruz (No. 35 CPL) who threw a perfect inning. Cruz, who was added to the 40-man roster as a Rule 5 protection, has only pitched 4.1 innings this year, but has yet to give up an earned run, and has ceded just 1 hit.

Then it was RHP Nick Sinacola, who was sensational, as he has been all year. He dazzled with 4 scoreless innings, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 7. Through 17 innings, Sinacola has 21 strikeouts to 6 walks, with a 1.06 ERA and a 2.80 FIP. What a great pitching day!

Unfortunately it was also a great pitching day for Vancouver, as the Emeralds had just 4 hits (all singles) and 2 walks. Nobody reached base twice, but center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) stole his 8th base of the year.

Low-A San Jose (13-8)

San Jose Giants beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 11-4
Box score

The Baby Giants didn’t hit a home run, but still managed to score 11 runs thanks to 7 doubles. How fun!

Even more fun was that 3 different players hit a pair of doubles: second baseman Diego Velasquez, who hit 2-5 to bring his OPS to .814 and his wRC+ to 131; catcher Thomas Gavello, who hit 3-4 to raise his OPS to .996 and his wRC+ to 179; and first baseman Matt Higgins, who hit 2-5, bringing his OPS to .789 and his wRC+ to 129.

Have I mentioned that Velasquez is a middle infielder who turned 19 exactly 6 months ago? Or that Gavello is destroying the baseball while catching and playing both second and third base?

And what about your daily update on third baseman Edison Mora, who missed all of 2022 due to injury and began this year hitting 1-20 with 0 extra-base hits, 3 walks, and 12 strikeouts? He hit 2-4 with a double in this game, and since that slow beginning he’s hit 10-27 with 1 home run, 4 doubles, 3 walks, and just 4 strikeouts.

But most exciting was that center fielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL) made his 2nd straight rehab appearance. He hit 3-5 and should be in Richmond very, very soon. Hooray!

The pitching was bad, with not much to note. But RHP Liam Simon was pretty good, giving up just 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run in 4 innings, with 3 strikeouts. His first full season of professional baseball is going very well, as he has a 3.18 ERA and a 3.06 FIP. Even with the low strikeout totals in this game he’s K’ing more than 14 batters per 9 innings on the year.

Home runs

AAA Heliot Ramos (2)
AAA Cal Stevenson (1)

Monday schedule

Sacramento: Day off
Richmond: Day off
Eugene: Day off
San Jose: Day off
ACL Orange: Season not yet started
ACL Black: Season not yet started
DSL Orange: Season not yet started
DSL Black: Season not yet started