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Minor League round up, May 16

Yesterday’s action on the Giants farm.

Tanner O’Tremba smiling while wearing an Arizona Wildcats helmet
Low-A outfielder Tanner O’Tremba hit 2 home runs on Tuesday
Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

An action-packed Tuesday for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates, who played four games while having a ton of exciting news. Let’s dive straight into it.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


Forget the games. The most important and exciting part of Tuesday on the Giants farm comes in the form of player movement.

Most notable is that the Giants promoted AA Richmond center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) to AAA Sacramento. I won’t spend too much time talking about it, since I wrote about it here, but this is very exciting. Matos had a very rough year in High-A in 2022, but the Giants started him in AA in 2023 regardless. He responded in a huge way, hitting .304/.398/.443, for a 139 wRC+. Despite being very young for the level (he turned 21 just a few weeks before Spring Training), Matos was 2nd in the league (among 80 qualified batters) with a 9.0% strikeout rate. He also played very strong defense and stole 9 bases.

Suddenly Matos, who is already on the 40-man roster, feels on the verge of an MLB debut. What a great story and season.

The Giants are replacing him in the AA outfield with a pair of exciting hitters. First up, Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL) has been promoted from High-A Eugene to AA. To say Meckler can hit would be a disservice to what he’s done with the bat. He’s hitting .456/.494/.633 in Eugene, good for a 202 wRC+.

On the one hand, those numbers deserve a promotion. On the other hand, this is perhaps the most aggressive we’ve ever seen the Giants current braintrust be with a player. Meckler got just 50 plate appearances in rookie ball last year, then 50 plate appearances in Low-A. They’d seen enough to start high in High-A this year where, thanks to an injury, he only had 87 plate appearances before getting his AA promotion. 187 total plate appearances before making it to AA? Absurd, and that means it’s absurdly exciting, because the Giants are clearly high on him.

If you want to see how aggressive that is, consider someone who was in a very similar position to Meckler last year: outfielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL). Brown, who entered the year with 98 standout plate appearances in rookie ball, destroyed Low-A pitchers for 262 plate appearances last year before getting the call to High-A. He destroyed High-A pitchers for 194 plate appearances until the season ended, at which point the Giants finally promoted him to AA. So yeah ... either Pete Putila has immediately employed a more aggressive approach to farm development (Casey Schmitt, Patrick Bailey, and Nick Swiney also had very aggressive promotions), or that’s a sign as to how high the Giants are on Meckler.

Speaking of Brown, he’s finally been reinstated from the Injured List, and is reporting to AA Richmond. Brown spent April in extended Spring Training, then made 9 rehab appearances in Low-A and High-A. After being one of the breakout stars of 2022, it will be so exciting to see how Brown does at a higher level.

And finally, RHP Luke Jackson, whom the Giants signed to a 2-year, $11.5 million deal in the offseason, but immediately placed on the 60-day IL, is headed to AAA Sacramento to continue his rehab, after just a single rehab appearance in Low-A. Jackson told reporters he thinks he’s only 2 appearances away from being ready to join the Giants bullpen, though he’ll surely get more than that, as he’s not eligible to come off the IL until May 29.

Now let’s get into the games!

AAA Sacramento (20-20)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Reno Aces (A’s) 13-5
Box score

A pretty uninteresting game for the River Cats. It was a bullpen game for the pitchers, and a game devoid of top prospects for their offense, as catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL) and infielder Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) got rest days, while center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) wasn’t there in time to make his debut.

But there was a nice game from someone you really wanted to see have one: third baseman David Villar. After struggling mightily to open up the season in the Majors, Villar was optioned back to AAA, but he’s apparently taking it in stride, as he kicked off his first MiLB stint of the year by hitting 1-3 with a home run and 2 walks.

The road back to the Majors is a little tricky, considering the emergence of Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL), the growing prospect shine of Fitzgerald, and the return (hopefully) of Isan Díaz at some point. But if Villar gets back on track and hits in Sacramento like he did last year, he’ll find his way back in San Francisco soon enough.

Not much else for the offense, as they only had 6 hits ... though they drew 9 walks to just 9 strikeouts. Designated hitter Colton Welker led that brigade, hitting 1-2 with 3 walks, bumping his OPS to .849 and his wRC+ to 125.

Not very good pitching, with LHP Daniel Tillo (4 earned runs in 1 inning) and RHP Clay Helvey (6 earned runs in 0.1 innings) getting hammered.

RHP Jorge Guzmán had a hilarious outing, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and 1 hit batter in 2 innings ... but somehow didn’t allow a run. It’s that type of magic that leads to a 1.80 ERA when your FIP is 5.18 and you have 15 strikeouts to 14 walks in 20 innings.

Like Villar, RHP Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL) returned to Sacramento after being optioned, though he wasn’t super sharp, as he allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning, with no strikeouts. RHP Ryan Walker continued his brilliant year, striking out 2 in a perfect inning, lowering his ERA to 0.89 and his FIP to 3.04.

AA Richmond (17-16)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Akron RubberDucks (Guardians) 2-1 (5 innings)
Box score

Weather cut this game short after just 5 innings. The Flying Squirrels offense couldn’t do anything in those 5 innings, as they had just 2 hits, no extra-base hits, and no players who reached base multiple times. However, they only had 2 strikeouts, so that’s encouraging.

The pitchers, on the other hand, had 8 strikeouts, even if they ultimately lost. RHP Mason Black (No. 11 CPL) wasn’t the sharpest, as he allowed 3 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs in 3.2 innings, but he continues to flash incredible strikeout stuff, as he K’d 6 batters. He now has 35 strikeouts to 9 walks in 25.1 innings. His stuff sure is impressive!

A very typical performance for RHP Wil Jensen, who struck out 2 batters in 1.1 no-hit innings, but also walked 2. He has 22 strikeouts in 21.2 innings this year, with 12 walks.

High-A Eugene (19-14)

Eugene Emeralds beat the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) 5-2
Box score

What an odd day for the Emeralds offense. They somehow scored 5 runs on a day where they had just 5 hits ... and struck out 18 times. Not exactly how you draw it up (though the Giants have drawn it up that way plenty of times this season). And while they did it without the help of any Hillsboro errors, the Hops certainly were responsible for a lot of Eugene’s runs, as 2 players scored on wild pitches and a 3rd on a balk.

Needless to say, a lot of players struck out a lot. Third baseman Luis Toribio was the biggest culprit with 4 Ks, but center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL), right fielder Victor Bericoto, left fielder Jared Dupere, and second baseman Ghordy Santos all had the strikeout hat trick.

There were a pair of nice hitting performances, as catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 22 CPL) hit 2-4, raising his OPS to .629 and his wRC+ to 70. Not great numbers, but Sugastey is a defensively-talented catcher with a low strikeout rate, who won’t turn 21 until the offseason.

The star, however, was second baseman Jimmy Glowenke, who hit 2-4 with a home run.

Glowenke has been limited due to injuries, but has shined in his 2nd year at the level, with an 1.180 OPS, a 198 wRC+, and more extra-base hits (8) and as many walks (7) as strikeouts. He’s only 14 games into his season, but hopefully he can keep it up.

Pretty solid pitching all around. LHP Seth Lonsway was given the start, and while he gave up 6 hits and a walk in just 4 innings, he limited the damage to 1 run while striking out 5. It hasn’t been a very good year for Lonsway, who has a 6.00 ERA and a 4.68 FIP in his 1st season in Eugene, so nice to see a good outing.

Also a good outing for LHP John Bertrand, who gave up 2 hits and 1 run in 4 innings, with 3 strikeouts in his 2nd game since getting promoted from Low-A. He’s only allowed 2 walks in 24 innings this year across the 2 levels, though he has just 17 strikeouts.

Low-A San Jose (22-12)

San Jose Giants lost to the Stockton Ports (A’s) 9-7
Box score

Some fun days for the Baby Giants, none more fun than what left fielder Tanner O’Tremba did, as he hit 2-4 with both of his hits leaving the ballpark.

Last year’s 15th-round pick is having a lovely 1st full season, with a .914 OPS and a 149 wRC+.

Speaking of players having nice 1st full seasons, third baseman Andrew Kachel hit 3-4 with a home run. The 16th-round pick last year has an .839 OPS and a 131 wRC+.

We’ll need to see these guys hit against at least High-A pitchers before we start to get excited about them, but wow ... the Giants sure seem to know how to find interesting hitters in the later rounds, don’t they?

The pitching started out strong, but was done in by awful late performances from RHPs Miguel Mora and Tyler Vogel, who are having tough seasons.

RHP Luis Moreno, who has struggled lately with injuries, made his season debut and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit and striking out 2.

And RHP Sam Delaplane — who didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the pandemic, didn’t pitch in 2021 due to injury, and threw just 3.2 innings last year due to injury — made his 2nd appearance of the year. He got rocked in the 1st one but recovered on Tuesday, striking out 2 in a 1-hit, scoreless inning.

Home runs

AAA David Villar (1)
High-A Jimmy Glowenke (2)
Low-A Tanner O’Tremba, 2 (3)
Low-A Andrew Kachel (1)

Wednesday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Reno Aces, 6:35 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. the Akron RubberDucks, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Hillsboro Hops, 7:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Stockton Ports, 7:05 p.m. PT

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