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Minor League round up, May 19

Yesterday’s news from the Giants farm.

David Villar taking batting practice
3B David Villar homered for AAA Sacramento
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Friday was a busy day for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates, so let’s dive straight into the action!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (21-22)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) 7-3
Box score

With the aggressive promotions to the Majors for Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) and Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL), it’s pretty fair to look at center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) and assume that he’s only a few good weeks of performance away from getting that exciting call, too.

That’s not to put the cart ahead of the horse, but it’s clearly the way the Giants are moving with their top prospects. So Matos is worth keeping an eye on and he rewarded those who did keep an eye on his 3rd AAA game, as he hit 3-5 with a triple and an outfield assist.

After going hitless in his AAA debut, Matos has adjusted immediately, going 5-9 with 2 extra-base hits in the next 2 games. True his immaculate plate discipline and contact form, Matos has only struck out once in his 15 AAA plate appearances ... on the year he has just 18 strikeouts in 148 plate appearances. Elite, and ridiculous when you consider that he turned 21 less than 4 months ago.

But while Matos had the most exciting day due to his prospect status, the best day went to right fielder Clint Coulter, who hit 2-5 with a pair of home runs.

Coulter, a 12-year Minor League veteran in search of his first MLB game, has cooled off considerably after his red-hot start to the year, so nice to see him have a good game.

Also homering was third baseman David Villar, who is looking to find his swing again after a disappointing start to the year in San Francisco led to him getting optioned.

2-hit days for third baseman Ford Proctor (who also drew a walk) and catcher Ricardo Genovés, who is currently the only catcher on the roster after Bailey’s promotion (the 3rd catcher, Brett Cumberland, is on the 60-day IL).

RHP Sean Hjelle (No. 30 CPL) took the mound and gave up just 2 runs in 5 innings, allowing 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. He’ll surely be back in San Francisco at some point this season.

Another nice outing for LHP Erik Miller, who pitched 2 no-hit innings with 1 walk, though he didn’t have a strikeout. He has a 3.86 ERA and a 3.35 FIP since getting an early season promotion.

AA Richmond (18-18)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Akron RubberDucks (Guardians) 11-9
Box score

A lot of offense from the River Cats, and the bulk of it came from 2 players. First baseman Riley Mahan had himself a day, hitting 2-5 with both of his hits being home runs.

Mahan’s not having a very good year with the bat (.695 OPS, 81 wRC+), but days like this certainly go a long ways toward changing that.

The other star was left fielder Carter Aldrete, who also hit 2-5, with both a home run and a double. Aldrete’s having a strong offensive season (.786 OPS, 116 wRC+), while also playing the corners of both the infield and outfield.

Those were the stars, but there were other good days, too. Right fielder Carter Williams hit 3-5 as he continues to find his groove. In his last 7 games, Williams is hitting 8-21 with 1 home run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts.

And third baseman Brett Auerbach (No. 38 CPL) and designated hitter Andy Thomas both hit 1-3 with 2 walks. Thomas has 20 walks to 31 strikeouts this year.

Of note: It wasn’t the star-filled day in Richmond that we’ve come to expect, as shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL) and recently-activated outfielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL) got days off, while a pair of the team’s top prospects to start the year, Matos and Bailey, have moved on.

But RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL) pitched! Roupp started the year injured, made his season debut in late April, and promptly got injured again. This was just his 3rd appearance of the year and he made it a good one, striking out 2 in 2 perfect innings.

Roupp has given up just 2 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run in 6 innings this year, with 10 strikeouts. Not bad for someone who should still be trying to shake off the rust.

RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) had a funny outing, that was either good or bad depending on your viewpoint. He pitched 3.2 innings and gave up 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit batter, and 5 runs, but just 1 run was earned and he had 5 strikeouts.

Seeing him have a good strikeout game was nice to see ... after having 108 strikeouts in 80.2 High-A innings last year (with 2 franchises), Seymour has just 16 in 29.2 innings so far in Richmond.

Very tough outings for LHPs Juan Sanchez and Raymond Burgos, who have otherwise had really nice years.

High-A Eugene (20-16)

Eugene Emeralds lost to the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) 5-3 (10 innings)
Box score

Not a particularly good day on either side of the diamond for the Emeralds. The offense didn’t muster much with the bats, but did do a lot with their eyes, as they drew 10 walks.

Leading that campaign was center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL), who hit 0-2 but had a trio of walks, bringing his OPS to .708 and his wRC+ to 90. He also stole his 14th and 15th bases of the year! Talk about a dude with a lot of tools.

The best offensive day belonged to left fielder Jared Dupere, who hit 2-4 with a double and a walk, rising his OPS to .740 and his wRC+ to 98. Not a great season for him, when you pair those numbers with a 43.7% strikeout rate.

Also reaching base 3 times were catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 22 CPL), who hit 2-4 with a walk, and third baseman Luis Toribio, who hit 1-3 with 2 walks. Shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) doubled and drew a walk, though he’s still looking for his swing in High-A (.624 OPS, 68 wRC+).

Another really nice relief appearance from RHP José Cruz (No. 35 CPL), who struck out 4 batters in 1.2 no-hit innings, though he gave up a walk and hit a batter. Cruz, who was added to the 40-man roster over the offseason, now has 17 strikeouts and just 6 hits allowed in 12.1 innings, but he’s walked 6 batters and hit 4.

And nice to see Mat Olsen, who has been fighting to regain his electric form from a year ago, have a nice outing. He struck out 2 batters in a perfect inning.

Also, this is amazing:

Low-A San Jose (23-14)

San Jose Giants beat the Stockton Ports (A’s) 14-4
Box score

Holy smokes, what an offensive day for the Baby Giants who had 19 hits on the day ... including 10 extra-base hits, and 6 home runs.

We could spend all day talking about the great games, so let’s try to run through them quickly. First baseman/left fielder Matt Higgins had the biggest day, hitting 4-6 with a pair of big flies.

With an .899 OPS and a 143 wRC+, the undrafted Higgins has done everything the Giants have asked of him, and we’ll have to wait and see if it plays at a higher level.

Catcher Zach Morgan and designated hitter P.J. Hilson (no. 37 CPL) had identical days, hitting 3-4 with a home run and a walk.

Morgan hasn’t shown much power this year, with just a .351 slugging percentage. But his plate discipline — he has a 22.5% walk rate and just a 16.7% strikeout rate — have given him a .743 OPS and a 114 wRC+ in his first full season. Those numbers could look really good if his .250 BABIP stabilizes.

Hilson, who is still just 22 despite being in his 6th year with the organization, is trying to find his footing after missing a bit of the year due to injury. He has a .714 OPS and an 88 wRC+.

Also homering were third baseman Thomas Gavello, who hit 1-4 with a walk, and shortstop Jose Ramos, who hit 1-5.

Gavello’s first full season has been magical, as he has a 1.055 OPS and a 180 wRC+. Ramos, on the other hand, had a brilliant start to the year but has gone ice cold. In his 9 games prior to this one, he had hit 4-33 with no extra-base hits, 4 walks, and 11 strikeouts. Hopefully the homer gets what was an awesome season back on track.

But you don’t need to hit homers to have good offensive days, and that was proven by right fielder/center fielder Carter Howell, who hit 3-6 with 2 doubles and a triple, moving his OPS to .824 and his wRC+ to 128. A nice first full season for the undrafted hitter.

Another really nice start for RHP Hayden Birdsong (No. 6 CPL), who pitched 4 scoreless, 1-hit innings, with 6 strikeouts. The only downside of the day was the free pass issue, as he had 2 walks and hit a batter. Birdsong, who has a 1.65 ERA and a 2.79 FIP, has 45 strikeouts in just 27.1 innings, though he has given up 14 walks and 3 hit batters. The organization is really high on him, and it’s easy to see why.

RHP Luis Moreno, making just his 2nd appearance of the year due to injury, had a nice showing, striking out 5 in 2.1 scoreless innings, though he allowed 3 hits and a walk. RHP Sam Delaplane, pitching for just the 3rd time this year — and just the 7th time since 2019 due to injuries — got rocked, giving up 1 hit, 3 walks, and 4 runs, while recording just 1 out.

Home runs

AAA Clint Coulter, 2 (3)
AAA David Villar (2)
AA Riley Mahan, 2 (6)
AA Carter Aldrete (5)
Low-A Thomas Gavello (7)
Low-A Matt Higgins, 2 (5)
Low-A P.J. Hilson (2)
Low-A Zach Morgan (2)
Low-A Jose Ramos (1)

Saturday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Reno Aces, 4:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. the Akron RubberDucks, 3:05 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Hillsboro Hops, 6:05 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Stockton Ports, 7:05 p.m. PT

Reminder that all Minor League games can now be watched with an MLB TV subscription.