Lots of fun Minor League Baseball for the San Francisco Giants affiliates on Wednesday. Let’s jump into it!
Link to the 2023 McCovey Chronicles Community Prospect List (CPL)
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
The Giants made a few small moves. With infielder Ford Proctor being the backup catcher in AAA Sacramento, the team added catcher Jacob Nottingham in a trade with, who else, the Seattle Mariners (no word yet on the outgoing piece, but probably cash considerations). They also signed RHP Phoenix Sanders, who will also head to Sacramento.
The Giants traded for catcher Jacob Nottingham from the Mariners (their favorite business partner) and signed free agent RHP Phoenix Sanders to a minor league contract.— Danny Emerman (@DannyEmerman) May 25, 2023
Both were assigned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Nottingham is a 28 year old with 63 career games in the Majors. He has a good arm, and this year has a .744 OPS and 71 wRC+ with Seattle’s AAA team. Sanders, a 27 year old, made his MLB debut last year and had a 3.07 ERA and 2.09 FIP in 14.2 innings with the Tampa Bay Rays. He’d only pitched 9 innings this season, all for the Baltimore Orioles AAA affiliate.
Now, onto the games.
AAA Sacramento (22-25)
Sacramento River Cats beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 6-5 (10 innings)
Beating the Dodgers is always cause for celebration, even when it’s in AAA.
The River Cats did it in dramatic fashion. They trailed 5-1 going into the 7th inning, then scored a run. They trailed 5-2 going into the 8th inning, and then catcher Ricardo Genovés had the swing of the day, tying the game with a 3-run home run.
RICARDO. GENOVES. TIE GAME!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/O7iLQdpWah— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) May 25, 2023
Genovés, who also drew a walk, now has a .760 OPS and a 90 wRC+ to go along with his quality defense, and is staying involved in the team’s depth at the position.
With Austin Wynns and Gary Sánchez gone, and Roberto Perez out for the year, Genovés is likely the next catcher in line should the Giants need another backstop. That probably won’t happen anytime soon, given that the team looks prepared to carry 3 catchers on the active roster when Joey Bart returns from injury, but if they feel that Genovés is capable of contributing, it might make it easier to pull the trigger if someone makes a good offer for Bart, or easier to move on from Blake Sabol (No. 34 CPL) if he stumbles.
Genovés tied the game and then, after RHP Nick Avila pitched a perfect 10th with 2 strikeouts to strand the Manfred Man, third baseman David Villar hit the walk-off single (he was robbed of extra bases, as that surely would have been a double were it not a walk-off).
DAVID VILLAR WALK OFF WINNER!!!! pic.twitter.com/SYT7rkaGmT— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) May 25, 2023
Villar struggled mightily in San Francisco to open the season and was optioned, but is repeating the performance that earned him 2022 PCL MVP honors last year. He hit 2-4 with a walk in this one, and is now 7-24 with 2 home runs, 1 double, 6 walks, and 6 strikeouts since returning to Sacramento.
San Francisco’s infield has gotten significantly more crowded since the start of the year, but it’s still safe to say that Villar will likely get another chance to work his way into the fold this year.
Speaking of trying to get back on the MLB roster, left fielder Matt Beaty also reached base 3 times, hitting 1-2 with 2 walks.
And good news: shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) returned from the Injured List, and played in his 1st game in 10 days. Great to see. He hit 0-5, as did the team’s top position player prospect, center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL). But neither player struck out.
For the 2nd day in a row there was a delightful starting pitching performance, this time courtesy of RHP Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL). Winn couldn’t quite match the Tuesday brilliance of LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL), but he did a damn fine impression, striking out 8 batters in 4 innings, while allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run.
Winn, who was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, has had an up-and-down season, but it’s been a lot more up than down recently. His last start really messed up his numbers, but other than that he’s been great over the last 6 or so weeks. He has a 5.40 ERA and a 4.33 FIP on the year, and if he can bring down his walks (4.9 per 9 innings), he might be looking at becoming the 7th player to make their MLB debut for the Giants this season.
RHP Luke Jackson got rocked in his 3rd Sacramento rehab game, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 4 runs in just 0.2 innings. He’s eligible to come off the Injured List on Monday. We’ll see if the Giants activate him then, or give him a few more appearances to find his groove.
RHP Melvin Adón had a great game, striking out 2 batters in 2 perfect innings. Adón has had a lot of strikeouts this year (32 in 23 innings), but this was just the 3rd time in 16 relief appearances that he hadn’t allowed a baserunner.
AA Richmond (21-19)
Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets) 7-2
A day of absolute brilliance for third baseman Hayden Cantrelle, who hit 3-4 and bashed 2 home runs.
Hey, Hayden.— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) May 24, 2023
Bye, baseball pic.twitter.com/r0kb5aZdoI
Cantrelle hitting more home runs would be awesome. He hasn’t shown much power this year (or ever in his career, for that matter), but still has an .827 OPS and a 137 wRC+. That’s due to an amazing on-base percentage (.419), courtesy of a sky-high walk rate (17.5%) that is, impressively, the same as his strikeout rate.
Another at-bat, another for Hayden Cantrelle pic.twitter.com/X5DxZAbf5i— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) May 25, 2023
Not only has Cantrelle hit those numbers with limited power, but he’s done it with bad luck. Despite having 60-grade speed, Cantrelle’s .286 BABIP is below average in the Eastern League.
No one else had a big offensive day, though first baseman Riley Mahan tripled in a pair of runs.
OH, MAN MAHAN— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) May 25, 2023
A triple and two RBIs for Riley Mahan and we’ve got a 3-0 lead in Binghamton pic.twitter.com/CZJOVsDSbN
Top prospect update: shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL) hit 0-5 with a strikeout, while designated hitter Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL) hit 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
Another difficult day for RHP Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL), who is struggling to find the strikeout magic that made him a hot prospect after 2021 (injuries hurt his 2022). Murphy struck out just 2 batters in 3.2 innings, while allowing 5 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run.
Murphy, who had 13.7 strikeouts per 9 innings in High-A last year, and 13.8 the year before, has just 8.6 this year in AA, with a very-high 5.3 walks per 9. His ERA sits at 5.34 and his FIP at 5.42.
RHP Wil Jensen, the piggybacking starter, had a nice outing, allowing 4 hits and 1 run in 3.1 innings, with a whopping 7 strikeouts. Jensen has a 2.00 ERA this year, though just a 4.06 FIP.
High-A Eugene (22-18)
Eugene Emeralds lost to the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) 3-2
It’s not been a good season — or career, to this point — for LHP Matt Mikulski, the team’s 2nd-round pick in 2021 who has already fallen off our community ranking of the top 44 prospects in the system.
And to highlight how rough of a year it’s been, we can turn to Wednesday’s outing for Mikulski, which wasn’t good ... but was a clear step forward for him. Mikulski got the start and pitched 3 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 hit batter, and 3 runs. But he struck out 6 batters!
Not great numbers, but here’s his line in his previous 5 outings: 13.2 innings, 24 hits, 14 walks, 2 hit batters, 20 runs, 17 earned runs, and 15 strikeouts. Ouch.
So, progress is progress, and we’ll take it.
Up next was RHP Ben Madison, who had his best outing of the year, striking out 5 batters in 2 no-hit innings, allowing just 1 walk. If Madison can keep the walks down, his profile could become interesting. He has a 5.21 ERA and a 4.32 FIP, largely because he’s walked 15 batters in 19 innings ... but he’s only given up 11 hits, and he’s struck out a whopping 32 batters.
Another perfect inning for RHP Hunter Dula, who now has a 1.72 ERA and a 2.01 FIP, with 20 strikeouts to 4 walks in 15.2 innings. Given that he ended 2022 in High-A, it’s probably safe to assume that Dula, an 18th-round pick in 2021, will be promoted soon.
The Emeralds did their best impression of what the Giants did earlier in the day, scoring just 2 runs and losing despite outhitting their opponent 11-5.
Left fielder Jared Dupere had the best day, hitting 2-4 with a home run.
DUPERE GOES DEEP @jareddupe ties the ballgame on a 2-run shot in the sixth. pic.twitter.com/FkMXay8ujR— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) May 25, 2023
It’s been such a bizarre season for Dupere, a 13th-round pick in 2021 who has a .730 OPS and a 94 wRC+. 12 of his 33 hits this year have gone for extra bases, including 5 home runs. But after K’ing twice in this game, his strikeout rate is 43.7%, which is worst among the 43 qualified hitters in the Northwest League, a full 6.7 percentage points over the next-worst mark, and a full 10 percentage points over third-worst ... his teammate, Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL, who also struck out twice on Wednesday).
First baseman Logan Wyatt and designated hitter Damon Dues both hit 3-4 with a double, with Dues adding his 10th stolen base of the year. Wyatt is trying to regain the form he had in the opening weeks of the season, and now has a .776 OPS and a 110 wRC+. For Dues, who has a .751 OPS and a 115 wRC+, it’s his 2nd straight game with a double, right as I was talking about how he needs to find a way to access more power (it was just his 4th extra-base hit of the year, all doubles, in 111 plate appearances).
A brutal day for second baseman Ghordy Santos, who struck out in all 4 of his plate appearances and committed an error.
Low-A San Jose (26-15)
San Jose Giants beat the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 6-5
Exciting news! LHP/DH Reggie Crawford (No. 9 CPL) has arrived in San Jose!
After missing Spring Training due to mono, and spending the April and most of May in extended Spring Training, the 2022 1st-round pick finally joined Low-A.
He’s more of a pitcher than he is a hitter, and his pitching debut — both for Low-A and as a professional — is expected to happen on Saturday. But he was in this game as the designated hitter, which is exciting. He hit 0-3 with a strikeout and was hit by a pitch.
The best day belonged to center fielder Carter Howell, who hit 3-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle. He now has an .889 OPS and a 141 wRC+, and every phase of his game looks good ... but we’ll have to see how it plays at the next level for the 24-year old undrafted free agent.
Nice days for 2 of the Baby Giants top position player prospects, as catcher Onil Perez (No. 44 CPL) hit 1-3 with a double and a walk, raising his OPS to .844 and his wRC+ to 134, and second baseman Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL) hit 1-3 with a walk and a stolen base, giving him an .853 OPS and a 135 wRC+. Not bad days for a pair of extremely young players at premium positions.
Not very good pitching, with LHPs Hayden Wynja and Nomar Medina both getting roughed up a bit, though Wynja had 5 strikeouts in 3 innings, giving him 33 in 22 innings on the year.
RHP Dylan Cumming had a nice appearance in his 12th career game, pitching 2 no-hit innings, though he walked 2 batters and struck out just 1.
AAA Ricardo Genovés (2)
AA Hayden Cantrelle, 2 (3)
High-A Jared Dupere (5)
Low-A Carter Howell (3)
Sacramento: vs. the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 6:45 p.m. PT
Richmond: @ the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Everett AquaSox, 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Modesto Nuts, 7:05 p.m. PT
Reminder that all Minor League games can be watched on MLB TV.