Lots of action to cover from the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates on Thursday. Let’s jump in!
Link to the 2023 McCovey Chronicles Community Prospect List (CPL)
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
AAA Sacramento (22-26)
Sacramento River Cats lost to the Oklahoma City Dodgers 11-4
With the recent fast promotions to the Majors for Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) and Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL), it’s only fair to look at center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) and start thinking about him getting an MLB debut, even though he’s only 8 games into his AAA stint ... after just 31 games in AA.
And Matos keeps giving you reason to dream those dreams. He was brilliant again Thursday, hitting 3-4 with a walk, and stealing 2 bases.
Luis Matos swipes his first bag as a River Cat! pic.twitter.com/YWHv8e7QMN— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) May 26, 2023
Matos, who struck out just 12 times in 133 plate appearances with AA Richmond, struck out in his first plate appearance after being promoted to AAA. In 37 plate appearances since, he hasn’t struck out again (he also has 13 hits, 4 extra-base hits, and 2 walks in that time).
We’ll call that the fastest and most impressive adjustment period of all time.
But the biggest hit came from second baseman Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL), who hit 1-4 with a home run.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way! Cats plate 2 to start the 9th! pic.twitter.com/e5Ov3aGM9B— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) May 26, 2023
Wilson’s numbers this year are still not very good, as he has a .619 OPS and a 45 wRC+. But it’s fair to be optimistic about those numbers bouncing up. After starting slow, with a .178/.262/.278 slash line in April, Wilson is at .239/.307/.418 in May, and is doing a much better job suppressing strikeouts. That’s still not a particularly good slash line, but consider this: Wilson’s .250 BABIP is dead last of 70 qualified hitters in the offense-centric Pacific Coast League. That may be due to making too much soft contact, but I’m sure it’s at least partially due to poor luck.
Designated hitter Matt Beaty continues to be an on-base machine as he fights to stay on the 40-man roster, and he hit 1-3 with 2 walks, bringing his OPS to .879 and his wRC+ to 118. Shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL), playing in just his 2nd game since returning from the Injured List, hit 1-4 with a walk and stole 2 bases. He’s only 13 games into his AAA stint, and the Giants infield is crowded, but a .954 OPS and a 122 wRC+ with strong defense at multiple positions surely has caught the organization’s eye (as has his 23.0% strikeout rate in AAA, after being 32.9% in AA last year).
Nothing on the pitching front will have caught anyone’s eye, at least not in a good way. RHP Phoenix Sanders, signed earlier in the day, made his organizational debut and got rocked, allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 runs in just 0.2 innings of work. I applaud the debut ... set expectations low and then you’ll be able to exceed them every time out!
A perfect inning for LHP Erik Miller, who has shined since an early season promotion. He has a 3.27 ERA and a 3.38 FIP.
AA Richmond (21-20)
Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets) 2-1
The Flying Squirrels lost in dramatic fashion, tying the game in the top of the 9th inning only to get walked off in the bottom half of the inning.
Richmond’s offense struggled all day. They only had 6 hits (though 4 of them went for extra bases), they went 0-7 with runners in scoring position, and they didn’t draw a walk all game.
They couldn’t string a rally together, so they were forced to tie the game with a solo home run, which came courtesy of left fielder Brady Whalen. This is a very pretty swing, and I promise that’s not just first name bias.
BRAND. NEW. BALLGAME.— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) May 26, 2023
Two outs. Ninth inning. Here comes Brady Whalen. pic.twitter.com/R9TJOXTq5q
Whalen had a ... whale of a game, hitting 3-4 and adding a triple as well. It was just the 2nd game of the season for Whalen, who was an offseason free agent signing, and who started the year on the Injured List. Hopefully he has more of these days in the future!
Shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL) hit 1-4 as he continues to have a batting average (.161) and BABIP (.176) that we should expect to see leap forward in the coming weeks. But his hit was a double, and now 8 of his 10 hits in Richmond have gone for extra bases. That, combined with his 15.1% walk rate, have given him a .707 OPS and 92 wRC+ despite the paltry average.
The pitching was excellent. RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL) got the start and made just his 4th appearance of the year. He gave up 3 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run in 2.2 innings, with 2 strikeouts as he still rounds into form after injuries ... but a 2.08 ERA, a 3.33 FIP, and 12 strikeouts to 3 walks in 8.2 innings is pretty darn solid for someone who still has a lot of rust on them.
RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) was the piggybacking starter, after a brief and dandy interlude from RHP Blake Rivera. It was a highly Seymour-esque start, as he gave up just 1 baserunner, a single, in 4 scoreless innings ... with just 1 strikeout. Cue the very short highlight reel.
Four scoreless innings out of the bullpen tonight for Carson Seymour pic.twitter.com/gobCfh35bM— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) May 26, 2023
Seymour has one of the odder lines in the system this year. In 33.2 innings he’s allowed just 28 hits, 1 home run, and 11 earned runs, good for a 2.94 ERA. But he also has issued 16 walks and struck out just 17 batters. A year after having 13.2 strikeouts per 9 innings with the Giants High-A affiliate, and 11.4 strikeouts per 9 innings with the New York Mets High-A affiliate, Seymour is striking out just 4.5 batters per 9 innings. Very strange.
High-A Eugene (22-19)
Eugene Emeralds lost to the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) 11-7
There aren’t many days in the organization that are as exciting as when LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 8 CPL) takes the mound. That was the case on Thursday, though it was perhaps the worst start of Whisenhunt’s young career.
Pitching in just his 5th game since an early season promotion, Whisenhunt entered the game having allowed just 3 hits, 5 walks, and 1 run in 17.1 innings with Eugene, while striking out 24 batters.
But the magic hit a bump in the road on Thursday, as he allowed 5 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs in 3 innings, though the strikeout stuff remained, with 5 Ks on the day.
It’s still been an absolutely brilliant year for Whisenhunt, who has a 1.77 ERA and a 3.07 FIP in High-A, with 49 strikeouts to 12 walks in 34 innings across 2 levels. But now he’ll have something to bounce back from.
Very tough outings for RHPs Wilkelma Castillo and Brett Standlee, but RHP Nick Morreale had a lovely relief appearance, striking out 3 batters in 2 no-hit innings, with just a walk allowed. He has a 3.43 ERA and a 4.19 FIP on the year.
Tons of great offensive performances, led by second baseman Jimmy Glowenke, who hit 2-4 with a home run and a double.
Injuries have limited Glowenke to just 22 games this season, but he’s been excelling in his repeat of the level, with a .998 OPS and a 158 wRC+. His BABIP is sustainable, his walk and strikeout rates (12.2% and 13.3%, respectively) are elite, and he’s hitting the snot out of the baseball.
Right fielder Victor Bericoto and designated hitter Jared Dupere both had 3-hit days, with Dupere doubling once and Bericoto doubling twice.
Bericoto, who won’t turn 22 until well into the offseason, has quietly been one of the best stories on the farm this year. He has an .865 OPS and a 121 wRC+, and is hitting for both average (.301 batting average) and power (.517 slugging percentage).
Another nice day for shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL), who hit 2-5 with a triple. Power is arguably the only thing missing from Arteaga’s game, but he’s been making big improvements on that front ... in his last 8 games, he’s 8-32 with 3 home runs, 2 triples, and 1 double, which has brought his season OPS to .716 and his wRC+ to 89.
Low-A San Jose (26-16)
San Jose Giants lost to the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 11-2
The strikeouts just keep coming for RHP Hayden Birdsong (No. 36 CPL). It wasn’t a particularly clean game for Birdsong, who allowed 5 hits and 3 walks in 3 innings, though he limited the damage to just 1 run. But the strikeouts were again magnificent, as 8 of the 9 hitters that he retired went down on strikes.
Of the 64 pitchers in the Giants farm system who have thrown at least 10 innings this year, Birdsong’s 15.7 strikeouts per 9 innings rank 2nd, behind only the top prospect in the organization, LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL). If he can cut down on the walks (5.0 per 9) he’ll be golden ... even with the walks, he has a 1.78 ERA and a 2.67 FIP.
Unfortunately things went horribly for RHP Luis Moreno, making just his 3rd appearance of the year after starting the season sidelined. He was very bad, and the defense behind him was very bad ... in 1.2 innings he allowed 6 hits, 1 walk, and hit 2 batters, getting tagged for 9 runs ... though just 3 earned.
RHP Sam Delaplane who, as a reminder, made just 4 appearances last year, after none in 2021 or 2020, made his 4th appearance this year and pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout, though he walked 2 batters.
The offense did very, very little. Center fielder Carter Howell was the only batter to reach base twice, hitting 2-4 with a stolen base, bringing his OPS to .891 and his wRC+ to 142. Second baseman Dilan Rosario had the only extra-base hit of the game, a double, though his numbers are still poor: .519 OPS, 55 wRC+ ... he’s admittedly been limited to just 53 plate appearances this season, but that was his first extra-base hit, which isn’t ideal.
AAA Will Wilson (5)
AA Brady Whalen (1)
High-A Jimmy Glowenke (3)
Sacramento: vs. the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 6:45 p.m. PT
Richmond: @ the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, 4:05 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.