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Memorial Day weekend Minor League roundup

The latest action on the Giants farm.

Jimmy Glowenke in the batter’s box
Infielder Jimmy Glowenke earned a promotion to AA
Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images

After a brief holiday hiatus, the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball roundups are back!

Since the Giants affiliates were off on Monday (except Low-A San Jose) — not because of Memorial Day, but because Monday is the weekly off-day in the Minors — let’s jump in a day late and recap what happened on Saturday and Sunday for the team’s four A-Ball affiliates. Great news! The ACL and DSL are gearing up and starting soon!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


Another promotion! Infielder Jimmy Glowenke, who has a .955 OPS and a 146 wRC+ in a repeat of High-A Eugene, got the call to join AA Richmond. Glowenke, who has always had good pop for a middle infielder (he also plays third) has done exactly what the Giants asked of him, and then some, raising his High-A walk rate from 8.2% to 12.4%, while dropping his strikeout rate from 31.2% to a brilliant 14.3%.

The five-round draft class in 2020 is looking like Farhan Zaidi’s greatest work since taking over the Giants. The 1st and 2nd-round picks, catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL) and infielder Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL), respectively, have turned into core parts of the Major League team, while the 3rd-round pick, LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) is the top prospect in the system, and already in AAA.

4th-round pick RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) is in AAA, while 5th-round pick Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL) is in AA with Glowenke, a compensatory pick (the other compensatory pick, LHP Nick Swiney [No. 26 CPL], is in AAA).

Speaking of Harrison, he won Pitcher of the Week in the Pacific Coast League for the 2nd time this month.

Way to go, prospects!

Now, onto the games.

AAA Sacramento (23-28)

Saturday: Sacramento River Cats beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 2-1
Box score

Beating the Dodgers is always a good thing, though not a lot happened in this game. Shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) had yet another good game, hitting 2-4 with a double (the only extra-base hit of the game for Sacramento), and stealing a base.

Fitzgerald is such a fun story. The Giants asked him to repeat AA after an ultra-promising but flawed 2022, and he responded by doing all the things they asked: repeating the power and defense, while improving the strikeouts, bat-to-ball skills, and plate control. It earned him a quick promotion, and he’s been shining in AAA where, after 16 games, he has a .940 OPS, a 120 wRC+, and 7 stolen bases without being caught.

The Giants infield remains extremely crowded, and Fitzgerald isn’t on the 40-man roster, so he doesn’t have the clearest path towards an MLB debut this year. But if he keeps playing like this, it will make it easier for the Giants to move on from David Villar or Wilmer Flores, or could help provide coverage if Thairo Estrada needs to stay on the IL for a decent amount of time.

Not much else of note on offense, though another nice day for catcher Ricardo Genovés, who hit 1-2 with a walk. He has a .760 OPS and a 90 wRC+ on the year, with nice catching. The next time the Giants need depth at the position, it wouldn’t be surprising if they turn to him, instead of signing another AAAA journeyman.

A nice pitching performance for LHP Nick Swiney (No. 26 CPL), who pitched 2 no-hit innings while allowing 1 walk and striking out 2. He’s only 4 outings into his AAA career (after just 6 games in AA), so nice to see him pitching well.

Speaking of LHPs pitching well after recent promotions to AAA, Erik Miller struck out 2 in an inning of work, with just a walk allowed. He has a 3.00 ERA and a 3.37 FIP in 9 AAA games and, with RHP Ryan Walker now in the Majors, looks like Sacramento’s best reliever.

Sunday: Sacramento River Cats lost to the Oklahoma City Dodgers 8-3
Box score

Sunday was the most exciting day that exists on the Giants farm: a start for LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL). The only thing standing between Harrison and an MLB debut is a whole bunch of walks, though he’s been a lot better on that front lately. This game was a bit of regression for him on that front, as he walked 3 batters in 3.2 innings ... though he gave up just 1 hit, 0 runs, and struck out 5.

After walking 21 batters in 15.1 innings in April, Harrison finishes May with “just” 10 walks in 18.2 innings (and 34 strikeouts!!!).

Everything but the walks is nearly perfect. Despite playing in the Coors Field-esque Pacific Coast League, Harrison has allowed just 18 hits and 2 home runs this year, in 34.1 innings, while striking out 61 batters. Despite being a 21 year old in AAA, Harrison’s 16.0 strikeouts per 9 innings are tops among the 473 Minor League pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings this year. Ridiculous.

Also a nice outing for RHP Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL), who struck out 2 batters in 1.1 perfect innings, and for RHP Luke Jackson, who struck out all 3 batters he faced. Jackson is eligible to come off the 60-day Injured List as of Monday, so we’ll see the big free agent signing in the black and orange very soon.

The offense didn’t do a lot, but second baseman Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL) hit 1-4 with a home run, bumping his OPS to .641 and his wRC+ to 49.

Not good numbers, but still a lot of encouraging stuff for Wilson. After having a 29.7% strikeout rate in AA last year, Wilson is down to a totally passable 25.8% rate in AAA. If his paltry (and probably quite unlucky) .248 BABIP recovers (it’s dead last out of 71 qualified hitters in the PCL), he could be sitting pretty.

Center fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) hit 1-4 with a double and a walk, bringing his OPS to .823 and his wRC+ to 98. Not earth-shattering numbers, but a recently-turned 21 year old defensive stud in center field hitting .313 in AAA with 2 strikeouts in 52 plate appearances is a good way to get the attention of your bosses.

AA Richmond (21-23)

Saturday: Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets) 7-4
Box score

A very unmemorable game for the Flying Squirrels, who really didn’t have notable performances on either side of the diamond.

It was a rough start for RHP Mason Black (No. 11 CPL), who allowed 6 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs in just 3.1 innings of work, bringing his ERA up to 5.79 and his FIP to 4.51. Black, who only K’d a pair of batters, still has nice strikeout and walk numbers, with 11.3 and 3.9 per 9 innings, respectively.

But those numbers are still riding the high of a strong start to the season. After having a gorgeous 22 strikeouts to 3 walks in 14.1 April innings, Black has just 19 strikeouts to 11 walks in 18.1 May innings. June gloom came early!

The offense struck out 15 times, with left fielder Carter Williams, who hit 1-4, the only player who didn’t go strike out. They had 11 hits but only 1 extra-base hit, courtesy of designated hitter Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL), who hit 1-4 with a double and a walk, bringing his OPS to .990 and his wRC+ to 167 in his 6 AA games this year.

Catcher Robert Emery hasn’t had a very good season, but he hit 3-4 in this game, giving him a .553 OPS and a 58 wRC+.

Sunday: Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets) 10-9 (10 innings)
Box score

A bit of a heartbreaking loss for the Flying Squirrels. They trailed 7-5 entering the 8th inning, but tied the game up with a 2-run 8th. They scored in the 9th to take the lead, but the Rumble Ponies answered. Then they scored the Manfred Man in the 10th to take the lead again, before being walked off in the bottom half of the inning.

But it was a brilliant day at the office for the hitters, who recorded 7 extra-base hits. The biggest day came from left fielder Brady Whalen, who hit 2-4 with the go-ahead home run in the 9th inning.

Whalen, who also was hit by a pitch and stole a base, is having a blistering start to the year after being recently activated from the injured list. An offseason signing, Whalen is hitting 5-15 with 2 home runs, 1 triple, and just 2 strikeouts.

Also brilliant days for designated hitter Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL) and shortstop Simon Whiteman, who both hit 2-4 with a walk and an extra-base hit (a double for the former, a triple for the latter). Luciano, who missed April due to injury, is still trying to round into shape, as he has a .689 OPS and an 85 wRC+.

But he has a 13.6% walk rate, and his power (.230 ISO, with 9 of his 13 hits going for extra bases) is on display. All that’s missing right now is the average ... it sits at just .176, in no small part due to a .205 BABIP that ranks 122nd out of 129 Eastern League hitters with at least 80 plate appearances.

Whiteman’s numbers aren’t great — .626 OPS, 79 wRC+ — but they’re miles ahead of his rough 2022, when he had a .472 OPS and a 38 wRC+ in Richmond.

Right fielder Carter Williams had a very nice day, hitting 2-5 with a home run, while catcher Andy Thomas hit a big fly as well.

Williams, who has a .664 OPS and an 80 wRC+, hasn’t found the magic that propelled him to a stunning season in Low-A last year, but he’s still showing glimpses of having some excitement in his bat.

An odd outing for RHP Kai-Wei Teng. He walked just 1 batter in 3 innings, which is great since walks have plagued him. But he also gave up 5 hits, 6 runs, and hit 2 batters, which is obviously not great, and brought his ERA up to 5.09 (though his FIP is still at 3.36).

The bright side was that Teng struck out 6 batters. Remember when I mentioned that LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) leads all 473 Minor League pitchers (minimum: 30 innings) in strikeouts per 9 innings? Teng is 18th. Not bad at all.

An OK outing for RHP Randy Rodríguez (No. 32 CPL), as he tries to stay in the team’s plans. He pitched 3 innings and allowed 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 hit batter, and 1 run, with 3 strikeouts. He has a 2.70 ERA and a 3.29 FIP, though he’s walking 5.7 batters per 9 innings.

High-A Eugene (23-22)

Saturday: Eugene Emeralds lost a 7-inning doubleheader against the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) 4-2 and 8-6
Game 1 box score
Game 2 box score

Game 1 was quite uneventful. The offense mustered 6 hits, 1 extra-base hit, and 0 walks, with only a single player having a good day: shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL), who hit 2-3 with a double.

Arteaga has just a .711 OPS and an 86 wRC+, but those come with a good walk rate (11.6%), a good strikeout rate (24.7%), exceptional defense at shortstop, and youth (he turned 20 in March). Say, let’s take a look at that defense!

LHP John Bertrand wasn’t very good in the start, but he did eat innings, as he made it through 5 ... which is almost unheard of on the Giants farm this year. RHP Ben Madison pitched the final 2 innings and was brilliant, striking out 5 batters ... with a stolen first base being the only baserunner he allowed.

We’ve come to expect those strikeout numbers, as Madison is K’ing 15.9 batters per 9 innings ... but the 6.4 walks per 9 tell us that this was a very encouraging start for him.

Game 2 was led by shortstop Damon Dues, who hit 3-4 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base. Ever since I talked about Dues’ total lack of extra-base hits, he’s been a doubles machine: he has 5 this week, after just 2 all season (he’s yet to have a triple or a homer).

Still, despite the lack of power, he has a .770 OPS and a 112 wRC+.

Also having a 3-hit day was first baseman Logan Wyatt, as he continues his semi-bizarre season (more on that in a minute).

LHP Seth Lonsway and RHP Nick Morreale got destroyed, but a very nice performance for RHP José Cruz (No. 35 CPL), who gave up just 1 hit in 2.1 scoreless innings, with 3 strikeouts. Cruz has a 1.62 ERA, a 3.02 FIP, and 24 strikeouts to 7 walks in 16.2 innings. Since he was added to the 40-man roster as a Rule 5 protection this offseason, it’s fair to expect a promotion soon.

Sunday: Eugene Emeralds lost to the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) 11-8
Box score

Some very fun offense in this one, highlighted by identical days from center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) and first baseman Logan Wyatt, who both hit 2-4 with a walk and 2 doubles.

McCray has been undoing his ice cold April in a hurry, as his .554 OPS in the month has been replaced by a .908 mark in May, bringing his season OPS to .756 and his wRC+ to 100. So now he can start over, with a league average mark, and show us what he can do.

The clear pluses are the stellar center field defense and the 20 stolen bases ... the clear minus is the 32.0% strikeout rate, which hasn’t come down much even with his hot month.

For Wyatt, he’s building his numbers back up after a brilliant start to the year took a downturn. He’s up to an .824 OPS and a 118 wRC+, and his walk and strikeout rates (14.0% and 22.9%, respectively) are awesome.

But even in his most powerful season by far, he’s still a first baseman lacking in power ... he has 7 home runs and 8 doubles in 179 plate appearances in High-A, as a 25 year old.

Another nice day for catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 22 CPL), who hit 2-4 with a double, bringing his OPS to .785 and his wRC+ to 104. The catcher hype right now is justifiably with Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL), but don’t forget about Sugastey, a defensively-talented backstop who won’t turn 21 until the offseason.

Bad pitching, with RHPs Nick Sinacola, Wilkelma Castillo, and Ty Weber all having days they’ll try to forget. But LHP Joe Kemlage pitched a perfect inning, which was good to see since he got rocked the last time out. He has a 4.71 ERA and a 4.68 FIP on the year, so a nice step forward.

Low-A San Jose (29-17)

Saturday: San Jose Giants beat the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 7-1
Box score

Some exciting news: the debut of LHP/DH Reggie Crawford (No. 8 CPL). Crawford, who had debuted in the ACL as a hitter last year (and earlier this week for San Jose), made his organizational debut as a pitcher, and last year’s 1st-round pick showed promise and power, striking out 3 batters in 1.2 scoreless innings, while allowing 2 hits and 0 walks.

It’s worth noting that he didn’t hit on Sunday or Monday. Our friend Roger Munter just wrote about how it sounds like the Giants are letting Crawford hit more as a gift to him than out of a desire to develop him as a two-way prospect.

LHP Esmerlin Vinicio was next up and had one of his better outings of the year, giving up 1 hit and 1 walk in 2.1 scoreless innings, with 4 strikeouts. Vinicio, who has a 3.91 ERA but a 6.68 FIP, has struggled with both strikeouts and walks, so that was great to see.

RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL), who has been getting rocked lately, had a strong showing, allowing just 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 unearned run in 4 innings of work, with 6 strikeouts. It was just the 2nd time this year that Maldonado, who is only 19, hasn’t given up an earned run.

Center fielder Carter Howell hit 2-5 with a home run, while first baseman Andrew Kachel hit 1-4 with a home run. In the same piece I just linked to, Munter noted that Howell isn’t getting a ton of attention from scouts, so the 24 year old undrafted free agent will have to prove that his .898 OPS and 142 wRC+ can hold at a higher level before he gets prospect shine.

A nice day for left fielder Tanner O’Tremba, who hit 2-3 with a double and a hit by pitch. Last year’s 15th-round pick has an .835 OPS and a 130 wRC+.

Sunday: San Jose Giants beat the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 12-7
Box score

The Baby Giants used the 7th inning to add a data point in favor of my long-running theory that teams who have a 10-run inning are more likely to win than to lose.

The big hit in the inning came from the star of the day, center fielder Alexander Suarez, who hit 4-5 with a home run and a double.

Suarez was an exciting prospect before stumbling quite a bit last year, but he’s really starting to rebound, as he has a .758 OPS and a 107 wRC+, while still being more than half a year away from his 22nd birthday.

If he can regain some of the power he showed in his down year last year, he’ll be very exciting, since he’s significantly improved in every other area.

Lovely games from third baseman Andrew Kachel, who hit 3-5 with a double, and first baseman Zach Morgan, who hit 2-4 with a double and a walk. Kachel, a 16th-round pick last year, has an .866 OPS and a 133 wRC+, while Morgan, a 7th-round pick last year, has a .719 OPS and a 105 wRC+.

Yet another bizarre outing from RHP Manuel Mercedes, and I feel like I’m saying that a LOT. The bad is that he gave up 8 hits to just 1 strikeout in 4.2 innings ... the good is that he limited the damage to 2 runs and didn’t walk a batter.

Mercedes has walked just 10 batters in 37 innings this year, which is wild for a 20 year old ... his walks per 9 innings is 19th-best out of the 97 pitchers Low-A pitchers who have at least 30 innings pitched. It’s doubly wild when you consider that he walked 67 batters last year, in just 80.2 innings.

But he also has just 23 strikeouts ... giving him a strikeouts per 9 innings rate that’s 94th out of those 97 batters. Bizarre.

Monday: San Jose Giants beat the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 4-3 (10 innings)
Box score

An exciting finish, as the Baby Giants won on a 10th-inning walk-off single by designated hitter Onil Perez (No. 44 CPL).

A great game from catcher Thomas Gavello, who hit 2-4 with a double, bringing his OPS up to .947 and his wRC+ to 144. For a collegiate player in Low-A, Gavello — a 13th-round pick last year — is still fairly young, so those numbers are doubly exciting. He turns 22 in a week.

LHP Hayden Wynja, who has had an up-and-down year, had one of his best outings, pitching 4 no-hit innings with just a walk allowed, while striking out 4. He has just a 4.50 ERA and a 4.28 FIP, but has 37 strikeouts to 11 walks in just 26 innings.

Home runs

AAA Will Wilson (6)
AA Carter Williams (4)
AA Andy Thomas (4)
AA Brady Whalen (2)
Low-A Carter Howell (4)
Low-A Andrew Kachel (3)

Tuesday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Tacoma Rainiers, 6:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. the Erie SeaWolves, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: @ the Vancouver Canadians, 7:05 p.m. PT
San Jose: Off

Reminder that all Minor League games can be watched on MLB TV this year.