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Minor League round up, May 4

Yesterday’s news and scores on the farm.

Marco Luciano leaving the batter’s box after a hit
Marco Luciano hit his first AA home run on Thursday
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

All four of the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates were in action on Thursday, so let’s jump right into the exciting action!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.

AAA Sacramento (13-17)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Las Vegas Aviators (A’s) 7-6
Box score

Bit of a funny game for Sacramento’s offense. They got all the damage done late, scoring their 7 runs in the 8th and 9th innings. They didn’t have any home runs and only had a pair of doubles (from first baseman Ricardo Genovés and his replacement, Matt Beaty), but they walked 8 times while only striking out 7 times. That’s a good way to do it.

Third baseman Colton Welker reached base 4 times, hitting 2-3 with 2 walks and 4 RBI, which raised his OPS to .810 and his wRC+ to 115. Plus, he had the walk-off hit!

Welker is impressing, though it’s hard to imagine he’ll work his way into the MLB plans given that the team has Brett Wisely (No. 33 CPL) and Isan Díaz on the 40-man roster, with 3 very intriguing infield prospects in Sacramento.

Speaking of intriguing infield prospects, shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL), playing in just his 2nd AAA game, had a nice day at the plate, hitting 1-3 with 2 walks. That’s great to see! And catcher Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL), also fairly new to the level, had a 2-hit day, bumping his OPS to .648 and his wRC+ to 76 after 6 games in Sacramento.

Designated hitter Darin Ruf appeared in his 2nd rehab game, and hit 1-4 with a walk.

Nothing much of note on the mound, with the bulk of the innings going to RHPs Drew Strotman and Kade McClure, who were fine but not particularly good, as they’ve been all season. Kind of just a AAAA game for the pitchers.

But RHP Ryan Walker had yet another nice outing, as he’s been doing all year, giving up just 1 walk in a scoreless inning, with 2 strikeouts. Check out his line through 11 appearances: 17.2 innings, 8 hits, 6 walks, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 18 strikeouts. In the extreme offensive environment that is the PCL, that’s a huge win.

AA Richmond (14-9)

Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Altoona Curve (Pirates) 6-3
Box score

The game may not have been fruitful or exciting, but it was still a great day in Richmond for one reason. Designated hitter Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL) was playing in just his 2nd game of the season. A night after making his season debut and striking out 4 times under brutal hitting conditions, Luciano had better weather and a better go of it, hitting 1-3 with an absolute bomb of a home run, and also a walk.

Keep hitting those and you’ll be in San Francisco soon, Marco.

Also having a great day was right fielder Ismael Munguia, who hit 2-5 with 2 doubles and a walk, raising his OPS to .736 and his wRC+ to 110.

Munguia, who missed the entire 2022 season due to a wrist injury, has really been finding his groove lately. In his last 6 games, he’s hitting 10-24 with 1 home run, 4 doubles, 2 walks, and just 5 strikeouts. In his last 13 games, Munguia is hitting 20-56 with 2 home runs, 4 doubles, and 4 walks.

RHP Mason Black (No. 11 CPL), the top right-handed pitching prospect in the organization by most people’s accounts, struggled a bit in this game, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, a hit batter, and 4 runs in just 3.1 innings, with only 2 strikeouts. Despite the outing, Black has really nice strikeout and walk numbers, with 12.2 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per 9 innings. But the run prevention has been tough, as he has a 5.60 ERA (but a 3.84 FIP)

RHP Spencer Bivens made his AA debut and didn’t allow an earned run, but did give up 5 baserunners and 2 unearned runs in 3.2 innings of work. Bivens is such a fun story ... he’s 28, but didn’t make his professional debut until the Giants signed him last year.

LHP Juan Sanchez closed out the game, striking out 2 batters in 2 scoreless innings, with just 1 hit allowed. He has a 2.31 ERA and a 3.50 FIP, but a year after having 75 strikeouts in 52.2 High-A innings, Sanchez has K’d just 9 batters in 11.2 innings.

High-A Eugene (13-4)

Eugene Emeralds lost to Spokane (Rockies) 9-4
Box score

The Emeralds only mustered 4 hits on the day, but half of them cleared the fence. The star, by far, was third baseman Luis Toribio, who hit 2-4 with a home run in his 2nd straight game. Toribio has done everything the organization has asked him to do while repeating High-A, and is now sitting on a .985 OPS and a 158 wRC+.

In his last 10 games, the 22-year old is hitting 11-37 with 4 home runs, 1 double, and 5 walks. He’s also gone 3 straight games without striking out. I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be sent a plane ticket to the east coast fairly soon.

The other home run came from shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL), which gave him a .706 OPS and a 91 wRC+. Very good numbers for someone who just turned 20 and is defensively stellar at shortstop.

Another rough game for left fielder Jared Dupere, who hit 0-4 with a strikeout hat trick. A .487 BABIP and some good power have given Dupere a .770 OPS and a 106 wRC+, but he now has 40 strikeouts in 90 plate appearances. Yikes!

A pretty bad day on the mound, as LHP Seth Lonsway, LHP Joe Kemlage, and RHP Wilkelma Castillo all pitched poorly, though 5 errors by the Emeralds certainly didn’t make life easier.

RHP Hunter Dula, however, had a very nice showing, striking out 3 batters in 1.1 scoreless innings, while giving up just a walk. In 9 innings, Dula has given up just 6 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs, while striking out 10 batters. Pretty nice start to his 2nd full pro season!

Low-A San Jose (14-10)

San Jose Giants lost to the Modesto Nuts (Mariners) 12-10
Box score

Well the offense sure was good! 8 of the 9 Baby Giants collected hits, and 6 of them had doubles! But no one had as good of a day as left fielder Matt Higgins, who hit 4-5 with a home run and a double. What a great day!

Higgins, an undrafted free agent last year, has been scorching the baseball, and now has an .887 OPS and a 148 wRC+.

Center fielder Carter Howell — also an undrafted free agent last year — had a standout day as well, hitting 3-5 with a double and a walk, bringing his OPS to .764 and his wRC+ to 115. Maybe the Giants know what they’re doing with undrafted free agents?

Shortstop Jose Ramos continued his lovely start to the year, hitting 2-5 with a double, bringing his OPS to .736 and his wRC+ to 107.

Those numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away, and they’re not as nice as they were at the start of the year, but Ramos is 20, a shortstop, and playing in A-ball for the first time after skipping rookie ball. And he also has just a 22.2% strikeout rate. I think it’s safe to say that he has the organization’s attention.

Needless to say, the Baby Giants struggled on the mound, hence the whole 12 runs allowed thing. LHP Nomar Medina, who had been excellent up to this point, had an extremely rough day, giving up 7 hits, 1 walk, 8 runs, and 4 earned runs in just 0.2 innings of work.

But RHPs Tyler Vogel and Daniel Blair (another undrafted player!) were excellent. Vogel, last year’s 12th-round pick, pitched 1.1 perfect innings with a strikeout, giving him a 3.12 ERA, though his FIP is just 7.68 on account of 11 strikeouts to 8 walks in 8.2 innings.

Blair struck out 3 in 2.1 scoreless innings, with just 1 hit allowed. He now has a 1.86 ERA, but like Vogel, his FIP is much worse, at 5.66.

Home runs

AA Marco Luciano (1)
High-A Luis Toribio (6)
High-A Aeverson Arteaga (2)
Low-A Matt Higgins (2)