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Minor League round up: Promotion day!

Yesterday’s action on the Giants farm.

View from behind as Logan Wyatt hits
High-A 1B Logan Wyatt was one of 3 players promoted Monday
Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants A-ball affiliates were off on Monday, but their Arizona Complex League and Dominican Summer League teams were in action, as was the promotion train. So there’s lots to talk about ... let’s dive in!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


The Giants announced a trio of promotions on Monday, a fitting time for promotions since the A-ball affiliates all had the day off. Most notable was RHP Hayden Birdsong (No. 36 CPL), who received the call to jump from Low-A San Jose to High-A Eugene.

A 6th-round pick in 2022, the organization sung the praises of Birdsong during the 11.2 innings he threw in his debut year, and again during the spring. And his performance with the Baby Giants this year made it clear why: in 12 games Birdsong, a 21 year old, had a 2.16 ERA, a 2.76 FIP, and 70 strikeouts to 22 walks in 41.2 innings. Low-A numbers should always come with a little bit of salt, but Birdsong’s 15.1 strikeouts per 9 innings rank 5th among the 732 Minor League pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings this year (sidenote: the Giants have 5 of the top 34 in that metric).

It will be fun to see what Birdsong can do at the next level, and to see if he can keep it up and make it to AA by year’s end.

Joining Birdsong on the trip to Eugene is a teammate and fellow member of the 2022 draft class, RHP Will Kempner. A 3rd-round pick last year, Kempner is likely a case of the Giants liking what they see from a scouting and Trackman standpoint, because the numbers aren’t very inspiring this year: he has a 4.67 ERA, a 4.25 FIP, 9.7 strikeouts per 9 innings, and 5.0 walks per 9 innings. After working as a starter for his first 5 outings of the year, Kempner — who turns 22 this weekend — has been a single-inning reliever since early May. I would assume that’s temporary, but who knows.

And finally, first baseman Logan Wyatt has been promoted to AA Richmond. Wyatt, a 25 year old who was a 2nd-round pick in 2019, had been limited in playing time entering this year, due to the pandemic and injuries. He also hadn’t been good.

This has easily been his best year, as he has an .801 OPS and a 114 wRC+. He has quality walk and strikeout numbers (14.4% and 22.7%, respectively), and is finding some power for the first time in his career. He entered the season with just 5 home runs, 1 triple, and 19 doubles in 612 career plate appearances across rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A. But this year in Eugene he had 8 homers and 9 doubles in 229 plate appearances.

Congrats to all three! Now onto the games.


ACL Giants Black (4-2) beat the ACL Giants Orange (1-5) 6-3 (7 innings)
Box score

I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of the intra-squad games. Partially because it’s less fun when a prospect’s good performance is coming against another prospect you’re invested in, partially because it’s fewer box scores to peruse, and partially because it’s harder to write about the game. Ahh, well. I’ll survive.

Not a lot of notable performances in this game. Let’s start with the 3 players who had good enough days to warrant further discussion based just on merit.

For the winning Giants Black team, first baseman Guillermo Williamson (19, 2021 IFA) continued his attack on baseballs, hitting 1-3 with a home run. Williamson debuted in the DSL last year and had fairly standard numbers, sporting a .770 OPS and a 108 wRC+, though he showed some good pop and drew quite a bit of walks.

After 6 games in the states, that pop is well on display: he’s 7-20 and already has 3 home runs and a double (though he’s also struck out 7 times to just 2 walks). The Giants have prioritized up-the-middle players and third basemen lately, which is both justifiable and smart, but it’s still fun to see a first baseman and corner outfielder who can step into one.

For the Giants Orange team, third baseman Jean Carlos Sio (19, 2022 IFA) entered the game as a replacement and calmly hit 2-2 with a triple. Sio had a very funny debut season in the DSL in 2022. In 49 games he had just a .604 OPS and a 75 wRC+, hardly numbers that warrant a move to rookie ball. He struggled mightily with power, with just 9 extra-base hits (7 of which were doubles) in 179 plate appearances. But there were things to like, namely the fact that he had 25 walks to just 23 strikeouts ... with a 12.8% strikeout rate that ranked 2nd out of the 29 Giants DSL players with at least 50 plate appearances. So far his ACL debut is going well ... he’s 6-20 with a triple, a double, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts.

And one standout pitching performance: Giants Black RHP Jorge Garcia (21, 2018 IFA) pitched 1.1 perfect innings with a strikeout. This is Garcia’s 3rd year in the ACL, though just his 16th game during that time.

Those were the performances that were really good, but there were still other days to talk about. Let’s go to the rehabs.

Third baseman Sean Roby, who set the AA Richmond franchise record last year with 25 home runs, made his season debut after battling injuries, and hit 0-2. Roby will almost surely slot back into AA for a repeat year once he’s healthy ... despite the home run power, he had just a .767 OPS and a 104 wRC+ last year, with a 39.7% strikeout rate that was the 2nd-worst mark out of the Giants 54 Minor Leaguers who had at least 200 plate appearances. Great to see him back out on the field.

Designated hitter Donovan Walton and second baseman Armando Alvarez each collected a hit (a double for Walton), as they prepare to head back to AAA Sacramento. And designated hitter Jairo Pomares (No. 14 CPL) hit 1-3 with a walk in his 2nd game of the year. It will be very exciting to see the left-handed hitting slugger back to being healthy ... I’d assume he gets assigned to AA Richmond after a .768 OPS and a 113 wRC+ in High-A Eugene last year.

Also making his 2nd appearance of the year was RHP Will Bednar (No. 25 CPL, 23, 2021 1st-round). Bednar, who spent Spring training, April, and May injured, is technically just listed on the ACL Giants Orange roster, rather than being on a rehab assignment, but that’s probably just to make the roster numbers work. I would assume at the very least that the Giants will slot him into Low-A San Jose, where he struggled mightily last year, once he’s up to speed.

Bednar was pretty rusty in this game, pitching 2.2 innings and allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, a hit batters, and 2 unearned runs, with 2 strikeouts. I’ll be honest: I have zero clue what our expectations with Bednar should be.

One of the odder stories on the Giants farm this year continues to be odd, as RHP Christian Avendano (19 years old) made an appearance for the Giants Black team, giving up 4 baserunners and 2 runs in an inning of work.

I was already confused by Avendano before this game, because there’s not a ton of info with international signings. But Avendano was signed in 2021 by the St. Louis Cardinals and appeared in 24 games that year for their DSL team ... as a center fielder. He didn’t play in 2022, and his transaction page jumps straight to the Giants signing him in November ... he made his Giants organizational debut this month with the DSL Giants Black team as a pitcher then, after 2 games, was sent to the ACL, where he made his debut on Monday.

So to recap, we have a teenage international signing switching organizations which is very bizarre, switching positions which is very bizarre, and then getting a first-week international promotion, which is very bizarre.

Christian Avendano: very bizzare.

I think it’s time for me to send Roger a message.

DSL Orange (4-2)

DSL Giants Orange beat the DSL LAD Mega 10-6
Box score

I always love when the Giants beat the Dodgers. I don’t care how many levels below the Majors it is. I’ll celebrate a Little League team named the Giants beating the Dodgers.

Some pretty good performances led to the victory, mainly for the position players. Left fielder/right fielder Angel Guzman (17, 2023 IFA) was an absolute superstar in this game, hitting 4-5 with a triple and 2 doubles.

It’s nearly impossible to know how to rank recently-signed international free agents unless they get massive signing bonuses, so we’re kind of flying blind with a lot of players, including Guzman. Right now all we can go off of is 6 professional games ... during which time he’s hitting 12-24 with a triple, 6 doubles, and 3 walks.

May your baseball days continue to look exactly like that, Angel...

The other multi-hit game came from another member of the recent signing period, second baseman Dario Reynoso (18, 2023 IFA). Reynoso didn’t have any of the extra-base hits that defined Guzman’s game, but he hit 3-4 with a walk and a stolen base. 5 games into his career he’s 10-21 with a triple, 2 doubles, and 3 walks. You love to see that.

And shortstop Anthony Tandron (17, 2023 IFA) hit 1-4 with a triple and a walk. He’s not blowing up the stat sheet like Guzman and Reynoso, but his numbers are still fantastic: 6-18 with a triple, a double, and 4 walks. For a 17 year old shortstop, no less...

It is extremely early days, but the Giants new crop of international signees sure is off to a much faster start than in the past few years.

One of those players from last year had a decent game on Monday: RHP Alfonso Perez (17, 2022 IFA). Perez got rocked a bit in his debut seasoning, finishing the year with a 7.56 ERA, a 5.01 FIP, and just 11 strikeouts to 9 walks in 16.2 innings. He wasn’t super sharp yesterday, issuing a hit and 3 walks in 2 innings, with 3 unearned runs, though he struck out 3 batters which was good to see.

RHPs Jorge Martinez (21, 2019 IFA) and Ken Salas (21, 2019 IFA) both had nice outings at the back of the ‘pen, with 2 strikeouts in 2 scoreless innings each. Both of them are in their 3rd year in the DSL and trying to prove their worth.

DSL Black (4-2)

DSL Giants Black beat the DSL Tigers 2 10-6 (11 innings)
Box score

Some more really fun performances in this one! Let’s start with the star of the latest signing period, center fielder Rayner Arias (No. 27 CPL, 17, 2023 IFA). He’s been acquitting himself more than admirably since beginning his pro career a week ago, and Monday was no exception: he hit 1-4 with a double, 2 walks, and a stolen base.

It’s far too early to talk about a promotion, as Arias was assigned to the DSL for a reason. But through 6 pro games, the ultra-talented Arias (who received the largest bonus the Giants have given out since 2015) is 8-20 with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, and 6 walks to 3 strikeouts. Given that Giants director of international scouting Joe Salermo said a few months ago that Arias was advanced enough to play in the states already, I wonder if Arias might earn the rare midseason international promotion if he keeps this up. But first things first: he needs to keep it up.

First baseman Diego Gonzalez (19, 2021 IFA) had a phenomenal game as well, hitting 3-5 with a double, a walk, and 2 stolen bases. Gonzalez is already in his 3rd pass through the DSL, and the first 2 years didn’t go well, as he sorely lacked both average and power (though his walk and strikeout rates were good). So far his 3rd attempt is going much better!

Second baseman Samuel Rodriguez (19, 2021 IFA) had a fairly decent debut season in the DSL in 2021, but lost almost all of 2022 to injuries. So he’s looking to make a statement this year, and did so on Monday, hitting 3-6 and stealing 2 bases in his 5th game of the year.

And a lovely day from right fielder Carlos Concepcion (17, 2023 IFA) who had 2 hits and 2 walks. He had been slow out of the gates in his 1st week as a pro, so nice to see him have a strong game.

LHP Carlos Lopez (20, 2019 IFA) got the start and was pretty good, giving up 5 hits, 0 walks, 4 runs, and 1 earned run in 4 innings, with 4 strikeouts. Like so many others on the team, he’s trying to stick in his 3rd year at the level. The 1 walk he’s issued in 7.1 innings this year will help ... he’d given up 29 walks in 39 innings in his first 2 years.

And very strong games at the back of the bullpen by RHPs Ankeily Feliz (19, 2021 IFA) and Jan Caraballo (19, 2021 IFA). They each had 3 strikeouts (Feliz with 1 walk in 1 inning, Caraballo with 0 walks in 2 innings) which was good to see ... each player gave up more walks than strikeouts last year.

Home runs

ACL Guillermo Williamson (3)

Tuesday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, 5:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: @ the Bowie Baysox, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: @ Spokane, 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: vs. the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, 6:30 p.m. PT

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