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Minor League round up, 6/25: All aboard the Luciano train!

Yesterday’s action on the Giants farm.

Marco Luciano posing in front of an orange screen with his bat on his shoulder Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

So much to dive into from Sunday, even though only half of the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates were in action. The ACL and DSL both had the day off, so it was just the A-ball teams ... who get today and tomorrow off.

Let’s jump in.

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


Let’s start with a bummer of some news. Apologies if this is old news and I only just realized it.

While perusing the rosters for today’s Injured List segment (at the bottom of the article), I noticed that AAA RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) has been moved from the 7-day Injured List to the Full-Season Injured List. It’s a huge bummer for Dabovich, the team’s 4th-round pick in 2020, who moved quickly through the system and made it to AAA last year. He was someone I had pegged for an MLB debut this year, as a high-strikeout, low-walk bullpen arm. Instead, his season is over after just 2.2 innings. Dabovich is Rule 5 eligible this offseason and, had he not made his debut, would have been a player the Giants would consider protecting if he stayed healthy. I’m guessing they won’t feel the need to protect him if he’s coming off a lost year, but one can’t be sure.

In happier roster-moving news, LHP Seth Corry, who has been rehabbing in the ACL after missing the first 2 months of the season and almost all of 2022, is now listed as being on a rehab assignment in Low-A. He’s on High-A’s roster, so if his San Jose rehab goes well, we’ll probably see him in Eugene soon.

And now, in celebratory news. AAA LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) has once again been selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game on July 8. Harrison, whose 14.86 strikeouts per 9 innings ranks 5th out of the 589 Minor League pitchers who have thrown at least 40 innings this year (with the 4 above him either substantially older or at substantially lower levels), is on pace to make an MLB debut this year if he can lower his walks.

AA LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 9 CPL) is joining Harrison at the Futures Game. A 2nd-round pick last year, Whisenhunt dominated Low-A and High-A to start the year, and has made 3 starts in Richmond since getting promoted. His 12.87 strikeouts per 9 innings ranks 27th among the aforementioned 589 Minor Leaguers.

And High-A RHP Ben Madison has been named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week after allowing just 1 baserunner in 5 scoreless innings, with 9 strikeouts. He has a 3.13 ERA and a 3.01 FIP on the season.

AAA Sacramento (34-40)

Sacramento River Cats lost to the Round Rock Express (Rangers) 5-4
Box score

The River Cats took a 4-3 lead into tho 8th inning but gave up the tying run then, and the walk-off run an inning later. Ahh, well. You can’t win them all or, in Sacramento’s case, even most of them. But as always, we’re far more invested in the individual performances than the team performance so ... whatever, or something.

RHP Kai-Wei Teng made his 2nd start since getting promoted, and the walks were again a huge issue. Teng, who earned his promotion after seeing his AA walks drop from 5.6 per 9 innings last year to 3.8 this year, walked 6 batters in just 4 innings, though he limited the damage to 3 hits and 1 run.

I said it after his last start and I’ll say it again: the jump for a pitcher from AA to AAA is, in my eyes, the single most difficult leap a prospect in the Giants system can make, since you’re facing not just a much higher level of competition, but going from a pitcher’s environment to a hitter’s environment, and confronting the automatic balls and strikes system for the first time.

So while it would be great if Teng hadn’t walked 9 batters in his first 7 innings, I also wouldn’t read anything into it.

Also struggling in his 2nd appearance since getting promoted was RHP Randy Rodríguez (No. 32 CPL), who gave up 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs in an inning of work, though he did strike out the side. Rodríguez briefly made it to AAA last year, and while urgency may not be the right word for him, it is worth noting that he’s in his 2nd year on the 40-man roster and the Giants don’t like having those spots bogged down.

Not too much on the offensive front. Recently-traded for left fielder Dalton Guthrie, playing in his 2nd game with the River Cats, had the team’s only extra-base hit, going 1-4 with a double and a walk. Catcher Joey Bart had a strikeout-free game, which was good to see, as he went 1-4 with a walk. He’s really been struggling this year, and is just 7-50 with 2 doubles, 3 walks, and 21 strikeouts since returning to Sacramento, and hasn’t homered in a game at any level since September 10, unless we’re counting his one blast in Spring Training.

Second baseman Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) had the only multi-hit game, going 2-5 with a stolen base, albeit with 2 strikeouts. He’s in a small cold patch, as his last 5 games have seen him go 4-20 with 0 extra-base hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts, which has dropped his overall numbers to an .851 OPS and a 100 wRC+. The Giants have started to play him in center field a little bit though, so he’s finding new ways to potentially provide value.

Shortstop Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL) had a bad line, hitting 1-4 with 2 strikeouts, but you can’t hit a single further than this:

It’s just been a tough luck season for Wilson, who has a .717 OPS and a 65 wRC+, with a BABIP that ranks 124th out of 130 Pacific Coast League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

AA Richmond (33-36)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 4-3
Box score

After a rough patch, Richmond has found their groove, and has now won 4 games in a row. Way to go, dudes!

It shouldn’t be a surprise that as the Flying Squirrels are heating up, so too is their best prospect: shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL).

Luciano only hit 1-4 in this game, and struck out twice ... but the hit he did have cleared the fences.

Despite not making his season debut until May, and despite playing in a pitcher’s environment, Luciano is already tied for 3rd in the system in home runs this year, with 10 in just 188 plate appearances. The only players with more are High-A outfielder Victor Bericoto, who has 14 in 94 more plate appearances, and AAA infielder Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL), who has 11 in 80 more plate appearances. There are still some things for Luciano to work on, as he has a 30.9% strikeout rate and a .218 batting average, and his defensive future is still murky.

But for now he’s a 21-year old shortstop in AA who is pretty clearly the best power hitter on the farm ... his .250 ISO is head and shoulders above any other player in the system, and 11th out of 138 Eastern League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

Prospect analysts continue to peg Luciano for the corner of the infield or even the outfield, but until the Giants move him off the position I am going to continue to dream about a power-hitting shortstop, damn it.

By the way, Sunday’s homer came a day after hitting a perfect 4-4. In his last 13 games, Luciano is hitting 17-48 with 5 home runs, 3 doubles, and 11 walks, albeit with 18 strikeouts. His unlucky BABIP is starting to course correct, and he has an .803 OPS and a 115 wRC+ on the year. Don’t let the amazing seasons by some of the other great prospects make you forget that Luciano is arguably the top prospect in the system!

Center fielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL) had a nice day, which was good to see. He hit 2-4 with a double, and in his last 3 games is now 5-13 with a home run, a double, and just 3 strikeouts. That ended a 9-game slump in which he had hit 4-39 with 1 double, 3 walks, and 18 strikeouts. Love to see that, and hopefully it keeps up. He has a .750 OPS and a 103 wRC+ on the season.

First baseman Logan Wyatt continues to heat up, as he hit 3-4 with a double, a game after hitting his 1st AA home run. Wyatt went hitless in his AA debut following a recent promotion, but has a 5-game hitting streak since then. In his 6 games at the level he’s 7-19 with a home run, a double, and 3 walks to just 5 strikeouts. Is the 2019 2nd-round pick starting to figure it out after a start to his career that was defined by poor performance, lack of power, and injuries? Let’s hope so.

Another step forward for RHP Mason Black (No. 11 CPL), the team’s 3rd-round pick in 2021. The Giants 1st and 2nd-round picks in that draft (RHP Will Bednar [No. 25 CPL] and LHP Matt Mikulski, respectively) may be struggling and gigantic question marks, but Black is starting to put it all together, and Sunday was another sign of that, as he pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, and a hit batter, while striking out 5.

In his 1st full season last year, in High-A, Black posted modest numbers — a 3.94 ERA and a 4.52 FIP — but the scouting reports painted a picture of a much better player than the numbers were portraying. After taking a while to find his bearings in AA (but still earning high marks from scouts and analysts), we’re starting to see the results of that now.

Black’s 1st 10 starts of the year showed his potential but ultimately weren’t great. Here’s his numbers from those 10 games: 36.2 innings, 34 hits, 15 walks, 26 runs, 24 earned runs, and 45 strikeouts.

He’s made 4 starts since then. Here are his numbers: 17.1 innings, 8 hits, 5 walks, 0 runs, and 21 strikeouts. Those numbers are exciting and that ability to adjust and improve is exciting, and Black’s starts are now one of the most exciting things in the farm. Keep an eye on him, folks.

RHP José Cruz (No. 35 CPL) had a funny game. He managed to walk 3 batters and hit another in just 1.1 innings, but didn’t allow a hit or a run. He’s given up 8 walks and a hit batter in just 10 innings since getting promoted, but has 12 strikeouts and just 5 hits allowed. The future is bright for Cruz, who was added to the 40-man roster over the offseason.

High-A Eugene (36-33)

Eugene Emeralds beat the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) 6-4
Box score

What a game for left fielder Jared Dupere! The lefty, who was a 13th-round pick in 2021, had his best game of the year, hitting 3-4 with a pair of home runs. It was just Dupere’s 3rd game since returning from the IL, and he certainly showed off.

It’s been a very bizarre season for Dupere. He has a pretty good batting average (.263) and a good amount of power (.181 ISO), but his strikeout rate of 42.3% is nearly 10 percentage points higher than any other Giants prospects with at least 100 plate appearances this year. Strange stuff.

Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) had a great day, which you love to see, as he hit 3-5 with a stolen base and an outfield assist. After an ice cold April (.554 OPS) and a red-hot May (.909 OPS), McCray has been highly mediocre in June, with a .613 OPS. His defense and base stealing (29 bags in 35 attempts) paint the picture of an excellent prospect, but his mediocre numbers (.712 OPS and 92 wRC+) and struggles with strikeouts (30.5% rate, 8th-worst out of 48 Giants Minor Leaguers with 100 plate appearances) have taken off some of the shine that saw him fly up prospect boards last year.

Speaking of prospects hitting cold patches, shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) hit 0-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and 2 errors. He started to find his groove in May, but has really struggled in June, where he’s hitting just 16-77 with 2 homers, 2 doubles, 5 walks, and 20 strikeouts. His OPS is down to .667 and his wRC+ to 78.

A reminder: when someone asked Patrick Bailey why Luis Matos struggled last year, his response was “Eugene.” So....

RHP Nick Sinacola had a fine, but not exciting game, allowing 5 baserunners and 2 runs in 4 innings, but with just 2 strikeouts. Sinacola is searching for the magic he had early in the season. In his first 6 games of the year, he pitched 21 innings and allowed just 13 hits, 6 walks, and 2 runs, with 29 strikeouts. In 9 games since then, he’s pitched 32.1 innings and allowed 45 hits, 12 walks, and 29 runs, with 36 strikeouts.

The late bullpen continues to shine for Eugene, with RHPs Hunter Dula and Tyler Myrick again pitching scoreless frames with a strikeout, with a walk by Myrick being the only baserunner allowed. Dula, who has a 2.05 ERA and a 2.94 FIP, has given up just 4 earned runs in 22.2 innings after his first 2 appearances of the year. Myrick, who has a 1.13 ERA and a 3.60 FIP, has given up just 1 earned run in each month this year.

Low-A San Jose (41-28)

San Jose Giants lost to the Stockton Ports (A’s) 6-5
Box score

It hasn’t been a good season for center fielder P.J. Hilson (No. 37 CPL), who has just a .597 OPS and a 65 wRC+ on the year, a year after the 22-year old had his 1st offensively-strong season as a pro (he was drafted in the 6th round in 2018).

But Sunday was a step in the right direction, and perhaps his best day of the year, as he hit 2-3 with a triple, a walk, a stolen base, and an outfield assist. The future may be murky given Hilson’s lack of performance, but if Grant McCray taught us anything last year, it’s to be patient with exceptional athletes, because sometimes things start to click. And while the OPS and wRC+ might not be pretty, Hilson plays a lovely center field, has 7 stolen bases in as many attempts, and has a strikeout rate of just 18.8%, which is 18th out of 93 California League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

Also having multi-hit days were left fielder Turner Hill, first baseman Andrew Kachel, and catcher Zach Morgan. Morgan, who hit 2-3 with a double and a walk, only has a .731 OPS and a 105 wRC+, but has 34 walks to just 37 strikeouts. Among those 93 aforementioned hitters in the League, Morgan’s 17.4% walk rate is 8th-best, while his 19.0% strikeout rate is 21st-best. That’s an exciting profile for last year’s 7th-round pick.

The biggest hit, however, belonged to third baseman Thomas Gavello, who only hit 1-4 but smacked one over the fence. It’s an .857 OPS and a 138 wRC+ for Gavello, a 13th-round pick a year ago, in his 1st full season. Great stuff.

A 2nd-straight up-and-down start for RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL). The bad was that he allowed 8 baserunners and 4 runs in 4.2 innings. The good was that he struck out 7 batters. Maldonado caught fire at the end of May, and had a 4-start streak in which he pitched 16 innings and allowed just 6 hits, 2 walks, and 1 earned run, with 22 strikeouts. In 2 starts since then he’s given up 10 hits, 5 walks, and 12 runs, albeit with 13 strikeouts in just 7.2 innings.

That hurts his ERA, which is now 5.29 (his FIP is 5.05), but he’s still a player who should be flying up every prospect list. Check out his strikeout and walk numbers by month, keeping in mind that he won’t turn 20 until late December:

April: 12.2 innings, 11 walks, 12 strikeouts
May: 15.1 innings, 12 walks, 20 strikeouts
June: 19.2 innings, 6 walks, 29 strikeouts

Bright future. Very bright future.

One note on the Baby Giants: LHP/DH Reggie Crawford (No. 8 CPL) has not appeared as a hitter or pitcher since June 16. I haven’t heard anything about him, but I’ll keep my eyes open.

Home runs

AA Marco Luciano (10)
High-A Jared Dupere, 2 (7)
Low-A Thomas Gavello (9)

Monday schedule

Sacramento: Off day
Richmond: Off day
Eugene: Off day
San Jose: Off day

Injured List

I’ve been forgetting to do this lately, but the goal is to every Monday post the players on the Injured List, since it’s easy to lose track of players. So I’ll try to remember to do that going forward.

40-man prospects (60-day IL)

OF Heliot Ramos (No. 12 CPL)
LHP Thomas Szapucki


RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) — Full season
C Brett Cumberland — 60-day
LHP/1B Ronald Guzmán — 60-day
RHP Ljay Newsome — 60-day
LHP Darien Núñez — 60-day
RHP Joe Ross — 60-day
RHP Clay Helvey — Development list
RHP Kade McClure — 7-day
RHP Phoenix Sanders — 7-day
RHP Logan Shore — 7-day
INF Donovan Walton — 7-day (on rehab assignment)


OF Hunter Bishop — 60-day
RHP Conner Nurse — 60-day
RHP Michael Stryffeler — 60-day
OF Ismael Munguia — 7-day
INF Sean Roby — 7-day (on rehab assignment)
INF Brady Whalen — 7-day


LHP Seth Corry — 7-day (on rehab assignment)
OF Jairo Pomares — 7-day (on rehab assignment)
RHP Carson Ragsdale — 7-day
INF Michael Wielanski — 7-day

San Jose

RHP Sam Bower — Full season
RHP/INF Connor Cannon — Full season
RHP Davis Hare — Full season
RHP Ian Villers — Full season
LHP Rohan Handa — 60-day
INF Abdiel Layer — 60-day
RHP Spencer Miles — 60-day
OF Mauricio Pierre — 60-day
RHP Liam Simon — 60-day
RHP Mikell Manzano — 7-day

Arizona Complex League

C Braden Frankfort — Restricted List
RHP Kanoa Pagan — Restricted List
INF Irvin Murr III — 7-day

Dominican Summer League

LHP Ricardo Estrada — Restricted List
RHP Ruben Ortiz — Restricted List
RHP Anderson Azor — 60-day
LHP Luis Custodio — 60-day
C Alessandro Duran — 60-day
RHP Fernando Estrella — 60-day
RHP Antonio Millan — 60-day
RHP Jose T Perez — 60-day
RHP Christopher Torres — 60-day
RHP Fernando Vasquez — 60-day
OF Fabio Villadiego — 60-day
INF Franco Willias — 60-day
RHP Luis Yepez — 60-day

Video round up

Haven’t done a Minor League round up in a while, so here are some of the video highlights you might have missed from the last few days.