The ACL and DSL were off on Sunday, but still an action-packed day for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates, with all four A-ball teams in action, plenty of runs to recap, and lots of news to cover.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
Over the weekend, RHP Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL) was placed on AAA Sacramento’s 7-day IL with elbow soreness. The Giants revealed that there was no structural damage shown on the MRI, which is great news since Winn has had Tommy John surgery. However, since the Giants will certainly want to be careful with him given that injury history, it’s no sure thing that he’ll return this season.
Also being placed on the 7-day IL over the weekend was AA Richmond LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 9 CPL). The Giants say Whisenhunt has a left elbow sprain and won’t be reevaluated until the end of August. That probably means that his season is over, which is a bummer ... but what a season it was!
In happier news, catcher Zach Morgan was promoted to High-A Eugene. A 7th-round pick in 2022 who gained the Giants attention in part because he had more walks than strikeouts in his final year at Fresno State, Morgan had a .759 OPS and a 111 wRC+ in Low-A San Jose. Modest numbers, but they were steadily improving all year, and he had 43 walks to just 45 strikeouts in 258 plate appearances.
Unfortunately it’s the season for letting players go to welcome the draftees, and Eugene released a trio of prospects: catcher Max Wright (25 years, 2021 UDFA), who had a 76 wRC+; shortstop Edison Mora (22 years, 2018 7th-round), who had a 57 wRC+; and LHP Joe Kemlage (24 years, 2021 UDFA), who had a 4.62 FIP.
AAA Sacramento (45-56)
Sacramento River Cats lost to the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies) 17-16
What a ridiculous and truly chaotic game. Minor League Baseball, everyone! This game featured Sacramento scoring 11 runs in the 5th inning, blowing an 8-run lead, leading 12-7 entering the 8th inning, leading 16-11 entering the 9th inning, and losing in regulation. Wild.
And you certainly don’t expect as an offense to have 17 hits, 10 extra-base hits, and draw 7 walks, and still lose, but ... PCL!
Pretty much every offensive player deserves to be highlighted here, so let’s move as quickly as possible. The most noteworthy day belonged to designated hitter Jakson Reetz, who “only” reached base twice (5 River Cats reached base at least 3 times), but both of his hits were home runs. Not only that, but one of his home runs was a grand slam. And not only that, but both of his home runs were in the same inning.
I always feel like somebody's watching Reetz!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) July 31, 2023
Jakson Reetz extends his hitting streak to eight games and puts Sacramento on the board in the fifth!#JoinTheFun #SacramentoMagic pic.twitter.com/zkZPvL3O46
To make matters even funnier, both of Reetz’s 5th-inning home runs occurred with 1 out, so .... you can do the math there for that inning.
Reetz had a slow start to his Sacramento tenure after the Giants picked him up in late June, but he’s on absolute fire right now. He’s homered in 3 consecutive games, has an 8-game hitting streak, and over his last 11 games is 13-39 with 5 home runs, 2 doubles, 4 walks, and 11 strikeouts. The Giants might be at a point of feeling comfortable with him as the 3rd catcher should they opt to trade Joey Bart before tomorrow’s deadline. And he gets to add himself to what can’t be a very long list of players to hit 2 home runs in the same inning in a professional baseball game.
Speaking of Bart, who did the catching, he had a slump-buster of a game, hitting 2-3 with a double and 3 walks. What a day! He’s been having a very tough go of it lately, as those were his first hits in more than 10 days.
Hot on Reetz’s tail for “game of the day” honors was third baseman Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL), who hit 3-5 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
GOING BACK-TO-BACK!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) July 31, 2023
Will Wilson puts the cap on Sacramento's largest inning of the season with his 13th blast of the year just after Reetz! Cats lead large 11-4!#JoinTheFun #SacramentoMagic pic.twitter.com/btm3EFW6MH
I’ve been banging the “Wilson’s season is better than the very poor numbers suggest” drum almost all year, and I’m sticking with it. The overall numbers still are lagging, as he has a .722 OPS and a 68 wRC+, but he’s now tied for 4th in the system in home runs. He continues to be done in by a very low BABIP, and wRC+ continues to really hate him ... his teammate Michael Gigliotti, for instance, has an OPS that’s .008 points higher, but a wRC+ that’s 19 points higher.
More importantly, Wilson capped off his best month in a long time, finishing July with an .824 OPS and cutting back on strikeouts in a huge way.
Also 3-hit days for the corner outfielders, left fielder Luis González and right fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 12 CPL). González, who needs to be activated from the 60-day IL in early August, doubled twice, while Ramos had a triple which brings his OPS to .875 and his wRC+ to 101.
Ramos has cooled off significantly since lighting the world on fire at the start of his rehab assignment, but still finished July hitting 26-82 with 5 homers, 3 triples, 6 doubles, and a .998 OPS. If the Giants have a quiet deadline, will Ramos get a look to try and address their poor hitting against LHPs?
Speaking of players trying to help San Francisco solve that issue, first baseman David Villar hit 2-5 with a homer, a walk, and a stolen base.
Vamos Villar!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) July 31, 2023
David Villar represents Sacramento's fourth big fly of the night by launching a solo shot to deep left field for his eighth of the season!#JoinTheFun #SacramentoMagic pic.twitter.com/Hg8prlMrFA
I think I speak for everyone when I say it would be great to see him find a way to put it all together at the MLB level.
Obviously the pitching was bad. LHP Raymond Burgos gave up 3 runs in 2 innings in his 2nd game since getting promoted, LHP Nick Swiney (No. 26 CPL) got beat up to the tune of 4 runs in 1.1 innings, and LHP Erik Miller, who had finally been cutting down on walks lately, issued 3 of them in just 0.2 innings, along with 3 hits and 5 runs.
The start went to RHP Mason Black (No. 11 CPL), who was making just his 4th appearance since getting promoted. It wasn’t a smooth day, as he gave up 4 hits and 4 runs in 4 innings, while hitting 2 batters, but he didn’t issue any walks and struck out 5. Black’s numbers in AAA are poor (5.50 ERA, 7.82 FIP), but I maintain that the hardest jump in the Giants system is a pitcher’s jump from AA to AAA, and it’s worth noting that Black has done a good job suppressing walks — not something many River Cats pitchers can boast about. After a BB-filled debut, he’s issued 5 walks in 13 innings ... though he’s given up a pair of homers in each of his last 3 games.
AA Richmond (50-46)
Some trends continuing on the mound for the Flying Squirrels. RHP Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL) got the start and while his numbers continue to be highly mediocre, he’s at least continuing to show a bounce-back on the strikeout front. Murphy gave up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 runs in just 3.1 innings, but struck out 7 batters.
After breaking out as an exciting strikeout pitcher in 2021, and having an injury and struggle-filled 2022, Murphy has not been able to pile up the Ks this year. Through his first 13 outings of the year, he had just 39 strikeouts in 45.2 innings. But in his 8 starts since then, the 23 year old has 36 strikeouts in 27 innings. Progress!
And then, on the less-happy front, RHP Blake Rivera got knocked around again, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 hit batter, and 2 runs in just 1.1 innings. Over has last 5 games and 5 innings, Rivera has allowed 6 hits, 10 walks, 1 hit batter, and 9 runs. He has 35 walks in 35.1 innings on the year.
But LHP Juan Sanchez had a dynamic outing, striking out 5 batters in 2 no-hit innings, allowing just 1 walk. Sanchez is down to a 2.35 ERA and a 3.19 FIP on the year, and is making a pretty strong case for Rule 5 protection this offseason.
A pretty quiet day on offense. Center fielder Shane Matheny hit 2-5 with a home run, as he continues to play well.
CHOO CHOO All aboard the Shane Train pic.twitter.com/NYg3dH8ShW— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) July 30, 2023
Over his last 6 games, Matheny is 6-19 with 1 home run, 1 double, and 8 walks, bringing his AA OPS to .866 and his wRC+ to 112. The upside is that Matheny has a ton of positional versatility, having played every position except pitcher and catcher this year. The downside is that he’s 27 and has already been demoted from AAA.
Shortstop Jimmy Glowenke also had a lovely day, hitting 1-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, giving him a .684 OPS and an 89 wRC+ since a midseason promotion. Glowenke is really starting to find his Richmond legs. He debuted on the last day of May and hit 0-4, then had just a .472 OPS in June. But he finishes July with an OPS of .939. Keep that up, Jimmy!
High-A Eugene (49-47)
Eugene Emeralds lost to Spokane (Rockies) 6-5 (11 innings)
What an introduction for catcher Zach Morgan! Playing in his first game since a promotion, the 23 year old from Stockton seemed confused as to why hitters have struggled in Eugene, as he hit 3-4 with a walk, and bashed a home run in his very first High-A at-bat. Wow. Welcome to the PNW, Zach!
His teammate for much of the year in San Jose clearly gave him some pointers, as designated hitter Matt Higgins hit 3-5 with a double. Higgins has been adjusting to life in Eugene well, following a promotion a few weeks ago. After going hitless in his first 2 games at the level, the 2022 undrafted free agent has been excellent over his last 10 games, hitting 14-39 with 1 home run, 4 doubles, 6 walks, and just 7 strikeouts.
Right fielder Jared Dupere wrapped up a fantastic month by hitting 2-5 with a double. Dupere still has a massive strikeout problem — his 38.2% strikeout rate is dead last among the 89 Giants prospects with at least 100 plate appearances this year, and it’s 24th-worst out of 1,172 Minor League players with at least 200 plate appearances. But he rocked an .899 OPS in July, and is up to an .814 OPS and a 117 wRC+ on the year. For now the strikeouts aren’t keeping him from having good numbers, but at higher levels they almost surely will.
One interesting development here that I did not see coming: Luis Toribio played at shortstop. It was the first time in his career that he had spent even an inning at a defensive position other than first or third base. You don’t normally see a defensive transition that goes in that direction!
RHP Hayden Birdsong (No. 36 CPL) continues to look right at home post-promotion. He gave up 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs in 4 innings of work, while striking out 6 batters. A 6th-round pick a year ago, Birdsong is now 8 games into his time in the Northwest League, and has a 3.00 ERA and a 3.67 FIP. Most impressive, however, are the 46 strikeouts to 9 walks in 36 innings. Birdsong is putting up big numbers while also proving very reliable: his 77.2 innings pitched this year are tied for 3rd among all Giants prospects, while his 13.4 strikeouts per 9 innings are 5th among 69 Giants pitchers with at least 30 innings thrown. He’s having a great year.
Another delightful outing for RHP Sam Delaplane, who struck out 3 batters in 2 innings, with a hit batter being the only baserunner allowed. A 28 year old trying to actualize his high potential, Delaplane is up to 25.1 innings on the year, after being limited to just 3.2 in 2022, and 0 in 2021 and 2020. He has a 1.59 ERA in Eugene, with 19 strikeouts to 4 walks in 11.1 innings. We’ll probably see him end the year in Richmond, and what a story that will be.
Low-A San Jose (53-43)
It goes without saying at this point that shortstop Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL) had a good day. But I’ll say it anyway: Diego Velasquez had a good day.
Velasquez did it all on Sunday, finishing the day 2-3 with a double, 2 walks, and 3 stolen bases. Velasquez now has 11 multi-hit days in his last 15 games, and during that time is 25-63 with 1 home run, 1 triple, 8 doubles, 4 walks, and just 7 strikeouts. He finished July with a .923 OPS, and on the year has an .841 OPS, a 129 wRC+, and a 16.6% strikeout rate that is 6th-lowest out of 39 Giants Minor Leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances. He has 21 stolen bases in 23 attempts, plays both sides of second base, hits from both sides of the plate, and is still a few months away from his 20th birthday.
First baseman Andrew Kachel and third baseman Dilan Rosario both hit 2-4 with a double, with Kachel adding a stolen base and seeing his OPS rise to .834 and his wRC+ to 124. A great full-season debut for the 22 year old left-handed hitter, who was a 16th-round pick last year.
Center fielder Turner Hill hit 3-5 with a stolen base, though he had no extra-base hits and was caught stealing as well. That’s been the season for Hill, who was signed in May after going undrafted last year. He has a .274 batting average, but in 204 plate appearances has just 11 extra-base hits ... all doubles. He’s stolen 19 bases, but has been caught 4 times.
Luke Shliger didn’t play in this game, but it’s worth noting that he did play in Saturday’s game. A 6th-round pick a few weeks ago, Shliger is, at the moment, the only one of the Giants recent draftees to get assigned to A-ball. He hit 1-4 in his debut.
A poor start for RHP Manuel Mercedes, who allowed 4 hits, 4 walks, and 5 runs in 4 innings. Mercedes, who has a 3.72 ERA and a 4.12 FIP in his 2nd pass through Low-A (he’s still just 20 though, having skipped the DSL after missing out on it in 2020), is starting to see his walk numbers rise. His profile was hilarious early in the year, with barely any walks or strikeouts, but now both numbers are creeping up, for better and for worse. Look at these funny splits.
First 10 games: 40 innings, 25 strikeouts, 11 walks
Next 9 games: 37.1 innings, 31 strikeouts, 23 walks
Odd season. But again ... still just 20.
RHP Cameron Cotter who, like Hill, was signed in May after going undrafted in 2022, pitched 2 delightful innings. He struck out 2 batters, and the only baserunner he allowed was on an error that he made. He’s struggling with strikeouts, as he has just 18 in 23.2 innings ... but he also has only 2 walks all year, and a 3.04 ERA.
RHP Marques Johnson made his organizational debut and pitched a no-hit inning, allowing 2 walks and striking out 1. Johnson was an 11th-round pick in 2022 whom the Giants traded Mauricio Llovera for last week.
The Giants pair of ACL teams had Sunday off, but they played an intrasquad game on Saturday. I don’t have the time to recap it, but did want to highlight a few performances, just because so many of the recent draftees debuted.
The team’s top 3 picks (Bryce Eldridge, Walker Martin, and Joe Whitman) have yet to debut, but there are now a lot of first-year pros in Arizona. Shortstop Cole Foster (21 years), the team’s 3rd-round pick, hit 2-4 with a double, while they’re 7th-round pick, right fielder Scott Bandura (21 years) hit 1-2 with a home run and 2 walks. What a debut!
San Francisco’s 11th-round pick, catcher Jack Payton (21 years) hit 2-4 with a double in his debut, while undrafted free agent left fielder Bo Davidson (21 years) shined, hitting 3-3 with a triple and a walk. Welcome to the pros, draftees (and undrafted signees)!
Sunday was the DSL All-Star Game, with the AL All-Stars beating the NL All-Stars 4-3. A pair of Giants played for the NL team. Left fielder Moisés de la Rosa (18 years, 2022 IFA) hit 0-1 off the bench, while catcher Anyelo Gonzalez (18 years, 2023 IFA) came off the pine to hit 1-2. Congrats on the recognition to both of them!
Side note: I’ve been spelling de la Rosa’s name incorrectly (I was spelling it “Moises De La Rosa” instead of “Moisés de la Rosa”) because that’s how it was listed on the MiLB site, but the Giants official prospect Twitter account just spelled it out. So for those of you invested in proper spellings, there it is: Moisés de la Rosa.
Congratulations to our two Dominican Summer League All-Stars:— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) July 30, 2023
Moisés de la Rosa OF
Anyelo Gonzalez C
Felicidades señores! pic.twitter.com/D1FcUwK2Vs
AAA Will Wilson (13)
AAA Jakson Reetz, 2 (9)
AAA David Villar (8 in AAA, 13 total)
AA Shane Matheny (5 in AA, 8 total)
High-A Zach Morgan (1 in High-A, 5 total)
Sacramento: Off day
Richmond: Off day
Eugene: Off day
San Jose: Off day
Here’s your weekly update of all the players in the system who are on an Injured List.
40-man roster (60-Day IL)
RHP Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL)
OF Luis González (on a rehab assignment)
LHP Thomas Szapucki
RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) — Full Season
C Brett Cumberland — 60-Day
INF/LHP Ronald Guzmán — 60-Day
RHP Kade McClure — 60-Day
RHP Ljay Newsome — 60-Day (on a rehab assignment)
LHP Darien Núñez — 60-Day (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Joe Ross — 60-Day
RHP Logan Shore — 60-Day
LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) — 7-Day
OF Jack Larsen — 7-Day
RHP Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL) — 7-Day
OF Hunter Bishop (No. 29 CPL) — 60-Day
RHP Michael Stryffeler — 60-Day
RHP Matt Frisbee — 7-Day
RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL) — 7-Day
LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 9 CPL) — 7-Day
INF Michael Wielansky — 60-Day
RHP Will Bednar (No. 25 CPL) — 7-Day
INF Damon Dues — 7-Day (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Trevor McDonald (No. 23 CPL) — 7-Day (on a rehab assignment)
OF Jairo Pomares (No. 14 CPL) — 7-Day
RHP Carson Ragsdale — 7-Day
Low-A San Jose
RHP Sam Bower — Full Season
INF/RHP Connor Cannon — Full Season
RHP Davis Hare — Full Season
RHP Spencer Miles — Full Season
RHP Ian Villers — Full Season
LHP Rohan Handa — 60-Day
OF Mauricio Pierre — 60-Day
RHP Liam Simon — 60-Day
LHP Seth Corry — 7-Day (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Mikell Manzano — 7-Day (on a rehab assignment)
Arizona Complex League
C Braden Frankfort — Restricted List
RHP Kanoa Pagan — Restricted List
OF Samuel Reyes — 60-Day
C Nomar Diaz — 7-Day
INF Irvin Murr III — 7-Day
RHP Melvin Pineda — 7-Day