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Minor League round up, 7/4: A no-hitter!!!

Yesterday’s action on the Giants farm.

William Kempner throwing a pitch for Gonzaga
William Kempner was part of a no-hitter for High-A Eugene

Five games for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates on Tuesday, as only one of their Arizona Complex League teams was in action, and both of their Dominican Summer League teams got rained out (the DSL Orange squad never started their game, while the DSL Black team was up 7-1 in the 3rd inning when weather put things on pause — both games will be made up/finished on July 26).

Let’s jump in!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


A few roster notes. First, an exciting promotion, as corner outfielder and infielder Victor Bericoto has been promoted from High-A Eugene to AA Richmond. Eugene has stymied so many hitting prospects, but not Bericoto. In his first year at the level, the 21-year old righty hit .296/.353/.533, for a 128 wRC+. He has a good walk rate, a very good strikeout rate, and his 16 home runs are tops in the organization. Excited to see him in Richmond!

Joining Bericoto is RHP Tyler Myrick, who also got promoted to Richmond. Myrick had a 1.04 ERA in Eugene, albeit with a 3.76 FIP. He’s not too much of a strikeout artist, but he’s only allowed 7 walks and 0 hit batters in 26 innings this year.

Unfortunately that means the Flying Squirrels need to make space, and they did so with a pair of moves. Outfielder Carter Williams has been demoted to High-A. Williams, who destroyed Low-A last year but was decidedly average in High-A, had struggled in Richmond, with just a .617 OPS and a 68 wRC+. Hopefully he finds his bat again in Eugene.

And RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL) has been placed on the 7-day Injured List after removing himself from a start on Friday. Roupp, who got a late start on the season because of injuries, has been phenomenal when healthy, as he has a 1.74 ERA, a 2.13 FIP, and 42 strikeouts to 9 walks in 31 innings. Here’s hoping the injury is minor.

AAA Sacramento (38-43)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Salt Lake Bees (Angels) 9-7
Box score

A really fun day if you’re invested in former Giants top prospects who have played in the Majors this year and are fighting to stay in the team’s plans. That sound like you? Great! Have a seat!

First off, let’s talk about catcher Joey Bart. We all know what’s been going on in Bartland over the last few months (or years, if you prefer), which makes it all the more exciting that he’s playing so well right now. He hit 2-4 in this game, bashed a double, drew a walk, didn’t strike out, and, crucially, hit the go-ahead home run in the 9th inning. What a day!

Like I said, you know what’s been going on in Bartland, so let me just give you the very quick updated numbers. Bart started a rehab assignment that turned into being optioned in early June. In his first 12 games during that time, he hit a paltry 5-42 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, and 21 strikeouts. At one point, his streak of consecutive games — across AAA and MLB — without a home run reached 60.

In 7 games since then, Bart has gone 11-29 with 3 home runs, 1 double, 2 walks, and, amazingly, just 3 strikeouts.

He has a 7-game hit streak, and is starting to show signs that he could be a damn good backup to Patrick Bailey (No. 10 CPL). I’m rooting for him.

And second off, let’s talk about right fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 12 CPL). I’ll admit that I’m irrationally pulling for Ramos. He was one of the first prospects I became invested in when I first starting getting really interested in the Minors. Given where his development was, it feels like the lost COVID season really hurt him more than the average prospect. And I remain a huge fan of his tools even if I recognize that the likelihood of him making it work in a valuable MLB package is pretty low at this point.

To get you caught up on Ramos: last week he began a rehab assignment, as he’s been an the 60-day IL. It was a notable rehab assignment, because the Giants started it early enough that his maximum of 20 days rehabbing will end at the same time as his minimum of 60 days on the IL. Which means the Giants chose the earliest date possible to force themselves into either adding him back to the 40-man roster, or letting him go.

So far he’s making the decision for them, and trying to prove that he can be an option in an outfield full of injured and unproven players. He hit 3-5 in this game, finishing a home run shy of the cycle.

Ramos has made 7 rehab appearances now, 5 with San Jose and 2 with Sacramento. He’s 11-25 with 2 home runs, 1 triple, 5 doubles, 2 walks, and just 4 strikeouts. How I would love to see this continue!

One person Ramos is in battle with when it comes to staying on the 40-man roster is recently-traded for center fielder Dalton Guthrie, who hit 3-5 with a double and a stolen base. And recently-signed left fielder Jakson Reetz hit 2-4 with a triple, a double, a walk, and a stolen base. So the Giants certainly have some intriguing depth options going on in Sacramento!

Unfortunately it was a different story on the mound, where it was another start for LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) that didn’t move him closer to an MLB debut. Harrison made it through just 3 innings in this game, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, a hit batter, and 2 runs, with 3 strikeouts.

I contend that there is (nearly) zero reason to be concerned about Harrison, as he’s extremely young, pitching in a league with comical walk rates, adjusting to an automated strike zone that regularly cuts off the top of the zone (where he lives), and continues to draw, “yeah, wouldn’t worry about it” reports from scouts.

But I also contend that his MLB debut happening this year has moved from a perceived inevitability to an “ehh, maybe.” In his last 3 starts, Harrison has pitched just 9 innings, and allowed 16 hits, 7 walks, 2 hit batters, 4 home runs, and 12 runs, with 12 strikeouts. He’ll likely pitch again on Sunday, in the final game for Sacramento before the All-Star break. Just like with the Giants, the break can’t come fast enough for Harrison. I forgot that the Futures Game is Saturday. This is probably Harrison’s final start before the break.

LHP Erik Miller had a very Erik Miller outing, pitching a scoreless inning with both a strikeout and a walk. In 36.2 innings this year, Miller has given up just 17 hits (incredible!) and 7 earned runs (amazing!) with 50 strikeouts (splendid!). He’s also walked 26 batters (yikes!).

RHP Nick Avila continues to have the funniest useless stat of the year, and also had a nice game, giving up 2 baserunners in 1.2 scoreless innings, with 3 strikeouts. Avila, who has a 3.70 ERA but a 5.88 FIP after spending Spring Training with the Chicago White Sox when he was poached in the Rule 5 Draft (but later returned), now has a record of 11-0 on the year. If you want a reminder as to how silly wins and losses are, especially for relievers, Avila is having the worst statistical season of his career, and has 11 wins in 31 appearances. Prior to this year, he had 9 career wins in 82 games.


AA Richmond (39-37)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 11-5
Box score

If Sacramento provided a great experience for those hoping former top prospects with MLB experience could regain their shine, Richmond provided a great experience for those hoping current top prospects in search of MLB debuts could keep up their hot performances.

And isn’t that all of us? If it’s not you, what are you doing here?

The top 3 position player prospects in Richmond kicked off the batting order, and all 3 of them shined beautifully.

Kicking things off was the biggest star of the day, right fielder Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL). Every year when we conclude the CPL, I have a section where I talk about the highest risers year-to-year. I can say with great certainty that, unless Meckler finds his way to an MLB debut early enough this year to exhaust his prospect status by the end of the season, he’ll be among the highest risers.

Meckler hit 3-5 in this game, bopping both a home run and a double.

The fastest-moving prospect in the Farhan Zaidi era, last year’s 8th-round pick is up to a 1.019 OPS and a 184 wRC+, and Tuesday’s performance put him past 100 plate appearances at Richmond ... the first time in his career that he’s reached 100 plate appearances at any level.

Among the 146 Eastern League hitters with 100 plate appearances, Meckler’s .398 batting average is tops by .034 points!!! Part of that is due to a BABIP that also leads the league by a mile, but when your BABIP has been high at every level ... well, let’s just say some people just have high BABIPs as part of their profile. It’s not always a sign of good fortune.

Not surprisingly, Meckler also has the best on-base percentage, with a .485 mark that leads the league by .047 points. That’s in part thanks to a 14.6% walk rate that is 34th out of those 146 hitters and, crucially, higher than his strikeout rate. In 290 career plate appearances in the Minors, Meckler now has 41 walks to just 38 strikeouts.

The only stain on Meckler’s glistening resume has been a lack of power, but he’s been stacking up the extra-base hits lately. He still profiles more as Luis Arraez in the outfield than as a power hitter, but he now has 7 extra-base hits in his last 12 games, bringing his ISO up to a respectable .136 (the median in the Eastern League is .146).

Batting second was center fielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL), who hit 1-4 with a home run.

Brown also struck out twice, and continues to struggle in that department ... his 34.8% K rate is 11th-highest out of those 146 Eastern League hitters. But after the first cold slump of his career, Brown has been on fire lately, and has a 9-game hitting streak (not including a game that he entered late and didn’t have an at-bat in). During those 9 games, Brown is 14-40 with 4 home runs and 4 doubles. That’s more like the Brown who exploded on the scene last year, even if that stretch has also come with 0 walks and 12 strikeouts.

And third up was shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL), who hit 1-3 with a home run.

I don’t know a lot about mechanics, but I know I love this swing.

Luciano remains the organization’s top power-hitting prospect, as his .247 ISO is comfortably tops among the 52 Giants Minor Leaguers with at least 100 plate appearances. That power plays anywhere, but it’s especially exciting if Luciano can stay at shortstop ... and, by the way, the latest Fangraphs rankings (which have always pegged Luciano for the outfield) noted that his backhanding at shortstop is dramatically improved, and that third base is now his floor.

Those are the top prospects, but the home run train continued to the fourth batter, third baseman Shane Matheny, who went back-to-back with Luciano (in the same inning that Meckler homered in).

RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) wasn’t super sharp in his start, giving up 5 baserunners and 2 runs in 3.1 innings, but he struck out 6 batters. That’s notable because Seymour, despite being a decent strikeout pitcher in the past, has been one of the worst strikeout artists in the Minors this year. He entered the game with just 36 strikeouts in 57.2 innings, and even after the nice day, his 6.2 Ks per 9 innings is 434th out of 452 Minor League pitchers with at least 50 innings thrown this year.

RHP José Cruz (No. 35 CPL) struck out 2 in a no-hit inning, though he walked 2 batters. In 9 games since getting promoted, Cruz — who is on the 40-man roster — has a 3.75 ERA, a 5.51 FIP, and 16 strikeouts to 10 walks in 12 innings.

High-A Eugene (39-37)

Eugene Emeralds beat the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels) 3-0
Box score

A no-hitter! A beautiful, glorious, divine no-hitter! A quartet of Emeralds pitchers combined to give up exactly zero hits, and face only 3 more batters than the minimum. What an absolutely awesome game.

It started with arguably the best pitching performance of the season in the Giants system: a filthy outing from RHP Hayden Birdsong (No. 36 CPL). A walk was the lone damage that Birdsong allowed in 5 innings, while he struck out a whopping 11 batters. In case you’re doing the math at home, that’s 16 batters faced, 11 strikeouts, 4 normal outs, and 1 walk.


Birdsong was the talk of the town from the Giants at the end of last year, despite pitching just 11.2 innings after getting drafted in the 6th round, and he was the talk of the town at Spring Training. So far he’s walking the walk to back up the organization’s talk.

This was his 4th start with Eugene, and while his numbers don’t look great (4.76 ERA, 4.23 FIP), that’s because of one bad outing. His other 3 games have been sensational, and his strikeout rate of 14.1 per 9 innings (across 2 levels) ranks 7th out of the 452 MiLB pitchers with 50 innings.

RHP Mat Olsen followed him up with 2 perfect innings, striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. Olsen’s had a few really bad games ... he’s only allowed an earned run in 7 of his 24 games this year, but 5 of those 7 games were multiple runs ... but when he’s on he’s ON. Among the 71 Giants pitchers who have thrown 20 innings this year, Olsen’s 13.9 strikeouts per 9 innings ranks 5th, while his 2.8 walks per 9 innings ranks 10th. Beautiful.

RHP William Kempner, who has been quite good since getting promoted, struck out 2 in a perfect inning, before RHP Sam Delaplane flirted with trouble — 2 walks and a hit batter — in a scoreless 9th inning. That set him up for drama: a no-hitter clinching, game-ending, bases-loaded double play!

The offense did very little. Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) had the only multi-hit game, going 2-4 with a double, giving him a .727 OPS and a 97 wRC+ in his mildly-disappointing season. Shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) and left fielder Jared Dupere also doubled.

Low-A San Jose (43-33)

San Jose Giants lost to the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 5-4 (10 innings)
Box score

The other Hayden from the 2022 pool, undrafted free agent LHP Hayden Wynja, was starting for San Jose, and while the results weren’t as good as his namesake, they were still good. He also made it through 5 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, with 5 strikeouts. Wynja, who is 6’9” (and who Fangraphs shockingly just ranked as the No. 21 prospect in the system), has a 4.11 ERA and a 4.08 FIP on the year.

And then it was another UDFA, as RHP Cameron Cotter — who made his pro debut this year — pitched 2 scoreless innings, giving up 2 hits and striking out 3. In 12 innings as a pro, Cotter has allowed 15 hits, 8 runs, 5 earned runs, and 2 home runs. But he hasn’t walked or hit a single batter yet!

A few standout offensive days. The biggest performance came from designated hitter Alexander Suarez, who hit 3-5 with both a home run and a triple. Suarez gained a lot of prospect shine after an excellent season in the ACL in 2021, but struggled in San Jose last year, and is repeating the level. After starting the year slow, he’s been putting together good at-bats, and is up to a .729 OPS and a 98 wRC+.

Left fielder Matt Higgins also hit 3-5 and added a double, running his OPS to .899 and his wRC+ to 142. It’s been a really great first full season for him, though the splash of cold water for him is that he’s a 24-year old undrafted free agent corner outfielder. We’ll have to see how he does against higher levels before getting too excited.

Right fielder Tanner O’Tremba homered, as he starts to find a little more power again. O’Tremba finished June with a pair of doubles representing his only extra-base hits in the month, but he already has a homer and 2 doubles in July. O’Tremba continues to have lovely walk, strikeout, and hit numbers, which leaves him with an .826 OPS and a 129 wRC+.

ACL Black (11-12)

ACL Giants Black lost to the ACL Angels 2-1 (7 innings)
Box score

Not too much going on here, though there was a home run from third baseman Sean Roby, which was great to see.

Everyone presumably knows the Roby drill at this point. His 25 AA home runs last year set a Richmond single-season record ... but his 39.7% strikeout rate was 26th-worst out of .... wait for it .... 1,581 Minor Leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances. He started the year injured, and has been rehabbing in the ACL before returning to Richmond to see if he can do what Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) did this year: keep the good offensive things going while cutting back on the strikeouts.

Roby is 12-50 with 2 home runs, 1 triple, 3 walks, and 23 strikeouts in the ACL, though one never knows how much the strikeouts are due to the issue persisting, or due to rust. We’ll find out soon enough, as the Giants are just now starting to send rehabbing ACL players back to their homes.

Designated hitter Guillermo Williamson (19 years, 2021 IFA) and left fielder Cesar Quintas (20 years, 2019 IFA) both hit 1-3 with a double. Williamson has a .914 OPS and a 115 wRC+ in his first pass at the level, while Quintas has an 1.103 OPS and a 190 wRC+ in his second go through Arizona.

Decent but not notable pitching performances from LHP Cesar Perdomo (21 years, 2021 IFA) and RHP Clay Helvey, who made his first ACL appearance of the year after struggling in AAA and bopping to Arizona to work on some things (he was officially listed on the “Development List”).

RHP Wilkelma Castillo (23 years, 2018 IFA) struck out all 3 batters he faced. Castillo started the year in High-A but really struggled, so he’s back to the ACL for the 3rd time.

Home runs

AAA Joey Bart (3)
AA Marco Luciano (11)
AA Vaun Brown (6 in AA, 7 total)
AA Shane Matheny (2 in AA, 5 total)
AA Wade Meckler (2 in AA, 4 total)
Low-A Alexander Suarez (4)
Low-A Tanner O’Tremba (4)
ACL Sean Roby (2)

Wednesday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Salt Lake Bees, 5:35 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. the Bowie Baysox, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Tri-City Dust Devils, 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Fresno Grizzlies, 6:50 p.m. PT

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