The San Francisco Giants A-ball Minor League Baseball affiliates were off on Monday, but their Arizona Complex League and Dominican Summer League teams were in action, with lots of news and scores to cover. Let’s dive in.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
The biggest news on the farm is that Thairo Estrada is slated to begin a rehab assignment with AAA Sacramento tonight, which should set him up for an MLB return this weekend. How great that would be!
There were also a pair of promotions during Monday’s off-day, highlighted by a big one: outfielder Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL) is headed to AAA Sacramento.
Meckler has been the fastest moving prospect in the Farhan Zaidi era, as he’ll make it to AAA barely a year after the Giants used an 8th-round pick on him, and after just 361 career plate appearances at all levels.
After just 50 plate appearances in the ACL, 50 more in Low-A San Jose (both last year), and 87 in High-A Eugene to start 2023, Meckler had his longest stint in Richmond, where he stayed for 174 plate appearances. He leaves AA with an .881 OPS, a 148 wRC+, a 14.4% walk rate, and just a 16.7% strikeout rate. What an absolutely incredible story he’s been.
Joining him on the cross-country flight is LHP Juan Sanchez, who also got the AA to AAA promotion. In his first year in AA, the 22-year old reliever had a 2.39 ERA, a 3.15 FIP, and 52 strikeouts to 20 walks in 49 innings. He struck out 5 batters in 2 no-hit innings in his final appearance with the Flying Squirrels. Sanchez’s performance and promotion certainly seem to point to being a Rule 5 protection this offseason ... unless he forces his way to the Majors this year.
On a sadder front, I mentioned yesterday that the Giants had released catcher Max Wright, middle infielder Edison Mora, and LHP Joe Kemlage. Our friend Roger Munter also noted that the team released infielder Abdiel Layer, catcher Rayner Santana, and RHPs Miguel Mora and Jason Bonilla. Best of luck to all these former Giants.
Additionally, AAA Sacramento has placed RHP Tanner Andrews on the 7-Day IL.
And finally, High-A Eugene shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL) has been named the Northwest League Player of the Week after a sensational week, which featured this walk-off home run.
Aeverson Arteaga's walk-off was this week's Tequila Herradura Shot of the Week!— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) July 31, 2023
Reach for an ultra-premium tequila that gives you a taste of extraordinary.#ShotOfTheWeek @HerraduraTeq pic.twitter.com/1Q0KF3DzJj
ACL Orange (19-20)
ACL Giants Orange beat the ACL Mariners 3-2 (7 innings)
Most exciting in this game was the professional debut of right fielder Bryce Eldridge (18 years, 2023 1st-round). Many of the team’s recent draftees debuted over the weekend, but their No. 16 overall pick made his pro debut on Monday, playing in right field ... a spot he had recently revealed was where he’d play, even though he primarily played first base in high school.
Eldridge hit 0-3, drew a walk, and didn’t strike out. Needless to say, he’s one of the most must-watch prospects in the system now. A 6’7 powerful 18-year old 1st-round hitter who also pitches? Sign me up and then sign me up again!
But the best day belonged to left fielder Bo Davidson (21 years, 2023 UDFA), who hit 1-3 and knocked in a pair of runs with a big fly. It is way way way way way too early to make any proclamations about debuting players, but the extremely early returns suggest the Giants made a good move adding Davidson after the draft: in his first 2 games, the left-handed hitter is 4-6 with 2 extra-base hits and a walk. Welcome to the pros, Bo!
Speaking of good starts to their pro careers, center fielder Scott Bandura (21 years, 7th-round) hit 2-4 in his 2nd pro game. In his debut, he hit 1-2 with a home run and 2 walks so ... yeah. Excellent start for the left-handed hitter.
But it wasn’t just the debuting players. Second baseman Ramon Peralta (19 years, 2021 IFA) had a lovely game, drawing 2 walks and stealing a base. His first season in the states is going swimmingly, with an .852 OPS, a 120 wRC+, and a 15.8% walk rate.
An odd start for RHP Alix Hernandez (19 years, 2022 IFA). It helped lower his ERA, as he only gave up 1 run in 4 innings, but he allowed 2 hits, 4 walks, and a hit batter, while striking out just 1.
That was kind of the opposite of what the season has gone like for Hernandez, the rare international signee who went straight to the states, and who celebrated his 19th birthday a few weeks ago. Usually his starts have good peripherals but poor run suppression, but this time it was the other way around. He has just a 5.06 ERA in his debut season, but has 50 strikeouts to 19 walks in 37.1 innings.
ACL Black (23-17)
Lots of recent draftees here as well, but the biggest story is the return of LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL). A hamstring injury sidelined Harrison after his July 4 start for AAA Sacramento, and it also led to Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi revealing that the team had intended to call him up later that month. We knew the injury wasn’t super serious (props to former McCovey Chronicles writers/friends of the site Marc Delucchi and Roger Munter for debunking erroneous “reports” that his season was in jeopardy), but it still wasn’t clear when he’d be back.
He’s back. Harrison had a rehab start on Monday, with Zaidi saying that the intention is to have him rejoin Sacramento’s rotation this weekend. Rehab starts are about getting back in rhythm and staying healthy, not about playing well, but ... it still is nice when you play well. And that’s exactly what Harrison did, as he dealt 2 perfect innings with 4 strikeouts.
With RHPs Anthony DeSclafani and Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL) on the Injured List for the foreseeable future, and with it looking like the Giants won’t add a starter at the deadline, the door is open for Harrison to join the team’s rotation if he performs well over his next few starts.
Next on the mound was RHP Luis Bermudez (19 years, 2021 IFA), who had a so-so start. He pitched 4.2 innings and allowed 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, while striking out 4. It would be great if Bermudez can keep those walk numbers down, as he’s issued 21 of them in 41.1 innings in his debut stateside season. But he also has 44 strikeouts and a 48.8% ground ball rate, which should help his 6.10 ERA and 6.40 FIP come down in the future.
Rounding out the pitching was RHP Tommy Kane (21 years, 2023 19th-round), who was absolutely fantastic. Kane retired all 7 batters that he faced, 5 by way of strikeout. The Giants penultimate pick of July’s draft has made 3 appearances and pitched 3.2 innings ... he’s allowed just 1 baserunner and struck out 8. What an introduction!
3-hit days for 2 of the best players on the Giants ACL squads this year, as left fielder/first baseman Guillermo Williamson (19 years, 2021 IFA) hit 3-4 with a double and a walk, while center fielder Cesar Quintas (20 years, 2019 IFA) hit 3-4. Williamson’s first season in the states has been blissful, as he’s hitting for average and power, and drawing walks. The only red flag is the 28.8% strikeout rate, but that’s picking nits when you’re a lefty with a .927 OPS, a 126 wRC+, and are still 7.5 months away from your 20th birthday.
As for Quintas? Well, his numbers remain astronomical: 1.042 OPS, 171 wRC+. I keep waiting for his .538 BABIP to come back to earth, and it keeps not doing that (even when it does, he’s drawing a ton of walks and getting hit by an absurd amount of pitches). His .394 batting average is tops among 91 qualified ACL hitters, and is 7th out of 2,225 Minor League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. What a fun dude.
One recent draftee had a great day, as designated hitter Charlie Szykowny (23 years, 2023 9th-round) hit 2-5 with a double, after drawing 2 walks in his first pro game. Szykowny is the 2nd-oldest player in the Giants 21-player draft class, and their oldest position player, so San Francisco is surely hoping he’ll play well out of the gates. So far, so good.
DSL Orange (22-17)
DSL Giants Orange beat the DSL Braves 4-2
A quartet of really nice games, 2 on each side of the ball. Let’s run through them.
Right fielder Luis Frias (18 years, 2022 IFA) had a spectacular game, hitting 3-4 with a home run, a double, and a stolen base. Frias had cooled down in July after a sensational June, so great to see him end the month on a very high note. He’s hitting quite well in his second pass through the level, with an .816 OPS, a 116 wRC+, and 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts.
Also a 3-hit day for shortstop Anthony Tandron (17 years, 2023 IFA), who hit 3-4 with 2 doubles and a stolen base. Nice to see Tandron bounce back from a little slump ... he had gone hitless in 4 straight games, which had followed a 7-game hitting streak. He’s having a very average offensive season, with a .713 OPS and a 100 wRC+, but “average” is good in my book for a 17-year old shortstop. His walk and strikeout numbers have been really good, especially for such a young player, but hopefully these doubles were a sign of an increase in power ... they were just his 4th and 5th extra-base hits of the year, in 143 plate appearances.
LHP Jose Rojas (19 years, 2021 IFA) was the piggybacking starter and was fantastic, giving up just 3 hits and a hit batter in 5 innings, while allowing just 1 run and striking out 4. The strikeouts have been largely absent for Rojas in his third season in the DSL, as he has just 17 of them in 29.2 innings ... but he’s only issued 8 walks, and has a 2.43 ERA.
Closing the door was RHP Angel Sanchez (20 years, 2021 IFA), who pitched a perfect 9th inning. Sanchez’s second pro season has produced one of the weirder lines I can remember seeing: he’s only allowed 4 hits in 14 innings this year, but has 11 walks to 10 strikeouts. How bizarre.
DSL Black (20-20)
Not a traditional doubleheader, as the first game was a completion of a postponed game from earlier in the month, but still.
Center fielder Carlos Gutierrez (18 years, 2023 IFA) did a little bit of everything in each game, hitting 3-8 with a double and a walk across the 2 games, stealing a base, and having an outfield assist in each contest. Gutierrez is having an awesome and hilarious debut season. It’s a small sample size, as he’s only played in 16 games, but he has a .994 OPS and a 164 wRC+. Most notable, however, is the fact that Gutierrez has only struck out 3 times in 66 plate appearances. But he’s not just mindlessly hacking at everything, as he’s drawn 10 walks. What a cool profile for a left-handed hitting center fielder.
Second baseman Samuel Rodriguez (19 years, 2021 IFA) doubled in both games (and drew a walk in the 1st), but was also caught stealing in one game and picked off in the other. Whoops! Still, a wonderful 3rd season in the DSL for Rodriguez, who has an .807 OPS, a 129 wRC+, and a whopping 21.1% walk rate.
RHP Jesus Lopez (18 years, 2023 IFA) technically pitched in both games. He wasn’t pitching too well in Game 1 when it was postponed, but his start in Game 2 went a lot better, as he made it through 5 innings without a walk, though he did allow 7 hits, 3 runs, and 2 earned runs with just 1 strikeout. Not a very good debut year for him, as he has a 5.33 ERA and has only struck out 11 batters in 27 innings.
ACL Bo Davidson (1)
DSL Luis Frias (2)
Sacramento: vs. the Reno Aces, 6:45 p.m. PT
Richmond: @ the Altoona Curve, 3:00 p.m. PT
Eugene: @ the Tri-City Dust Devils, 7:05 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Inland Empire 66ers, 6:35 p.m. PT
Reminder that all Minor League games can now be watched on MLB TV.