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Minor League round up, 8/10: Kyle Harrison submits his audition tape

Yesterday’s action on the Giants farm.

Kyle Harrison reaching out to catch a pitch
LHP Kyle Harrison struck out 4 batters in 3.1 innings in AAA
Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Seven games of action for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates on Thursday. Let’s jump into it!

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

All listed positions are the positions played in that game.


Let’s start with injury news. I missed this when it first came out, but a few days ago our friend/former contributor Marc Delucchi reported that Giants DSL center fielder Rayner Arias (No. 27 CPL), who has been out for over a month with an undisclosed injury, has a sprained wrist. That should end Arias’ debut season, which we already basically knew, since the DSL season ends very soon.

That’s good injury news though. Marc reports that Arias is at the team’s state of the art Arizona facility rehabbing, and that the organization expects him to be fully up to speed for offseason instructionals. Given how thoroughly Arias dominated the DSL — he hit 24-58 with 12 extra-base hits, 15 walks, and just 11 strikeouts — I would expect that he’ll start the 2024 season in Low-A. Which would mean he’d make his A-ball debut before his 18th birthday.

AAA Sacramento (47-63)

Sacramento River Cats beat the Las Vegas Aviators (A’s) 6-5
Box score

A much-needed win for Sacramento, which had 9 losses in their last 10 games before this one.

The big story in this game was the performance by LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL), who took the AAA mound for just the 2nd time since returning from a hamstring injury. Harrison produced a pair of storylines: his excellence, and the team’s usage of him.

With an MLB debut expected to come this month, Harrison mowed batters down, and was perfect through 3 innings. But the Giants didn’t let him work through much. After an error by his defense and a ground ball single, Harrison was pulled after just 3.1 innings and just 38 pitches. His final line: 3.1 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 unearned run, 4 strikeouts.

Were the Giants just being extra careful with him post-injury? Had they seen enough and wanted him to stay as fresh as possible for a debut next week? Did he feel something in his hamstring? Stay tuned to find out, I guess.

The great Roger Munter noted that Harrison hit 97.4 mph with his fastball, his best velocity of the year.

Also nice days for a pair of LHP relievers, Juan Sanchez and Erik Miller. Sanchez gave up a walk and a hit by pitch in 1.2 innings, with 2 strikeouts. It was his 3rd game since getting promoted, and so far the 22 year old is fitting in beautifully: in 6.1 innings he’s allowed 4 hits, 3 walks, and 1 run, with 8 strikeouts. Miller pitched a perfect 9th inning, getting 3 ground outs. Walks have plagued Miller this year — he has 31 of them in 37.2 innings in Sacramento. So nice to see an outing without one.

A nice day for center fielder Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL). He only hit 1-4, but the hit was a home run.

He also played really nice defense, which included an assist. Seeing him play well in center field really increases the value for the lifelong infielder.

Fitzgerald, who has an .810 OPS and an 89 wRC+ on the year, had been cold for a little while, but has had a pair of bounce back games. I’m curious to see if the Giants protect him from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

A pair of other players also hit 1-4 with a home run: catcher Jakson Reetz and first baseman Armando Alvarez.

It was especially nice to see Alvarez homer, as he had gotten cold following his obscenely hot streak. But it’s still been a really nice year for the 29 year old Minor League journeyman, who has a .971 OPS and a 125 wRC+.

Left fielder Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL), playing in his 8th AAA game, hit 1-4 with a booming double. Meckler has fit right in since arriving in Sacramento, which has been the case with him at every promotion. He’s 5-17 with a homer, a double, and 7 walks. He did strike out twice, which is notable because it was just the 9th time in his 67 games this year that he had multiple strikeouts in a game.

Your daily players-on-the-40-man-roster update: designated hitter Luis González hit 2-4 with a stolen base; shortstop Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) hit 0-4 with a strikeout; third baseman David Villar hit 2-4 with a stolen base and a strikeout; second baseman Brett Wisely (No. 33 CPL) hit 0-4 with 3 strikeouts; and right fielder Bryce Johnson (No. 43 CPL) hit 0-2 with a walk, a hit by pitch, a stolen base, and a strikeout.

AA Richmond (54-51)

Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 5-1
Box score

Just really awesome pitching in this one. Let’s quickly run through everyone who took the mound for the Squirrels.

The start went to LHP John Michael Bertrand, who is having a year that should be celebrated. A 10th-round pick a year ago, Bertrand flew through the Cal League and Northwest League in his 1st full season, and looks right at home in the Eastern League.

He pitched 5 strong innings in this one, giving up just 4 baserunners and a run, while striking out 4. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but his command is phenomenal, and it’s led to a 3.52 ERA and a 2.87 FIP in 5 starts with Richmond. He’s being developed as a starter, and you can see why: among 37 Giants Minor Leaguers with at least 50 innings pitched this year, Bertrand’s 2.22 walks per 9 innings is 1st by a wide margin.

That comes with the caveat that he’s less than half a year away from turning 26, and that his rate has jumped by a walk per inning at each level. Literally! He had 0.00 walks per 9 in the ACL, 1.06 in Low-A, 2.19 in High-A, and 3.13 in AA.

RHP Wil Jensen was next, striking out 2 in an inning of work, with his only baserunner coming on an error. He’s also having a quietly good year, with a 2.37 ERA and a 3.74 FIP in Richmond, with 10.0 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per 9 innings. However, like Bertrand, he turns 26 soon.

RHPs Parker Dunshee and Tyler Myrick finished it off, with the former having 2 scoreless innings and the latter having a scoreless inning with 2 strikeouts. Myrick has been untouchable since a recent promotion. The 2021 14th-round pick has allowed just 8 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run in 12.1 innings, with 14 strikeouts.

A nice sight on offense, as shortstop Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL) homered in his 3rd game since getting demoted.

Hopefully getting to play everyday and against lesser competition will help Wilson find his groove. He’s having an odd season. Wilson is showing a lot of power for his position: his .176 ISO is 19th out of 71 Giants hitters with at least 150 plate appearances this year, and he’s 4th in the organization in home runs, behind only Victor Bericoto, Tyler Fitzgerald, and Aeverson Arteaga. But his .269 BABIP is 64th out of those 71 hitters, leading to a .230 average (57th) and a 65 wRC+ (67th). Odd.

Designated hitter Logan Wyatt hit 2-3, as he’s put together a string of nice games after a slump. He’s has a .704 OPS and a 94 wRC+ in 38 games since a mid-season promotion.

Potential bad news: third baseman Jimmy Glowenke, who has been red hot, made his return to action after missing a few games due to getting hit by a pitch. He singled in his first at-bat, then was replaced a few innings later. Hopefully it’s nothing injury related.

More potential bad news: per our friend/former contributor Roger Munter, outfielder Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL), who has been out for more than a week after getting hit by a pitch on the foot, had to be helped off the field yesterday before the game, and had his foot wrapped. It would seem that the return to action that was expected this week will not be happening.

High-A Eugene (53-52)

Eugene Emeralds beat the Everett AquaSox (Diamondbacks) 4-3
Box score

What a time in the Pacific Northwest. A walk-off win on Sasquatch Awareness Night. You truly can’t make this stuff up.

The star of the game was, by far, first baseman Sean Roby, who carried the team. In the 6th inning, with the Emeralds trailing 3-0, Roby tied the game with a home run.

Then, in the 9th inning and the score still 3-3, Roby led off and ended the game on one swing.

A 2-homer day!

The question for Roby this year was very clear: could he keep his power while limiting his strikeouts? He set the AA Richmond single-season home run record last year with 25 big flies, but his strikeout rate of 39.7% was 9th-highest out of 1,031 Minor Leaguers with at least 300 plate appearances.

Unfortunately his 2023 was delayed by injuries, and now we’re waiting to see if he can show those improvements. So far his profile has been basically the same. He has a staggering 12 home runs already in 41 games between the ACL and High-A, with a 31.3% strikeout rate. But games like this certainly remind us of why we can’t finish writing his story yet.

The biggest story going into the game was that designated hitter Reggie Crawford (No. 8 CPL) was starting and hitting cleanup. Crawford hadn’t hit in about 2 months, and hadn’t hit since getting promoted, so it was a surprise to see him in the lineup. Unfortunately, fans didn’t get to see much: he struck out in his first at-bat, and then was lifted from the game. Kind of odd, but I’m guessing the Giants are wanting to keep him from playing much this year for injury’s sake, but want him to occasionally face live pitching to keep the skills a little sharp. Still pretty weird. It is worth noting that the broadcast team was raving about the show of power that Crawford put on during batting practice, though.

RHP Nick Sinacola had a so-so game, but the bullpen was fantastic. RHP Tanner Kiest faced 8 batters. 1 hit a homer, 1 lined out, and 6 struck out. Wow. Kiest has a 5.48 ERA in Eugene in his first year in the Minors since 2018, but he has a 3.09 FIP, with 32 strikeouts to 8 walks in 23 innings.

And then RHP Hunter Dula pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 4. He’s having a really nice year, with a 2.63 ERA, a 4.11 FIP, and 10.5 strikeouts to 3.5 walks per 9 innings.

Low-A San Jose (58-47)

San Jose Giants lost to the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 6-4
Box score

Hits galore! The Baby Giants only had 1 extra-base hit and 1 walk, but they did bop a whopping 14 hits on the day.

Funnily enough, the player with an extra-base hit was 1 of just 3 hitters who didn’t reach base multiple times: right fielder Tanner O’Tremba, who doubled. But it’s been a nice season for O’Tremba, last year’s 15th-round pick. Given that he’s a defensively-meh corner outfielder and first baseman, the Giants will probably need to see more power eventually — he’s gone 11 straight games without a homer, and has just 3 doubles in that time. But he has an .809 OPS and a 126 wRC+ in his 1st full season, and that’s nice.

The most hits belonged to shortstop Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL). Shocking, I know. Velasquez hit 3-5, giving him multi-hit outings in 16 of his last 24 games. In that time, the 19-year old switch-hitter is 37-98 with 2 homers, 1 triple, 11 doubles, 8 walks, and 17 strikeouts. On the year, he has an .850 OPS and a 131 wRC+.

Left fielder Scott Bandura hit 2-4. The Giants 7th-round pick last month, Bandura has absolutely spat on San Jose since a quick promotion: in 3 games the lefty is 7-10 with 1 homer, 1 double, 2 walks, and just 1 strikeout. Obscene!

This is obviously not a comparison of talent but ... doesn’t that swing look a bit like Shohei Ohtani’s?

Also 2-hit days for a pair of his fellow recent draftees, as designated hitter Cole Foster, the team’s 3rd-round pick, hit 2-5, while catcher Luke Shliger, their 6th-round pick, hit 2-4. Those were Foster’s 1st Low-A hits in his 3rd game. Shliger was the lone draftee assigned directly to San Jose, and is 6-22 with 3 walks and just 1 strikeout.

A really nice outing for LHP Esmerlin Vinicio, who struck out 6 batters in 2.1 scoreless innings, with just a walk and a hit allowed. It’s not been a particularly good year for Vinicio, who has a 4.13 ERA, a 5.30 FIP, and 5.2 walks per 9 innings. But he has a 50.7% ground ball rate, and has been much better at limiting walks since May ended. Also, he doesn’t turn 21 until pitchers and catchers are starting to pack up and get ready to report.

RHP Marques Johnson gave up just a hit in 2 scoreless innings, in his 3rd outing since the Giants traded Mauricio Llovera for him. In 5 innings he’s allowed 2 hits, 4 walks, 1 unearned run, and has 4 strikeouts.

ACL Orange (24-23)

ACL Giants Orange lost to the ACL Brewers 6-3
Box score

A few fun offensive games. Right fielder Bryce Eldridge (18 years, 2023 1st-round) couldn’t make it 3 straight games with a home run, but he did hit 1-4 with the 1st double of his young career. 8 games into his professional career, the 6’7 lefty is 6-23 with 3 extra-base hits and 6 walks. Not bad for a teenager who, by the way, should be on the mound at some point (though maybe not this year).

And fresh off the first home run of his career, center fielder Estanlin Cassiani (20 years, 2019 IFA) hit 2-5 and doubled. After 2 years in the DSL, Cassiani’s debut stateside season has been so-so, with a .750 OPS and an 88 wRC+. The lefty will need to find a way to tap into his power more if he wants to have a successful career, but there are some happy signs in his profile, including a .291 batting average (after being .375 in his 2nd DSL year), and a 16.0% strikeout rate (10.8% in 2022).

But the best day went to first baseman Javier Francisco (20 years, 2020 IFA), who hit 3-4 with a pair of doubles. If the Giants gave out awards for Most Improved Player, Francisco would absolutely be in the running. In his 2nd season in the ACL (he was an international midseason promotee last year), he’s seen absurd improvement across the board. Look at these number jumps:

Batting average: .151 to .275
On-base percentage: .263 to .424
Slugging percentage: .244 to .539
Walk rate: 11.0% to 18.9%
Strikeout rate: 37.0% to 19.7%
wRC+: 50 to 136

Players like Francisco often don’t get a ton of prospect hype, but a reminder that he’s still younger than almost all of the Giants recent draftees.

Another rough outing on the mound for RHP Chen-Hsun Lee (21 years, 2023 IFA), the most notable pitcher in the team’s recent international signing class. He’s really gotten roughed up since debuting last month, but, you know ... don’t read much into 4 career games.

RHP Junior Flores (21 years, 2020 IFA) had a nice performance though, with 2 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless inning. In his first season in the states, Flores has a 3.71 ERA, with 34 strikeouts to 24 walks in 34 innings.

DSL Orange (24-20)

DSL Giants Orange beat the DSL Rangers Blue 15-7
Box score

14 hits and 7 walks! What a game!

Always fun to see 1st career home runs, which we got courtesy of catcher Jorge Ramirez (17 years, 2023 IFA) in his 16th career game. Ramirez, who finished 1-4 with a walk, isn’t having a very good debut season, with a .624 OPS, a 77 wRC+, and a lot of strikeouts. But in addition to that being a tiny sample size, he’s a debuting catcher who won’t turn 18 until March. Not embarrassing yourself is impressive, honestly, and he’s doing far more than that.

A few really great games. First baseman Brayan Ferrer (19 years, 2021 IFA) hit 2-5 with 2 doubles and a walk, bringing his OPS up to .805 and his wRC+ to 116. On the one hand, it’s his 3rd year in the DSL. On the other hand, he’s a switch-hitter who occasionally catches, has gotten significantly better each year, and has just a 12.0% strikeout rate that is 45th-lowest out of 430 DSL hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

Center fielder Luis Frias (19 years, 2021 IFA) hit 3-5 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base. What a game! It gives him an .828 OPS, a 121 wRC+, and 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts in his 2nd season. Nice!

Right fielder Erick Arosemena (18 years, 2022 IFA) hit 3-6 to bring his OPS to .632 and his wRC+ to 79 in his 2nd season, while third baseman Jhosward Camacho (19 years, 2021 IFA) hit 2-3 with a double and 2 walks. He has a .637 OPS and a 78 wRC+ as he seeks to get his 3rd season on track.

After 3 straight games of going 5 innings, LHP Jose Rengel (17 years, 2023 IFA) only got to pitch 1 inning. He gave up 3 baserunners, but kept runs off the board. After a slow start to his debut season, Rengel has caught fire. In his last 4 games, he’s pitched 16 innings and allowed just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run, with 12 strikeouts. Amazing.

DSL Black (23-23)

DSL Giants Black beat the DSL Twins 8-5
Box score

A really nice game for shortstop Keiberg Camacaro (16 years, 2023 IFA), who hit 2-4 with a pair of doubles. After a slow start to his career, Camacaro has caught fire. Including today’s game (which I can spoil since I won’t be writing a roundup tomorrow), Camacaro’s line since July 25 is 12-34 with 1 triple, 5 doubles, 4 walks, and 10 strikeouts. Not bad for a 16 year old!

Left fielder Angel Guzman (17 years, 2023 IFA) hit 1-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and an outfield assist. With an .887 OPS and a 145 wRC+, Guzman is high on my list of players I’m excited to watch next year.

RHP Larry De Jesus (20 years, 2019 IFA) had a great outing, striking out 2 batters in 2 scoreless innings, with an error being the only baserunner he allowed. Despite being signed 4 years ago, this is De Jesus’ first season, and it hasn’t been smooth, as he has a 7.16 ERA, with 11 strikeouts to 9 walks in 16.1 innings. But hey, it’s early.

Home runs

AAA Tyler Fitzgerald (14 in AAA, 16 total)
AAA Jakson Reetz (10)
AAA Armando Alvarez (9)
AA Will Wilson (1 in AA, 14 total)
High-A Sean Roby, 2 (8 in High-A, 12 total)
DSL Jorge Ramirez (1)

Friday schedule

Sacramento: @ the Las Vegas Aviators, 7:05 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. the Bowie Baysox, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Everett AquaSox, 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: vs. the Fresno Grizzlies, 7:00 p.m. PT

Reminder that Minor League games are now available on MLB TV.