Four games for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates yesterday, with their four A-ball teams all in action, and their four short-season teams having the day off. Today, that gets flipped! Let’s dive into it.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
Update: Per The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, outfielder Luis González has been designated for assignment.
Some exciting promotions! Catcher Onil Perez (No. 44 CPL) has been moved from Low-A San Jose to High-A Eugene. Perez, who turns 21 next month, is having a delightful year, with a .767 OPS and a 110 wRC+. He doesn’t exactly have a traditional catcher’s profile, as he hits for average (.300), doesn’t homer a lot (2), limits strikeouts (11.0%), and steals bases (21).
Replacing Perez in San Jose is catcher Jack Payton, the organization’s 11th-round pick in July’s draft. Payton hit 10-25 with 2 doubles and 2 walks in 9 games in the ACL before getting promoted. Exciting to see him in A-ball.
As noted in Monday’s BP, the Giants offered a few injury updates on prospects over the weekend. AAA Sacramento shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL), dealing with a hamstring injury, will be re-evaluated in 2 weeks. And RHP Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL) threw a bullpen session over the weekend.
I’m sure this was reported previously and I just missed it, but Low-A San Jose RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL) has been placed on the 7-Day IL. He’d missed a start or 2 before that news hit.
And a celebration! High-A Eugene infielder Damon Dues has been named the Northwest League Player of the Week after hitting 10-21 with 4 doubles, 2 walks, and 2 stolen bases. Yep, that’ll do it!
Low-A San Jose outfielder P.J. Hilson (No. 37 CPL) was named Player of the Week in the California League. More on him later!
AAA Sacramento (48-65)
Sacramento River Cats lost to the Las Vegas Aviators (A’s) 11-5
The struggles continue for the River Cats, who have now lost 11 of their last 14 games.
But the Giants are struggling too, particularly on offense, and it seems as though a pair of players in Sacramento are keeping a close eye on that, and trying to pry the door open as much as possible. Those players? Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) and Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL).
Fitzgerald, playing in center field on Sunday, has caught absolute fire following a recent cold streak. He was Sunday’s star, hitting 2-3 with a home run, a triple, and a walk.
BOOM! Another Fitz-Missile!— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) August 14, 2023
Tyler and Wade have now covered all aspects of the cycle...in the 2nd inning pic.twitter.com/PvLwlwEiXq
After starting August cold, Fitzgerald was one of the hottest players in the Minors this week, finishing the 6-game series against Vegas with a fairly absurd line: 13-25 with 2 home runs, 1 triple, 5 doubles, 3 walks, and just 3 strikeouts.
Fitzy flies around the bases for an easy stand-up triple and gets the Cats on the board! pic.twitter.com/M4wz7Ukpn4— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) August 14, 2023
The Giants have resisted a Fitzgerald call-up, probably in part because of offseason 40-man roster complications. Fitzgerald would likely take Mark Mathias’ spot if called up, but while the Giants can DFA Mathias this offseason with little to no consequence, a spot spent on Fitzgerald would likely want to be protected. Then again, if he keeps hitting this well, they’ll probably have to use that roster spot to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so perhaps it’s academic.
Fitzgerald’s numbers are still hovering around league average in the offense-inflated PCL — he has an .863 OPS and a 101 wRC+ — but you have to think the Giants are mighty impressed with a trio of things he’s doing right now.
- He’s bounced back after hitting his first AAA rookie wall, which is something that a lot of players do not bounce back well from.
- He’s shown absurd improvement at the one thing they asked him to do: limit strikeouts. After K’ing in 32.9% of his plate appearances in AA last year, he struck out just 28.2% of the time in Richmond this year, and has lowered that mark to 23.6% in AAA.
- He looks pretty darn comfortable in center field, meaning the Giants would probably feel comfortable playing him anywhere on the diamond.
It’s certainly an interesting position the Giants are in. I doubt they want to go into the stretch run and playoffs with Mathias as their backup infielder. But Marco Luciano is injured, and Casey Schmitt and Brett Wisely struggled in extended MLB looks (and haven’t been lighting the world on fire since getting optioned). Fitzgerald comes with question marks of his own — in addition to the 40-man roster issues, do the Giants want to spend the end of the season gambling on another rookie to hit the ground running? — but it’s hard to ignore what he’s doing right now.
Side note: had a (virtual) conversation with Fitzgerald’s brother, a former Minor Leaguer, this weekend. Absolute peach of a human. Rooting for Tyler even more now.
Meckler’s day paled in comparison to Fitzgerald’s, but it was still outstanding, as he hit 2-4 with a double while playing in left field.
One pitch. One double.— Sacramento River Cats (@RiverCats) August 14, 2023
The Mustachioed Miracle stays en fuego pic.twitter.com/JDwbm3OYyH
Meckler comes with the same concerns as Fitzgerald, since he’s not on the 40-man roster. Perhaps even more so, since he’s not Rule 5 eligible, so needing to be protected doesn’t even enter the equation. And his run of AAA success is less sustained that Fitzgerald, as he’s only played in 10 games since getting promoted. But in those 10 games? He’s 10-25 with 3 extra-base hits, 8 walks, and just 5 strikeouts. And it’s clear that the Giants are exceptionally high on him, so anything can happen. Also, after hitting at the back of the lineup to start his AAA tenure, Meckler moved into the leadoff spot for this game.
With Mike Yastrzemski about to return, Michael Conforto heating up, Heliot Ramos showing signs at the MLB level, and Mitch Haniger not far off, the path to a roster spot is a lot more complicated for Meckler (purely an outfielder) than for Fitzgerald (an infielder). But the biggest thing you want from AAA players is to force the issue, and Meckler is undoubtedly doing that.
A note: veteran shortstop Johan Camargo was signed over the weekend. He hit 0-4 in this one, though he had a hit robbed by one of the best AAA defensive plays I’ve seen all year, and hit 2-5 with a homer in his Sacramento debut on Saturday. Camargo last played in the Majors for the Phillies last year, when he had .613 OPS, a 74 wRC+, and quality defense on the left side of the infield.
40-man depth updates: third baseman Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) hit 1-4 with a strikeout and an error; designated hitter David Villar hit 2-3 with a hit by pitch; right fielder Luis González hit 1-3 with a walk; and second baseman Brett Wisely (No. 33 CPL) hit 1-4 with a double, a strikeout, and a caught stealing. Joey Bart and Bryce Johnson (No. 43 CPL) didn’t play.
Another blah outing from RHP Sean Hjelle (No. 30 CPL). It wasn’t the disaster he had last week, but it wasn’t good, as he ceded 7 baserunners, 5 runs, and 4 earned runs in 4.2 innings. Also getting rocked was recently-promoted LHP Juan Sanchez, who gave up 5 runs while recording just a single out. Sanchez had been really good in his handful of appearances since getting the call to join AAA, so don’t overreact to a hiccup.
The team’s pair of high-K, high-BB lefty relievers both made scoreless outings, with Chris Wright striking out 2 batters in 1.1 innings with 2 hits allowed, and Erik Miller striking out 2 in a no-hit inning with 1 walk.
Among 137 pitchers in the PCL with at least 30 innings thrown, Wright is 5th in strikeouts per 9 innings with 12.8, and Miller is 15th with 11.9. But Wright is 133rd with 8.8 walks per 9, and Miller is 125th with 7.5. Will be curious to see what the Giants do with those 2 this offseason, as they’re both Rule 5 eligible.
AA Richmond (54-54)
Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 5-3 (11 innings)
A mild-mannered 2-2 game at the end of regulation, with lots happening as soon as extra innings kicked off. Say what you will about the Manfred Man (such as, “it’s stupid”), but it does make things happen.
The biggest excitement came from RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) who continues to rapidly forget about the first few months of his season. Seymour, part of the J.D. Davis/Darin Ruf trade, pitched 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6. That’s a great game!
Carson Seymour is really good at throwing baseballs— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) August 13, 2023
He struck out six batters over 4.2 scoreless innings pic.twitter.com/vhN8Xs0N86
Limiting baserunners and runs is obviously most important in terms of helping win games, but Seymour’s strikeout resurgence is what has caught my eye, especially since that was a highlight of his pitching profile entering the season. Through the end of June, he’d struck out just 36 batters in 57.2 innings. But since then? 49 strikeouts in just 34.2 innings. That’s much more like it.
Seymour has been lights out in August — in 3 starts, he’s pitched 14.2 innings and allowed just 10 hits, 3 walks, and 1 run, with 21 strikeouts. Despite the struggles early on, his overall numbers are still quite nice too, with a 3.51 ERA and a 3.70 FIP. This is setting him up to start 2023 in AAA and, thankfully, he doesn’t need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this year.
RHP Parker Dunshee also had a nice outing. He gave up 3 baserunners and a run in 2.1 innings, but struck out 4 batters. Since joining the organization, Dunshee has a 2.74 ERA and 11 strikeouts per 9 innings ... but also a 4.15 FIP and 4.4 walks per 9.
Not many notable offensive days. The player to highlight is shortstop Will Wilson (No. 21 CPL) who, I’m guessing, is impressing the organization with his attitude. Wilson was recently demoted after some struggles in AAA Sacramento and the massive roster crunch there. He’s certainly fallen behind in the crowded middle infield pecking order, but has taken his new assignment (and opportunity to play every day) in stride. He hit 2-5 with a triple in this game, and is quickly finding his Richmond rhythm. After hitting 1-10 in his first 2 games following the move, Wilson has gone 7-17 with 2 homers, 1 triple, and 2 walks. Love to see that response.
Second baseman Donovan Walton also had a nice game, hitting 2-5 with a double. Like Wilson, Walton has played well since getting demoted, though the Giants usage of him this year makes it seem like he’s probably not really in the plans too much. Also, third baseman Sean Roby hit 1-5 in his 2nd game since returning to AA following a lengthy rehab assignment and stint in High-A. He was sublime in Eugene, and starting to show signs of cutting down the walk issue, though the return to AA has been a bump in the road: he’s 1-9 with 4 strikeouts.
High-A Eugene (55-53)
Absolute excellence at the top of the lineup for the Emeralds, with the first 3 hitters having games that will send them into the off-day happy.
Leading off was right fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL), who had the best day of them all, hitting 3-4 with 2 doubles and a hit by pitch. It certainly hasn’t been the year McCray was hoping for after his breakout 2022, and his August has been slow after catching fire in July (where he had a .904 OPS). But he has 6 hits and has reached base safely 8 times in his last 3 games and, as a reminder, still has 4 months of being a 22 year old. Don’t let last year’s numbers keep you from noticing this year’s numbers: .752 OPS, 105 wRC+, and 39 stolen bases. All that plus all-world athleticism and excellent center field defense (don’t read anything into him playing right field on Sunday).
Batting 2nd was the person who did play center field, Carter Howell. He also had a 3-hit day, going 3-5 with a double. Howell took a while to adjust following a midseason promotion, but lately he’s been playing really well. In his last 9 games, the 2022 undrafted outfielder is 12-36 with 2 doubles, 5 walks, and just 5 strikeouts. He has a .705 OPS and a 94 wRC+ in 57 games since his promotion.
And batting 3rd was Eugene’s hottest hitter, shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL), who hit 2-4 with a double. I’ll spare you my age/position/defense/power spiel that I hit you with every other day, but Arteaga has an .891 OPS in August and, since July 5, is 38-126 with 8 home runs, 12 doubles, and 7 walks. The downside is 34 strikeouts in that time (which isn’t a huge number, but not a good number, either), though he’s struck out just twice in his last 6 games, so progress on that front. He’s up to a .746 OPS and a 98 wRC+ on the year.
Catcher Zach Morgan hit 3-4, giving him his 3rd multi-hit game in 11 appearances since getting promoted. He seems to be adapting well to life in High-A! And designated hitter Damon Dues hit 1-3 with a double and a walk — he’s 12-34 with 4 doubles and 2 walks since returning from the IL.
An absolutely delightful outing from RHP Daniel Blair, an undrafted free agent who signed during Spring Training. He struck out 9 batters in 4.2 innings, giving up just 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 unearned run. What a game!
Blair might have the most extreme (and therefore awesome) case of “adjusting to a new level” that we’ve seen this year. He’s 6 games into his promotion, and look at the numbers.
First 2 games: 7.2 innings, 17 hits, 4 walks, 13 earned runs, 8 strikeouts
Next 4 games: 16.2 innings, 6 hits, 6 walks, 0 earned runs, 21 strikeouts
That’s pretty freaking cool.
RHP Hunter Dula struck out 2 batters in a perfect inning to earn the save. An 18th-round pick in 2021, Dula now has a 2.57 ERA, a 3.99 FIP, and 50 strikeouts to 16 walks in 42 innings. Looking forward to seeing him in AA Richmond next year (or maybe at the end of this year).
Of note was that RHP Eric Silva (No. 13 CPL) had a single-inning relief role in this game. Silva has had one of the more disappointing seasons in the farm this year, and it’s unclear if the Giants are shifting him to a new role, or just trying to put him in a new position to get his groove back. Either way, the results weren’t pretty, as he allowed 3 hits and 2 runs in an inning of work, albeit with 2 strikeouts. The 2021 4th-round pick has a 5.95 ERA and a 5.02 FIP in Eugene this year, with 59 strikeouts to 32 walks in 65 innings. Unfortunately it looks like his mechanic-fixing stint in the ACL, where he struck out 13 batters in 5.1 innings without a walk, hasn’t helped much.
Low-A San Jose (60-48)
San Jose Giants lost to the Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies) 8-5
Some fun offense across the board in this one. Let’s start with the 2 dudes who homered. Shortstop Cole Foster hit 1-4 and led off the 8th inning with a blast, which was great to see.
Foster, a switch-hitter, was the organization’s 3rd-round pick in July’s draft. After a short and highly successful stint in the ACL, he headed to San Jose where he has really been struggling (in a tiny, tiny sample size, I should note). Prior to his home run, he was 2-25 with 0 extra-base hits and 11 strikeouts. Don’t let Wade Meckler spoil you: those are normal numbers for a player who just got drafted a month ago. But still great to see him homer.
Also homering was first baseman Tanner O’Tremba, who hit 1-5 with a 3-run blast. A 15th-round pick last year, O’Tremba has bounced back from a mediocre June to post delightful numbers in July and August. In that time frame he’s 22-84 with 3 home runs, 7 doubles, 14 walks, and 20 strikeouts. Keep it up, Tanner! On the year, O’Tremba now has an .820 OPS and a 128 wRC+. A really nice full-season debut for him.
Designated hitter P.J. Hilson (No. 37 CPL) hit 2-4 with a triple, as he continues his late-season surge. Hilson has a 10-game hitting streak to start the month, and that doesn’t do justice to just how ridiculously well he’s playing right now. Look at his numbers over those 10 games: 17-38, 6 homers, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 1 walk, and just 6 strikeouts. To quote the great Klay Thompson, holy cannoli. Anytime you hit the halfway point in a month with a slugging percentage that starts with a 1, you’re doing something very right. Hilson is up to a .750 OPS and a 97 wRC+, as his red-hot hitting is quickly turning around an otherwise disappointing year.
Center fielder Turner Hill and second baseman Diego Velasquez (No. 42 CPL) both reached base a lot, because that’s what they do these days. Hill hit 1-3 with a double and 2 walks, giving him a .779 OPS, a 118 wRC+, and an 18-game stretch that’s seen him hit 31-72 with 2 triples, 6 doubles, 16 walks, and just 6 strikeouts. Velasquez hit 1-2 with 3 walks, giving him an .863 OPS, a 134 wRC+, and a 27-game stretch where he’s hit 42-108 with 2 homers, 1 triple, 13 doubles, 11 walks, and just 18 strikeouts. A reminder that he’s a switch-hitting 19 year old who plays shortstop.
A bad day on the mound, though. LHP Nomar Medina got rocked, giving up 10 baserunners and 5 runs in 4 innings. It’s been a poor debut full season for Medina, who has a 5.47 ERA, a 5.88 FIP, and poor walk and strikeout numbers. But he’s still just 20!
RHP Jorge Garcia was so-so, giving up 3 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run in 3 innings, but only striking out 1 batter. He has a 2.45 ERA since a recent promotion, but has just 10 strikeouts to 6 walks in 14.2 innings.
RHP Marques Johnson pitched a scoreless inning, allowing just a walk (but didn’t strike anyone out). Johnson, a 23 year old in his debut season, has only allowed 2 hits and 1 unearned run in 6 innings since the Giants traded Mauricio Llovera for him. But he also has 5 walks to just 4 strikeouts in that time.
AAA Tyler Fitzgerald (15 in AAA, 17 total)
Low-A Tanner O’Tremba (6)
Low-A Cole Foster (1 in Low-A, 4 total)
Here’s a full list of all the players on the injury report at each level.
40-man roster (60-Day IL)
LHP Thomas Szapucki
RHP Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL)
RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) — Full Season
C Brett Cumberland — 60-Day
RHP Kade McClure — 60-Day
RHP Joe Ross — 60-Day
RHP Logan Shore — 60-Day
RHP Melvin Adón — 7-Day
RHP Tanner Andrews — 7-Day
RHP Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL) — 7-Day
OF Hunter Bishop (No. 29 CPL) — 60-Day
RHP Michael Stryffeler — 60-Day (on a rehab assignment)
OF Vaun Brown (No. 5 CPL) — 7-Day
INF Hayden Cantrelle — 7-Day
RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL) — 7-Day
LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 9 CPL) — 7-Day
LHP Nick Zwack (No. 39 CPL) — 7-Day
INF Michael Wielansky — 60-Day
RHP Will Bednar (No. 26 CPL) — 7-Day
RHP Trevor McDonald (No. 23 CPL) — 7-Day (McDonald is listed on the IL but has been playing)
OF Jairo Pomares (No. 14 CPL) — 7-Day
RHP Carson Ragsdale — 7-Day
RHP Sam Bower — Full Season
INF 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 (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Liam Simon — 60-Day
RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL) — 7-Day
Arizona Complex League
RHP Cole Hillier — Reserve List
RHP Shane Rademacher — Reserve List
C Braden Frankfort — Restricted List
RHP Kanoa Pagan — Full Season
RHP Ryan Varderhei — Full Season
C Nomar Diaz — 60-Day
OF Samuel Reyes — 60-Day
INF Maui Ahuna — 7-Day
INF Irvin Murr III — 7-Day
RHP Melvin Pineda — 7-Day
Dominican Summer League
RHP Alexander Fuentes — Restricted List
RHP Jhon Leon — 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
LHP 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