Five games for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates on Wednesday, as the ACL teams had the day off, and just one DSL team played, making up a previously postponed contest.
Let’s dive in.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
Two bits of injury news. Low-A San Jose RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL) has been moved from the 7-day IL to the 60-day IL, ending his breakout season. Not sure what the injury is, but hopefully it’s not anything that requires surgery. Maldonado has really opened eyes this year.
Low-A San Jose utility player Justin Bench was placed on the 7-day IL. A 17th-round pick last year, Bench has been limited to just 27 games this year, but he’s been excellent in those 27, hitting .362/.456/.468 with just 13 strikeouts in 114 plate appearances across the ACL and Low-A.
AAA Sacramento (49-66)
Sacramento River Cats beat the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) 9-2
A rare win for the River Cats! Great to see. Also great to see is shortstop Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) finding his groove. For the second day in a row, Schmitt had a 3-hit day with a home run, this time finishing 3-4 with a walk thrown in.
Schmitt had been pretty cold since getting optioned, hitting just 4-27 in his first 6 games back with the River Cats. So very nice to see his bat coming back around.
He wasn’t the only middle infielder who struggled in the Majors this year and is trying to get his groove back and had a nice game. Second baseman Brett Wisely (No. 33 CPL) had a great game as well, hitting 1-1 with a double and 3 walks. Like Schmitt, Wisely struggled a bit after getting optioned, but has been finding nice at-bats lately. In his last 7 games, the lefty is hitting 8-26 with 3 doubles, 5 walks, and just 6 strikeouts. Games like that and stretches like that keep him in the team’s plans.
Nice games for a trio of players: third baseman David Villar hit 3-5 to raise his OPS to .867 and his wRC+ to 107; center fielder Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) hit 2-5 with a triple to bump his OPS to .864 and his wRC+ to 101; and catcher Joey Bart hit 1-4 with a double and a walk, giving him a .727 OPS and a 77 wRC+.
Right fielder Luis Matos (No. 4 CPL) hit 0-5 with a strikeout in his return to Sacramento after recently getting optioned.
A good if uneventful day on the mound for the River Cats. RHP Miguel Yajure, who has had a tough go of it in his first year in the organization, struck out 6 batters in 4 innings, but allowed 3 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs. For the offense-inflated PCL, that’s at least a fairly good outing. But he still has a 7.68 ERA and a 6.18 FIP, with more than 6 walks per 9 innings.
Really nice games out of the bullpen by RHP Randy Rodríguez (No. 32 CPL) and LHP Juan Sanchez, who both struck out 2 batters in 2 no-hit innings. Rodríguez had a perfect outing, which was great to see since he’s been struggling a bit since getting promoted — he has a 7.83 ERA, a 6.63 FIP, and has walked 22 batters in 23 innings. Since this is the 2nd year on the 40-man roster for Rodríguez, he might be feeling a little worry about staying on the roster through the offseason.
Sanchez, who recently got promoted, hit a batter but didn’t allow any other baserunners. His numbers in Sacramento aren’t very good, but that’s because it’s a small sample size: since getting promoted, the 22 year old has made just 5 appearances — 4 were really good and 1 was awful.
AA Richmond (55-55)
Richmond Flying Squirrels lost to the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 4-0
Well, dud of a game here, especially on offense. Richmond had just 3 hits and 1 walk on the day, with 12 strikeouts. Right fielder Victor Bericoto had the only extra-base hit, going 1-3 with a double, while catcher Brandon Martorano was the only player to reach base multiple times, hitting 1-2 with a walk. Both players are trying to find their groove in the Eastern League.
Designated hitter Jimmy Glowenke struck out in all 3 at-bats, but just good to see him on the field. He left a game on August 8 after getting hit by a pitch. He played 2 days later but quickly left that game, and hadn’t played since. He was red hot before that minor injury, so hopefully he’s able to quickly get back up to speed.
LHP John Michael Bertrand, last year’s 10th-round pick, made his 6th start since getting promoted, and the results were decent but not electric, as he gave up 6 baserunners in 5 innings, with 3 runs, 2 earned runs, and 5 strikeouts.
John Michael Bertrand strikes out the side in order in the second pic.twitter.com/FodKZytbvG— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) August 16, 2023
Bertrand’s numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away, especially since he’s not a big strikeout guy. But he’s quietly doing excellently in his 3rd level of the year, where he’s sporting a 3.54 ERA and a 2.81 FIP. Most encouraging, however, is that Bertrand is walking just 3.2 batters per 9 innings in Richmond, and has a sky-high 55.1% ground ball rate.
RHP Matt Frisbee made his 5th appearance since returning from the Injured List, and pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout for the 2nd straight game. It’s been a year of both mediocrity and injuries for Frisbee, so let’s hope he ends the season strong.
A funny outing for RHP Ben Madison, who pitched 1.2 no-hit innings with 3 strikeouts ... and also 3 walks. Madison, who has a 3.80 ERA and a 4.92 FIP, has really struggled with walks since a midseason promotion, as he’s issued 21 of them in 21.1 innings. But his strikeout stuff is remaining electric, and his 13.88 strikeouts per 9 innings across 2 levels is 3rd-highest out of 82 Giants pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched this year, trailing only top prospect Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) and 28-year old Sam Delaplane. That mark is also 12th-best out of 897 Minor League pitchers with at least 50 innings thrown.
Will the Giants protect Madison, a 25 year old who was a 9th-round pick in 2018, from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft?
High-A Eugene (56-53)
Eugene Emeralds beat the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) 8-6
After having 2 days off — Monday was a scheduled off day, and Tuesday was postponed due to poor weather — the Emeralds got back in action, and back in the win column.
Another fantastic outing for LHP Hayden Wynja, a 6’9 starter who really is looking like an undrafted gem from the 2022 class. Wynja may not be the most highly-regarded starting pitcher named Hayden in the Giants farm, but he’s a damn good one, and Wednesday was one of his most clear reminders of such. He pitched 5 scoreless innings, giving up just 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 8 of the 21 batters that he faced. What a game!
It was also a really nice bounce back for Wynja, who got rocked in his last outing, which represented his first hiccup since getting promoted to Eugene shortly after the All-Star break. Love to see players adjust and recover after bad games.
Wynja now has a 2.96 ERA in High-A (albeit with a 4.63 FIP), with just under 11 strikeouts and 4 walks per 9 innings. As our friend Roger Munter always cautions, players on the older side (Wynja turns 25 in 2 months) should be overmatching opponents in A-ball, so take things with a grain of salt. But an exciting grain of salt nonetheless.
After Wynja, the bullpen was odd. RHP Eric Silva (No. 13 CPL) made his 2nd appearance since getting shifted into a single-inning relief role, and it went as poorly as the 1st: he gave up 4 baserunners and 2 runs in his inning. RHP William Kempner, quietly having a delightful season, pitched 2 no-hit innings with 3 strikeouts ... but also allowed a walk and a run while hitting 2 batters. And RHP Hunter Dula, who entered the game having allowed just 2 hits, 1 walk, and 0 runs in 5 August innings, walked 3 batters in an inning of work, giving up 1 hit and 3 runs.
Plenty to like on the offensive front, where no one had an overpowering day but tons of hitters had good days. The biggest hit belonged to first baseman Luis Toribio, who only hit 1-4 but smacked a 3-run home run in the 1st inning.
A left-handed hitter who is still just 22, Toribio is trying to end his 2nd pass through Eugene on a high note. After posting a .905 OPS in April and an .802 OPS in May, Toribio went ice cold in June, with a .485 OPS. But his July was scorching (.920 OPS), and he’s rocking a .767 OPS so far in August. On the year he has a .774 OPS and a 109 wRC+ ... he’s shown an improvement at limiting strikeouts, though the Giants will probably want to see more: he has a 27.3% rate this year, after sitting at 35.2% last year.
Center fielder Grant McCray (No. 6 CPL) and third baseman Damon Dues both had a single, 2 walks, and a stolen base (2, in McCray’s case). McCray was ice cold to start the month, but over his last 4 games is 7-15 with 2 doubles and 3 walks, which has brought his OPS to .755 and his wRC+ to 106. His strikeout issue is still quite prominent — his 30.4% rate is 5th-highest out of 47 Giants Minor Leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances this year. But his defense and athleticism remain excellent, and he’s now up to 41 stolen bases on the year, which leads the organization by a mile. As for Dues, he’s been catching fire since returning from the IL. In his last 7 games, he’s 11-23 with 4 doubles, 4 walks, and just 4 strikeouts, bringing him to a .788 OPS and a 123 wRC+. The same caveat that applied to Wynja applies to Dues, who was also undrafted: he’s 25. But still!
Another nice game for shortstop Aeverson Arteaga (No. 7 CPL), who hit 2-4 with a double. Arteaga is making a run at ending the season on a spectacularly high note ... after posting an .886 OPS in July, he has a .916 mark in August ... and in his last 9 games is 13-39 with 2 home runs, 5 doubles, and 2 walks, bringing him up to a .751 OPS and a 99 wRC+. Also 2-hit days for right fielder Carter Howell and left fielder Jared Dupere.
Low-A San Jose (60-50)
San Jose Giants lost to the Stockton Ports (A’s) 4-2
Well, this wasn’t a good game. There’s really very little to highlight. The offense mustered just 1 hit, which isn’t a very good thing, is it? First baseman Tanner O’Tremba drew 2 walks, making him the only player to reach base multiple times ... though he was also thrown out stealing, which isn’t ideal in a game where no one is reaching base. He has an .817 OPS and a 128 wRC+ in his debut of full season pro ball.
RHP Marques Johnson continues to put up zeroes in the run column. He struck out 2 batters in 2 scoreless innings, allowing just a walk. Since coming over in the Mauricio Llovera trade, Johnson — who is in his debut season after the Red Sox drafted him in the 11th round last year — has yet to give up an earned run (though he gave up 1 unearned run). That said, he has just 6 strikeouts to 5 walks in 8 innings.
RHPs Jorge Garcia and Luis Moreno both pitched perfect innings. Garcia, who also had a strikeout, has a 2.30 ERA but a 4.89 FIP in 8 games since getting promoted. He’s rocking a 48.8% ground ball rate, but has just 11 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.
Let’s move on.
DSL Orange (28-21)
DSL Giants Orange beat the DSL Rockies 7-3 (7 innings)
A make up for a game that was postponed a few weeks ago, this game featured something very rare in the Minor Leagues (or the Majors, for that matter): a complete game! Sure, it was only 7 innings, but still, RHP Jose Gonzalez (21 years, 2020 IFA) went the distance.
Not surprisingly, it was a strong game for Gonzalez, as he gave up 8 hits, 1 walk, and 3 runs in his 7 innings of work, while striking out 10 batters. His 3rd pass through the DSL isn’t going super well, as he has a 4.35 ERA, a 4.77 FIP, and 40 strikeouts to 19 walks in 41.1 innings. But always great to see a nice outing!
The star on offense was third baseman Jose Astudillo (19 years, 2021 IFA), who hit 2-4 and had both a triple and a double, the only extra-base hits of the game for the Giants Orange squad. Astudillo is having an exceptional 3rd year in the DSL, with an .899 OPS, a 139 wRC+, and, most impressively, just 4 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances. Even Luis Matos is impressed by that!
Right fielder Erick Arosemena (18 years, 2022 IFA) hit 2-3 with a hit by pitch and a stolen base. He’s not having a very good 2nd pro season, with a .662 OPS and an 88 wRC+, but he’s quickly trying to turn that around: in his last 10 games he’s hitting 14-35 with 2 doubles, 3 walks, and just 6 strikeouts.
Shortstop Anthony Tandron (17 years, 2023 IFA) reached base twice and stole a bag. He has just a .651 OPS and an 84 wRC+ in his debut season, but given his age and position, it’s hard to be too down on that.
AAA Casey Schmitt (3 in AAA, 5 total)
High-A Luis Toribio (15)
Sacramento: vs. the Tacoma Rainiers, 6:45 p.m. PT
Richmond: vs. the Harrisburg Senators, 3:35 p.m. PT
Eugene: vs. the Vancouver Canadians, 6:35 p.m. PT
San Jose: @ the Stockton Ports, 7:05 p.m. PT
Reminder that all Minor League games can now be watched on MLB TV.