Four games on Sunday for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates, as their A-ball teams were all in action, while the Arizona Complex League and Dominican Summer League had the day off. Let’s jump into it.
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
I’m not going to cover the Friday and Saturday games, but it is worth at least debriefing on what happened to two of the top pitchers in the system. Most notable was that LHP Kyle Harrison (No. 1 CPL) returned to AAA Sacramento after missing a month with a hamstring injury. It did not go very well, though that’s to be expected with returns, especially since he had just one short rehab appearance. The southpaw pitched 2 innings for Sacramento on Saturday, allowing 1 hit, 4 walks, and 1 run, with 2 strikeouts. The big Harrison news is Farhan Zaidi revealing that he might only be 2-3 starts away from joining the MLB rotation. He’ll probably need a better outing than that one, though.
Also of note was RHP Hayden Birdsong (No. 36 CPL) making his AA Richmond debut after a second very well deserved promotion in this breakout season. He got rocked around quite a bit on Saturday, allowing 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs in 3.1 innings of work, but did strike out 5 batters. I certainly would not be concerned with the outing, and this is a reminder that he entered the game with fewer than 90 career innings thrown.
This is probably old news but this is the time of year where I lose track of things. In scrolling through rosters for the “Injured List” segment at the end of this article, I noticed that RHP Ryan Vanderhei — the team’s 10th-round pick in July’s draft — is on the Full Season Injured List.
To help AAA Sacramento with their roster crunch, infielder Donovan Walton was moved down to AA Richmond.
And finally some celebratory news: AA Richmond RHP Carson Seymour (No. 28 CPL) was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week after a dominant start in which he struck out 9 batters in 5 scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit.
AAA Sacramento (46-61)
The skid continues for the River Cats, who have lost 7 of their last 8 games. Ouch.
Not a very exciting game. RHP Kai-Wei Teng made his first start since a 1-hit, 12-strikeout masterpiece, and it didn’t go very well, on paper at least. But Teng still showed some nice composure. It was a brutal first inning, in which he hit a batter, walked 2, and gave up 2 hits ... including a 3-run home run.
Then he settled in and pitched 3 straight scoreless innings, giving up just a walk in that time. 6 baserunners and 3 runs in 4 innings doesn’t look super good, even when adjusted for the offense-heavy PCL. But recovering from a tough inning to show quality stuff will endear himself to the Giants, I’d think.
I’ll be curious to see if the Giants protect Teng in the Rule 5 Draft. If they don’t, then it’s probably because they’re not very high on him, as I would expect him to be selected if left unprotected. Teng is struggling with walks in Sacramento (5.8 per 9 innings), but has a 3.72 ERA, 11.2 strikeouts per 9 innings, and a 48.4% ground ball rate. And he’s still just 24!
A very nice outing for LHP Raymond Burgos, who had really struggled in his first 3 games with Sacramento following a recent promotion. But not on Sunday! He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up just a single and a walk, while striking out 3. Nice!
No standout days on offense, and these days the most notable thing with Sacramento’s lineup is just who isn’t playing, because there are too many notable players on the River Cats right now, so every game features multiple notable players who are absent.
But nice days for a pair of players trying to work their way back to the Majors, as third baseman David Villar hit 2-4 with a double, and right fielder Heliot Ramos (No. 12 CPL) hit 1-3 with a double and a walk. Ramos has rebounded blissfully from his miniature slump in July. He’s rocking a 1.214 OPS in 5 August games, and since July 20 is 17-52 with 2 homers, 2 triples, 3 doubles, and 5 walks. On the year, Ramos has a .905 OPS and a 110 wRC+.
It’s hard to find a way for Ramos to get back to the Majors this year, given that the Giants just added A.J. Pollock and hope to get Mike Yastrzemski and Mitch Haniger back at some point. But Ramos is certainly remaining an option, with Farhan Zaidi saying a few days ago that, “I think Heliot could still get that opportunity. Anything can happen the last two months, especially if he continues to play the way he’s playing.”
Marco Luciano (No. 2 CPL) played designated hitter in this one, and went 1-4 with some hard contact. Since being optioned he’s played DH once, shortstop once, and second base twice. I thought he looked significantly more comfortable in his second attempt at second base on Saturday, and helped turn a nice double play.
Shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald (No. 18 CPL) hit 0-4 with 2 strikeouts as he continues to hit an icy patch. As the Giants have certainly seen happen with prospects at the MLB level, Fitzgerald has been steadily falling off after a hot stretch to start his time in Sacramento. Following an early season promotion, the right-handed hitting utility player had an .895 OPS in May, then an .826 OPS in June, and an .824 OPS in July. So far in August he’s 1-20 with 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. With Casey Schmitt (No. 3 CPL) getting optioned back to Sacramento, we’ll probably see Fitzgerald in the outfield a bit going forward.
AA Richmond (52-50)
Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Altoona Curve (Pirates) 13-4
Well, this game was certainly a break from the norm for the Flying Squirrels and the Curve. In the first 5 games, Richmond had lost 1-0, won 7-0, lost 6-0, lost 4-0, and lost 9-1. But this game had offense from both teams! How considerate!
I didn’t watch this game so I’m not sure what happened, but a funny box score anecdote: third baseman Brady Whalen (who hit 1-4 with a double) left the game and was replaced by designated hitter Carter Aldrete, which in turn forced Richmond to give up their DH. That led to RHP Evan Gates pinch-hitting (he put the ball in play!), and later to RHP Tyler Myrick having an at-bat (he struck out).
I guess Richmond, shy on position players at the moment, was in a pinch and Whalen got hurt or something? Not sure, but interesting.
Let’s stick with the pitchers, since we just mentioned Myrick. He had a really nice game, pitching 2 scoreless innings with just 1 hit allowed, and 2 strikeouts. A 14th-round pick in 2021, Myrick has been sensational in his short Richmond stint following a recent promotion. In 7 appearances out of the bullpen, he’s thrown 11.1 innings and allowed just 7 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run, while striking out 12. Lovely!
Also having a nice game out of the bullpen was RHP Sam Delaplane, who struck out 3 batters in 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing just a walk. It was Delaplane’s second game since heading to Richmond, and he got blown up in the first game, so very nice to see. There aren’t many players in the Giants system easier to root for than Delaplane, who is essentially having his first season since 2019.
I haven’t really talked much about RHP Parker Dunshee this year, which is probably a sign of my own bias: I didn’t think too many excited thoughts about the Giants signing a 28-year old Minor League free agent who the A’s of all teams had given up on. But Dunshee has quietly been having a fantastic season in Richmond, with a 2.82 ERA and 11 strikeouts per 9 innings (that’s the good; the bad is a 4.34 FIP and 4.5 walks per 9). The Giants have certainly made some adjustments with Dunshee, as his strikeout rate is the highest of his career, and his ground ball rate (41.7%) is his highest since a stint in Low-A after getting drafted in 2017.
In his last 5 games, Dunshee has pitched 10.1 innings and allowed just 5 hits, 4 walks, and 0 runs, albeit with just 7 strikeouts. That includes Sunday’s game, when he gave up a single in 1.2 scoreless innings.
Starting the game was RHP Ryan Murphy (No. 19 CPL), who had a so-so start. He gave up 5 hits, a hit batter, and 2 runs in just 3 innings of work, which obviously isn’t good. But he also had 3 strikeouts to 0 walks, which is nice, because that ratio hasn’t always been good. In his first 5 July starts, for instance, Murphy had 20 strikeouts to 12 walks in 17 innings. In 2 games since, he has 10 strikeouts to just 1 walk in 6.1 innings. The Giants are being a bit more pointed with limiting Murphy’s pitches and innings than with most other starters, which I would assume (and hope) is more about performance than health.
OK, let’s talk offense! Some really fun games as the Squirrels amassed 11 hits and 8 walks, even if the pitchers went 0-2. Second baseman Shane Matheny continues to walk around with a giant “Return To Sender” sticker on him ever since getting demoted from AAA, as he hit 2-4 with a pair of doubles and a pair of walks.
Shane Matheny scores two more for the 5-2 lead pic.twitter.com/UjU3OzFCu5— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) August 6, 2023
Matheny, who is up to an .829 OPS and a 128 wRC+ in Richmond, has been on an absolute tear in his last dozen games. Just look at this line: 15-40 with 1 home run, 1 triple, 4 doubles, and a whopping 14 walks. He has just 5 strikeouts in his last 7 games, which will make the Giants happy, as he was sporting a 32.4% strikeout rate in Sacramento.
Right fielder Brandon Martorano had an equally awesome game, hitting 2-4 with a triple, a double, and a walk.
Brandon Martorano does it again pic.twitter.com/DZweifCiPs— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) August 6, 2023
Prior to this season, Martorano had never played a game at any position other than catcher, but he’s now spent 14 games in the outfield, including 1 in center. His overall batting numbers aren’t super good — .658 OPS, 89 wRC+ — but he’s pretty hot right now. In his last 5 games, the 2019 16th-round pick is 6-17 with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts.
Speaking of hot hitters, shortstop Jimmy Glowenke hit 2-4 with a double and a walk, as he continues to look like he’s figured out AA.
Glow Show drives home three more pic.twitter.com/3Zc7eeEc67— Richmond Flying Squirrels (@GoSquirrels) August 6, 2023
Glowenke’s season has flown under the radar given how many cool middle infield prospects the Giants have, but it’s secretly been one of the best stories of the year. He fell off of people’s prospect radars in 2022, when he posted a .713 OPS and a 99 wRC+ in High-A, with a 31.2% strikeout rate, leading the Giants to have him repeat the level. He dominated, and was promoted after just 26 games.
We’ve seen the same thing with him in AA, except this time the adjustment took a month instead of a year. Look at his performance arc, which is basically “June” vs. “Since June.”
First 21 games: 11-71, 0 homers, 3 doubles, 9 walks, 16 strikeouts
Next 24 games: 26-84, 4 homers, 7 doubles, 9 walks, 20 strikeouts
Center fielder Ismael Munguia reached base 4 times, drawing 3 walks and getting hit by a pitch. He has a .790 OPS and a 122 wRC+ and, personally, I can’t wait to watch AAA Sacramento’s outfield next year with Munguia and Wade Meckler (No. 42 CPL) in it.
High-A Eugene (52-50)
Eugene Emeralds beat the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels) 2-0
Let’s start on the mound with a very, very happy sight: an excellent outing by RHP Trevor McDonald (No. 23 CPL).
If you’re not up to speed on McDonald, a 22 year old who was taken in the 11th round of the 2019 draft, here’s the tl;dr: he had a breakout 2022, missed the start of the year due to injury, debuted in early May, was sent back to the IL after 1 game, started a Complex League rehab assignment in July, and returned to Eugene last week.
His return went very well, and his second game, on Sunday, went just as well, as he dealt 4 scoreless innings, allowing just 3 hits (all singles) and striking out 3. In his trio of High-A outings this year, McDonald has pitched 10 innings and allowed just 10 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs, and 1 earned run, with 12 strikeouts. How great to see him healthy and shining.
Speaking of shining, RHP Daniel Blair followed up McDonald’s excellence with excellence of his own, pitching 4 scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts, and allowing just 2 hits. Remember what I was saying about Jimmy Glowenke, and adjusting to a new level? Blair is setting a new standard for both quickness and extremeness in his 5 games since getting promoted. Look at this!
First 2 games: 7.2 innings, 17 hits, 4 walks, 13 runs, 8 strikeouts
Next 3 games: 12 innings, 4 hits, 5 walks, 0 runs, 12 strikeouts
What cool progress to see.
But the star was on offense, where designated hitter Ghordy Santos showed up and showed out, hitting 2-3 with a home run, a double, and a walk. Santos, a middle infielder, is repeating the level with mixed results. He has a .772 OPS and a 107 wRC+, which are pretty decent (especially when you account for the bizarreness that is Eugene), but perhaps not as good as the Giants would hope for out of a repeat level. On the plus side, his walk rate has skyrocketed from 6.6% last year to 13.3% this year. On the down side, his strikeout rate has also skyrocketed from an already-high 30.3% to 36.5%, the 3rd-highest mark of 95 Giants prospects with 100 plate appearances this year.
Center fielder Carter Howell also had a lovely game, hitting 2-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base. Howell’s numbers since getting promoted are mediocre, with a .709 OPS and a 94 wRC+. But in his last 9 games, the undrafted 24 year old is hitting 13-35 with 2 homers, 3 doubles, 5 walks, and just 7 strikeouts. Love to see that!
And another nice outing for catcher Adrian Sugastey (No. 22 CPL), who hit 2-3 with a double before being lifted. It was just Sugastey’s second game back ofter a 2-plus week absence, so I’m assuming coming out of the game was about conditioning, not injury. Sugastey has been a streaky hitter this year, with a red-hot May and July, but a quite poor April and June. But in his last 24 games, Sugastey is hitting 34-93 with 2 triples, 9 doubles, 6 walks, and just 12 strikeouts.
That brings his season numbers up to a .756 OPS and a 103 wRC+, and consider this your reminder that he’s a 20 year old who has quite a bit of defensive potential. A really, really nice year for him.
Low-A San Jose (56-46)
San Jose Giants lost to the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) 6-2
Not very much going on in this game, but a little bad news, as designated hitter Alexander Suarez was hit by a pitch in the 1st inning and removed from the game. The potentially good news is that he stayed in the game for the rest of the inning, ran the bases, and even scored. The bad news is that he got hit in the head. Hopefully he’s OK.
Also of note, from our friend Roger Munter: RHP Gerelmi Maldonado (No. 40 CPL) was scheduled to start on Friday but did not pitch, nor did he on Saturday or Sunday. No word on what’s going on there.
Now, into the limited excitement from the game. It goes without saying that some of it came from shortstop Diego Velasquez (No. 41 CPL) because ... obviously it did. Velasquez hit 2-4, with a double representing San Jose’s only extra-base hit. It was the 19-year old switch-hitter’s 4th multi-hit game in his last 5 games, and the 15th time in his last 21 contests that he’s done that. During that 21-game stretch he’s hitting 33-86 with 2 home runs, 1 triple, 11 doubles, 8 walks, and 15 strikeouts. On the year, he’s up to an .857 OPS and a 133 wRC+. Go Diego go!!
Right fielder Tanner O’Tremba also had a lovely game, hitting 2-3 with a walk. After getting a little cold at the end of July, O’Tremba has been on a tear to start the new month, hitting 7-20 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts in August. Last year’s 15th-round pick is up to an .821 OPS and a 129 wRC+ on the year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a taste of the Pacific Northwest before the season ends. We’re only about 2 weeks away from the end of the ACL season, which will likely mean an influx of players joining San Jose. I’d assume O’Tremba will be part of the group promoted to make room.
High-A Ghordy Santos (9)
Sacramento: Off day
Richmond: Off day
Eugene: Off day
San Jose: Off day
To help us all keep track of who is healthy, here are the prospects on the Injured List at each level.
40-man roster (60-Day IL)
OF Luis González (on a rehab assignment)
LHP Thomas Szapucki
RHP Cole Waites (No. 15 CPL)
RHP R.J. Dabovich (No. 17 CPL) — Full Season
C Brett Cumberland — 60-Day
LHP/INF Ronald Guzmán — 60-Day
RHP Kade McClure — 60-Day
RHP Ljay Newsome — 60-Day (on a rehab assignment)
LHP Darien Núñez — 60-Day (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Joe Ross — 60-Day
RHP Logan Shore — 60-Day
RHP Melvin Adón — 7-Day
RHP Tanner Andrews — 7-Day
OF Jack Larsen — 7-Day
RHP Keaton Winn (No. 16 CPL) — 7-Day
OF Hunter Bishop (No. 29 CPL) — 60-Day
RHP Michael Stryffeler — 60-Day
RHP Landen Roupp (No. 20 CPL) — 7-Day
LHP Carson Whisenhunt (No. 9 CPL) — 7-Day
INF Michael Wielansky — 60-Day
RHP Will Bednar (No. 25 CPL) — 7-Day
OF Jairo Pomares (No. 14 CPL) — 7-Day
RHP Carson Ragsdale — 7-Day
RHP Sam Bower — Full Season
INF/RHP 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
LHP Seth Corry — 7-Day (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Mikell Manzano — 7-Day (on a rehab assignment)
RHP Ryan Vanderhei — Full Season
C Braden Frankfort — Restricted List
RHP Kanoa Pagan — Restricted List
C Nomar Diaz — 60-Day
OF Samuel Reyes — 60-Day
INF Irvin Murr III — 7-Day
RHP Melvin Pineda — 7-Day
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