A very mellow Monday on the farm for the San Francisco Giants Minor League Baseball affiliates. Their four A-ball teams had the day off, while their pair of Dominican Summer League teams had their games suspended in the second inning ... those games will be made up later this week.
So it’s just the Arizona Complex League teams to talk about!
All listed positions are the positions played in that game.
Just some (hopefully minor) injury news. AA Richmond placed LHP Nick Zwack (No. 39 CPL) and infielder Hayden Cantrelle on the 7-day IL. Not sure what the injuries are, but hopefully each player is fine.
ACL Orange (22-22)
ACL Giants Orange beat the ACL Athletics 2-0 (7 innings)
Some good pitching, needless to say. I was going to make a joke about how the A’s in the Minors don’t roll over and play dead like the A’s in the Majors, but .... then I remembered what the Giants spent their weekend doing.
LHP Carlos Lopez (20 years, 2019 IFA) led the charge, pitching 5 shutout innings while allowing just 4 baserunners: 2 hits, a walk, and a hit batter. He also struck out 3.
Lopez is the rare intra-season international promotion, as he started the year with his third DSL stint, but was quickly sent to Arizona. He’s really been struggling in the Complex League, where he has a 6.14 ERA, a 7.28 FIP, and has 30 strikeouts to 25 walks in 29.1 innings. So needless to say, it was really nice seeing him have such a good outing, and far and away his best since joining the ACL.
Finishing things off was RHP Junior Flores (21 years, 2020 IFA), who pitched 2 shutout innings with just 1 hit allowed, and 2 strikeouts. Like Lopez, Flores is really struggling with his strikeout-to-walk ratio, as he has 31 strikeouts to 23 walks in 31.1 innings in his debut stateside season. So seeing him have a 2-inning, 0-walk outing was great, since he’d combined to walk 6 batters in 2 innings in his last 2 appearances.
The offense didn’t do much, but there were still some exciting things. Most notably, it was a multi-hit day for right fielder Bryce Eldridge (18 years, 2023 1st-round), who hit 2-4. Eldridge has had a slightly slow start since the Giants drafted him 16th overall, as he’s 3-13 in his 5 games, and still in search of his first extra-base hit. But in addition to the fact that it’s a laughably-small sample size, and that he’s ... you know ... 18 (which is 1.8 years younger than league average) ... he’s already drawn 5 walks while striking out just twice.
I haven’t heard any discussion yet as to when Eldridge will get to pitch, but I’d guess we’ll have to wait until 2024. Though it’s funny (and entirely meaningless) that he’s listed on both the Giants Orange’s roster and on the Minor League Baseball website as a pitcher.
Another lovely day for designated hitter Justin Wishkoski (22 years, 2023 16th-round), who hit 1-2 with a double and a hit by pitch. A right-handed hitting third baseman, Wishkoski’s start to the pros has gone dreamily: he’s 6-17 with 4 extra-base hits, 3 walks, and, wait for it ... 0 strikeouts. Sources tell me that someone in the Giants front office is currently drooling. Sources tell me that you might be, also.
Lest we not forget about the players who aren’t in their debut month, first baseman Garrett Frechette (22 years, 2019 5th-round) had a very nice day, hitting 1-1 with a double and 2 walks. Frechette had a really nice year in the ACL in 2021, but struggled mightily in Low-A last year and, after some early struggles there this year, returned to the ACL. His numbers aren’t yet very good, as he has a .792 OPS and a 101 wRC+, but he has the best walk and strikeout rates of his career by a mile.
ACL Black (27-19)
ACL Giants Black beat the ACL Royals 17-1
17 runs?? Can we promote some of these players to the Majors before tonight’s game, please?
And folks, I present to you one of the best things in sports: a cycle!!
Left fielder Nadir Lewis (22 years, 2023 20th-round) needed just 6 games (and 4 innings!!!) as a pro to hit for the cycle, something most players never do. The aptly-named final pick in the Giants draft went 4-6, and is now batting a cool 7-23 with 4 extra-base hits and 3 walks in his young career. What an awesome day that I’m sure he’ll never forget.
Yet while a cycle might be the coolest thing that happened in this game, Lewis might not have even had the best offensive day. You could make a damn strong case for designated hitter Quinn McDaniel (20 years, 2023 5th-round), who hit 3-4 with 2 home runs and a walk. A right-handed hitting second baseman, McDaniel has been on fire to start his career: he’s 7-21 with 2 homers, 2 doubles, and 5 walks.
These sample sizes probably aren’t enough to mean much, but then again ... Wade Meckler only had 50 plate appearances in the ACL last year before the Giants apparently decided to fast track him.
First baseman Guillermo Williamson (19 years, 2021 IFA) continues his spectacular season, and I’m guessing he’ll be one of the players headed to A-ball to end the year when the ACL season concludes in 2 weeks. A left-handed hitter who also plays corner outfield, Williamson hit 2-5 with a double and a walk, bringing his debut stateside season up to a .980 OPS and a 140 wRC+. He’s hitting for average and power, has a 16.8% walk rate, and doesn’t turn 20 until the Giants are trimming down their roster in preparation for Opening Day. What an awesome year for him.
It has not been an awesome year for shortstop Ryan Reckley (No. 31 CPL, 18 years, 2022 IFA), who has the 2nd-lowest batting average among the 95 Giants Minor Leaguers with at least 100 plate appearances this year. But, perhaps inspired by his teammates in this game, he took a step forward on Monday, hitting 3-5. It was, remarkably, just the 2nd time this season and the 3rd time in his career that he had a multi-hit day, and the 1st time that he had 3 hits in a game. A reminder that he’s very young and very inexperienced. Don’t give up hope, even if his overall numbers — .586 OPS, 63 wRC+, 37.7% strikeout rate — are quite grim (that 19.5% walk rate, though...).
Center fielder/right fielder Cesar Quintas (20 years, 2019 IFA) and second baseman Elian Rayo (20 years, 2019 IFA) both reached base 3 times, were hit by a pitch, and replaced. Neither player was replaced right after getting hit, so hopefully that’s just a coincidence. Quintas, who has a blistering .976 OPS and a 157 wRC+, has already been hit 14 times in just 167 plate appearances. Ouch!
The offense obviously gets the attention, but the pitching was utterly sensational. RHP Nicolas Herold (24 years, 2023 UDFA) had one of the best starts of the season in the organization, as he pitched 6 innings of 1-run ball, giving up just 3 hits and a hit batter, while striking out 10. Wow!
These are the types of performances that are hard to evaluate. I caution against reading too much into the positive performance of someone who is so much older than their competition — Herold turns 25 in just 2 months. At the same time, you’ve got to celebrate great outings! After a slow start post-signing, Herold has really turned things on. In his last 4 games, he’s pitched 20 innings and allowed just 12 hits, 5 walks, 6 runs, and 4 earned runs, with 28 strikeouts. That’s pretty awesome!
And then it was another dynamic showing by LHP Tommy Kane (21 years, 2023 19th-round), who gave up just 1 hit in 3 shutout innings, while striking out 2. Kane has been absolutely fantastic in his debut season, allowing just 2 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run in 7.2 innings, while striking out 11 batters. That’s a helluva introduction!
ACL Quinn McDaniel, 2 (2)
ACL Nadir Lewis (1)
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, 6:30 p.m. PT
Reminder that all Minor League games can now be watched on MLB TV.