Week 12 in Review: Who Might the Giants Look to Trade?

July 19-26, 2021 SF Giants Minor Lines

Hello and Welcome to Free For All Tuesday! Hope you’re feeling fine! Before we jump into the Week in Review, I have a couple of announcements I wanted to make for everybody. First off, I’m heading out west to take in some games in San Jose, Eugene, and the ACL complex. My plan is to be at Excite Park in San Jose Thursday, July 29 through Sunday August 1. Then I’ll head up to PK Park in Eugene to watch the Emeralds August 3-5. Finally I’ll jump down to Scottsdale to enjoy the ACL Giants (probably at the Papago Park facility) on August 6 and 7.

I’m telling you all this for two reasons: first, I’d be happy to say hello to any of you who are at the games! You can email me at ThereRGiants@Gmail.com, or DM me on Twitter @rog61. Hope to see some of you at the park! The second reason for bringing this up is I’m not entirely sure what the trip is going to do to the production schedule. Between reliance on strange WiFis, early morning flights and other travel-related logistics, it’s possible things will be a little different over the next two weeks — but I promise the reports will still land in your Inbox at some point each morning! Since I’ll be on the road, maybe there will be an extra Saturday or Sunday post or two! Anyway, I’m pretty excited about the trip and getting to lay eyes on a whole new bunch of Giants minor leaguers.

Speaking of which, the weekly Free For Alls can’t cover everything, so if you’d like to get daily coverage, why not subscribe to There R Giants now?

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And with that, let’s get to our Week in Review!

Who Might the Giants Trade Away?

Photo Credit: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire

Traditionally, we look backwards at the week that was here at Week in Review, but this week we are forced to look forwards at what’s to come. The baseball calendar is reaching that rumor crescendo known as the trade deadline, and with the best record in baseball, the Giants are likely to be part of the action. They may make moves that are BIG! They’ll probably make moves that are small. But either way, they’ll be digging into their minor league depth, so let’s take a look at whom the Giants may be willing to move and why. This isn’t a discussion about who the Giants best trade chips would be — that’s pretty easily seen by just perusing a Prospect Ranking — rather, we’re here to look at who the Giants might be most willing to deal, and why.

As Melissa Lockard and I discussed on last week’s podcast, the key consideration is the Giants’ current 40-man situation. Way back in 2019, Farhan Zaidi talked about wanting to have a 40-man roster that made every move painful, and the Giants have got to be pretty close to that ideal by now. The roster crunch is here and it is very likely to hurt.

In the coming weeks, the Giants are likely to have to make room on the 40-man for various players who are ready to return from the 60-day IL: Tommy La Stella, Aaron Sanchez, Evan Longoria, and/or Reyes Moronta. Of course, these things have a way of working themselves out (read: someone else will probably get injured), but the chances are high that some tough cuts might have to be made. Bringing in major league talent via trade only exacerbates the situation further. And that’s without even getting to the off-season situation. If the 40-man were lifeboats on the Titanic, the wave of players the Giants will need to protect this winter will look like the mass of 3rd class passengers breaking out of the steerage level.

Just exactly like that, yes. This is the kind of situation that led the Giants to land a virtually-free (read: some cash required) Daniel Robertson and Anthony Banda from the Tampa Bay Rays last year, and it’s why the recently-DFA’d Thairo Estrada was so readily available for the Giants in April. Roster crunches make talent flow over the sides. And when that happens, it’s better to use the capitol to acquire upgrades than to risk losing it altogether through waiver wire, DFA, or the Rule 5 draft.

Long-term the situation doesn’t get any easier, either. At the end of the year other 60-day IL players — Dedniel Nuñez and Sam Delaplane, remember them? — will have to be added back to the roster as will suspended Gregory Santos. On top of which, the Giants will have a significant class of players who will need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter.

Now sellers may have a very different idea of which players in the Giants organization they’d like to target when it comes down to trade talks, but I suspect that the Giants will prefer to be dealing out of a few, well-defined buckets when it comes down to it:

  • Players on the Major League Roster: Maybe the acquisition of a bench bat makes holding a spot on the roster for a guy like Mike Tauchman or Austin Slater unsustainable. You can write the same sentence, replacing “bench bat” with right-handed reliever and basically take your pick of most of the guys in the pen to substitute for Tauchman or Slater. But these guys aren’t part of my prospect-centric worldview, so I won’t spend too much time on them. Just don’t be surprised to see a minor chunk of the Active Roster set loose.

  • Players on the 40-Man Roster: This is more my bailiwick alright! It’s easy to understand the calculus here: if you have to use prospect capitol to make a deal, wouldn’t the Giants prefer to dip into players who are already burning up options and creating sticky places on the 40-man, rather than guys who still offer up years of control? One would imagine so! That points a target straight at a player like Alexander Canario. Canario has had a solid year at Low-A San Jose, particularly when you consider that he was supposed to miss the start of the season after off-season shoulder surgery. He oozes talent and bat speed, has tremendous raw power, and has been working on improving his plate discipline — his 12% walk rate in 2021 is a significant step forward. He’s even stealing bases this year and has been playing a good amount of CF lately. But he’s also a 21 year old hitting .239 in Low-A whose options clock is ticking. After 2021 he’ll have just two options remaining and there’s good reason to believe that he has more than two years of development left. That said, the same could be said of Akil Baddoo last winter. Teams that are willing to wait for a “competitive window” might be more willing to invest big league PA hoping for a guy like Canario to click.



    By the same measure, teams that aren’t trying to compete right now in 2021 might have more time to devote to trying to coax the prodigious potential out of Camilo Doval’s, Gregory Santos’, or Kervin Castro’s right-arms than the Giants currently do at the big league level. The Giants added all three to the roster this winter, using the logic that “relievers can move fast.” They then had to temper expectations when, despite their awe-inspiring stuff, both Doval and Santos proceeded to get knocked around at both the major league and Triple-A levels (Doval’s ERA in Sacramento is currently 6.33 and he’s walking more than 7 batters per 9 innings). Doval in particular should be an attractive target to teams that are trying to develop talent. The command isn’t where it will need to be for him to find big league success, but throwing 102 with a 90-something slider is always going to appeal to teams.

    The same might be true of Tyler Beede, whose stuff has never been questioned over a long history of inconsistent results. Still, given the current state of the Giants’ 2022 rotation (read: Four Great Big Holes and a Logan Webb), you’d think they’d prefer to keep him around just to see if the breakthrough is coming. Let’s also include in this category those 40-man adjacent guys you may have forgotten about! Generally, injured players don’t get moved, but remember that Dedniel Nuñez and Sam Delaplane are going to have to get added back to the 40-man at the end of the season as well, so they could be part of the equation. So, too, will the suspended Santos.

    And, of course, there’s the big fish, Joey Bart. The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported last week that the Giants would make Bart available, which makes perfect sense, as he’s the organization’s second best prospect, is performing well in Triple-A, and plays a position of some depth. Still, this would have to be a big deal — since the Cubs moved Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman, baseball has moved to much more of a buyers’ market and teams have been unwilling to move Top 50 prospects for rentals. Short of a real home run swing for an impact talent that is controllable for multiple years (like Jose Berrios, Joey Gallo, or Jose Ramirez), it’s hard to see how Bart would be the on the move. But, you never know…

  • Players Who Will Need to be Added to the 40-Man This Winter. Melissa specifically pointed to this group on the podcast, and it’s a fascinating collection of talent. As packed as the 40-man is today, it’s gonna get hella-crowded come winter, because a particularly large group of first time eligible players and previously eligible players who have taken big development strides is coming. And while it’s true that the Giants will have a lot of FA when the off-season comes, thus “freeing” spots on the 40-man, teams don’t want to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft, only to have to expose them to waivers weeks later when they’re, you know, filling the five holes in their rotation with major league free agents of their own. So the Giants will need to be very judicious about whom they add this winter. The choices will be daunting.

    The group is led by #3 prospect Heliot Ramos (if he isn’t already on the roster by then). Let’s exclude him for the moment, because I don’t think the Giants have any desire to move Ramos now that he’s finally getting close to contributing. But beyond Ramos, the Giants will be facing 40-man decisions on a huge group of Top 30 prospects: Sean Hjelle, Seth Corry, Prelander Berroa, Tristan Beck, Luis Toribio, Ricardo Genovés, Kai-Wei Teng, Blake Rivera, Matt Frisbee … it’s a long LONG list. Just that group would represent 25% of the 40-man if they were all added. They won’t all be added! But virtually anybody from that group who isn’t on the 40-man in November probably jumps to the top of Rule 5 candidate lists — even guys like Corry and Teng and Toribio who have had disappointing seasons. Have their developmental back-steps left them on the outside looking in for a 40-man spot this winter? That could make the Giants more motivated to move them and protect their investment. Sean Hjelle has had a solid, but unspectacular year in Double-A. Has it been good enough to force his way into a scarce 40-man slot? Somebody in the Giants front office is going over these winter roster scenarios as we speak, would be my guess.

    There’s been a lot of ink spilled (both here and elsewhere) about the Giants’ willingness to move Bart because the presence of Patrick Bailey and Ricardo Genovés gives the org greater depth at the position. But that logic also works in reverse: the presence of Posey and Bart at the top of the depth chart could make it awfully hard to add a fifth catcher to the 40-man this winter in Ricardo Genovés. With his offensive breakout and strong defensive reputation, maybe he becomes an appealing player to other orgs and an odd-man out to the Giants’ numbers game.

    And that’s to say nothing of interesting relief arms that have emerged this year like Jose Marte, Joey Marciano or Norwith Gudino, near big league arms with good velocity and a second pitch who are near ready to plug and play for a team willing to ride some ups and downs. There are also players who could offer a team some big league depth and maybe an up and down player like Sandro Fabian or Jacob Heyward. None of these players is likely to put themselves in the conversation for the precious 40-man spots available this winter, which could make them ideal final pieces in a trade.

    These various tiers could almost represent a Chipotle style menu for the Giants to offer up: you can have one player from Category A, or maybe a Category B/C tandem. Would Sean Hjelle and Jose Marte be an appealing sort of package to bring a rental piece over? Potentially! How about a Canario/Toribio package for maybe a more in-demand type of piece? The logic is immutable — they’re likely to risk losing these players in the winter anyway, so why not pick the guys who are most likely to fall down the pecking order and try to turn them into someone who can help now. A perfect example of this kind of trade came yesterday when the Yankees acquired Pirates reliever Clay Holmes for two players who have performed well this year and will need to be protected from the Rule 5 this winter.



    Of course, teams always like a little lotto ticket at the end of their packages, so if that Tristan Beck/Norwith Gudino offer isn’t quite enough to seal a deal for a middle reliever, perhaps it’s time to dip into Category D:

  • Teenagers Who are Hella-Far Off! Yep, it’s the complex dudes. For many, many years this was a trade rumor safe zone, as most teams didn’t bother to even scout kids who were so far off. But over the last decade, this has been the frontier of smart teams looking for bargains — you can’t get Fernando Tatis, Jr. or Yordan Alvarez when they’ve exploded into mega-prospect status! But you can get them when they’re 17-year-olds still filling out their bodies! When San Diego landed Yu Darvish this winter, they sent four players whose careers in the DSL hadn’t even started yet, one of whom was a former teammate of the Giants’ Mauricio Pierre on the Panamanian 16U international team. Teams that want a little sweetener to finish off a deal are no doubt hanging around the Arizona Complex League, eyeing up the loose motions and quick arms of RHP Manuel Mercedes or LHP Esmerlin Vinicio.

    They’re checking how much Diego Velasquez has grown since they filed scouting reports on him as a 15 year old (just as young Fernando Tatis, Jr. once leapt up several inches between agreeing to a deal with the White Sox and showing up to play in the Padres system). They’re scouting Aeverson Arteaga to see if this power surge is really a new development in his physicality or just a rookie ball statistical fluke. This, of course, is the part of the menu where deals can really sting you down the road when kids bodies change and their development kicks in. But it’s a part of organizations that front offices in the heat of battle are least likely to prioritize.

Look. Other teams want Marco Luciano and Luis Matos and Kyle Harrison. Of course, they do! These are the guys making the top prospect lists!

The Giants aren’t giving them up. Luciano and Matos and Harrison have years to go before they force 40-man issues, and right now look like they could be the heart of future incarnations of the major league team. But clubs that are looking for the value that might be spilling over the sides of the Giants 40-man, either now or next winter, those are the trade partners who figure to make a match. So who would you want to see acquired for a Canario/Hjelle/Pierre type package?

We’ll know in a few days!


The Week That Was!

HITTER of the Week: Jairo Pomares (SJ), 11 for 24, HR, 4 2b, 5 Runs, 7 RBI
PITCHER of the Week: Prelander Berroa (SJ), 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K

San Jose’s roster is an embarrassment of riches that constantly pours forth new treasures. Prelander Berroa, the latest in a series of Low-A West Players or Pitchers of the Week seems almost certain to be named Player of the Month as well, after a ridiculous July that saw him allow just 5 earned runs in 28.2 IP (1.57 ERA). He’s struck out 34 batters over that time, while allowing just a hair under one baserunner per inning (18 hits, 9 BB, 1 HB).

Jairo Pomares, meanwhile, has gone from a player with perhaps the best pure hit tool in the system with a questionable power profile, to a player who can reasonably put his name forth as the best hitter in the organization, period. After hitting 10 HR and 15 doubles in his first 33 games with San Jose, Pomares is slugging .687, the best Slugging Percentage in all of Low-A for any batter with 100 PA. The BB/K ratio doesn’t suggest the kind of approach this org admires (8 BB to 37 K), but he certainly knows how to attack pitches that he can damage. Pomares’ lone HR of the week was a pinch-hit shot over the batters’ eye in CF.

It takes a lot to outshine Marco Luciano and Luis Matos, but the third member of the 2018 J2 extravaganza might have what it takes!


Sacramento River Cats: 30-41
(3-4 Week)

Transactions:

  • Add OF Heliot Ramos (re-assigned from Richmond)

  • Delete OF Drew Robinson (voluntarily retired)

  • Delete C Fabian Peña (re-assigned to San Jose)

  • Delete RHP Ty Weber (re-assigned to San Jose)

  • Add RHP Reyes Moronta (begin rehab assignment)

  • Add RHP Gerson Bautista (signed as minor league FA)

  • Add OF Jaylin Davis (begin rehab assignment)

Sacramento had a Hello/Goodbye kind of week. On Tuesday, the River Cats said an emotional goodbye to Drew Robinson, who will now take a role in the Giants organization as a mental health advocate.

Robinson’s final highlight moment came in his penultimate game, when he pulled off an incredible circus catch that grabbed the #1 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10! Great careers come in all shapes!

As Robinson’s career came to a halt, Heliot Ramos’ took a significant step forward. Ramos joined Sacramento in Tacoma, and though he didn’t make an immediate impact with his bat (1 for 12), he did get a lot of time on the base paths with six walks in a two-game period. He also brought his infectious stylings to the field with him. Ramos had some difficulty in the field later in the week, misplaying a couple of fly balls, including one that appeared to be an inside-the-park home run, until an appeal that the runner had missed 3b was successfully upheld.

Sacramento was Rehab Central this week, as big leaguers Aaron Sanchez, Tommy La Stella, and Reyes Moronta all made appearances. Moronta appeared twice this week, hitting 94-95 with his fastball, striking out one batter in 1.2 scoreless innings. Moronta didn’t allow a hit, but did walk three of the eight batters he faced. La Stella has unsuccessfully begun two different rehabs in the past month (due to a new injury suffered while playing in rehab games), but he played three games this week, going 2 for 6. Sanchez, likewise, has had some failed starts in his rehab clock. But he’s made two starts in the past 10 days, allowing eight runs in 10 innings, striking out 6 and walking three.

Braden Bishop had his hit streak snapped at 16 games this week. Bishop came within two games of the (Giants era) franchise record of 18, which teammate Joe McCarthy had just reached the month before (tying a mark previously set by Kelby Tomlinson). McCarthy also managed a 14-game hit streak earlier this month. With Thairo Estrada up in San Francisco, Bishop (.925) and McCarthy (.898) lead the team’s qualified hitters in OPS.

Mauricio Dubón continued to tear up Triple-A pitching, with a 7 for 17 week that included his first Triple-A home run. Joey Bart had a slow week, going just 3 for 15 at the plate, though he did hit his 9th HR of the year — just his second in the month of July.

Tyler Beede had his first start since returning from his short stint with the Giants, going 3.2 fairly successful innings in the start, striking out four, walking two and allowing just an unearned run.

After walking 10 batters in his first 9 games, Kervin Castro has rediscovered the strike zone and is turning into one of Sacramento’s most reliable relievers. Since June 1, Castro has walked just six batters over 21 IP, while striking out 28. His ERA over that time is 2.57 and he’s held opponents to a .194 batting average.

Up Next: After finishing up in Tacoma, the River Cats will return home on Thursday to take on the 1st place Reno Aces.


Richmond Flying Squirrels: 38-34
(1-5 week)

Transactions:

  • Delete OF Heliot Ramos (re-assigned to Sacramento)

  • Add OF Luis Alexander Basabe (assigned from ACL Giants Black following rehab)

  • Add RHP Ronnie Williams (reinstated from Suspended List)

  • Add RHP Aaron Blair (signed as minor league FA)

  • Delete LHP Mac Marshall (placed on 7-day IL)

  • LHP Phil Pfeifer transferred from 7-day to 60-day IL

When last we discussed the Squirrels, they were playing their best ball of the season, knocking 1st place clubs off their pedestals in back to back weeks. Sadly, they did not continue that energy into the Post-Heliot Era. After taking the opening night game of the series, Richmond dropped five consecutive games to the 1st place Akron Rubber Duckies (who ended their week as the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians!).

Richmond suffered through one of those frustrating weeks that happens in baseball where if they put runs on the board, the pitching collapsed, while on the nights they pitched well, the bats were silenced. Going into the Sunday finale, the bats were hitting just .184 for the road trip, while the pitchers were getting lit up for a 5.05 ERA.

The Squirrels’ offense has taken on a new character this month, as a wave of players has moved up from Eugene to play center roles in the lineup. Will Wilson is still searching for his Double-A sea legs, hitting just .203 (15 for 74) with 2 HR since being promoted. There’s an interesting article on Fangraphs today that features an interview with Wilson on his attempts to find a swing that works for him in pro ball.

Richmond got strong weeks, however, from former Emeralds Diego Rincones and Simon Whiteman. Rincones went 6 for 18 in Akron with a double, triple, and homer. His three-run home run on Tuesday night clinched the Squirrels’ lone win of the week. He’s hitting .245/.349/.472 since his promotion.

Whiteman, who preceded that pair to Richmond by three weeks, is starting to get up the learning curve and gain a comfort level in Double-A. Taking over the team’s leadoff duties, Whiteman went 8 for 23 with four walks last week — good for a .464 OBP for the week. For the month of July, Whiteman has an OBP of .396. He’s also continued his excellent base stealing since moving to Richmond, with 12 successful steals in 13 tries (for the season it’s 29 SB to just 3 CS). And the speedy Yalie has managed to come up with some clutch extra base hits now and again as well. Speed, defense, contact, and energy — it’s a good combination of tools for the over-achieving type to pack in his bag!

Former 40-man member Luis Alexander Basabe has also joined the team, taking Ramos’ place in CF, following a rehab stint in the Arizona Complex League. Basabe went deep in his second game with the team, going 2 for 13 overall in his first three games.

Richmond still has the league’s third best ERA (3.95), but the staff has been taking a hit lately. With starters being repeatedly promoted to Sacramento, Richmond has worked for the past several weeks with just three reliable starters — Caleb Kilian, Michael Plassmeyer, and Sean Hjelle. And as the relievers have had to pick up more and more of the innings load, some of those members of the pen who were nearly perfect in the early going are starting to spring some leaks. The Giants took one step to try to buttress things this week when they signed former Brave Aaron Blair and plugged him into Richmond’s rotation. Blair hadn’t pitched since surgery on his rotator cuff in 2018. He made a brief appearance in the independent Atlantic League earlier this year, though a leg injury limited him to just one appearance there.

Through it all, Kilian continues to be a bright light. The 24-year-old soaks up innings, throwing an average of 6 innings per start with the Squirrels and virtually never lets a crooked number up on the board. In 10 Double-A starts, he’s allowed as many as three runs just twice. He’s given up either 0 or 1 runs in six of those 10 starts. Kilian’s mainly utilized a four-seam, two-seam, cutter mix that he keeps on the edges to drive his success, with his fledgling curve and rarely used changeup probably holding the keys to his future role at higher levels. With Richmond, he’s struck out 58 batters in 59 innings while walking just 7 batters. And unlike some other control specialists in the system, Kilian keeps the ball in the park. He’s been touched up for a long ball just one time in his career.

Up Next: For the second time in a month, Richmond takes on the supremely talented Bowie BaySox and their powerful 1-2 prospect punch of C Adley Rutschman and RHP Grayson Rodriguez, whom Baseball America ranked as the 2nd and 11th best prospects in baseball in their Midseason Top 100. Richmond took the series in Bowie three weeks ago, now they host Bowie at home.


Eugene Emeralds: 41-30
(3-3 Week)

Transactions:

  • Add LHP Jake Dahlberg (signed as minor league FA)

  • Delete 1b Logan Wyatt (re-assigned to ACL Giants Orange)

The Emeralds and Hops played an incredible six consecutive one-run games this week, splitting the series evenly. After Eugene had secured back to back victories on Wednesday and Thursday, it looked like they were taking control of the week when they built an 8-3 lead on Friday night. But an absolutely disastrous 7th inning saw eight of the first nine Hillsboro batters collect hits, dropping a stunning 7-run rally on the Emeralds and sending them to a crushing 10-9 defeat. The following night, a rally was snuffed out when the game-tying run was thrown out at the plate to end the game.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but man is this team running short of arms! And, like Sacramento (Gerson Bautista) and Richmond (Aaron Blair), Eugene got an infusion of minor league free agent help this weekend as well in LHP Jake Dahlberg, a 27-year-old who spent two years in the lower levels of the Cardinals’ system before spending the last three years in the independent American Association as a member of the Chicago Dogs. It’s starting to make more sense why the Giants selected so many pitchers in the draft, now, isn’t it?

The Eugene pitching staff has really struggled this month, and now features the only team ERA above 5.00 in the High-A West. Much of the trouble has come from their starters, where the entire rotation is featuring ugly ERAs — Seth Corry (5.98), Kai-Wei Teng (6.27), Conner Nurse (6.14), Aaron Phillips (6.57), Nick Avila (6.71). That is just a tough way to get your nights started! The bullpen has been much better (though with some conspicuous blow ups there this week as well). When Eugene can get the ball to late inning relievers Travis Perry (2.72), Ryan Walker (2.25) and Chris Wright (1.35) with a lead, they can usually pilot their way to a win.

Eugene was able to come back and, at least, split the series, thanks to a stirring come-from-behind walk off on Sunday night. Sean Roby had just two hits in the week, but he made them count, with a home run and a walk off ground-rule double to end the series.

Hitters making big impact with few hits was something of a trend with the Emeralds this week. Ricardo Genovés, who has yet to find his High-A groove, had just three hits, but two of them were solo blasts, giving him four home runs in eight games.

The king of doing the most with the least was do-it-all utility man Brett Auerbach, who had just three hits this week — but all three traveled over 400 feet out into the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

Auerbach’s extraordinary breakout season is even catching the eyes of his fellow competitors. Seriously, this guy is a story, folks! The undrafted class of 2020 is really coming to shine in 2021.

I wonder if Ricky knows that Auerbach has 17 stolen bases this year, as well!

One guy who has been quietly hot lately is Legacy Giant Carter Aldrete, another player who likes to play all over the field. Since coming off the IL on June 24, Aldrete has hit .300/.372/.543 with 5 home runs

Still, hitting nothing but solo home runs probably isn’t a sustainable method of keeping up with a pitching staff that is giving up runs at a faster pace than any team in the league. It would really help if they could get another big bat into the lineup….and maybe…juuuust maybe, I know where they can find one….eventually.

Bishop will almost certainly see his first game action in the Arizona Complex League, but it will definitely be a sight for sore eyes if he makes his way back to Eugene before year’s end. With the recent news that the Arizona Fall League will come back this year (beginning in mid-October), if Bishop is healthy again, I think we can guarantee that he will be part of the Giants’ AFL contingent. Bishop desperately needs to catch up on repetitions!

Up Next: Eugene heads out to Everett to face the league’s dominant team, the AquaSox, for a seven-game series. Everett delivered a painful 5-1 pounding when the two teams met in Eugene three weeks ago. That series knocked Eugene out of the top spot in the league and Everett has expanded their lead since then. Though top prospect Julio Rodriguez has moved on to Double-A, the AquaSox still sport a truly awesome +201 Run Differential. The Emeralds, at +5, are the only other team in the league with a positive Run Differential.


San Jose Giants: 46-26
(3-3 Week)

Transactions:

  • Add C Fabian Peña (re-assigned from Sacramento)

  • Add RHP Ty Weber (re-assigned from Sacramento)

  • Add LHP Sammy Long (begin rehab assignment)

  • Delete LHP Nick Swiney (sent on rehab assignment to ACL Giants Black)

Did I rave enough about Prelander Berroa’s work above? Heck no! This dude has allowed just two extra base hits this month! Since June 1, opponents are hitting just .195 off of him. That’s just crazy. Berroa has struggled with strike throwing in previous seasons (and earlier this year), but his delivery actually looks pretty compact and fluid. He is prone to over-throwing, which leads to a lot of spiked sliders and the occasional fastball to the backstop, as well as hanging sliders when he throws the ball through the break. But the strike throwing has been trending upwards. Over his last seven starts, he’s struck out 48 batters while walking just 13. Not coincidentally, he’s been going much further in starts over that stretch, including a career best 7-inning start on July 7 and two 6-inning starts in his last three outings.  

He’s doing all of this with a sensational two pitch mix — a diving slider and an explosive fastball that sits 95-97 and reaches higher than that. One of his 9 strikeouts from Saturday came on a 99 mph fastball that took off, up out of the zone. Berroa shows a power changeup that comes in at 90 mph, though he doesn’t show the same level of conviction in that pitch that he has in his main two. Developing that change could play a big role in his development. In the meantime, he’s packing a pretty nasty 1-2 power punch.

But another guy who deserves a little love is the Giants 2020 5th rounder Ryan Murphy, who had his fourth consecutive start with double-digit strikeouts this week. Murphy’s reputation coming out of college was a strike thrower with stuff that wouldn’t blow you away, but he’s been spotting a fastball at 93-94 mph lately, and pairing it with his own sharp downward breaker. Murphy has had some troubles with gopher balls this year, but the uptick in stuff combined with big Low-A performance is certainly an interesting development.

On the offensive side, it’s really hard to figure out whom to highlight in this bunch because nearly everybody is performing well at this point — even the guys who started out cold. 2020 2nd rounder Jimmy Glowenke is suddenly red hot, with a 1.023 OPS in July, including his first four professional home runs.

His fellow 2nd rounder Casey Schmitt has also picked it up, hitting .299 with an .854 OPS since June 1. Another successful undrafted free agent, Carter Williams has hit 4 Home Runs in July and slugged .524.

But, of course, it’s hard to take your eyes off the star wattage of the 2018 J2 triumvirate of Marco Luciano, Jairo Pomares, and Luis Matos. Matos is posting his best OPS in the month of July (.877) thanks to a .536 SLG. For the season, he’s hitting .305 and is on a pace to have over 30 doubles, 12 HR, and 30 SB. Not too bad for a kid who is essentially jumping from the DSL to full-season ball. He does it with flair, too!

Luciano ended the week on a slight down note, as he missed the final three games with what was described as slight shoulder discomfort. Maybe it came from hitting the ball so danged hard! Here’s his A-ball leading 16th home run, the most from a 19-year-old this year!

Up Next: The Giants host the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernadino. That’s their official names by the way, which I guess makes sense given that they’re the Low-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is, oddly enough, the first and ONLY meeting between the two clubs this year — San Jose will not make the trip down to San Bernadino to face the 66ers on their own turf at any point. Inland Empire sits in 2nd place in the Low-A West Southern Division. The 66ers are a little light on prospects, and their two best, infielders Jeremiah Jackson and Kyren Paris, are both on the IL currently.


Arizona Complex League

Giants Black: 10-8 (1-2 week)
Giants Orange: 7-10 (2-1 week)

Transactions:

  • Add RHP Odue Civada (re-assigned to Giants Black from Dominican Complex)

  • Add LHP Nick Swiney (on rehab assignment with Giants Black from San Jose)

  • Add 1b Logan Wyatt (re-assigned from Eugene)

Dramatic thunder storms that moved into the Phoenix area Thursday night cut the ACL week short, with no games taking place Friday or Saturday. Still, that was enough action to get in more highlights from Aeverson Arteaga, who now leads all 18-year-olds in affiliated ball with 6 home runs!

In fact, Arteaga leads his age group in home runs and total bases (48), and is fifth in the rookie leagues (ACL, FCL, DSL) in hits (23), giving him a reasonable argument for the best 18-year-old hitter in affiliated ball (though someone like the A’s Robert Puason, who has spent the entire year at Low-A Stockton, obviously has had a much tougher challenge).

The Giants handed a difficult challenge to 17-year old Diego Velasquez, skipping him over the DSL (after some dithering) and moving him straight to the ACL. And he’s shown that it’s a tough learning curve, with just eight hits in his first 30 pro at bats, all singles. Still, he’s holding his own so far with a tough challenge. Alexander Suarez has a .299 batting average and has shown a nice power/speed combo (3 HR, 7 SB), but the 26 strikeouts in 71 plate appearances is a tad high. Adrian Sugastey is off to a .333 start with good BB/K rates (5/12), though he hasn’t shown much power so far, with just three doubles. Anthony Rodriguez, another Venezuelan SS given a big signing bonus in 2019, is hitting just .220 with a .700 OPS and a 33% K rate so far.

Trevor McDonald, the 2019 11th round draft pick, is having an issue with control in the early going, walking 11 in 25 innings, helping boost his ERA up to 4.68, but he’s also struck out almost a batter per inning (24). Left-hander Esmerlin Vinicio, the top pitching bonus given out in the 2019 J2 cycle, is also issuing a high number of free passes (16 in 22 IP), but he’s been nearly impossible to hit so far, keeping the ERA down at a tidy 1.61 while striking out 25 batters.


Dominican Summer League

DSL Giants Black: 5-6, 6th place in San Pedro Div.
(1-4 week)

DSL Giants Orange, 3-6, 6th place in Northeast Div.
(1-2 week)

Transactions:

  • Add RHP Ankeily Feliz (assigned to Giants Black on 2022 contract)

Both of the Giants DSL clubs have struggled on the pitching side. Team Orange has a staff ERA of 5.40, and Team Black is even worse at 6.50. In the 46 team league, they stand 39th and 44th in team ERAs. The Orange gang’s offense hasn’t been much better, currently 28th in the league in runs per game (4.25) and 40th in OPS (.580). Team Black has done much better; their .800 team OPS is 4th best in the league helping them score 6.7 runs per game (7th best).

Jhosward Camacho, who just turned 17 on July 9, is the youngest active player in the organization this year, and with a birthday after the July 1 cutoff, is the only player in the Giants’ system who is officially playing his age 16 season in 2021. The youngster is off to a 5 for 20 start, without any extra base hits, but he has stolen 5 bases and has only struck out 3 times!

Mauricio Pierre and Yeison (pronounced “Jason”) Lemos have been the two best hitters so far on the DSL clubs, hitting .333 and .323 respectively. Along with Giants Black teammate Javier Francisco, whose walks and power stroke have driven his OPS up to 1.007 early on, and Team Black has been showing by far the better offense of the two teams. Pierre has had at least one hit in seven of his nine starts, with one extra-base hit in six of those games. With four doubles and two home runs, his slugging is up to .611 in the early going.


About Last Night

Sacramento lost @ Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), 7-4

Notable Lines:

Mauricio Dubón SS: 1 for 5, HR (2), Run, RBI, K
Helot Ramos CF: 1 for 4, 2b (15), 2 K
Jason Krizan 2b: 2 for 3, HR (7), Run, RBI, BB
Joe McCarthy 1b: 2 for 3, 2 RBI, BB

Matt Frisbee: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, HR
Conner Menez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, K

Matt Frisbee continues to scuffle with the level, particularly giving up the longball. He’s now served up gopher balls 16 times in 10 games with Sacramento. He’s kept the ball in the yard in just one of his appearances since his promotion. Not surprisingly, his walks have risen a bit as he’s learned the hard way what evil lurks in the hearts of Triple-A hitters — he’s given out 11 free passes in his last five starts. Conner Menez, working mostly in relief, has allowed runs in 7 of his 12 games this year in Sacramento — a total of 17 runs (14 earned) in 18.1 IP at Triple-A.

Jason Krizan led the offensive effort last night, hitting his 7th HR. Mauricio Dubón added his 2nd Triple-A homer, and Heliot Ramos had his first extra-base hit since his promotion.

ACL Giants Black lost vs ACL Rockies, 7-4 (7 inn)

ACL Giants Orange won @ ACL Cubs, 7-3

Notable Lines:

Diego Velasquez (B) SS: 1 for 3, BB, SB (1), HBP
Dilan Rosario (B) 2b: 1 for 3, HR (2), Run, 3 RBI
Edison Mora (O) RF: 3 for 5, Run, RBI, K, SB (6)
Adrian Sugastey (O) C: 2 for 5, 2 Runs, K
Anthony Rodriguez (O) 3b: 1 for 3, 2b (6), 2 Runs, 2 BB, 2 K, SB (3)
Logan Wyatt (O) DH: 0 for 2, K

Nick Swiney (B): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Jorge Garcia (B): 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, HR, HB
Jason Bonilla (B): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Nick Morreale (O): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Trevor McDonald (O): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, HR
Jesus Tona (O): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Both ACL clubs had rehabbing starters, as Nick Morreale took the hill for an inning for Team Orange, and Nick Swiney made a very welcome return to the field for the first time since Week 1, throwing the opening inning for Team Black. Swiney threw a scoreless inning, filling up the scoresheet with a hit, a walk, and a K. Morreale allowed a run over 2 innings, his second two-inning rehab stint.

Those weren’t the only upper level guys slumming it in rehab either. Jesus Tona continues to work his way back from an undisclosed issue that kept him in extended this spring. And Logan Wyatt showed up at the complex last night to get back in the swing of things. Wyatt isn’t on an official rehab (as he was never placed on the IL), but the 2019 2nd round pick hasn’t appeared in a game since straining a leg muscle on July 6. 2019 6th rounder Dilan Rosario went deep for the 2nd time last night, but he’s once again struggling to find success in the desert, hitting just .184 so far in his second attempt at the AZL (yes, I said it!) with 28% K rate.

Trevor McDonald (2019 11th round pick) had his best effort of 2021, striking out 6 while walking none over 5 innings. It was the first time in his five games in which he hasn’t issued a free pass. He did give up a homer to Cubs 2020 2nd rounder Owen Cassie, the best hitter in the opposing lineup. Jorge Garcia surrendered a home run to the Rockies’ Walking Cabrera, which just messes with my sense of language. But apparently the young rapscallion is a serial offender who needs to change his moniker to Trotting Cabrera, since that was his 4th longball of the young season.

DSL Giants Black beat DSL Brewers1, 8-7 (7 inn)

DSL Giants Orange lost @ DSL Seattle, 15-2 (8 inn)

Notable Lines:

Jhosward Camacho (O) 1b: 1 for 3, K, SB (5)
Mauricio Pierre (B) CF: 1 for 4, 2b (4), 2 Runs, RBI, K
Yeison Lemos (B) SS: 2 for 4, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, PO, CS (1)
Javier Francisco (B) 1b: 0 for 2, BB, K, SB (1)

Mikall Manzano (O): 3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Jose Rojas (B): 2.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, HB, 2 WP
Gerelmi Maldonado (B): 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, W! (1-0)

In yesterday’s post, I noted that Mikell Manzano, whom Joe Salermo told me was a pitcher to watch, was making his second pro start and was off to a good morning. As I hit “Send” on that post, things started going sideways for Manzano, as he’d allow hits to the first four batters he faced in the 3rd inning. He’d end up surrendering six runs in 3.1 innings in his second pro start. But with 12 strikeouts and no walks over his first 8.1 professional innings, he’s still an intriguing arm to follow. Jose Rojas also ran into a wall in his third start, getting roughed up for five runs in 2.2 innings. Ben Badler noted Gerelmi Maldonado as a potential sleeper in the 2020 J2 class. As with most of the pitchers, he’s had a rough going of it early on, posting a 20.25 ERA over his first three appearances.


What’s On Tap?

Sacramento (Gerson Garabito) @ Tacoma (Ryan Weber), 7:05 pm, MiLBTV
Richmond (Caleb Kilian) vs. Bowie (TBD), 3:35 pm, MiLBTV
Eugene (Kai-Wei Teng) @ Everett (Stephen Kolek), 7:05 pm, No Video
San Jose (Ryan Murphy) vs. Inland Empire (Jose Salvador), 6:30 pm, MiLBTV
ACL Giants Black (TBD) @ ACL B’backs (TBD), 6:00 pm, No Video
ACL Giants Orange (TBD) vs. ACL Athletics (TBD), 6:00 pm, No Video
DSL Giants Black (Ricardo Estrada) @ DSL Brewers1 (TBD), 7:30 am, No Video
DSL Giants Orange (Miguel Mora) vs. DSL Mariners (TBD), 7:30 am, No Video

Hopefully, I haven’t jinxed Kilian with the above (the way I clearly did with Manzano) and he’ll continue to pump out the zeros against the dangerous Bowie lineup. Murphy is coming off an incredible 12 K performance, and now has four consecutive double-digit strikeout performances.

The ACL teams scheduled were disrupted enough this weekend to make predicting their pitching lineups difficult, though based on last night’s games, we may see Esmerlin Vinicio and Manuel Mercedes on the bump again. The ACL Orange team will also finish last Friday night’s game which was suspended in the top of the 9th inning, with the Giants holding a 10-2 advantage after scoring 9 runs in the 9th.

I’ll be in Richmond watching Kilian and then prepare to start packing my bags to head west. Can’t wait!

As ever, if you liked this Free For All version of There R Giants, why not subscribe for daily posts? I’ll be delivering reports from San Jose, Eugene, and Scottsdale nearly every day over the next couple of weeks, so now’s a good time to join.

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