It was a tale of two teams in the ACL for the Giants in 2022. One team was the worst in the league, the other was by far the best in the regular season and won the championship.
But wins and losses often mean less than performances in the ACL, and the “teams” are often filled with many different players throughout the year. There’s a lot of rehabbing players, there’s the often-brief pro debuts of recent draftees, and just a lot of young players having ups and downs.
This can make it difficult sometimes to sort out the most notable performances. But, we’ll try! For the purposes of this recap, rehabbing players have been ignored, as their numbers are more about them just getting back to game speed, and they are often better than the competition. I also have sorted out the most notable debuts, despite being short appearances, based on draft level and based on impressiveness.
So, who made an impact in the ACL
P.J. Hilson – .295/.381/.563, 52 G, 54-for-183, 12 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 16 BB, 63 SO, 13 SB, 1 CS
Undoubtedly the star of the ACL, the 22-year old P.J. Hilson returned to the ACL for the fourth season after being a 6th round pick in 2018. Normally, that sort of repeating of the same level is a red flag, but Hilson truly broke out in 2022, setting career highs in everything, had the game-winning hit in the ACL Championship, and earned his first promotion to A-ball, which resulted in a short but successful stint there as well. What Hilson’s future looks like is cloudy, but it’s bright than it ever has been after this season.
Jared Dupere – .254/.329/.556, 17 G, 16-for-63, 5 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 7 BB, 17 SO, 4 SB, 0 CS
A bit of a brief stay in the ACL, the 23-year old Jared Dupere used a strong brief appearance in the ACL to launch a strong season that earned promotions first to Low-A San Jose and then High-A Eugene, where he began to falter a bit. Dupere was in his second season, having been a 13th round draft pick in 2021 who hit .263 with far less power in his 2021 debut in the ACL.
Diego Velasquez – .277/.369/.352, 52 G, 56-for-159, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 21 BB, 31 SO, 7 SB, 1 CS
The 19-year old Venezuelan infielder spent his second season in the ACL, and Velasquez had a strong second go-around. Velasquez hit well for average and showed off a good batting eye, though he didn’t hit for much power. Velasquez earned a late-season promotion to Low-A San Jose, where he hit .159 over ten games in his cameo.
Nomar Medina – 2.22 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .243 BAA, 14 G, 12 GS, 65.0 IP, 58 H, 20 R, 16 ER, 1 HR, 4 HBP, 16 BB, 70 SO
Nomar Medina played his second season in the ACL and had a big season working almost exclusively as a starter. Medina mostly repeated his performance from 2021, with slight improvements in his hit rate and strikeout rate, but improved his walk rate from 3.09 BB/9IP to 2.22 BB/9IP in 2022. While Medina doesn’t have the most overwhelming strikeout rate, but seems primed for an A-Ball debut in 2023.
Miguel Mora – 3.29 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .213 BAA, 13 G, 12 GS, 54.2 IP, 43 H, 25 R, 20 ER, 0 HR, 7 HBP, 26 BB, 78 SO
The 19-year old Miguel Mora made his debut in the ACL with a solid year, following up a good 2021 DSL campaign. Mora’s stuff took off a bit, as he improved his strikeout significantly, to 12.84 K/9IP from 9.69, though he also saw upticks in his hits and walks allowed. While Mora has moved slowly so far, the Giants have used him consistently as a starter through his first two seasons, but he averaged just 4.1 innings per appearance in 2022.
Mikell Manzano – 3.93 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .257 BAA, 14 G, 11 GS, 55.0 IP, 56 H, 25 R, 24 ER, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 17 BB, 81 SO
Mikell Manzano had impressive numbers in 2021, with 70 strikeouts to five walks in 48.1 innings in the DSL. As a 19-year old in Arizona, Manzano followed that up with 81 strikeouts to 17 walks in 55.0 innings, and ended up the ACL Giants strikeout leader on either team. Manzano earned a brief promotion to San Jose, where he was hit hard over a couple of games, but will be one of the biggest pitchers to watch going forward.
Kanoa Pagan – 1.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .250 BAA, 11 G, 0 GS, 19.1 IP, 18 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 31 SO
Kanoa Pagan had his best pro season, though it was as a 24-year old in Arizona. The 19th round pick from 2019 had his best strikeout rate, with a 14.43 K/9IP rate, and had his lowest walk total with just four walks in those 19.1 innings. Pagan stayed in Arizona as a reliever after he was hit hard in San Jose in two games late in 2021, but should be back in Low-A in 2023.
2022 Draftee Debuts
Reggie Crawford – .158/.238/.158, 6 G, 3-for-19, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 BB, 9 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS
Man, it’s going to be hard to write out these stat lines when the Giants’ 1st round pick in 2022 starts doing both pitching and hitting. Reggie Crawford was still recovering from Tommy John surgery when he was drafted, but the Giants were able to use him as a DH to start his career. The numbers aren’t awesome, but it’s what you’d expect for a raw player recovering from injury and whose pitching side is expected to be better than his hitting.
Carson Whisenhunt – 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, .100 BAA, 2 G, 1 GS, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 7 SO
This is almost more of a courtesy addition, as the Giants’ 2nd round pick was barely in Arizona before a promotion to San Jose, where he also only got two more games in. But it’s hard to leave him out, as he overall had fantastic numbers with 14 strikeouts to one walk in 7.2 innings, allowing no runs and just six hits. Many people expected Whisenhunt to be a late 1st-round pick, so there’s a lot of hope that the Giants got a steal with him at the back end of the 2nd round.
Hayden Birdsong – 1.59 ERA, 0.35 WHIP, .118 BAA, 4 G, 0 GS, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 12 SO
Hayden Birdsong really stands out with his brief but impressive strikeout rate, averaging just over two strikeouts per inning without a single walk, and only two hits leading to a run. Birdsong was quickly promoted to San Jose, where he was hit harder, but still had 11 strikeouts to three walks in 6.0 innings. The 6th round pick from Eastern Illinois has generated his fair share of excitement with the debut.
William Kempner – 2.70 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, .333 BAA, 2 G, 0 GS, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 5 SO
The Giants 3rd round pick looked good in his pair of appearances at Arizona, but got hit a bit harder once he was promoted to San Jose, where he went 5.2 innings and had a 6.35 ERA. Kempner’s relatively higher draft pedigree may keep expectations higher, and there’s not too much to draw from brief appearances, but expect Kempner to be a probable starter at San Jose next season.
Wade Meckler – .289/.460/.395, 12 G, 11-for-38, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 11 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS
8th round pick Wade Meckler was a popular player at Oregon State who seemed to always find a way to make an impact, and he was one of the better hitters out of the 2022 draft in their brief pro debuts. While the 22-year old Meckler showed off his plate discipline more in the ACL, he earned a promotion to Low-A San Jose where he also added a bit of power to the mix in 11 games there.
Andrew Kachel – .310/.400/.310, 10 G, 9-for-29, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 BB, 2 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS
The Giants 16th round pick showed off strong contact skills and good plate discipline in his pro debut. The 21-year old Fresno State infielder got in ten games at the ACL, and would end up with a promotion to his hometown San Jose Giants, getting into three games there, and picking up his only pro extra-base hit in 13 games, a double. Kachel drew more walks than strikeouts, but that’s more about not striking out than drawing a lot of walks.
John Bertrand – 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, .143 BAA, 5 G, 1 GS, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 8 SO
The Giants’ 10th round pick out of Notre Dame, Bertrand got in a lot of work, and he was effective against younger competition. The 24-year old did not allow any free passes, and just one hit every two innings, while striking out one per inning exactly. The Giants may rely on him a lot in A-Ball rotations going forward.