On this opening day for everyone (except for Triple-A), we can’t ignore the highlight from the Majors, where one of the system’s biggest prospects is making for-real promotion to the bigs and announced his presence in a big way.
Joey Bart becomes the first Giant to hit his first career home run on Opening Day since Will Clark in 1987…both players being the team’s only ever #2 overall draft picks.
Of course, this wasn’t Bart’s first game. Bart had played 35 games before, 33 back in 2020 when he was pressed into service without getting significant time to hone himself at Triple-A or Double-A. This Joey Bart is a very different one than the one that appeared two years ago.
Now, onto the minors!
AAA: Sacramento 7, Sugar Land 6 (12 Innings)
- In a game where Sacramento sat its more prominent position player prospects, the River Cats managed 17 hits by the hitters and 20 strikeouts by the pitchers in an extra-inning game, coming back from six down to pull out the win.
- Luis Gonzalez led the offensive charge with four hits, including one double and the walkoff single in the 12th to send everyone home. After a hot spring, Gonzalez is now 5-for-14 and three walks after three games played.
- The starter was 25-year old free agent signing Enmanuel De Jesus, who came over from the Red Sox organization. He spent most of 2021 in Double-A, and was mostly a reliever after having been primarily a starter, but the Giants put him back to start. He struggled across 2.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk, but struck out five.
- Gregory Santos worked two innings, and it was interesting. He collected four strikeouts, with a hit and walk. His fastball was 97-98 mph, but threw four of them for balls to start his stint with a walk. After that, 15 of his next 19 pitches were his high-80’s slider, which ended up getting his four strikeouts all swinging, as well as his hit. Only one slider resulted in a ball.
- Joey Marciano also came out struggling, throwing six straight balls (with both his fastball and slider), then allowed a single on his seventh pitch. Luckily, he got the next batter struck out looking, and after a 7-pitch at-bat, got a double-play to get out of the inning. His fastball was 94-96, and the slider was all the way down at 80-83 mph.
- Ka’ai Tom had his second straight multi-hit game, and is 4-for-9 with a double, a walk, and just two strikeouts. The 27-year old signed as a free agent at the end of 2021 after missing most of the year.
- The River Cats got their first look at 28-year old Wei-Chieh Huang in a regular season game, his first since 2019. His fastball was 90-94 mph, with a mid-70’s curve, a low 80’s change and mid-80’s slider. He struck out four in a row, but as he entered his third inning, gave up a run on back-to-back hits, and also had a balk before finishing that inning.
- Jason Vosler had a 2-for-6 day in his second game back at Triple-A, but his most impressive play came in extra innings, with a weak grounder that Vosler charged, barehanded and delivered to first to end the inning. It was a sterling play for the infielder.
AA: Richmond 7, Bowie 5
- Brett Auerbach, the Barney Nugent award winner in Spring Training, had the big hit to start his season, with a 2-run home run on his 2-for-5 night. The 5’9 player had a surprising 17 home runs in 2021 across both Single-A levels, and at least one game into Double-A, he’s keeping it up.
- 28-year old Jake Dahlberg is in his first full season in the Giants organization after he joined as a free agent in the middle of last season. He had a great opener, matching a Squirrels Opening Day record with eight strikeouts on Opening Day (matching Dan Slania in 2017) with 5.1 shutout innings.
- Diego Rincones, known for an aggressive approach, didn’t swing much in today’s game. In just five swings, he got a walk and and a double among two hits as her returned to Double-A.
- It was a rough appearance for R.J. Dabovich, who came into the 9th with a 7-2 lead. He gave up four hits, including two doubles, as he allowed three runs. He did get three strikeouts, but it’s not much relief for a rough start on the year.
High-A: Everett 4, Eugene 2
- For most of this game, Kyle Harrison was the talk of the game. He went 4.0 pitches (hitting a 60 pitch limit), allowing no runs, no walks, just two hits and striking out 7. That led a Eugene pitching staff with 13 strikeouts on the night, but Harrison’s start kept Everett at bay.
- Jairo Pomares had the game’s first run with a home run, which was 105 mph off the bat according to the radio broadcast. Pomares had 20 home runs last season, with 6 in 26 games at High-A. Today, Pomares also drew a walk, which matched(!) his 2021 total at Eugene in that many games.
- Marco Luciano also hit his first home run of the season in the 9th inning, as part of a 2-hit night. In his 36 games at Eugene last year, Luciano had just one home run (along with 18 in 70 games at Low-A San Jose).
- Casey Schmitt, who struggled offensively in 2021, was 2-for-3 with a walk to get the season off on the right note.
- Unfortunately, the game was lost in the 8th inning, as Cole Waites gave up two walks and a single before allowing a grand slam. Waites had a 0.68 ERA last season in just 13.1 innings, but has already allowed double the runs that he had last year.
- Two other rough, but noteworthy, notes: both Luis Matos and Hunter Bishop took 0-for-5s, with Matos taking the only strikeout between the two.
Low-A: Modesto 5, San Jose 3
San Jose Notes:
- Keaton Winn made his first appearance since 2019, and unfortunately it was memorable for the wrong reasons. He walked three, had two errors alongside him in the inning, and then gave up a 3-run home run, and his one inning of work resulted in a 4-0 deficit, and he was removed after the first.
- Nick Sinacola got the piggyback start, coming in starting for the fourth. He was getting 96 on the fastball, and had a good slider, striking out four with a hit and a walk. On the radio, announcer Joe Ritzo compared how he worked with the fastball and slider to the way Ryan Murphy used them the previous season.
- Yorlis Rodriguez led the day offensively for San Jose, with two doubles, scoring the first run for the Giants. He also picked up an error on a short throw from third base.
- Grant McCray didn’t get any hits, but walked twice, and picked up one steal but was also caught once.
- There were no hits for highly ranked Aeverson Arteaga, but he drew a walk, and also made a nice play on an unusual play late, with runners on first and second. Second baseman Abdiel Layer went for a line drive, but it ricocheted off his glove. Arteaga picked up the ricochet and beat the runner to second to salvage an out.
- For the coming weekend, 2021 1st round pick Will Bednar has been announced as the starter on Saturday, while 2021 3rd round pick Mason Black will start on Sunday. 2nd round pick Matt Mikulski is expected to start the home opener on Tuesday. However, broadcaster Joe Ritzo also noted that with the team’s surplus of starters means that there will be lots of piggybacking early, with two starters per game going half as long as a normal start, which is not unusual at Low-A.