On Tuesday, the Giants made some big shuffles in their farm system, as some Tuesdays have begun to prompt as most of the minor leagues are off on Mondays.
So what should fans look for from these moves? Here’s the impacts, and the stuff to watch, from each move.
INF Simon Whiteman: A+ -> AA
Whiteman isn’t the biggest name in this list, but his promotion is the most intriguing to me. Whiteman’s biggest tool is speed, and he’s third in the High-A West with 17 steals on 19 attempts. He’s hit just .268 in Eugene, but with 19 walks, he has a .413 on-base percentage to let him wreak havoc on the basepaths.
The interesting thing is that High-A had a new rule being tested to help basestealers: pitchers had to step entirely off the rubber before making pickoff throws. This especially affected left-handed pitchers, but it allowed baserunners to take bigger leads. Whiteman will not get the benefit of this rule in Double-A. The leading basestealer in the Double-A Northeast has 13, and no other basestealers has double digits.
How Whiteman is able to get steals when he gets on base, being a great indicator of how these rule changes affect basestealers, will be very interesting. It will also be great to see how a versatile infielder with a targeted weapon handles a higher level.
RP R.J. Dabovich: A+ -> AA
The Giants’ 4th round pick in 2020 had a huge start to his pro career. He’s struck out 28 in 12.2 innings, a ridiculous 20.41 K/9 rate. It’s only ten games, so it’s not a rate one expects to continue, but it’s definitely impressive. The Giants are giving the 22-year old a big push to see how he handles Double-A, and with the big league team’s questionable bullpen, any reliever with top potential is worth keeping an eye on.
OF Armani Smith: A -> A+
Smith has been having a huge season for San Jose, not letting a small injury slow him down. He’s batting .339/.365/.627 over 15 games, with four home runs. The Bay Area native will now get a chance to show off in Oregon, where he’ll have a crowded outfield to get playing time with.
OF Heath Quinn: XST -> A+
Look who’s back! Quinn was a 3rd round pick in 2016, and played 91 games in 2019 between Double-A, where he struggled, and High-A (as well as in the AZL during an injury comeback). Quinn’s best season was 2018, his second in High-A San Jose, batting .300/.376/.485 with 14 home runs. After a delayed start in 2021, he’ll return to High-A in a new city to get going again.
OF Jairo Pomares: XST -> A
The other top signee from that 2018 international class joins the action, after a back injury delayed him. He’ll join classmates Marco Luciano and Luis Matos in a very prospect-laden team in San Jose. He hit .324/.362/.465 across two levels in 2019, and his arrival this season is highly anticipated.
OF Carter Williams: XST -> A
Williams was one of the Giants’ undrafted free agents from the 2020 season, an outfielder signed out of North Carolina Central University. Williams had a career .329/.410/.477 batting line at the school. Williams will be going for time in a crowded San Jose outfield, but there will be plenty of at-bats to be had.
RHP Mac Marshall: AA -> IL
Marshall has been struggling this spring, with a 10.97 ERA across eight games. He hasn’t appeared since June 5th. Marshall’s struggled with injuries his entire career, only getting in 14.0 innings in 2019. There’s no word on how serious this injury is.
RHP John Russell: AAA -> A+
Russell returns to Eugene after a short stint helping out Sacramento, where he got hit around a bit, giving up two runs on two hits and three walks in 2.2 innings. But he had a 2.70 ERA in seven games at Eugene, so hopefully he’ll get back on track back in Eugene.
OF Javeyan Williams: A+ -> XST
It’s been a rough go for Williams, who has hit .145/.229/.210 in 22 games at Eugene this season. The 22nd round pick in 2019 had a better debut in 2019, hitting .286/.369/.333 in the Arizona League.
OF Edison Mora: A -> XST
Mora’s also been off to a slow start in San Jose, batting .163/.241/.224 in 15 games. This is Mora’s third season with the organization, spending 2018 and 2019 in the Arizona League.