Who Should Be Promoted Next?

The All-Star Break is approaching, which used to be a traditional time for minor leaguers to get promoted.  But, tradition is out the window.  Between a Giants front office that has been very active moving big names up and down throughout the season, and a season that started a month late, who knows if the MLB All-Star Game will be as important a time to move major leaguers. Even this week, a deserving Norwith Gudino got the call up from Double-A to Triple-A.

Still, even with all the players performing in the system, there’s a few players who are deserving of call ups.  So who are the next prospects who have earned promotions to the next level?  These are the names to watch.

Frankie Tostado, Richmond (AA) – Let’s start with a lowkey guy, as Tostado isn’t on many of the top prospect lists.  But the 23-year old first baseman has been having a career season, batting .295/.335/.486 with six home runs through 52 games.  Most notably, Tostado has shown a knack for that un-scoutable skill named “Clutch” with Richmond.  The 19th round pick is a dark, dark horse, but after the Justin Bour release, he should get a shot in Sacramento.

Carson Ragsdale, San Jose (Low-A) – He’s hit a bit of a rough patch in the last couple of weeks, and a 4.11 ERA doesn’t scream immediate push, but Ragsdale leads the Low-A West by a long margin in strikeouts, and his stuff obviously can dominate.  He’s gotten hit a little harder lately, and that’s something to work on, but the 23-year old is ready for High-A, and competition closer to his age.

Wil Jensen, San Jose (Low-A) – Another member of San Jose’s rotation, Jensen has been rolling through Low-A as an undrafted free agent.  Jensen hasn’t been as dominating with the strikeouts as Ragsdale, but he has not given up hits at nearly that rate.  Also 23, Jensen should be ready for the competition in Eugene.

Diego Rincones, Eugene (High-A) – Despite a season interrupted by Olympic qualifier tournaments, Diego Rincones has been one of the most consistent hitters at Eugene in a talent-laden lineup.  He’s batting .300/.385/.533, and has five home runs in 25 games, and played for Richmond manager José Alguacil in the Olympic qualifiers.  The 22-year old should do that again, soon.

Patrick Ruotolo, Richmond (AA) – Relievers have been one of the most common positions for the Giants to move, and half the season in, it’s Ruotolo’s turn.  He’s got a 3.00 ERA with just a 1.02 WHIP, and only five hits allowed in 15.0 innings.  The biggest problem for Ruotolo is that four of those five hits were home runs.  But because of all the other hits that haven’t gotten on the board, Pat should head up to to Triple-A.

Jairo Pomares, San Jose (Low-A) – Pomares got a late start to the season, but he hit the ground rolling in San Jose, and even had a 10-game hitting streak in just 16 games so far this season.  With a batting line of .306/.377/.629, the 20-year old is one of the guys that should be put on a fast track.

Ivan Armstrong, San Jose (Low-A) – Armstrong is in an interesting role as a reliever for San Jose.  He’s averaging just over two innings a stint, and he’s been very productive in whatever role, picking up two saves and two holds among his 14 games played.  It’s not clear what direction his role in the bullpen will go, but it’s clear it should head in the direction of Eugene.

Chris Wright, Eugene (High-A) – The 12th round pick from 2019 has been a bit of a sleeper, and already rose quickly from San Jose to Eugene earlier in the year.  His low sidearm motion from the right side is very deceptive, and even with a 2.19 ERA he’s striking out more than two an inning at Eugene.  The Giants like pushing relievers, and he could earn his way up again quickly.

Marco Luciano, San Jose (Low-A) – Yep, we’re ending here, with the top prospect in the system.  The truth is, Luciano’s batting average still leaves a bit to be desired at just .274, but he leads the Low-A West in Home Runs, and is hitting for extra bases like a star.  The most visible star of the system could very well be on the move after the All-Star Futures Game.

Minor League Playoffs to Happen

To start the season, MLB announced that Minor League Baseball would not have playoffs to help accommodate a later start to the minor league season, letting more teams play games later into September, and make more much-needed revenue.

Well, that has changed.

Minor League Baseball will hold playoffs, although with a significantly reduced schedule.  In Low-A, High-A, and Double-A, the two best teams in each league will face off in a best-of-five series starting on September 21st.  To be specific, this is the best two overall records, regardless of division.

In Triple-A, the regular seasons will be extended through October 3rd, with each team playing two more 5-game series.  The league champions will be named by whichever teams have the best records.  There may be a Triple-A championship game played, but it has not been announced yet.

The Complex leagues in Arizona and the Gulf Coast will not have any playoffs.

The playoffs could be in the future for some of the Giants’ farm teams.  San Jose leads the Low-A West with a 36-18 record, two games ahead of Fresno, and four games ahead of Modesto (and a spot in the playoffs).  In the High-A West, Eugene is in second place at 33-20, 1.5 games behind league-leading Everett, and 6.5 games ahead of Vancouver.

At the higher-level leagues, the outlooks are less rosy.  in the Double-A Northeast, Richmond is 2925, in 6th place, 3.0 games out of a playoff spot and 6.5 games out of first place.  For the Triple-A West, Sacramento is 9th in the 10-team league, 10.5 games out of first place.

What happened to Patrick Bailey?

Minor league transactions are always a bit of a mystery, but right now, MIA is one of the Giants’ first round picks: catcher Patrick Bailey.

Patrick Bailey last played on June 24th, and had been struggling in Eugene, batting just .185/.290/.296.  The official transaction list said he was assigned to the Giants Orange team in the ACL.  The move made sense, since Bailey was struggling, and the Arizona Complex League was about to start a few games later.

As of yet, Bailey hasn’t appeared in any of the team’s six games.

Generally, this is curious more because of Bailey’s status as a first round pick.  He may very well be continuing to work on whatever his struggles are.  But it is interesting.  Bailey was pulled for a week just a week before his transaction.  It was rumored that he may have been struggling with a back injury, but Emeralds manager Dennis Pelfrey indicated in an interview with Roger Munter that Bailey was simply due for a week off to help pace him.

Could Bailey be injured?  That doesn’t seem likely, because most other injuries have not involved roster transactions like this.  But many will be eagerly awaiting his return to action.  While Bailey was struggling offensively, he was still performing defensively, and the new rules in Single-A encouraging baserunning also encourage having a strong defensive catcher behind the plate.

Players of the Week

Should we just rename the California Low-A West League Player of the Week awards the San Jose Giants awards?

This is the fourth week in a row the Giants have had at least one Player/Pitcher of the Week award, and the second time this season the Giants have swept the awards.

Marco Luciano leads the Low-A West in home runs with 14, thanks in no small part to his four home runs this past week while going 6-for-19 (a .316 batting average).  On the season, the Giants’ top prospect is batting .274 with a .371 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage, with 11 doubles and two triples to go alongside those 14 home runs.

Ryan Murphy takes his first Pitcher of the Week award after a huge start, going seven shutout innings, and allowing just two baserunners in one hit and one walk.  He struck out 12 on the night.  On the season, Murphy has a 3.29 ERA, and now has 72 strikeouts to 13 walks in 52.0 innings.  The 72 strikeouts are second in the Low-A West, behind just Carson Ragsdale.

Do you know the way to K in San Jose?

On that note about Ryan Murphy (72) and Carson Ragsdale (84) leading the Low-A West in strikeouts, the San Jose pitching staff has just been dominating as a whole.  While third in the league in strikeouts is Fresno’s Sam Weatherly (68), San Jose also owns fourth place with Kyle Harrison (67) and fifth place Wil Jensen (65).

As a whole, San Jose leads the league with 694 strikeouts, way ahead of second place Modesto, who has 633.  Actually, they lead the leagues, as those are the two best team totals for strikeouts throughout the minor leagues.

Highlights of the Week

You know, it’s not always the big prospects who come up and make huge impacts.  Thairo Estrada was acquired for cash after the Yankees DFA’d him, and spent a couple of months in Sacramento just being consistent.  It paid off in a huge debut with the SF Giants this past week.

Simon Whiteman really got off to a slow start in Richmond, but he has picked things up, with several multi-hit games and even some extra-base hits.  With his speed, he’s fun to watch.

Here’s something you haven’t seen in nearly a month…a Heliot Ramos home run.  Hopefully we don’t need to keep waiting months for more.

Joey Bart was out here hitting bombs, too.

So was Will Wilson!

(So was Marco Luciano, but Stockton doesn’t have video cameras in its park, so I don’t have any highlights of them.  Sorry!)

If only Jason Vosler could do more of this more consistently when he’s in the Majors.

The past couple of weeks have been busy for catchers, and here’s one of the under-recognized catchers Brandon Martorano getting his first home run after his promotion.

Another week, another Bryce Johnson defensive highlight.

But if you’re going to talk defense, let’s just keep watching Joey Bart’s throwing arm.

Armani Smith keeps hitting in Eugene, and he is having himself an excellent season.  This one was wayyy gone down the line to left.

#pitcherswhorake.  Also, #NBAcenterswhorake

If only the Warriors could find a big man who sprints that well…

The Reading/Listening List

I might as well toot my own horn to start off this week.  I spent a week up in Eugene recently, and came around to writing up my impressions on some of the team’s top prospects.  Please go give that a read!

R.J. Dabovich has been one of the fastest-rising prospects in the Giants system, despite having a humbling outing this past week.  But Maria Guardado spoke with Dabovich about his push up the system despite being drafted just in 2020, and the pitch the Giants helped him change that has helped.

Joey Bart has been mostly consistent this season, but he had one big game last week with two home runs, which got him attention from MLB Pipeline.

Monday’s Quick Notes?

You won’t find them here.

With more teams playing on Mondays (one in Sacramento, two in the Arizona League), the Daily Minors Quick-Notes will be posted 7 days a week, and you’ll find the results from Monday’s games there.  Here is a link to Monday, July 5th’s lines.

The Wrap-Up:

Well, Nike did it.  Of course they did.

No, I don’t like these.  From the whiteout jerseys that represent fog (which is grey!), to the lack of black, to the gradient that’s not really a gradient, to the most obvious SF symbol Nike could choose, I really don’t like these.  So, to wrap up this week, I’ll link you to my surprisingly inspired thoughts on an uninspired uniform design, a surprisingly boring and basic design from Nike.

Here’s the link.  Enjoy, and see you next week!