Minor league baseball is finally back. After MLB canceled last year’s slate of affiliate games due to the COVID-19 pandemic and began an unprecedented consolidation of minor-league ball, fans finally have official box scores to track and highlights to watch on MILB TV. Make sure to revisit our daily SF Giants prospect rundowns to keep up with each of their minor-league affiliates.
If you do not feel well acclimated to the prospects throughout the farm system, you might want to revisit our prospect week articles that detailed the system from the top prospect to lower-level fringes. If you’re just interested in the biggest names, then the preseason SF Giants top 31 prospects list is the one-stop-shop for you.
SF Giants Prospects Rundown 5/8: Triple-A
Sacramento River Cats 10 at Las Vegas Aviators 11
Performance of the Game: Bryce Johnson (2-3, HR, 3 BB, K, 2 R, 2 RBI)
Not too long ago this would have been a Pacific Coast League special. Now in Triple-A West, the River Cats fell on the wrong side of a slugfest in Las Vegas. Conner Menez got the start and, like many pitchers at the beginning of the year, struggled with control. He issued a pair of walks in 2.1 innings of work and was tagged for three runs. Kervin Castro replaced Menez in the third inning, but the recently converted reliever struggled mightily, walking three and surrendering two hits, including a home run.
The River Cats offense got back in the game quite quickly, tagging top A’s prospect Grant Holmes for five runs in three innings, led by Bryce Johnson’s second home run in as many days. Johnson was drafted by the Giants in the 6th round of the 2017 draft out of Sam Houston State and has always had an elite combination of baserunning and defensive ability. He’s always worked walks at a decent rate as well (10.3% career minor-league walk-rate) but has never posted a slugging percentage over .369 in a season. With just six career minor-league home runs entering 2021, his pair of early-season homers creates an extremely intriguing trend to watch.
Thairo Estrada and Joe McCarthy each had multi-hit performances, but Mitchell Tolman was the remaining offensive star, blasting a grand slam in the sixth inning to put Sacramento up 10-5.
Daniel Alvarez covered for the innings Menez was unable to give the team, allowing a solo home run in an otherwise solid 3 innings of work. Then, recently demoted Gregory Santos struck out a pair in two perfect innings of work before Yunior Marte fell apart in the bottom of the ninth inning. Marte recorded an out but allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases before a wild pitch on a strikeout allowed a run to score. Still up three with two outs in the inning, Marte had an opportunity to close things out. However, a pair of singles cleared the bases and tied the game at 10. Without any other pitchers scheduled to pitch, the River Cats through utility man Jason Krizan on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, who recorded one out before allowing a walk-off hit that scored the runner on second.