SF Giants Prospects Rundown 5/18: Double-A
Bowie Baysox 5 at Richmond Flying Squirrels 6
Performance of the Game: Andres Angulo (2-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI)
Andres Angulo is one of many prospects throughout the minor leagues skipping a level to start the 2021 season, having only played at Class-A Augusta in 2019. With more well-regarded catching prospects, like Ricardo Genoves and Patrick Bailey currently playing every day in the lower minors, it was worth wondering whether Angulo was forced to Double-A because the Giants were worried about stunting their other catching prospects’ development. Instead, it seems quite clear that Angulo was ready for an aggressive assignment.
After starting pitcher Sean Hjelle (13th-ranked prospect) labored through a difficult first inning that allowed the Baysox to score two runs, Angulo came to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second. Angulo fell behind in the count 1-2 but sent a pitch over the left-center field wall for a grand slam. Angulo is just 23 and hit a meager .210/.260/.294 at Class-A in 2019, but the native of Cali, Colombia is pairing his strong defensive acumen with a productive .333/.368/.472 triple-slash. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Giants may have another potential big-league backstop.
Hjelle allowed a leadoff double in the top of the second but did not allow another hit in his outing. He finished his start completing three innings with five strikeouts while surrendering two earned runs on two walks and five hits. The 2018 second-round pick has struggled to limit hits since he was first promoted to Double-A in 2019. Fans have reason to expect his exorbitant batting average on balls in play (BABIP) to regress with time, but the longer the trend continues, there is increasing concern about his ability to limit hard contact. To be fair to Hjelle, aside from a caught stealing by Angulo, his defense did not do him any favors. Shortstop Ryan Howard made a pair of errors during Hjelle’s outing. Neither error cost Hjelle any runs in the scorebook but did not do his already high pitch count any favors.
An Angulo single in the fifth set up a massive home run by Sandro Fabian, but otherwise, the Richmond offense was relatively quiet. Contact-first infielder Kyle Mottice finished the day 2-for-4, but no one else on the roster recorded more than one single. Heliot Ramos (fourth-ranked prospect) finished the day 1-for-4 with a strikeout.