SF Giants prospects: Midseason MVPs at each level

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SF Giants, Thairo Estrada

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 10: Thairo Estrada #39 of the SF Giants reacts to a ground ball against the Washington Nationals in the top of the seventh inning at Oracle Park on July 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California. The Giants are wearing an alternate uniform called City Connect. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The middle of the 2021 minor league season has passed, and there have been plenty of memorable moments all across the SF Giants farm system over the past two and a half months. While some levels have had more standout performances than others, each team has had a Most Valuable Player on each side of the field.

This is not the highest-ranked prospect at each respective level, but the player that made the biggest impact for their team on the mound or in the lineup through the first half. There is a saying that “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” so expect plenty of prospects who struggled in the first half of the season to bounce back to finish their 2021 campaigns and vice versa.

It’s now time to name the hitting and pitching MVPs for each level for the first half of the 2021 season.

SF Giants midseason minor league MVPs
Triple-A hitting: SS Thairo Estrada

It is a pretty easy choice. The best hitter for the River Cats in the first half of the 2021 season is Thairo Estrada. He is not the most productive hitter for the River Cats this season, being only fifth in both home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored. However, among all River Cats hitters with at least 100 plate appearances, he leads the team in batting average, OBP, and wRC+.  He is also second in SLG and OPS. Even though Estrada’s defense leaves a bit to be desired, his offensive production deserves to be in the majors, especially with all the injuries currently in the infield.

Runner-up: OF Joe McCarthy

SF Giants midseason minor league MVPs
Triple-A pitching: RHP Kervin Castro

Even though Kevin Castro‘s present numbers look mediocre in the first half of the season, the right-hander really turned it on from June onwards while his other fellow relievers went in the other direction. It’s also worth noting how hitter-friendly the Triple-A West league has plated historically. Nevertheless, Castro’s 4.00 ERA is nothing to scoff at.

Since June, Castro has a 2.25 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched, throwing 65% of his pitches for strikes, and an 18% swinging-strike rate. He’s really trending up as he attacks hitters from north-to-south with his mid-90s fastball with a hard curveball. We could see Castro don the orange and black some time this season if he continues this strong form.

Runners-up: LHP Sammy Long & RHP Jay Jackson

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