With the World Series - in which former longtime SF Giants manager Dusty Baker earned his first title as a skipper - complete, the baseball world has moved on to awards season. While no Giants were named as top-three finalists for any of the Major League awards that will be announced next week (though Carlos Rodon had a strong argument to be a Cy Young finalist), fans of the Orange and Black can still celebrate organizational success as the various circuits around Minor League Baseball handed out end-of-year honors this week.
It was a mixed bag for teams in the Giants' system: Triple-A Sacramento had a single player honored, but it was for one of the Pacific Coast League's top awards. Meanwhile, Double-A Richmond was absent from Eastern League mention despite one of the best prospects in the league, High-A Eugene was prominently represented in the Northwest League and Low-A San Jose saw a few players make the California League list.
All awards and league all-stars were voted on by each league's managers.
Villar takes home MVP
At the top of the honors for the PCL was a player Giants fans were able to familiarize themselves with during the 2022 season, third baseman David Villar. With the Sacramento River Cats, 25-year-old Villar earned his first MLB stint with an outstanding 84-game stretch in which he hit 27 home runs and drove in 82. Villar added a .275 average and .404 on-base percentage while spending most of July and then all of September and October with the big club in which he launched nine home runs (two on the final day) and compiled a .231 average and .787 OPS.
None of Villar's Sacramento teammates made the PCL All-Star team.
Harrison snubbed in the Eastern League?
Left-handed starting pitcher Kyle Harrison, widely regarded as the second-best prospect in the system and one of the 25-best prospects in all of baseball, turned in an outstanding 18-start stretch with the Richmond Flying Squirrels: 3.11 ERA, 127 strikeouts and 39 walks in 84 innings while turning 21 in August.
That wasn't good enough for Eastern League skippers, who chose Cleveland right-hander Tanner Bibee as the Pitcher of the Year despite Harrison striking out 46 more batters in just 10 1/3 more innings pitched, with a similar batting average against. Harrison also didn't earn the league's "Top Prospect" award - that went to Colorado infielder Ezequiel Tovar, who sits six spots behind Harrison in the MLBPipeline.com top-100 prospects list.
Giants dominate Northwest League All-Star Team
The fact that the High-A Northwest league contains just six teams probably helped, but the Eugene Emeralds' dominance played a large part as well in the Giants affiliate placing five and a half players on the circuit's All-Star Team, as well as the Manager of the Year.
Players on the list included DH Casey Schmitt, catcher Patrick Bailey, outfielder Jairo Pomares, left-handed pitcher Nick Swiney and third baseman Carter Aldrete. The half refers to righty Prelander Berroa, traded mid-season from San Francisco to Seattle for shortstop Donovan Walton. Berroa pitched for both Eugene and Mariners affiliate Everett, and was recently added to Seattle's 40-man roster.
Rounding out the honors was skipper Carlos Valderrama.
Two SJ Giants make Cal League list
The longtime Giants Single-A team in the California League, San Jose, made the playoffs and saw a pair of their players named to the All-Star Team.
Athletic outfielder Grant McCray, MLB Pipeline's 4th-best prospect in the Giants' system, and relief pitcher Jose Cruz were the two SJ Giants honored by the league.