The Giants' day off Monday couldn't have come at a better time. They just played 10 straight games, and it showed offensively Sunday in a 3-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Following the loss, there's some good news. It's not like the Los Angeles Dodgers can gain ground on them. Both the Giants and Dodgers are off Monday, meaning the Giants will go into Tuesday still with a one-game lead over their rivals in the NL West.
The Giants have 12 games remaining. They were the first team to clinch a playoff berth, but now they must finish the goal of becoming NL West champions. But the big league club isn't the only franchise in the Giants family vying for a championship right now.
Both the San Jose Giants and Eugene Emeralds have title hopes. San Jose begins the Low-A West Championship Series on Tuesday in Fresno. Eugene starts the High-A West Championship Series on Tuesday in Spokane. They're both playing five-game series.
In this week's Giants minor league review, we'll take a look at both teams, as well as some notables in Triple-A Sacramento.
Harrison On The Hill
Giants top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison will start Game 1 for San Jose on Tuesday night. The local product has been downright filthy this month, almost unhittable at times.
Over three starts in September, Harrison has allowed one earned run through 16 innings pitched. He has struck out 28 batters in that span, and opposing hitters are batting just .135 against him. On the season, Harrison has a 3.19 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings.
He'll be followed by Carson Ragsdale in Game 2, who led all of the minor leagues in strikeouts with 167 in 113 2/3 innings. Remember, the Giants acquired Ragsdale from the Philadelphia Phillies for Sam Coonrod.
Nick Swiney, who the Giants took with their Madison Bumgarner compensation pick in 2020, could have a big role if the series is extended. Swiney missed an extended period of time early on with a concussion, but has been as good as it gets when healthy. On Friday, he struck out nine over four innings, and now has 58 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings pitched.
The lefty has started 12 games for San Jose, and has an 0.84 ERA.
Another name to know is Aeverson Arteaga. The 18-year-old shortstop was called up for the Championship Series after hitting .294 with nine homers and an .870 OPS in 56 games in the Arizona Complex League.
Giants top prospect Marco Luciano is getting his first taste of the playoffs. Unfortunately for him and the Emeralds, the young shortstop is in a tough slump right now.
Luciano, 20, is batting just .190 over 13 games in September with 17 strikeouts. In 36 games in High-A, Luciano's batting average is down to .217 with a .577 OPS. He hasn't homered since Aug. 6, his one and only long ball with Eugene.
On Monday, Baseball America named Emeralds starting pitcher Ryan Murphy as the Giants' prospect who improved their stock the most this season. Murphy was the Giants' last pick in the shortened 2020 draft, and has opened a lot of eyes this year with his command and ability to miss bats. Between San Jose and Eugene, Murphy has 164 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings.
If it weren't for a minor back issue late in the season, Murphy, not Ragsdale, would have led the minors in strikeouts.
Ismael Munguia often goes under the radar, but the Emeralds' center fielder won the High-A West batting title with a .336 batting average. His batting average was 20 points higher than who finished second.
Staying Ready In Sacramento
Whether it be Mauricio Dubon, Jay Jackson, Sammy Long or others, the Giants are continuing to play the roster shuffle game between San Francisco and Triple-A Sacramento.
The Sacramento River Cats will not be making the playoffs, and only have 12 games remaining in the regular season. They might not be important in the standings, however, they are for the Giants. There still are players in Sacramento who can play a big role down the stretch for the big league club.
Look at Dubon in particular. Since being sent back down to Sacramento, he's on a four-game hitting streak, going 6-for-16 in that span with one home run. Dubon has stayed ready every time he has been sent down, and the utility man might still find a way to make an impact on the Giants.
Players in Sacramento aren't battling for a ring right now. Not yet, at least. Some could soon be doing just that for the Giants.