It isn't always pretty at the top.
That's how the Giants have to be feeling right now. While San Francisco enters Monday with the best win percentage in the majors (.627), the injury bug likes the taste of orange and black.
Giants players are falling left and right, making the injured list much more crowded than any franchise would hope. Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office will be tested. The Giants can enjoy a much-needed day off on Monday before their depth is put on the line.
On this week's Giants minor league review, we'll skip past top prospects like Marco Luciano, Heliot Ramos and Joey Bart, and look more at some players who could help in the very near future.
Starting Options in Sacramento
Perhaps the most promising reality to the start of this minor league season is that the Giants have more pitching depth than many imagined. With players like Luciano, Bart and Ramos, the Giants' top prospects are hitter-heavy. Their pitching deserves more credit, though.
The high upside is seen more at the lower levels with lefties Kyle Harrison (Low-A San Jose) and Seth Corry (High-A Eugene), but there are options who could help the Giants in the very near future.
We have written extensively about the great story and better numbers that Sam Long has put up this season. The 25-year-old left-hander forced his way up to Sacramento after posting a 3.00 ERA with 22 strikeouts and only four walks in 15 innings for Double-A Richmond. He hasn't allowed an earned run with the River Cats over his first 7 2/3 innings, striking out 15 with only one walk.
Soon after Long earned his promotion, so did right-hander Matt Frisbee. The 15th-round pick from the 2018 draft went 4-1 with a 1.24 ERA in Richmond as he struck out 32 batters and walked just one in 29 innings. Frisbee made his Triple-A debut Sunday and allowed five runs but only three earned, and he did rack up six strikeouts while walking one batter in five innings.
With Logan Webb and Aaron Sanchez on the IL, plus the Giants designating Scott Kazmir and Shun Yamaguchi for assignment, Long and Frisbee should be next in line to make their MLB debuts this season.
Next Man Up
Sunday's loss to the Chicago Cubs wasn't even the worst news of the day for the Giants. Evan Longoria takes home that honor, as the veteran third baseman will be shelved for four to six weeks with a left shoulder sprain one day after colliding with shortstop Brandon Crawford.
The timing couldn't have been more brutal. Longoria easily was playing the best he has in a Giants jersey. His .280 batting average and .892 OPS were both his best since 2012, and his .376 on-base percentage was a career-high.
Here's the (somewhat) good news. The Giants called up Thairo Estrada Sunday with Longoria hitting the IL. Estrada, 25, has MLB experience and was red-hot for the River Cats. The utility man was batting .381 with eight doubles, six homers and a 1.063 OPS.
Estrada can help at third base, second base, shortstop and even as a corner outfielder. He isn't Longoria, but he is another strong depth move by Zaidi who could help this team stay hot.
Tyler Beede's Extended Rehab Assignment
As the Giants deal with injuries to their rotation depth, it sure would be nice to have Beede step in right now. But that isn't the case. Not yet at least.
Beede, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, has now been in Sacramento for over a month. The stuff is there, but the command is not. Beede has 17 walks in 17 1/3 innings for the River Cats. The good news is, opposing batters are only hitting .217 against him.
The Giants have continued to say they view Beede as a starter. He also hasn't pitched more than four innings yet this year. Pitchers recovering from Tommy John can request an extra 10 days three times after the first 30 days of their rehab assignment are over. Beede and the Giants very well might take advantage of this.
There's both good and bad with Beede's rehab assignment. His velocity still is there, sitting in the upper 90s. At 28 years old, and as a former first-round pick, he certainly can be the Giants' next breakout pitcher that they envisioned before his injury last spring. That just might have to wait a bit longer as he cleans up some rough edges in his rehab.