September nearly is here and the Giants will have even more roster decisions to make very soon, which we'll get to later in this story. San Francisco still is playing the shuffle game with Sacramento, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate. It has worked for the most part, so it's hard to question it now.
With September soon here, it also means the minor league season is winding down. Regular seasons for the San Jose Giants, Eugene Emeralds and Richmond Flying Squirrels come to an end on Sept. 19. Sacramento's regular season will continue on through Oct. 3.
San Jose and Eugene both are battling for league championships while Richmond and Sacramento are looking up in the standings.
Now, back to the week that was for our latest Giants minor league review, starting with San Francisco's top pick from the 2020 draft.
Patrick Bailey Gets Hot
This wasn't how Bailey or the Giants expected the No. 13 overall pick to start off his career. As the minor league season was canceled last year, Bailey spent time with the Giants at Summer Camp and at their alternate site in Sacramento, impressing many. Bailey began his minor league career in High-A Eugene, skipping Low-A San Jose altogether.
But Bailey hit just .185 with 43 strikeouts in 33 games. The Giants sent Bailey down to Arizona in late June to heal a back issue and work on some swing mechanics. Those now have started turning into results for San Jose.
This past week, Bailey hit .480 (12-for-25) with five doubles, one home run and only three strikeouts in six games. In 31 games with San Jose, Bailey is batting .287 with four home runs, 10 doubles and an .863 OPS. Through 17 games this month, Bailey is slashing .311/.417/.557 with three long balls.
Bailey was seen as a defense-first catcher out of NC State, but his offensive struggles in Eugene were alarming. It's great to see him healthy and contributing at the plate, no matter what level it might be at.
New Richmond Record
David Villar's name is nowhere to be found when it comes to the Giants' top-30 prospects. Check Baseball America, check MLB Pipeline. You won't find his name.
However, you will find it in the Richmond Flying Squirrels' record books. Villar hit his 18th home run of the season on Saturday, tying him for the most in a single season in Flying Squirrels history. Villar now is tied with Mario Lisson and Forever Giant Jarrett Parker.
Villar, 24, was selected out of South Florida in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. The third baseman now is batting .273 with an .872 OPS in 95 games this season. This month, though, Villar really has found his groove in the batter's box. He's batting .350 with seven homers and a 1.178 OPS in 23 games.
His power stands out, but Villar also has improved defensively at third base, making him a prospect worth paying much closer attention to.
Kervin Castro Call-Up?
When big league rosters expand in September this season, it will look much different than in years past. Instead of opening the floodgates, MLB rosters will only expand from 26 to 28 players. So, who will the Giants bring up?
Remember, Sacramento has a roster full of MLB experience. Just look at the River Cats' lineup from Sunday. It includes Steven Duggar, Mauricio Dubon and Joey Bart, all of whom have spent time in the majors this season. That's not even including players like Jason Vosler, Thairo Estrada, Jaylin Davis, Mike Tauchman, Chadwick Tromp and a handful of pitchers who have spent time with San Francisco.
Of the players who have yet to make their big league debut, though, Castro seems like the best option to have an impact in September. The 22-year-old reliever is on the 40-man roster and has been dominant this month. After another scoreless appearance Sunday, Castro now has a 0.90 ERA in August, allowing just one earned run in 10 innings.
Castro has a 2.93 ERA on the year. Opponents are batting .195 against him, and only .167 in seven appearances this month. The former catcher could be a possible big league closer in the future, and just might make his mark on a World Series contender this season.