The Giants are champions. There, I said it.
Yes, the San Jose Giants did indeed win the Low-A West Championship Series. In fact, the Giants already have two champions this year. The Eugene Emeralds, in their first season back as a Giants affiliate, won the High-A West Championship Series.
The Emeralds needed four games in a best-of-five series to win their third championship in five seasons. San Jose swept the Fresno Grizzlies to win its first championship since 2010. Here are a handful of prospects who stoodout in helping their teams win rings.
Marco Luciano entered the High-A West Championship Series struggling in September. Well, Luciano saved his best for last when it mattered most.
The Giants' top prospect hit .400 (6-for-15) with a homer, a triple, a double and three RBI for the Emeralds. His home run was yet another sky-high blast from the powerful shortstop.
On the other side of the ball, Giants top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison continued to dominate. San Jose gave the ball to Harrison for Game 1, and the lefty delivered. Harrison pitched 6 1/3 innings and struck out six while allowing just one run. It was his eighth straight start allowing just one or no runs.
A handful of other top prospects performed well, too. Patrick Bailey went 4-for-10 with two homers and four RBI and Luis Matos went 3-for-10 with a homer and two RBI.
Ryan Murphy put the cherry on top of his breakout season by striking out seven over five scoreless innings in the Emeralds' series-clinching Game 4 win. He didn't allow one runner to get past first base.
Three other rising prospects come to mind in Eugene.
Kai-Wei Teng also struck out seven in his Game 3 start while allowing two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. Ricardo Genoves played two games for the Emeralds in the Championship Series before being called up to Triple-A Sacramento and went 4-for-8 with two homers, a double and four RBI. Ismael Munguia continued to be a hit machine, going an absurd 12-for-19 with two homers, a double and five RBI.
The Giants have high hopes for Grant McCray, and the young outfielder flashed why at times when healthy this season. Between the Arizona Complex League and his time with San Jose, he hit .274 with three homers and a .764 OPS. He went 3-for-9 with a homer in San Jose's three-game series.
Cole Waites, a 23-year-old flamethrower, was unhittable out of the bullpen for San Jose. He came into the series allowing one earned run over 10 1/3 innings with the Giants. He struck out 24 batters in that span. He pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings while striking out four in the series, routinely hitting triple digits.
This front office quickly has compiled an intriguing group that has "future closer" written all over it.
Bailey's Strong Finish
At one point, Bailey's first season in the minor leagues looked like an absolute failure.
Bailey began the season with Eugene, skipping Low-A to start off his career. But the Giants' top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft quickly found himself in a massive hole. He hit .205 in May and then just .149 in June. The Giants then sent Bailey to Arizona, and he was sent to San Jose upon his return.
From July 13 (his first game in San Jose) through July 21, Bailey went 6-for-33 with 12 strikeouts and one walk over seven games. Then, everything changed for the switch-hitting catcher. Bailey caught fire, hitting .353 with eight homers, 15 doubles and a 1.060 OPS in a 43-game stretch to end the season. He walked 29 times in that span, and had a .457 on-base percentage.
As San Jose fought for a championship, Bailey looked like the best player on the field at times. Doing that on a roster full of star potential has to make the Giants feel better about their top pick from a year ago.