In the last few days, the Giants have made the decision to promote two of their top prospects – Patrick Bailey and Carson Whisenhunt.
Bailey, 23, was taken by the Giants in the first round (13th overall) of the 2020 draft. Bailey debuted in 2021 with the Low-A San Jose Giants and performed well enough to get a mid-season promotion to High-A Eugene. After struggling in his limited showing, Bailey stayed in Eugene for the 2022 season, earning the minor-league Gold Glove award.
Bailey broke camp with the Double-A Flying Squirrels to start the season, and played exceptionally well, with a slash line of .333/.400/.481, good for a 153 wRC+. The most notable aspect of that is the .400 On-Base Percentage. President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi has said that a big factor in prospect promotions is their control and knowledge of the strike zone and through his limited time in Double-A Bailey has shown he can take walks and limit strikeouts.
Bailey joins a Sacramento catching room that has two other catchers: Gary Sanchez and Ricardo Genoves. The catching room might be thinned out soon, however, as Sanchez can opt out of his minor-league contract with the Giants if he is not added to the big-league roster by May 1. It is expected that Sanchez will not be added to the big-league roster and will opt out. In that case, Bailey and Genoves would split the catching duties for Sacramento.
Whisenhunt, 22, was the Giants’ second-round choice in the 2022 draft. After being labeled as a top-15 draft prospect, Whisenhunt was hit with a PED suspension and subsequently dropped to the Giants at the end of the first round. That might prove to be one of the best picks in the draft, as Whisenhunt has performed well since being drafted. After the 2022 minor-league season, Whisenhunt was sent to the Arizona Fall League and performed well (2.84 ERA in 6.1 IP) against older competition. Whisenhunt started the 2023 season in Low-A and posted a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 IP, with an astounding 35.1 K%.
Whisenhunt joins an already crowded Eugene rotation, led by former first-round pick Will Bednar, former second-round pick Matt Mikulski, former fourth-round pick Eric Silva, former fourth-round pick Carson Ragsdale, and now Whisenhunt.
The Giants have been known to be aggressive with prospect promotions in the past, and thus far have done so with their top picks. These are the first major promotions of the season, but will likely not be the last.