Whisenhunt rising fast in Giants' farm system

June 4th, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- It’s been less than a year since the Giants selected Carson Whisenhunt in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, but the 22-year-old left-hander already seems to be establishing himself as one of the most advanced arms in the club’s farm system.

Whisenhunt, MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 Giants prospect, continued his rapid ascent by earning a promotion to Double-A Richmond last week, putting him on the potential fast track to the big leagues. Whisenhunt has already moved up two levels over the first two months of the Minor League season, logging a 2.08 ERA with 56 strikeouts over 39 innings in 10 starts between Single-A San Jose and High-A Eugene.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., native dominated in his last start for the Emeralds on Wednesday, striking out seven over five scoreless innings of one-hit ball in an 8-1 win over Vancouver. He will make his Double-A debut this coming Wednesday vs. Altoona.

“It’s a pretty good changeup,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s a pretty physical, durable-looking body. It’s exciting to have a young player moving through the system like Whisenhunt is.”

Whisenhunt was viewed as the best healthy college left-hander in the 2022 Draft, though he was forced to sit out his junior season at East Carolina after receiving a year-long suspension from the NCAA for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug that he said came from a supplement he purchased at a national nutrition store chain.

After watching him knock off the rust in the Cape Cod League, the Giants selected him with the last pick in the second round and signed him for a well-over-slot $1,866,200. He struck out 25 in 14 innings between his pro debut and the Arizona Fall League, impressing scouts with his changeup, which generated a 59 percent swing-and-miss rate during his 2021 college season.

Whisenhunt was promoted to Double-A Richmond along with right-hander José Cruz, a 23-year-old reliever who was added to the Giants’ 40-man roster over the offseason. Cruz, ranked the Giants’ No. 29 prospect, posted a 1.45 ERA with 28 strikeouts over 18 2/3 innings in 13 relief appearances for Eugene.

Here are some other standouts from the Giants’ four full-season affiliates:

Triple-A Sacramento

  • Outfielder Luis Matos (No. 7) has been on a tear for the River Cats, going 3-for-5 in an 11-7 loss at Tacoma on Saturday to record his fifth consecutive multi-hit game. The 21-year-old Venezuelan entered Sunday batting .405 (30-for-74) with one home run and 10 RBIs over 16 games at Triple-A Sacramento.

Double-A Richmond

  • Right-hander Spencer Bivens, who signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent last year, hasn’t allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings over his last four relief appearances for the Flying Squirrels. The 28-year-old has 12 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP during that span, lowering his ERA to 3.60 on the season.

High-A Eugene

  • Outfielder Grant McCray (No. 4) saw his 19-game on-base streak snapped after going 0-for-5 in the Emeralds’ 5-3 win over Vancouver on Saturday. During that impressive stretch, the 22-year-old had amassed 21 runs, six extra-base hits, 11 RBIs, 17 walks and a .427 on-base percentage, boosting his OPS to .740 over 48 games this year.

Single-A San Jose

  • Slugger went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in a rehab game with Single-A San Jose on Saturday. Pederson, who suited up in the club’s alternate Churros jerseys, is expected to come off the injured list during the Giants’ series at Colorado this week. He has been out since May 12 with a bone bruise in his right hand.