Could Luciano, Matos help spark the lineup?

April 13th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ST. PETERSBURG -- With the Giants’ lineup struggling to consistently score runs early this season, many fans have been clamoring for the club to call up young hitters and from Triple-A Sacramento.

For now, it’s looking like a jolt is more likely to come from the current 26-man roster rather than the Minors.

While many of his regulars have endured slow starts at the plate, manager Bob Melvin has said he plans to stick with his core group for a while, meaning Luciano and Matos will probably have to wait a bit longer to get an extended look with the Giants.

Luciano, the club’s No. 1 prospect, entered Saturday batting .326 with an .858 OPS and seven RBIs over his first 12 games with the River Cats, but the Giants aren’t keen on unseating veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed, who is tied with the Guardians’ Andrés Giménez and the Rangers’ Marcus Semien for the most Outs Above Average (4) in the Majors.

Matos made a strong push for a spot on the Opening Day roster after swinging a hot bat in Cactus League play, but he’s cooled off at Triple-A Sacramento, batting .211 with a .732 OPS and two home runs over nine games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Matos got his first callup of the season after right fielder Mike Yastrzemski went on paternity leave last month, but the 22-year-old appeared in only one game during the club’s season-opening series at San Diego, going 0-for-4 with an RBI.

The Giants are trying to stay patient with their current lineup, but they may have to consider making some changes if their incumbent hitters don’t start to turn it around soon. Frustrations began to boil over on Friday night, when Melvin was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in a 2-1 series-opening loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

“When you don’t get it done, it’s a results-oriented business,” Melvin said afterward. “So, yeah, we have to be better.”

Here’s a roundup of other notable performances from the Giants’ Minor League affiliates:

Triple-A Sacramento
is off to a fast start for the River Cats, batting .354 with a 1.155 OPS and a team-high four homers through his 12 games of the season. The former first-round Draft pick has appeared in only 34 games for the Giants over the last two years, but he’s still only 24 and could have a chance to impact the outfield mix along with Matos in 2024.

Double-A Richmond
Right-hander (No. 6 prospect) struck out six and allowed two runs in four innings of work in his season debut for the Flying Squirrels on Tuesday.

High-A Eugene
Catcher (No. 25) is 7-for-17 (.412) with two stolen bases through his first four games and delivered a walk-off double for the Emeralds in their Opening Night win against Tri-City on April 5.

Single-A San Jose
First baseman (No. 3) crushed his first home run of the season on Opening Night on April 5, but he hasn’t played since departing Wednesday’s matchup at Visalia with a lower body injury.