San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: 2018 Hitters of the Year

San Francisco Giants (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 30: Chase d’Arnaud #2 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres PETCO Park on July 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /


Best Utility Player: Chase d’Arnaud

Chase d’Arnaud had a breakout season in Sacramento after signing a minor league deal in the offseason, eventually earning a promotion up to San Francisco. He swung a hot bat and did so while playing just about every position on the diamond. He started 13 games at first base, 28 games at second, four games at third, 20 games at shortstop, one game in center field, and two games in right field. He didn’t catch, play left field, or pitch in Sacramento, although he did pitch a scoreless inning in San Francisco.

In 300 plate appearances before being called up, d’Arnaud hit .292/.393/.522 with 14 doubles and 12 home runs, driving in 43 runs and scoring 54 times. Despite being in the big leagues for the final two months, he led the River Cats with 40 walks and 15 stolen bases, and tied for first with four triples. Among Giants’ players with at least 200 minor leagues plate appearances, d’Arnaud’s average was 10th-best, and his OBP and slugging percentage were both fifth-best.

Best Hitting Pitcher: Mike Connolly

Righty Mike Connolly hadn’t taken a plate appearance as a pro before 2018, but he impressed with the bat in 16 plate appearances between Richmond and Sacramento. He had four hits, three of which went for doubles, and drove in a pair of runs while scoring twice. His RBI double on August 19th provided Sacramento with its only run in a 7-1 loss. He struck out only four times, good for a 25% strikeout rate that’s rather impressive for a pitcher.

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Honorable Mention: Jordan Johnson hit just .125 (3-24), but two of his hits were loud. He hit a pair of home runs, the only home runs by Giants’ pitching, including San Francisco. He hit his first home run in his first start without a designated hitter on April 13th, then followed up in his next opportunity with his second home run on April 30th.