Former Flying Squirrels across MLB in 2019

34 Flying Squirrels alumni played in the majors this year

Brandon Crawford, who played for the Flying Squirrels in their inaugural season in 2010, has now spent nine seasons as a staple member of the Giants (Kevin Pataky / MiLB)

By Trey Wilson / Richmond Flying Squirrels | October 16, 2019 2:40 PM

In the franchise's 10 seasons, the Richmond Flying Squirrels have seen 67 of their alumni go on to play in the major leagues. In 2019, there were 34 former Flying Squirrels players who played in the big leagues.

As expected, most of them played for the Flying Squirrels' parent club, the San Francisco Giants. There were 19 Flying Squirrels who played for the Giants this season: Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Mac Williamson, Ty Blach, Austin Slater, Reyes Moronta, Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez, Steven Duggar, Ray Black, Chris Shaw, Aramis Garcia, Shaun Anderson, Sam Coonrod, Conner Menez, Sam Selman, Logan Webb and Tyler Rogers.

 

There were six Flying Squirrels alumni who debuted in the majors this season, all for the Giants: Anderson, Coonrod, Menez, Selman, Webb and Rogers. The 2016 Richmond team had the most members who played in the big leagues in 2019 with 12.

 

 

The Angels had the second-most former Flying Squirrels players this year with three. There were also two former Richmond players who suited up for the Braves, Twins, Pirates, Mariners, Rays and Blue Jays. The Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Indians, Brewers, Mets, Cardinals, Astros and Nationals each had one former Flying Squirrels player over the course of the season.

 

 

Ehire Adrianza (Minnesota Twins)

2012-13 Flying Squirrels

Adrianza was Richmond's Opening Day shortstop in 2012 and 2013 and he holds the franchise record for the highest fielding percentage by a shortstop in a season (.982 in 2013). Adrianza played 83 games for the Twins this year, his third season with Minnesota, but had his season end in mid-September with an oblique strain. He spent his first four MLB seasons with the Giants from 2013 through 2016.

 

 

Shaun Anderson (San Francisco Giants)

2018 Flying Squirrels

Anderson led the 2018 Flying Squirrels with 93 strikeouts and was selected as an Eastern League All-Star. While pitching for Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento that year, he combined for the fourth-best ERA in the Giants organization (3.68) and ranked third in total strikeouts (127). Anderson entered 2019 ranked as the Giants' No. 4 prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America and reached the big leagues for the first time on May 15. In that start, he allowed three runs (two earned) over his 5.0 innings. He went on to make 28 total appearances for the Giants, including 16 starts, posting a 3-5 record with a 5.44 ERA.

 

 

Christian Arroyo (Tampa Bay Rays)

2016 Flying Squirrels

Arroyo played 16 games for the Rays this year, hitting .220 with a pair of homers. He played 33 games with Triple-A Durham and hit .314 with eight homers, but missed most of the year with a forearm injury. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians on July 28 along with Hunter Wood for Ruben Cardenas. With Richmond in 2016, Arroyo led the Flying Squirrels with a .274 batting average and 130 hits, earning an Eastern League All-Star selection. He also had 36 doubles that year, the third-most in a season in franchise history.

 

 

Tyler Beede (San Francisco Giants)

2015-16 Flying Squirrels

In his second MLB season, Beede made 24 appearances for the Giants, including 22 starts, going 5-10 with a 5.08 ERA, but he had a 3.41 ERA in his final seven starts. Beede had 135 strikeouts in 2016, the fourth-most in a season in team history, and led the Eastern League that year with a 2.81 ERA en route to being named the Flying Squirrels Pitcher of the Year. This year, he split time between Triple-A Sacramento and the Giants. In the majors, Beede went 5-10 with a 5.08 ERA.

 

 

Brandon Belt (San Francisco Giants)

2010 Flying Squirrels

When he debuted with the Giants on March 31, 2011, Belt became the second Flying Squirrels player to reach the majors. He has gone on to play 1,084 games with the Giants since then, including his All-Star season in 2016. In 156 games with the Giants this year, Belt hit .234 with 17 homers and 57 RBIs.

 

 

Joe Biagini (Toronto Blue Jays/Houston Astros)

2015 Flying Squirrels

Biagini led the 2015 Flying Squirrels with a 2.42 ERA, which is third-best in team history, and tied for the team lead with 10 wins, earning a selection as the Flying Squirrels Pitcher of the Year and a spot in the Eastern League All-Star Game. He went to the Blue Jays organization in 2016 and remained with them until he was traded to the Houston Astros along with Aaron Sanchez and Cal Stevenson for outfielder Derek Fisher prior to the trade deadline in July. He made a total of 63 appearances in relief for the two teams. In his 50 outings with Toronto this year, Biagini posted a 3.78 ERA.

 

 

Ty Blach (San Francisco Giants/Baltimore Orioles)

2014 Flying Squirrels

In 2014, Blach posted a team-best 3.13 ERA with the Flying Squirrels as the team's Opening Day starter and helped lead Richmond to its second postseason appearance in franchise history while earning an Eastern League All-Star selection. He began 2019 in Triple-A with Sacramento and pitched two games with the Giants before being designated for assignment. He was claimed by the Orioles on August 3 and bounced between Triple-A Norfolk and the majors. He pitched in seven total MLB games this year between San Francisco and Baltimore.

 

 

Ray Black (San Francisco Giants/Milwaukee Brewers)

2016/2018 Flying Squirrels

One of the hardest-throwing pitchers in Flying Squirrels history, Black entered the 2019 season ranked by MLB.com as the Giants' No. 14 prospect. He debuted in the big leagues in 2018 and made two appearances with the Giants in 2019. He was traded to the Brewers at the deadline on July 31 along with Drew Pomeranz for Mauricio Dubon. He made 15 appearances for Milwaukee to finish the year.

 

 

Sam Coonrod (San Francisco Giants)

2016-17 Flying Squirrels

Coonrod was the Giants' No. 22 prospect according to Baseball America heading into 2019 and started the year with Triple-A Sacramento. He was called up and made his MLB debut on May 26 for the Giants, the first of his 33 big league outings on the year. He finished the season with a 5-1 record and a 3.58 ERA. He made 37 appearances (31 starts) for the Flying Squirrels in 2016 and 2017, going 8-14 with a 3.98 ERA.

 

 

Brandon Crawford (San Francisco Giants)

2010/2017 Flying Squirrels

Crawford was the third Flying Squirrels player to reach the majors when he debuted with the Giants on May 27, 2011. He is the lone member of the Flying Squirrels' first-ever Opening Day lineup on April 8, 2010 who appeared in the majors this year. He played 79 games with Richmond in 2010 and was selected as an Eastern League All-Star. Now a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time NL All-Star, Crawford has been a constant as the Giants' shortstop over the last nine years. This year, he hit .228 in his 247 games.

 

 

Kyle Crick (Pittsburgh Pirates)

2014-16 Flying Squirrels

Crick was a top-ranked prospect in the Giants' system for his three seasons with the Flying Squirrels, mostly working as a starting pitcher. He led the team in 2014 with 111 strikeouts, but he also issued more than 60 walks in each of his three years in Richmond. He is ranked second on the all-time franchise strikeout list with 270, but holds the career team record with 194 walks. Crick found more consistency as a reliever and reached the majors in 2017 before being traded to the Pirates along with Bryan Reynolds for Andrew McCutchen prior to the 2018 season. This year, his third season in the majors, Crick pitched 52 games for Pittsburgh and compiled 61 strikeouts over 49 innings with a 4.96 ERA.

 

 

Charlie Culberson (Atlanta Braves)

2011 Flying Squirrels

Culberson led the 2011 Flying Squirrels with a .259 batting average and 34 doubles, fourth-most in a season in team history, and was a major contributor in the franchise's first-ever playoff appearance that year, hitting .343 across the Division Series and the ELCS. He went on to debut with the Giants in May of 2012. He spent time with the Rockies and the Dodgers before joining the Braves in 2018. This year, he hit .259 over 108 games for the NL East champs, but missed the end of the season and the playoffs with a fractured cheekbone after being struck by a pitch in September.

 

 

Matt Duffy (Tampa Bay Rays)

2014 Flying Squirrels

Duffy's 2014 season is one of the best offensive years in Flying Squirrels history. The Flying Squirrels' MVP in 2014, Duffy set the franchise record with a .332 batting average, which led the league. That number is 23 points higher than the next closest batting average in a season in team history. In fact, only three players have posted an average above .300 in the Flying Squirrels' ten seasons. He is also the most recent player to be selected as an Eastern League End-of-Season All-Star. He climbed from Richmond to San Francisco in August of 2014 and played parts of three seasons with the Giants before being shipped to the Rays as part of a package for Matt Moore in 2016. He missed much of the 2019 season, but ended up hitting .252 over 46 games. Duffy hit .359 over his final 15 games of the year to help the Rays reach the AL Wild Card Game and eventually the Division Series before being eliminated by the Astros.

 

 

Steven Duggar (San Francisco Giants)

2016 Flying Squirrels

Duggar set the franchise record with a 19-game hitting streak during the 2016 season. He climbed to the majors in 2018 with the Giants for the first time and spent most of his 2019 season in the big leagues, hitting .234 over 73 games. A shoulder strain ended his season in early August.

 

 

Adam Duvall (Atlanta Braves)

2013 Flying Squirrels

Duvall's 17 homers with the Flying Squirrels in 2013 are tied for third-most in a season in team history. He was Richmond's Opening Day third baseman that year and went on to post a .465 slugging percentage, which would have been the highest in team history at the time had it not been for a .485 mark the same year by Javier Herrera. Duvall spent most of 2019 with Triple-A Gwinnett and was named the team's MVP. He played 41 big league games with the Braves beginning in late-July and played a big role in Atlanta's two wins the Division Series against St. Louis before the Cardinals ultimately took the five-game series.

 

 

Aramis Garcia (San Francisco Giants)

2017-18 Flying Squirrels

Garcia climbed from Richmond to the Giants in 2018, playing 19 games in the majors. He entered 2019 as the Giants' No. 16 prospect according to Baseball America and spent most of the year with Triple-A Sacramento. He did see action in 18 games with the Giants across four different stints, splitting time between catching and first base.

 

 

Heath Hembree (Boston Red Sox)

2011 Flying Squirrels

Hembree helped the 2011 Flying Squirrels to the playoffs with a team-leading 17 saves, including nine in the month of July that year. He reached the majors with the Giants in 2013, but only appeared in nine games. He was traded to the Red Sox before the deadline in 2014 as part of a deal for Jake Peavy. Hembree worked 4.2 scoreless innings in the Postseason during Boston's title run in 2018. This year, he posted a 3.96 ERA in 45 relief outings with Boston, adding his first two MLB saves. He missed time in June and August with an elbow injury.

 

 

Derek Law (Toronto Blue Jays)

2014-15 Flying Squirrels

Law led the 2014 Flying Squirrels with 14 saves as the reached the ELCS for the second time in franchise history. Over his two years with Richmond, Law collected 26 saves, second-most in franchise history. Law broke out with the Giants in 2016, posting a 2.13 ERA in his 61 games, but posted a 5.68 ERA over his next two seasons. He was traded to the Blue Jays on April 2 this year as part of the package for Kevin Pillar. After starting the year with Triple-A Buffalo, Law was called up to Toronto on May 3 and went on to make 58 appearances, posting a 4.90 ERA with 67 strikeouts and a career-best five saves.

 

 

Adalberto Mejia (Minnesota Twins/St. Louis Cardinals/Los Angeles Angels)

2014-16 Flying Squirrels

Mejia was the Game 1 starter for the Flying Squirrels in the 2014 Division Series against Akron, the first of his three seasons with the Flying Squirrels. The Giants traded him to the Twins ahead of the deadline in 2016 for Eduardo Nunez. He remained with Minnesota until being designated for assignment this year in July and was claimed by the Angels. Less than a week later, he was designated for assignment again and ended up being picked up by the Cardinals, where he pitched just two games before another DFA, which sent him back to the Angels. In a year that saw Mejia change organizations three times and saw him play for three different MLB teams, Mejia combined to appear in 33 games. He had the most success with the Angels, posting a 3.46 ERA in 20 outings.

 

 

Conner Menez (San Francisco Giants)

2018-19 Flying Squirrels

Menez launched his career from Richmond to San Francisco in 2019. He was dominant with the Flying Squirrels to open the year before a promotion to Sacramento in June. At that time, Menez ranked eighth in the league in ERA (2.72), third in strikeouts (70), fourth in BAA (.179) and sixth in WHIP (0.96). For his career with Richmond, Menez set a new franchise record with a 10.91 K/9 IP. A Bay Area native, Menez debuted with his childhood-favorite team at Oracle Park on July 21 and allowed two runs over five innings. He ultimately made eight appearances with the Giants, including three starts, going 0-1 with a 5.29 ERA.

 

Reyes Moronta (San Francisco Giants)

2017 Flying Squirrels

Moronta began the 2017 season with Richmond and reached the majors by the end of the year with the Giants. Moronta built off a strong first full season in 2018 with a solid 2019 campaign. This year, he posted a 2.86 ERA in 56 relief outings, adding 70 strikeouts over 56.2 innings.

 

 

Josh Osich (Chicago White Sox)

2013-16 Flying Squirrels

In his third season with Richmond in 2015, Osich picked up 19 saves, which is second-most in a season in team history. This year, he was designated for assignment by the Giants in February and claimed by the Orioles. After a DFA by the Orioles in March, Osich was claimed by the White Sox and spent the season in Chicago. He went 4-0 with a 4.66 ERA for the year, but posted a 2.60 ERA in his final 15 outings of the year in his first season away from the Giants organization.

 

Dan Otero (Cleveland Indians)

2011 Flying Squirrels

Otero posted a 1.42 ERA in 23 outings for the Flying Squirrels as a reliever in 2011. He reached the majors with the Giants in 2012 for 12 games and spent the next three years with Oakland. Otero has been with the Indians since 2016, where he combined for a 2.14 ERA in 2016 and 2017. This year, Otero battled a shoulder injury throughout the year that limited him to 25 appearances. He posted a 4.85 ERA for the year.

 

 

Joe Panik (San Francisco Giants/New York Mets)

2013 Flying Squirrels

Panik played 137 games for the Flying Squirrels in 2013, tied for the most for any player in a season in team history. He even turned a game-ending triple play in a win over Trenton that May. He began 2019 in his sixth season with the Giants, playing in 103 games before being released in August. He was signed by the Mets and hit .277 in 39 games to finish the year.

 

 

Jarrett Parker (Los Angeles Angels)

2013-14 Flying Squirrels

Parker set a franchise record with 18 homers during the 2013 season with the Flying Squirrels. After three years with the Giants, Parker was released prior to the 2018 season and sat out the year while recovering from a broken collarbone. The Stafford, Va., native signed with the Angels before the 2019 season and was called up to the majors in July for his first MLB action since 2017. He played in just five games before returning to Triple-A Salt Lake for the rest of the season.

 

 

Tyler Rogers (San Francisco Giants)

2015-16 Flying Squirrels
Rogers holds the franchise record for the longest scoring streak in team history, which spanned 23.2 innings from April through June in 2016. He posted a 0.77 ERA in his 35 games before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento, where he remained for the rest of 2016 until earning his first MLB call-up in late-August of this year. After a long wait through the minors, Rogers shined with the Giants, going 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA in 17 outings to finish the year.

 

 

Sam Selman (San Francisco Giants)

2019 Flying Squirrels

After seven years in the minors with the Royals organization, Selman signed with the Giants prior to the start of the 2019 season. He started the year with Richmond, pitching four games without allowing an earned run before being elevated to Triple-A Sacramento. With the River Cats, he posted a 2.44 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Selman was called up and made his MLB debut with the Giants on August 1. He went on to pitch in 10 games and had a 4.35 ERA.

 

 

Chris Shaw (San Francisco Giants)

2016-17, 2019 Flying Squirrels

Shaw played parts of two seasons with Richmond before reaching the majors for the first time in 2018. He began this season back with Richmond and hit .288 with seven homers across 45 games before being promoted back to Sacramento. In 75 games with the River Cats, Shaw hit .298 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs. He returned to the majors in September and was with the Giants for their trip to Boston, playing at Fenway Park near his home town for the first time in his career. Shaw ultimately played 16 MLB games this year and went 1-for-18 at the plate.

 

 

Austin Slater (San Francisco Giants)

2015-16 Flying Squirrels

Slater's .305 batting average in his two seasons with the Flying Squirrels is the third-best career average in the franchise's history. He split 2019 between the Giants and Triple-A Sacramento. In his 68 MLB games, Slater hit .238 with five homers and 21 RBIs. He hit .302 over his first 40 MLB games this year from July 1-August 21, but hit just .129 in his last 28 games.

 

 

Chris Stratton (Los Angeles Angels/Pittsburgh Pirates)

2014-15 Flying Squirrels

Stratton was the Flying Squirrels' Opening Day starter in 2015, his second season with the team. He also started and picked up a win the Flying Squirrels' Division Series-clinching win in 2014 with six scoreless innings. After three years with the Giants, Stratton was traded to the Angels in March for Williams Jerez. He made seven appearances, including five starts, before being traded to the Pirates on May 11. As a reliever with Pittsburgh, Stratton went 1-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 28 games.

 

Hunter Strickland (Seattle Mariners/Washington Nationals)

2014 Flying Squirrels

Strickland dominated with a 2.02 ERA in 38 games for the Flying Squirrels in 2014. After five years with the Giants, Strickland signed as a free agent with the Mariners prior to the 2019 season. He pitched three games for the Mariners, including two games against Oakland in Japan to open the season, before being placed in the IL with a lat strain. He returned for one outing in late July before being traded to the Nationals at the deadline. With Washington, Strickland had a 5.14 ERA in 24 games. He pitched in the Division Series against the Dodgers and allowed three homers in two games.

 

 

Andrew Suarez (San Francisco Giants)

2016-17 Flying Squirrels

Suarez established himself as a strike-thrower with the Flying Squirrels in 2016. That year, he issued 24 walks, the fewest in team history among qualifying pitchers (min. 112 IP). It was also the lowest walk-per-9 IP ratio (1.9) in team history. He debuted with the Giants in 2018 and split the 2019 season between the majors and Triple-A Sacramento. With the Giants this year, Suarez made 21 appearances and posted a 5.79 ERA.

 

 

Logan Webb (San Francisco Giants)

2018-19 Flying Squirrels

Webb returned to the Flying Squirrels to start the 2019 ranked by MLB.com as the Giants' No. 5 prospect, and he went 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA in five starts. His season was halted at the end of April when Webb was suspended for a positive test for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. He returned to the Flying Squirrels in late-July and made three starts, posting a 2.51 ERA, before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento. He made just one start in the Pacific Coast League, allowing one run over seven innings against Nashville. He was promoted to the Giants and made his MLB debut on August 17 at Arizona and allowed one earned run over five innings to pick up a win. He went on to make eight start with San Francisco, going 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA.

 

 

Mac Williamson (San Francisco Giants/Seattle Mariners)

2015 Flying Squirrels

Williamson was the Flying Squirrels' starting right fielder on Opening Day in 2015 and ended up hitting .293 over 69 games that year before a promotion to Triple-A. He joined the Giants in May this year for his fifth season with San Francisco, but was designated for assignment later in the month after playing 15 games. He joined the Mariners in June and played 25 total games before being released in mid-July. In 40 total MLB games this year, Williamson hit .156 with four homers. He signed with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization for the remainder of the season, where he hit .273 with four homers over 40 games.

 

For the Flying Squirrels alumni list, only players who did not have previous MLB experience prior to joining the Richmond roster are included on the MLB alumni list. Eight players have come to Richmond with previous MLB time and later returned to the majors, including Fernando Abad (2019), Justin Christian (2011), Preston Claiborne (2016), Conor Gillaspie (2010), Alex Hinshaw (2011), Andrew Moore (2019), Joe Nathan (2016) and Matt Reynolds (2016). The Flying Squirrels have also had six players on MLB rehab assignments: Ryan Vogelsong (2013), Matt Cain (2015), Josh Osich (2016), Eduardo Nunez (2017), Brandon Crawford (2017) and Jeff Samardzija (2018).

 

Of the players who first joined Richmond with previous MLB experience, four played in the majors this year: Abad, Moore, Nunez and Samardzija.

 

 

Fernando Abad (San Francisco Giants)

2019 Flying Squirrels
Abad began 2019 with the Flying Squirrels with eight years of previous MLB experience, his first appearances at Double-A since 2010. He pitched three games with the Flying Squirrels before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento, where he had a 3.07 ERA and 13 saves over 38 outings. He was called up to the Giants on August 15 and finished the season in the majors, pitching 21 times with a 4.15 ERA.

 

 

Andrew Moore (Seattle Mariners)

2019 Flying Squirrels

Moore had previously played in the majors with the Mariners in 2017, pitching 11 games. He started 2019 with the Rays organization in Triple-A with Durham before joining the Giants organization in May. He made one start for the Flying Squirrels, allowing five runs while recording five outs on May 8 against Trenton in a 10-0 loss. He was designated for assignment after that game and picked up by the Mariners. He returned to the majors with Seattle on June 4 and made a start against the Astros, allowing four runs over 4.2 innings in a no-decision. He spent the rest of the season in the minors.

 

Eduardo Nunez (Boston Red Sox)

2017 Flying Squirrels

Nunez played one games on a rehab assignment with the Flying Squirrels on June 30, 2017, going 1-for-3 at Reading while working back from a hamstring strain. He was traded to the Red Sox less than a month later for right-handed pitchers Gregory Santos and Shaun Anderson. This year, Nunez played 60 games for the Red Sox and hit .228 before being released on July 22.

 

Jeff Samardzija (San Francisco Giants)

2018 Flying Squirrels

Samardzija made a rehab start for the Flying Squirrels on August 22, 2018 at Bowie, working four scoreless innings while working back from a shoulder injury. He made 32 starts this year in his fourth season with the Giants, going 11-12 with a 3.52 ERA.

 

19 players have come to Richmond with previous major league experience but did not or have not returned to MLB: Collin Balester, Brandon Beachy, Engel Beltre, Vic Black, Andrew Carignan, Caleb Gindl, Slade Heathcott, Taylor Hill, Joe Koshansky, Steve Lerud, Orisis Matos, Russ Mitchell, Sam Moll, Tony Pena Jr., Seth Rosin, Keyvius Sampson, Jerry Sands, Andy Sisco and Brock Stassi. Those players are not included on the Flying Squirrels' MLB alumni list.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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