Here’s where every SF Giants’ top prospect will play this season

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While the Sacramento River Cats opened their season last week, the remainder of the Giants’ minor-league affiliates are set to get under way in the coming days, which means they set their rosters and finalized the assignments for the organization’s top prospects.

The team’s first-round pick from last summer, first baseman Bryce Eldridge, will begin the year at Single-A San Jose, but he might not be there for long. The 6-foot-7 teenager moved quickly in his introduction to pro ball last summer with eye-popping exit velocities and an advanced approach at the plate.

The San Jose roster is populated with a number of other top picks from last year’s draft.

Sharing the infield will be Cole Foster, their third-round pick, and Maui Ahuna, selected in the fourth round, who is fully healthy after playing through a back injury while leading Tennessee on its run to the College World Series. That delayed his pro debut until this spring, and impressed he enough in his first camp to earn a spot on the travel roster for a few Cactus League games. Foster, another college shortstop, from Auburn, slugged seven homers with a .779 OPS during his debut in rookie ball.

The pitching staff will be led by Joe Whitman, the 69th overall pick, whom the Giants considered the top college left-hander when they plucked him out of Kent State, and includes five other pitchers taken last July (RHP Joshua Bostick, 8th round; RHP Cale Lansville. 14th round; LHP Dylan Carmouche, 15th round); LHP Michael Rodriguez, 18th round; LHP Thomas Kane, 19th round).

Notably absent from San Jose’s roster is Reggie Crawford, the Giants’ top pick in 2022. Slowed by injuries since being drafted, including to start this spring, Crawford will continue building up at the Giants’ facilities in Arizona to start the season but should eventually report to San Jose, where he finished last season.

The High-A Eugene Emeralds roster is light on pedigree but should fill out as prospects are promoted from San Jose.

Hayden Birdsong, the organization’s top right-handed pitching prospect, will start the season at Double-A Richmond and could make a case for a major-league call-up by the end of the year. The most interesting group on the Flying Squirrels’ roster, though, is in the outfield, where there will be no shortage of athleticism between Vaun Brown (No. 11 prospect), Grant McCray (No. 10 prospect) and Hunter Bishop (first round, 2019).

At Triple-A Sacramento, Carson Whisenhunt is already off to a strong start. Injuries prevented the left-hander taken 66th overall in 2022 from getting into a game during spring training, but it may not be long before he forces his way onto the big-league roster.

In his first start, Whisenhunt struck out six over three shutout innings.

The rawest of the Giants’ top 10 prospects, 17-year-old outfielder Rayner Arias and 19-year-old shortstop Walker Martin will begin at the rookie-level Arizona Complex League. Arias, a highly touted international free agent from 2023, will be making his domestic debut, while it will be Martin’s first professional action since the Giants drafted him out of high school and convinced him to sign with a bonus significantly over slot value.

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