The Giants announced a series of roster changes to reporters today, including Maria I. Saved from MLB.com. right-handed Sean Hjelle was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento, as the outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. was removed from the injured list. Sam Long and Mauricio Llovera were both sent to Triple-A to create space on the roster.
Hjelle was a second-round selection for the Giants in the 2018 draft and has worked his way up the minor league ranks since then. His promotion is something of an early birthday present, as he turns 25 tomorrow. The 6’11” right-hander was ranked No. 5 in the club system by Baseball America in 2019, although he slipped down that ranking a bit as he struggled with higher levels of competition.
In 2019, he hit Double-A for the first time, throwing 25 1/3 innings with a 6.04 ERA. After the minor leagues were canceled in 2020, Hjelle returned to Double-A in 2021 and fared much better, posting a 3.15 ERA in 14 starts, as well as a 25 strikeout rate. .2%, a walk rate of 6.9% and a ground ball rate of 54.6%. . In Triple-A last year, however, his ERA jumped to 5.74. He was still getting hits on the ground at a clip of 54.1%, but saw strikeouts drop to 14.1% and walks climb to 11.7%. This year, he has made five Triple-A starts and improved on those results somewhat, bringing his ERA to 4.37 and his steps to 5.1%, as well as a rushing rate of 54.8%. It still does not accumulate Ks, with a rate of 14.3% over the year. Every time he enters a game, it will be his major league debut.
Wade is coming off a great breakout campaign in 2021, where he hit 18 home runs and slashed .253/.326/.482, 117 wRC+. This year, he has yet to make his season debut due to inflammation and a bone bruise in his left knee. After a seven-game rehab assignment, he’s now back on the roster and is expected to enter regular action in the outfield next to Mike Yastrzemskiwith Luis Gonzalez, Pederson game, Austin Slater, The reputation and Mauricio Dubon also in the mix.
As for Long and Llovera, Guardado’s tweet indicates that Long was picked and Llovera was sent to Triple-A. The different language could be significant. Under 2022 health and safety protocols, the commissioner’s office has the sole discretion to determine if a team has been impacted enough by COVID to call up “substitute” players. If permission is granted, the team can then return those replacements to Triple-A (and, if not previously on the 40 player, entirely off the roster) without using a minor league option or doing pass the player through waivers. Llovera was selected on the club’s 40-man roster a week ago amid a string of positive tests among Giants players. The fact that he was “returned” to Triple-A suggests he is no longer on the roster. However, Llovera’s trade tracking on MLB.com indicates he was picked, meaning he may still have that spot on the roster.