While Eric Lauer was collecting his first big-league victory Sunday, pitching prospects throughout the system, headed by Chris Paddack, lined up to remind us that more talent is on the way.
Albuquerque Isotope 14, Chihuahuas 12
Key Stats: SS Luis Urias 4-for-5, 2 2B, HR (3), BB; RF Franmil Reyes 3-for-5, 2B, HR (13), E (4); 1B Diego Goris 4-for-5, HR (3), SB (3); RHP Trey Wingenter 1.2IP, 0H, 0R, 1K, 1BB
Prospect Notes: Nothing says offense quite like day games in Albuquerque. While the Isotopes pitching staff has been atrocious everywhere this year, they’re now up to a 7.02 ERA at home. The ball was flying for both sides on Sunday as the clubs combined for 16 extra-base hits and 26 runs. … How ridiculously hot has Franmil Reyes been? He doubled and homered again as part of a three-hit game on Sunday, and his slugging percentage for the week actually dropped. The big man has homered in five straight contests, has six straight multi-hit games and has surged to the top of the PCL leaderboards for extra-base hits. While it’s probably a safe bet the big man won’t keep up his .400 ISoP number for another month, the 22-year-old is converting on his mammoth raw power while striking out a bit less and drawing more walks. He should be the third Chihuahua in a row to earn PCL hitter of the week honors. … If it’s a day game, look for big things from Luis Urias. After his 4-for-5 game, the middle infielder has a .500/.583/.967 line in seven daytime contests this year. That isn’t a trend that’s held over his career, so it’s more noise than signal, but the organization would probably be happy nonetheless to see his nighttime OPS climb over .600. … Diego Goris collected four more hits, including his third homer of the year and now sports a .364 batting average. Re-acquired in a trade with the White Sox, with whom he signed as a minor league free agent this winter, when it became clear the Chihuahuas could have some roster holes, the 27-year-old has played around the infield and contributed from a variety of spots in the lineup.
Missions 4, Corpus Christi Hooks 1
Key Stats: SS Fernando Tatis 0-for-3, HBP, 3K; LF Rod Boykin 3-for-4, K; RHP Jesse Scholtens 6.1IP, 1H, 1ER, 8K, 1BB, 1HBP
Prospect Notes: After his first rough outing of the year, Jesse Scholtens got back on track Sunday, throwing six-plus innings of one-hit ball. The 24-year-old righty, who can get lost around his higher profile rotation-mates, didn’t allow a runner until he hit the first batter of the fifth inning. After a single and walk, Scholtens escaped unscathed when Michael Gettys tracked down a flyball and then showed off his plus arm to nail the runner at home. Scholtens finished his outing with eight strikeouts to push his league-leading season total to 45 in 35.1 innings. As Marcus noted in our recent mailbag, the Wright State product relies heavily on his fastball command to work over hitters in the zone. Opponents have hit just .168 against him and his WHIP is second in the Texas League at 0.79. … Fernando Tatis‘s league-worst strikeout total climbed to 45 after three more in the contest. Only teammate Rod Boykin, who had three hits Sunday, is also above 40 Ks on the circuit.
Storm 8, Modesto Nuts 3
Key Stats: RHP Chris Paddack 4IP, 3H, 0R, 9K, 1BB; RHP Elliot Ashbeck 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2K, 2BB; 3B Hudson Potts 3-for-4, 2 2B, HR (7); 2B Eguy Rosario 2-for-4, 2B, BB; CF Buddy Reed 1-for-3, BB, HBP, SB (15); DH Luis Torrens 2-for-3, 2B, HBP
Prospect Notes: Chris Paddack has quickly re-asserted himself as a must-see pitcher for the Storm. The righty, making his second start since Tommy John surgery, has picked up right where he left off in the Midwest League in 2016. Paddack has allowed only seven baserunners against 16 strikeouts in 10 innings since joining the Storm. Even though he worked only four innings Sunday, he threw three more pitches than he needed through six in his debut. How the team manages his workload and assignment level will become an interesting storyline if he continues to dominate. At 22, Paddack has only thrown 97.2 professional innings since the Marlins drafted him in 2015, and he still has more innings in the Gulf Coast League than any other level. Part of the decision to keep him back in extended spring training to open the year was to help manage his workload in a lower-stress environment. Now he may force the club to decide how much they want to, in pitching coordinator Eric Junge’s words, ‘push the accelerator.’ … We noted Hudson Potts‘s recent cold snap. He seems to be coming out of it. The 19-year-old corner infielder clubbed two doubles and a bomb to deep center to push his OPS back up to .837. He also made it through a game without a strikeout for the first time in 10 games. His walk and strikeout rates through 29 games are almost identical to his overall results last year. Meanwhile, his slugging percentage – even considering the friendlier hitting environment – has taken a leap forward to .541, good for seventh in the Cal League. … Buddy Reed swiped his league-leading 15th base of the year and had another one in his back pocket that was called back because of batter’s interference. The 23-year-old, who reached base three more times Sunday, has only been thrown out once.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 3, TinCaps 2
Key Stats: 1B Carlos Belen 2-for-3, 2B, HR (4); 3B Reinaldo Ilarraza 2-for-3, 2B, BB, 2SB (7), E (9); LHP Nick Margevicius 6IP, 8H 3R (1ER), 9K, 1BB
Prospect Notes: Lefty Nick Margevicius took the tough-luck loss despite allowing just one earned run in six innings of work. Last year’s seventh-rounder, who has emerged from his draft class as a legitimate prospect, was also tagged with two unearned runs on a pair of singles that followed a two-out error in the second. In all, four of the eight hits the 21-year-old gave up were infield singles. He struck out nine batters for the third time in six starts to reclaim the league lead with 44 in 32 innings of work. He’s only walked seven total, and five came in one outing. His WHIP is inflated by an opponents’ average on balls in play that’s sitting over .400, but that should stabilize to match his solid batted ball profile. … Big Carlos Belen was sent back to Fort Wayne this year to fill a positional need and to try to convert on his big raw power. He doubled and connected on his fourth homer of the season Sunday and now leads the club with a .477 slugging percentage. He’s also still striking out in more than a third of his plate appearances, though he has significantly boosted his walk rate through the first month of the season. How he levels off once his batting average on balls in play – which currently sits above .400 – stabilizes will be telling.
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