Hunter Renfroe homered twice, while the wonderkids (Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis, Jr.) each doubled and reached base a combined five times. Michel Baez and Cal Quantrill each had season-best starts as they led their teams to victories and a .500 day for the Padres’ affiliates.
Tacoma Rainiers 5, Chihuahuas 4
Key Stats: RF Hunter Renfroe 3-4, 2 HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI; 2B Luis Urias 3-5, 2B, RBI; CF Auston Bousfield 3-5, RS; 3B Carlos Asuaje 0-3; RHP Jesse Scholtens (L, 0-2) 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Prospect Watch: Rehabbing outfielder Hunter Renfroe must have started salivating when he saw he was facing former big-league southpaw Ariel Miranda. Renfroe feasts off of lefties – in his big league career, his OPS against lefties is 1.055, but just .669 off righties. Renfroe started off the game lining an RBI single to left, and after a flyout to right homered to deep left. He came up again in the eighth against a right-handed pitcher and again homered to almost the same spot. After seven games, Renfroe is up to .276/.323/.517, and more importantly has only struck out twice over his last 13 at-bats. … When second baseman Luis Urias gets hot, not only does he notch hit after hit, but his strikeouts almost completely disappear. Over his last four games, Urias is 9-for-16 with two walks and only one strikeout. Urias only struck out in 7% of plate appearances in 2016 and12.5% last year but was up to 19% prior to this four-game stretch (now back down to 17.5%). Urias still has one of the best hit tools in minor league baseball, and whenever you see a zero in the strikeout column you know he is locked in.
Missions 4, Tulsa Drillers 3
Key Stats: RHP Cal Quantrill 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, ER, 6 K; SS Fernando Tatis Jr 1-3, 2B, RS, BB; LF Josh Naylor1-2, 2B, RS, 2 RBI, BB, SF; 2B River Stevens 2-4, RS; RF Michael Gettys 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB, SB (7)
Prospect Watch: Cal Quantrill had arguably his best start of the season. After two, two-out errors in the first led to two unearned runs, Quantrill settled down. He struck out the next four and retired 13 of the next 15 batters. He went back out in the sixth already at 92 pitches, but after a single, he induced a double play to get out of it. The final batter he saw homered and the pitching change was made. Wednesday was just the second time all year that Quantrill did not walk a batter, and this was his first time in over a month that he allowed less than two earned runs. … Phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. led off the game with a double, scored the first run of the game, and later walked. At .814 this is the highest his OPS has been all season and includes a .333/.429/.644 line in May.
Storm 4, Lancaster JetHawks 1
Key Stats: RHP Michel Baez (W, 1-4) 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K; 1B Brad Zunica 2-3, HR (4), RBI; DH Marcus Greene Jr. 2-3, 2 RS; SS Ruddy Giron 2-3, 2B, RS, RBI
Prospect Watch: RHP Michel Baez earned his first California League win with his best performance of the year. The Padres’ top Cal League prospect made it through six innings for the first time this season. Baez has had some trouble this season with the level of competition. After spending most of the first month in extended, against complex guys, Baez came to High A and saw a different caliber of hitter. He is no longer able to just pump fastballs by hitters. After last year’s concern over Baez pitching up in the zone, and the lack of results so far, the Storm staff have really put an emphasis with Baez to pitch down in the zone and get groundball outs. This idea has had some growing pains – see his last start – but paid off Wednesday. Baez induced eight groundball outs which is a career high, and his 4:1 GO/AO ratio was also a career best. While his season thus far hasn’t been what many would have hoped, his 3.33 ERA is third among Storm starters (behind only Chris Paddack (0.00) and Reggie Lawson (2.38). The 3.33 ERA would also rank ninth in the league if he qualified
West Michigan Whitecaps 2, TinCaps 1
Key Stats: LHP Aaron Leasher (L, 2-3) 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 3 K; CF Robbie Podorsky 2-5, 2B, RBI, SB (4); 3B Luis Almanzar 2-4, 2B; SS Justin Lopez 2-4; C Jalen Washington 2-3, RS, BB, 2 SB (2)
Prospect Watch: Since starting the year 1-for-12, Luis Almanzar has hit .300/.481/.350 over his next 20 at-bats. He picked up his first extra-base hit of the year Wednesday. Almanzar is one of the youngest players in the league (only beaten by his teammates) and has walked as many times as he has struck out since that initial three-game stretch. Almanzar was the big name J2 signing in 2016 but was quickly passed by his teammates Jeisson Rosario, Tirso Ornelas, and Gabriel Arias. While two weeks is a small sample size for a player, he has already shown better bat-to-ball skills lowering his strikeout percentage from 29% last year to 23% this year. … A year after being the Dust Devils MVP hitting .302/.375/.389, Robbie Podorsky is starting to do his thing in Fort Wayne. While he has been with the team for less than a week, Podorsky has already stolen four bases in four games, while going 4-for-10 with three stolen bases in his last two games. Podorsky, a 25th round pick from McNeese State, is trying to be the next Travis Jankowski. Plus defense in center, with a ton of speed and a decent hit tool.
So far this year we have had consistent on-site reporting from Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore, along with multiple visits to San Antonio and El Paso. Help us continue by subscribing here for less than a cup of coffee a month.