Padres prospect Brett Kennedy pitches for El Paso Chihuahuas

Brett Kennedy has been one of the best pitchers in the Padres’ organization in 2018. (Photo: Jorge Salgado/El Paso Chihuahuas)

The strength of the Padres’ organization is pitching and Thursday night saw strong performances up and down the system.

Chihuahuas 3,  Salt Lake Bees 2

Key Statistics: DH Franmil Reyes 2-4, 2B, RBI; 2B Luis Urias 1-4, RBI, BB; SS Javy Guerra 1-4, 3B, RBI; RHP Brett Kennedy (W, 7-0) 7.0 IP 6 H 0 R 0 ER BB 2 K; LHP Brad Wieck (S, 2) 0.2 IP

Prospect Watch: On the road in Salt Lake City, El Paso went into the bottom of the ninth up by three runs, but the Bees made it interesting by pushing two across.  Brad Wieck, who was recently promoted from San Antonio, was able to get the last out with a pair of runners on. … Brett Kennedy turned in one of his signature performances. He didn’t strike out many batters, walked one, allowed a few hits – all singles – and didn’t let the opposition score a single run.  Kennedy has allowed one earned run or less in nine of his 12 starts.  To do that in the Pacific Coast League, where half of the MadFriars staff could take people deep (I’ll leave which half to everyone’s imagination) and post a 2.58 ERA with an unblemished 7-0 record indicates he is in line for a major league opportunity. The Padres have to add Kennedy to the 40-man roster or risk losing him to the Rule 5 draft this winter. … Luis Urias is heating up.  He has hit in seven of his last eight games and in the first five days of July, he is hitting .381/.480/.476.

Game 1: Missions 4, Northwest Naturals 3 (8 innings)

Key Statistics: Fernando Tatis Jr. 3-4; LF Josh Naylor 2-4; 3B Ty France 2-4, RBI; RHP Jesse Scholtens 6.2 IP 6 H 3 R 3 ER BB 6 K; RHP Andres Munoz (W, 1-0) 1.1 IP BB K

Prospect Watch: The Missions won the first game of the twi-night doubleheader with right fielder Nick Schulz’s walk-off walk in the eighth inning under the new rules of extra-inning contests where each club has a baserunner to start off the inning at second base. … Fernando Tatis Jr. was hitting .177/.231/.333 on April 30 and he is now at .289/.362/.519.  Tatis is fourth in the league in home runs with 15, first in runs scored with 74, first in total bases with 167 and leads the league with 40 extra-base hits.  The only negative is that he is third in the league with 102 strikeouts.

Padres prospect Rod Boykin bats for San Antonio Missions

Rod Boykin had the game-winner in the nightcap.

Game 2: Missions 4, Northwest Naturals 3, (9 innings)

Key Statistics: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. 2-4; RF Nick Schulz 3-4, HR (2), RBI; LF Rod Boykin 2-4; RHP T.J. Weir 3.2 IP 3 H R ER 2 K; RHP Gerardo Reyes 1.1 IP 3 H 2 R 3 K; RHP Colby Blueberg (W, 1-0) 1.2 IP BB 2 K.

Prospect Watch: The Missions were down 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning after the Naturals scored two in the top of the inning.  Nick Schulz hit a two-out home run to tie the game.  Colby Blueberg was able to retire the side in the top of the ninth, despite having a runner placed on second to begin the inning.  Rod Boykin led off the bottom of the ninth with a bunt single and a wild throw by the Naturals allowed the winning run to score, to give the Missions the doubleheader sweep.

Organizational Moves:  The Padres made the long-awaited move and promoted right-hand pitcher Chris Paddack to San Antonio and in a corresponding move sent left-handed pitcher Jerry Keel to El Paso.  Right-handed reliever Gerardo Reyes was also transferred from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio.  Left-hander Nick Margevicius, who has had the best season on the mound for the TinCaps, was promoted from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore and right-hander Spencer Kulman was transferred there from the AZL.  Catcher Stephen McGee was sent on a rehab assignment to the AZL and assigned to the AZL Padres-2.  Finally, effective on Tuesday, July 3, left-handed pitcher Seth Simmons was placed on the 7-day disabled list for El Paso,  

Storm 2, Visalia Rawhide 1

Key Stats: Pedro Avila 6.1 IP, 7 H, ER, 7 K, BB; 2B Eguy Rosario 2-for-4, 2B, R; 3B Hudson Potts 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI; SS Allen Cordoba 1-for-3, 3B

Marcus Pond has been taking a break from the barbeque in Texas and indulging in his need for real Mexican food in southern California.  In between visiting shady taco shops and the beach, he caught the Storm game and you can read his report here.

TinCaps 6, Great Lake Loons 5

Key Statistics: CF Robbie Podorsky 2-4, SB ; 3B Esteury Ruiz 3-5 2 SB; RF Tirso Ornelas 2-4, 2 RBI; C Juan Fernandez 2-4; RHP Luis Patiño 5.2 IP 3 BB 8 K; RHP Evan Miller (W, 3-2) 2.0 IP 2 H 3 R 2 ER BB 3 K.

Prospect Watch:  Most fans of the Padres system anxiously await the next start of Chris Paddack or MacKenzie Gore. Luis Patiño is getting close to joining them as must-watch prospects. The 18-year-old Colombian has a 2.55 ERA since joining the team in mid-May with 49 strikeouts against only 12 walks in 42.1 innings.  After throwing 56 innings between the Dominican Summer League and the AZL last season, he is at 42.1 this year. Patiño despite being barely six feet, has electric stuff with a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s and a very good changeup. … If – and right now it seems more of a question of when – the Padres decide to promote Buddy Reed from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio, it would be hard to see anyone other than Robbie Podorsky, 23, taking his place.  In 139 plate appearances, he is hitting .361/.406/.489 with 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts. He has seen most of his time in left field, but his best defensive position is in center…Esteury Ruiz has split time this year between second and third base, and at both positions, his ability to make consistent throws has been a challenge. He had an error tonight, but as he has done most of the year offset it with what he did at the plate.  On the season, Ruiz leads the team in total bases with 120, is second in the league with 30 stolen bases in 38 attempts and is second only to Podorsky on the team in slugging percentage at .435.  The 19-year-old Dominican might weigh 150 pounds on his five-foot-ten frame.

Spokane Indians 3, Dust Devils 1

Key Stats: RHP Cole Bellinger 6IP, 2H, 2R, 9K, 1BB; SS Owen Miller 3-for-3, 2B; LF Grant Little 1-for-3, R

David Jay was in Spokane to report on the Dust Devils. We are giving Pasco fair warning that he will be in town for the weekend. You can read his report from the night here.

AZL Cubs 3, AZL Padres-1 1

Key Statistics: CF Juwuan Harris 2-for-4, 2B, BB, SB (4); 3B Carlos Luis 3-for-4; RHP Luarbert Arias 5IP, 3H, 1R, 2K, 1BB

AZL Padres-2 5 – AZL Rangers 3

Key Statistics: SS Jordy Barley 1-for-3, SF, 2 SB (5); RF Payton Smith 1-for-2, 2B, BB; LHP Noel Vela 3.2 IP, 4H, 1ER, 5K, 0BB; LHP Trent Shelton 3.1IP, 2H, 0R, 6K, 0BB

Prospect Watch: Jordy Barley wasted no time extending his nascent hitting streak to four games, poking a single to left field to open the game. He then promptly stole second and third and scored on a grounder to shortstop. The dynamo is quickly bouncing back from his frigid start and has pushed his OPS up to .829. … Noel Vela and Trent Shelton both pitch left-handed, but the similarities pretty much end there. But the duo combined for 11 strikeouts over seven innings, with Vela allowing only one run. Shelton, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Cal Poly, hasn’t allowed just two hits and no runs in his first four professional outings. Vela, 19, set a (brief) career high with five strikeouts. … Juwuan Harris flashed his skillset well on Thursday, collecting a single, double and walk, and stealing his fourth base in five attempts. The seventh-round pick has drawn 10 free passes in his first 13 professional games. … Righty Luarbert Arias allowed just one run over five innings of work. After a rough first outing, the 17-year-old Venezuelan has given up just five hits over 10 combined innings in his next two.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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