Labor Day is upon us! That also signifies the end of the minor league season. Two Padres’ farm clubs will advance into the playoffs, with a chance to bring home a title. Lake Elsinore grabbed a victory in their final game of 2018; they were also the only team to find the win column Monday.
Tacoma Rainiers 5, Chihuahuas 4
Key Statistics: RF Forrestt Allday, 2-for-4, RBI SB (11); DH Francisco Mejia, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B; LF Shane Peterson, 2-for-3, 2B; RHP Colin Rea, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; LHP Brad Wieck, IP, H, 2 K; RHP Carter Capps (L, 1-1) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), BB, K
Prospect Watch: El Paso lost their season finale, as they prepare for their fourth straight run in the playoffs. … Designated hitter Francisco Mejia had a pair of hits, extending his hitting streak to six games. The 22-year-old slugger has three consecutive multi-hit games and he has four homers over his last ten games. In 31 games with El Paso, Mejia hit a blazing .328/.364/.582. … Outfielder Shane Peterson had a double and a single in four trips to the plate, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Peterson, 30, quietly had a nice year for El Paso and he has been especially good since the all-star break, hitting .316/.367/.471. Peterson will give the Chihuahuas an experienced bat for the postseason. … After getting multiple days off between outings most of the year, Carter Capps worked in three of four games to end the season. The 28-year-old former big leaguer was charged with an unearned run Monday but allowed only one earned run in nine PCL innings.
What’s next: El Paso opens a best-of-five playoff series at home Wednesday against the Fresno Grizzlies.
Corpus Christi Hooks 8, Missions 1
Key Statistics: DH Josh Naylor, 1-for-4; LF Buddy Reed, 1-for-4; SS Matthew Batten, 2-for-2, BB, RBI, SB (11); RHP Chris Huffman, 5 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, K; RHP Jason Jester (L, 2-4) 0.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, BB.
Prospect Watch: The Missions went down at home, in their final game before the playoffs. … Shortstop Matt Batten had a pair of hits and drove in the only run the Missions scored. Batten is a rather unheralded prospect — he was drafted last year in the 32nd round. This year, Batten played well for the Missions, stepping into the shortstop position after Fernando Tatis Jr. was lost for the year. Batten had a tremendous 13.2% walk rate and league-average production at the plate. The 23-year-old doesn’t possess much power but he has a chance to stick around as a utility guy. … RHP Chris Huffman pitched five solid innings, allowing just one earned run. Huffman has pitched well in San Antonio this season, after a rough stretch in El Paso. The 25-year-old has been a solid innings-eater throughout his career and is Rule 5 eligible this off-season.
What’s next: The Missions start a best-of-five series in Corpus Christi on Wednesday.
Storm 6, Lancaster JetHawks 5
Key Statistics: 2B Eguy Rosario, 4-for-5, 2 R; 1B Brad Zunica, 3-for-4, R, HR (17), 3 RBI; LF Michael Curry, 2-for-4, RBI; RHP Reggie Lawson (W, 8-5) 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 6 K; RHP Tom Colletti (S, 1) IP, K.
Prospect Watch: The Storm finished on a positive note, winning their final four games of 2018. … First baseman Brad Zunica homered as part of a three-hit evening Monday. Zunica finished the campaign with 17 homers — one less than he had last season. The big lefty’s biggest issue in his career has been the lack of contact to reach his plus-plus raw power. Zunica struck out in 30% of his plate appearances this season, a number he will need to cut down. He does draw walks and is one of the few corner guys with big-time power in the system, but his swing changes this year reduced his in-game power without improving his contact rate. … Second baseman Eguy Rosario had a four-hit game as he finished the season strong. The 19-year-old was the youngest player in the Cal League this season and while the overall numbers don’t show much, he had stretches where he looked like a legitimate prospect. He looked solid defensively at second and should develop a little more power going forward. … RHP Reggie Lawson ducked around some command issues and pitched five solid innings in the win. Lawson struggled badly in July but recovered down the stretch as he threw a career-high 117 innings. The 21-year-old had an ERA of 3.46 or lower in four full months this season, before imploding to an 11.10 ERA in five July starts. He was the youngest qualifying Cal League pitcher.
What’s next: The Storm concluded their season.
West Michigan Whitecaps 3, TinCaps 2 (10 innings)
Key Statistics: LF Jack Suwinski, 2-for-4, R; DH Esteury Ruiz, 3-for-4, SB (49); SS Gabriel Arias, 1-for-4; LHP Tom Cosgrove, 7 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 7 K; RHP Evan Miller (L, 5-6) 1.1 IP, H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K.
Prospect Watch: Nine innings wasn’t enough to decide the final Midwest League playoff spot as the clubs were tied at one after regulation. The TinCaps plated the placed runner in the top of the 10th but came up just short when West Michigan plated two in the bottom of the frame. … LHP Tom Cosgrove pitched well, allowing just one earned run in seven innings, walking one and striking out seven. Cosgrove led the TinCaps this season in innings pitched and his 3.71 ERA finished seventh in the Midwest League. The 22-year-old from New York also finished sixth in the circuit with 122 strikeouts. … Esteury Ruiz had three singles and stole his 49th base of the season. The 19-year-old finished strong, hitting .323 over his last ten games. While Ruiz still has a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, his combination of speed and power make him a guy who continues to merit attention. … With two more hits on the last day of the season, Jack Suwinski finished the year with a .255/.324/.408 line after bottoming out at .202/.274/.326 on July 30.
What’s next: The TinCaps season ended Monday.
Everett Aquasox 8, Dust Devils 3
Key Statistics: C Alison Quintero, 2-for-5; 1B Justin Paulsen, 2-for-5, R, HR (5), RBI; 3B-2B Luke Becker, 3-for-3, 2 RBI, BB; RHP Manny Guzman (L, 1-1) 2.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, K; RHP Wen-Hua Sung, 2 IP, H, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: The Dust Devils were done in by a seven-run third and they dropped their final game of the season on the road in Everett. … Catcher Alison Quintero had a pair of hits in the Dust Devils loss. After struggling through injuries in the DSL last year, Quintero had a nice campaign in the Arizona League, hitting .288/.349/.353, with nine doubles and just 24 strikeouts in 149 plate appearances. Quintero was part of the never-ending J2 group of 2016. … First baseman Justin Paulsen had a pair of hits, including his fifth homer of the year. Paulsen’s five homers were just one behind first baseman Luis Asuncion for the team lead.
What’s next: The Dust Devils season ended Monday.