MacKenzie Gore, Padres top pitching prospect, for Lake Elsinore Storm

MacKenzie Gore gets remarkable extension in his delivery. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Chihuahuas off day

El Paso enjoyed their first day of the season. The club opens a series at Las Vegas Wednesday.

Sod Poodles 9, Springfield Cardinals 6

Key Stats: RHP Andres Muñoz IP, 2 K; RF Edward Olivares 2-4, 3 RBI, 2B; SS Owen Miller 2-6, R, RBI; 3B Hudson Potts 1-5, HR (2), 2 RBI; LF Jorge Oña 2-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB; 2B Chris Baker 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB

Prospect Watch: Amarillo came into their series with a sub-.200 team batting average on the road, but they are feasting on a Springfield staff that has allowed the most runs, hits and walks in the Texas League. Hudson Potts hit his second home run and made it through a game without striking out for just the third time on the year  The highly-regarded prospect had struck out 14 times in his previous seven games. In 40 Double-A games between last year and this, he has struck out in 37 percent of his plate appearances while managing an IsoP below .080. … Jorge Oña continued his season-opening tear, reaching base four times to raise his OBP to .457.  Oña has reworked his set-up at the plate this year, and it has shown up as he’s hit the ball consistently harder. … RHP Andres Muñoz threw his first 1-2-3 inning in 2019, striking out two.  Muñoz, who continues to hit triple digits, has struck out 15 in seven innings but has allowed as many baserunners.

Storm 3, Lancaster JetHawks 1 (10 innings)

Key Stats: LHP MacKenzie Gore 6 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 9 K; SS Gabriel Arias 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI; DH Luis Campusano 1-4, 2B, RBI

Prospect Watch: The Storm walked off the JetHawks, thanks to a blast by SS Gabriel Arias. The walk-off wasn’t close to the biggest highlight of the game though as Padres #2 prospect MacKenzie Gore was on the mound.  Gore struggled to locate his fastball in the first, and it took him 25 pitches (15 balls) to get through the inning, giving up one run. Then he found his feel and faced just one batter over the minimum while striking out eight across the next five innings. He threw only a handful of changeups (his third best pitch), and they were unhittable.  In 22 High-A innings, Gore has allowed just 15 baserunners (0.68 WHIP) while striking out 27.  Encouragingly, after needing 90 and 84 pitches to get through five innings in his first two starts, Gore has used 75 and 77 to throw six innings in his last two outings. Just as in his last outing when he faced off against veteran Rich Hill, as much as Gore impressed, he was outdueled. The Rockies’ first-round pick last year, Ryan Rolison, allowed just two baserunners in six innings while striking out seven in his Cal League debut. Rolison was drafted out of high school by the Padres in 2016 but opted to go to Ole Miss. The Storm capitalized when he exited the game. DH Luis Campusano, who returned from a brief stay on the injured list for a contusion, hit a game-tying RBI double. The club will ease him back into catching after a concussion ended his season last year, but are glad to have him and his .422/.491/.622 line, back.  The game remained scoreless until the 10th when Arias clubbed his walk-off homer.  The slick-fielding shortstop could be a big league regular with even league-average offense, and he has been hitting this year. He didn’t collect his second home run last year until July 27. … Taylor Kohlwey made his first ever start at first base for the Storm. Not ‘first as a professional,’ or ‘first since high school.’ First. The lefty from Wisconsin handled all six of his chances.

TinCaps 8, Bowling Green Hot Rods 7 

Key Stats: LHP  Ramon Perez 4IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 2 BB, 2 HBP; RHP Henry Henry 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 K (W, 4-0); LF Grant Little 2-5, RBI; 2B Tucupita Marcano 1-5, 2B, 3 RBI; RF Agustin Ruiz 3-5, RBI; C Juan Fernandez 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps have done a decent job getting on base this year, ranking in the middle of the 16-team league in on-base percentage, but came into the day 15th in slugging. They only got one extra-base hit Tuesday, but it was a big one as Tucupita Marcano collected a bases-clearing double. The 19-year-old infielder is off to a slow start in full-season ball, but he’s still walking plenty and not striking out much. Marcano later lost a pop-up by top prospect Wander Franco in the sun, allowing the ball to land ten feet behind him for a double. That miscue cost Henry Henry, as three runs came around to score with two outs in the frame. The big righty still collected his MiLB leading fourth win. … C Juan Fernandez had an inauspicious start to the season, going hitless in his first five games (0-for-17) and had just three hits in his nine starts entering the day. He came through for three hits and drew a walk Tuesday, raising his OPS from .310 to .491.

Injury and Roster Updates

The Padres finally released word that Anderson Espinoza‘s long trek back to health took another unfortunate detour as the talented righty underwent his second Tommy John surgery Monday. While the organization was optimistic after we reported he left his third spring training start, the attempt to get him back on a mound was unsuccessful. At best, he’ll be back in competitive action in late 2020, four seasons after he last appeared in a regular season game. While he’ll still be only 22 years old, there’s little precedent for a player returning after such an extended layoff. …  Pedro Avila, who hit Amarillo’s disabled list Monday morning, was in San Diego to get forearm soreness examined by the big league club’s medical staff. Adrian Morejon, who left Monday night’s start after just one batter, was added to the DL with vague shoulder and back soreness Tuesday morning. The talented lefty had his spot in the Lake Elsinore rotation skipped once last May when he felt tightness in his neck warming up, but returned quickly from that issue. A series of minor injuries have sidelined him for stretches in each of the last two seasons. … In Peoria, Osvaldo Hernandez is getting stretched out in preparation to join the Lake Elsinore Storm rotation. He likely has three or four more starts in extended before he’d be ready to head out, which would put him on track for mid-May. … Michel Baez has made two one-inning appearances in the desert as he makes up for lost time after a back injury sidelined him in spring training. The big righty would head out to Amarillo about two weeks behind Hernandez’s departure if all stays on track. … Javy Guerra could be on schedule to leave the complex before either of them. Once seen as the club’s future at shortstop, he agreed to move to the mound this spring. He should make his first appearance in a game Thursday after success in a series of live batting practice sessions.

Posted by Ben Davey

Writer for MadFriars since 2011. San Diego raised. Grossmont alum. Die hard SD and sports fan. Currently keeping my day job as an AP Chemistry Teacher.

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