Each month, MadFriars looks at the top performers at every level of the system. While we certainly work to provide context on the long-term significance of the production, this list is not an update to our Top 20 prospects list, but rather a point-in-time check-in on players.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A, Pacific Coast League)
With Logan Allen called up to San Diego in the middle of the month, and Dinelson Lamet having finished up his rehab assignment, the most interesting pitchers in El Paso are now in the bullpen (which also happens to be an area of need with the big league club. Gerardo Reyes didn’t allow a walk or an earned run in six appearances (nine innings) while striking out 13, and Paco Rodríguez posted a 1.17 ERA in 15.1 innings with an 11:2 K: BB rate.
On the offensive side, a whopping five Chihuahuas posted an OPS above 1.000. Jose Pirela (1.014), Ty France (1.272), and Austin Allen (1.248) have all spent time on the Padres roster this season, with organizational newcomers Seth Mejias-Brean (1.053) and Jason Vosler (1.074) doing their best to work their way into the equation. France led the squad with ten homers, with Michael Gettys close behind him with nine. France struggled to a .647 OPS in 107 plate appearances in San Diego, but the 24-year-old is showing he doesn’t have much more to prove in El Paso.
The top prospect for the Chihuahuas, infielder Luis Urías, had a down month, posting a .274/.336/.481 slash line. The 19.3% strikeout rate is higher than you’d like to see from a player with his profile. His walk rate was 8.5% and his .309 BABIP was a bit on the low end, but the Padres brass seems to be really wanting him to earn his way back to San Diego, and it didn’t happen this month:
El Paso Chihuahuas: Ty France
Amarillo Sod Poodles (Double-A, Texas League)
While some of the offensive numbers in Amarillo (and throughout the Texas League) have seemed more inflated than in previous years when the Padres Double-A squad was in San Antonio, the Sod Poodles were division champs in the first half of the year on the backs of their starting pitching. Lake Bachar, Jesse Scholtens, and Emmanuel Ramirez are unheralded arms in the Padres organization they combined for a 2.66 ERA and 65 strikeouts across 71 innings in June.
On the offensive side, four Soddies had an OPS above .800, with Ivan Castillo, who has a career OPS of .668, leading the way with a .946 mark. While it’s unlikely that the .398 BABIP he had in June will continue, he has been a pleasant surprise as a minor league free agent. Catcher Luis Torrens and shortstop Owen Miller have been solid in the Amarillo lineup, but outfielder Edward Olivares has continued to be the most consistent bat in Bomb City.
Olivares has the chance to be a 20/20 player (20 homers and 20 stolen bases) after swiping nine bases in June and raising his season total to 21. His three round-trippers bring him to 11 on the year, so he still has a bit to go in the power department, though he also has 18 doubles on the season. Michel Báez, after working through some injuries, has been moved to the bullpen, where he had a 19:3 K: BB rate in seven appearances (12.1 innings).
Amarillo Sod Poodles: Edward Olivares
Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A, California League)
It would be hard for any performance in Lake Elsinore to break out of the shadow of MacKenzie Gore, who has been owning the Cal League since his first start of the season, but Luis Campusano has quietly having a breakout season for the Storm. After posting a .710 OPS as a 19-year-old in Fort Wayne with a 15.1% strikeout rate, he’s increased his OPS to .925, while bringing his strikeout rate down to 12%. In June, he had 47 total bases in 22 games, while striking out (10 times) almost as much as he walked (9 times), and like we mentioned last month, he has faced just one pitcher younger than him.
The Storm, who went 14-12 in June, also had solid performances from infielders Allen Córdoba and Gabriel Arias. Córdoba, a Rule 5 pick from 2016, slashed .345/.395/.491 in June, while safely swiping 10 of 12 bases. The 19-year-old Arias knocked 10 extra-base hits and a .452 slugging percentage but also had a 33% strikeout rate. It’s also noteworthy that starter Luis Patiño had a “rough” month, posting a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings. While he walked seven hitters, he also struck out 27, good for a 13.5 K/BB rate.
The undisputed star of the Storm, however, is still the 6-foot-3 lefty from North Carolina, MacKenzie Gore. He allowed just 14 baserunners in 18.2 innings (an even split of walks and hits), striking out 28 while posting a 0.96 ERA. While the walks are a bit of a blemish on his otherwise stellar month, there is seemingly nothing left for the 20-year-old to prove in High-A, and Padre fans are excited to see him take on the next challenge in Double-A.
Lake Elsinore: MacKenzie Gore
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A, Midwest League)
The TinCaps had a tough July, seeing their offense go cold and finishing the month with a 10-15 record. Despite the struggles, Joey Cantillo, Efraín Contreras, and Gabe Mosser continued to strike out more than a batter an inning, with Cantillo posting a ridiculous 0.36 ERA in 25 innings and a 30:1 K: BB ratio. Out of the bullpen, Carlos Belen, a converted position player threw 12.1 innings without giving up an earned run or a walk, while striking out 11.
Teenage sensation Xavier Edwards had his toughest month in professional ball but managed to put up a .283/.327/.374 slash line and hit his first home run in the Padres organization. After finishing July with a 10.8% strikeout rate and a .392 OBP, it’s hard to be too down on the 19-year-old.
Breaking out of a miserable June, Agustin Ruiz knocked four homers and slashed .294/.361/.482, and Blake Hunt started heating up, notching eight extra-base hits and raising his OPS for the season above .700.
Fort Wayne TinCaps: Joey Cantillo
MadFriars Organizational Player of the Month: Joey Cantillo
It would’ve seemed unlikely that anyone would snatch this honor away from MacKenzie Gore, let alone another pitcher, but as untouchable as Gore was, Cantillo was slightly more so. The 16th round prep star out of Hawaii was the Padres 16th round selection in 2017 has a 2.36 ERA and an 11.9 K/9 rate in his career, and Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs said that he had “elite vertical movement” on his fastball, which “pairs well” with his breaking pitches. The Padres seem to have a knack for filling the system with good left-handed pitching, and Cantillo, who was a bit of a sleeper pick at the end of last season, is making a major statement in 2019.