Catcher Jonny Homza was one of the few bright spots in Saturday’s game. Photo Credit: Jeff Nycz

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The TinCaps had held last year’s top draft pick Spencer Torkelson in check through the first four games of the season, striking him out 11 times in his first 19 professional plate appearances. But with his club down 2-1 with a pair of runners on and two outs in the fifth, Torkelson came through with a seeing-eye single on a 2-2 pitch to put the West Michigan Whitecaps up by a run. 

The Whitecaps added three more in the inning and never looked back on their way to a 16- 6 victory.

TinCaps Highlights:  It’s tough to find many highlights in a 10-run loss, but there were a few.

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Catcher Jonny Homza has looked much better defensively since we last saw him in action with the Tri-City Dust Devils in 2019. The Alaskan‘s development was accelerated by getting a chance to work with big league pitchers at the alternate site and finally getting more comfortable with the position that he has only begun to play since being drafted by San Diego in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.

Jonny Homza didn’t catch until he became a professional. (Photo: Mike Wilson.)

Offensively, the numbers aren’t there yet, but it’s a good bet they will be there before the end of the season.

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Moises Lugo, 22, had the best outing of all the TinCaps’ pitchers Saturday, consistently sitting in the low 90s.  He threw 41 of his 69 pitches for strikes with command that seemed to come and go.  The Dominican native had a brief cup of coffee in Fort Wayne in 2019 after an interesting AZL campaign when he had 38 strikeouts in 35 innings, but also gave up 35 hits.

Something to build on.

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Agustin Ruiz blasted another home run Saturday.  During Friday night’s post-game press conference Fort Wayne manager Anthony Contreras talked about not only the physical development of Ruiz since 2019, but also the growing maturity of player that is increasingly starting to figure it out at the plate. 

He could be someone to watch this summer in the Summit City.

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Luis Almanzar brought some hope to the Fort Wayne fans in the eighth inning with a mammoth home run to left field. Almanzar landed the third highest bonus in the big international class of 2016, but has struggled in his four season with the Padres’ organization with a .212./.299/.289 slash line between the AZL, Northwest League and the Midwest League.

He was once considered one of the most talented members of the 2016 international class, maybe this year will be different.

Sunday: To cut down on travel, teams are playing six game sets. Lefty Ethan Elliot will try to lock down the seriew win for Fort Wayne Sunday if the game doesn’t get rained out.

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, Amarillo Globe-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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