Robbie Podorsky just keeps mashing for El Paso. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Chihuahuas 6, Albuquerque Isotopes 1

Key Statistics: LF Robbie Podorsky 2-for-4, HR (1), SB (5), 2 R; 1B Gosuke Katoh 2-for-4; RF Ben Ruta 1-for-4, HR (1); 3B Nick Tanielu 1-for-3, HR (1), BB; RHP Evan Miller 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K, 0 BB; RHP Parker Markel 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB

Prospect Watch: Just like the big league club, El Paso’s current lineup is a patchwork, and the club keeps winning despite it. The Chihuahuas got three homers and five pitchers combined on a five-hitter to cruise to their fifth straight win. Robbie Podorsky, continuing his torrid start to the year, hit his first homer in over two years in the first. In the third, he slashed a single to center, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a sacrifice fly in a sequence much more in line with his typical skill set. The McNeese State product owns a 1.053 OPS across two levels through the first two weeks of the season. … Fellow outfielder Ben Ruta also went deep for the first time in an El Paso uniform. Originally a 30th-round pick by the Yankees in 2016, the left-handed hitter was selected in the minor league phase of this winter’s Rule 5 draft. The New Jersey native, who turns 27 next month, carried a career OPS just over .700 into the season. … Righty Parker Markel, who the Padres signed just after minor league free agency began last November, struck out three Isotopes over two scoreless frames. The 30-year-old, who was drafted by the Rays way back in 2010, has logged 11 whiffs against three walks in four outings for his sixth career organization.

CJ Abrams continues to hit. Photo Credit: Danne’ Braden

Missions 9, Midland RockHounds 2

Key Statistics: CJ Abrams 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 R, K; CF Jose Azocar 2-for-5, R, CS; LF Esteury Ruiz 1-for-3, 2B, BB; SS Chris Givin 1-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI; RHP Adrian Martinez 4 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6K, 2 BB; RHP Jose Quezada 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB, WP

Prospect Watch: The San Antonio offense was outhit 10-8 and struck out 16 times, but they made the home team pay for a pair of errors with a six-run sixth inning. After dropping the first four in their series at Midland, they have now won two straight. … CJ Abrams connected on his second homer to cap the scoring, adding to a single earlier in the game. The youngest player in the Double-A Central League, Abrams sports a .306/.382/.510 line through his first 12 games. … Chris Givin, who put up big numbers while providing versatility after the Padres drafted him in the 19th round in 2019, had a two-run double to get the club on the board in the second. Esteury Ruiz added the Missions’ only other extra-base hit, with a double of his own. The 22-year-old has four extra-base hits on the season. While he continues to post big strikeout rates, his walk Sunday was his sixth of the year, helping him to a .389 OBP. Few in the system can generate better bat speed than Ruiz. … After allowing two runs over four innings in the series opener, Adrian Martinez came back to give up just one in four more frames Sunday. The Mexicali native has posted a 2.45 ERA through three starts in Double-A. He logged only one regular season appearance in High-A back in 2019.

Ethan Elliott has dominated in the early going for the TinCaps. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Lake County Captains 3, TinCaps 0

Key Statistics: LHP Ethan Elliott 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 13 K, 0 BB, PO; RHP Sam Keating 1 IP, 3H, 3 ER, HBP; 1B Luis Almanzar 1-for-3, 2B, 2 K; RF Dwanya Williams-Sutton 1-for-4, 2B, 2 K

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps’ dismal six-game series in Lake County ended exactly the way it began, with a 3-0 loss in which they managed just two hits. The offense’s woes squandered a stellar start by Ethan Elliott, who became the first starter in the system to go six innings as he faced the minimum and struck out 13 hitters. The lefty, who works around 90 with his fastball, creates difficult looks and can pitch to all four quadrants effectively. With the advantage of three starts under his belt, the 24-year-old from Tennessee now leads all of minor league baseball with 28 strikeouts and has a sparkling 0.60 ERA through 15 innings. After giving up a leadoff single in the third, Elliott picked off the only runner he allowed all day. … Working in relief, righty Sam Keating couldn’t keep the Captains in check. The 2017 fourth-rounder allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach with a hit batter and two singles before Cleveland’s standout prospect Aaron Bracho doubled. The 22-year-old from Florida has struggled as a professional to find the velocity he showed in his senior year of high school to move up the draft board. … Luis Almanzar collected his fourth extra-base hit in nine games this year to push his slugging percentage up to .520. While he’s making louder contact than ever, the 21-year-old has struck out in 40% of his plate appearances.

Storm 9, Inland Empire 66ers 4

Key Statistics: CF Robert Hassell III 1-for-3, 2 BB, SB (5); LF Jarryd Dale 3-for-4, 3B, 2R, 3 RBI; 1B Jack Stronach 1-for-3 HR (3), 2BB, 3R; LHP Gabriel Morales 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5K, 3 BB

Prospect Watch: The Storm rallied for six runs in the eighth to claim the victory at home Sunday afternoon. Amid six walks in the big inning, Australian Jarryd Dale connected on a bases-clearing triple to cap a three-hit day. The 20-year-old added over .200 points to his OPS with the strong day. Originally signed as a rail-thin middle infielder in 2017, he’s logged innings at all four corner spots for Lake Elsinore so far. … Robert Hassell III‘s continued his stellar debut season, reaching base three more times with a single and two walks. He also swiped his fifth bag. He leads the circuit with 14 walks and has put together a 1.015 OPS in the first two series of the year. … Gabriel Morales tossed three more scoreless frames despite issuing three walks. The 22-year-old lefty from Venezuela, working in a tandem with Guarate, struck out 11 Inland Empire hitters while allowing only two singles in six innings in the series. Keep an eye on whether the organization stretches him out as the season goes on.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story has Parker Markel’s strikeout total wrong.

Posted by David Jay

David has written for MadFriars since 2005, has published articles in Baseball America, written a monthly column for FoxSports San Diego and appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He may be best known on the island of Guam for his photos of Trae Santos that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

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