Chihuahuas (10-13): After going 2-4 against the last-place OKC Dodgers, the Chihuahuas fly to play first-place Round Rock (18-8) starting tomorrow.

Juan Fernandez hit a grand slam on Wednesday night. (Photo: Joe Alexander)

Missions 9, Springfield Cardinals 2

Key Stats RHP Reiss Knehr 4.2 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 BB, 2 K; SS CJ Abrams 1-for-3, SB (4); DH Kyle Overstreet 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 RS, 2 RBI; 2B Eguy Rosario 0-for-4 RS, 2 SB (10), BB; RF Jack Suwinski 2-for-3 HR (6), 2 RS, RBI, BB; C Juan Fernandez 2-for-4, Grand Slam (1), 2 RS

Prospect Watch: Who is this Jack Suwinski?  After being named the Double-A Central Player of the Week last week, Suwinksi continued his hot streak hitting his sixth home run of the year.  Not only does it lead the team in home runs, but also puts him half way to his career-high (12), despite only being 20% into the season.  His .622 SLG this season is nearly equal to his .653 OPS he had in 2019 with the Storm. … The Missions’ biggest issue all year has been a lack of offense.  Outside of Abrams, who is still not at 100% but slowly getting back to game action, and Suwinski, only Kyle Overstreet carried an OPS over .700 entering the game.  While Overstreet’s home run put the game away, it was the grand slam by catcher Juan Fernandez that turned a close game into a blowout.  That home run was his first of the year, but it already puts him within two of his career-high.  Since signing with the Padres in 2016, Fernandez has always been thought of as a defensive first, light-hitting catcher.  The first part has been true, as Fernandez has been a stalwart behind the plate, however, light-hitting might be an overstatement as that was only his second extra-base hit in 73 plate appearances.  Similar to Webster Rivas, Fernandez can hang around for a while with his defense, but his success will be predicated on if he can hit enough to at least not embarrass themselves.

Anderson Espinoza was the story of the night for the Padres’ system. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

TinCaps 6, Cedar Rapids Kernels 1

Key Stats: RHP Anderson Espinoza 3 IP, 3 K; RHP Edwuin Bencomo 3 IP, H, ER, 3 BB 4 K; C Johnny Homza 2-for-4 3 RBI, 3B; DH Yorman Rodriguez 3-for-4, 2B, 2 SB (3); 3B Ethan Skender 2-for-3, 2B, RS, RBI, BB

Prospect Watch: For the first time in four years we finally got to see the Anderson Espinoza that was ranked in the top-50 of all prospects in baseball.  Espinoza was masterful over three perfect innings.  He threw 38 pitches, 23 for strikes, which seems close to his limit. After this start, the goal next week might very well be to have him throw 60 pitches. (speculation on my part). While Espinoza is still far way from helping out in San Diego, it is encouraging to see him pitching free and easy. … While the Espinoza trade from Boston made headlines and got AJ Preller in hot water, another move by Preller went largely unnoticed.  The Padres picked up catcher Yorman Rodriguez in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 from the Blue Jays in December of 2020. He has battled some injuries throughout his career but he has hit at every stop, most of it occurring below full-season ball.   He hit .344/.354/.490 in the Midwest League in 2019, so his hot start should not surprise anyone.  With Homza also heating up (.836 OPS leads starters), Rodriguez figures to see most of his time at first baseman and designated hitter. … Speaking of Homza, the TinCaps’ backstop had two hits to push his hitting streak to nine games. Homza’s 11 extra-base hits lead the club. Homza’s increased offensive prowess could give the Padres another excellent catching prospect. The club has traded prospects Blake Hunt and Logan Driscoll over the last year to improve the big league roster.

Nick Thwaits, Padres prospect delivers for Tri-City Dust Devils

Nick Thwaits posted a solid 2019 campaign for the Dust Devils. (Photo: Mike Wilson)

Stockton Ports 5, Storm 4,

Key Stats: CF Robert Hassell III 2-for-4, 2 SB (9); 2B Euribiel Angeles 2-for-4, 2 RS, RBI, 2 SB (7); RHP Nick Thwaits 6 IP, 2 H, ER, 4 BB, 6 K

Prospect Watch: RHP Nick Thwaits turned in his best outing of the year but ultimately did not factor in the decision as the Storm blew a lead late.  The former 15th round pick threw six innings for just the third time ever while striking out a season-high six (one off of his career-high).  Despite the high ERA most of his underlying metrics are quite encouraging.  He is allowing fewer hits while striking out more batters than he did in 2019 with Tri-City.  The main concern with Thwaits has been his command.  He has already walked 11 batters in 25 innings, just seven off from his career-high, despite accomplishing the feat in far fewer innings. … Last time I mentioned Euribiel Angeles in the report, he was making contact every single time out.  Since then it has been slightly tougher, as Angeles is now seeing his strikeout rate at about 21.4% — not terrible by any means, but he was at under ten percent a few weeks ago. Angeles also stole two bags, including home, to give him seven on the season.  It is always difficult to remember that the only other professional at-bats Angeles had before 2019 were in the DSL.  Since then, Angeles has added some muscle and height.  The Storm have shown faith in him by batting him second even when he has struggled.  Angeles has seen his OPS go from .596 to .697 in just two weeks. Angeles has now hit safely in seven in a row and 10 of his last 11 games. … Robert Hassell III had a quiet series in San Jose but he has heated up in Stockton. After homering in Tuesday’s series opener, Hassell III had a pair of singles and also stole two bases, giving him nine on the season. The Storm have struggled with consistency but Hassell III has easily been their best player. So far in 2021, Hassell III has a solid slash line of .284/.391/.495.

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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