Reggie Lawson is back!

Reggie Lawson in action on Wednesday night. (Photo: Joe Alexander)

Chihuahuas (13-16): El Paso heads to Oklahoma City to take on the Dodgers.  The Chihuahuas will get a welcomed guest in center fielder Trent Grisham who will be rehabbing starting Thursday.

Midland RockHounds 9, Missions 1

Key Stats RHP Reggie Lawson 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, ER, BB; SS CJ Abrams 2-for-4 RS, SB (6);

Prospect Watch: Fourteen months ago top prospect Reggie Lawson had just tossed his second scoreless inning in major league spring training.  It was early in March, but he had gone two innings allowing only one baserunner while striking out three.  Before he could go out for his second inning, he felt something pop and that was it.  The next day Spring Training was shut down due to COVID, and a week later both he and Andres Munoz underwent Tommy John surgery.  When Lawson is healthy, he is a special kind of talent that could propel him into being a solid mid-rotation starter in the majors.  However, outside of 2018, he has never stayed healthy.  Often getting injured early, and coming back by the end of the season to wow fans and scouts at instructs, Arizona Fall League, or the Don Welke On Deck Game.

Flash forward to tonight’s game, and his infield defense looked rustier than he was.  Three errors and a passed ball in the first nine batters led to three unearned runs.  Lawson was able to sit comfortably between 92-95 mph, throwing mainly fastballs in his return.  He threw 35 pitches total, 18 for strikes.  If he wakes up Thursday feeling healthy, it would be a great performance.

It was a dreadful night for the offense, with only CJ Abrams having a multi-hit game.  The top prospect showed off his speed by bunting for a hit in the first, stole a base, and later in the game rushed home on a wild pitch that did not make it far away from the catcher.  Abrams’ batting average has looked the same since his injury (.357 in June), but his power has not.  His last extra-base hit was on May 19th.  Since then his slugging has dropped from .526 to .418.

Ethan Elliott was dominant for Fort Wayne in May. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Lake County Captains 3, TinCaps 2

Key Stats: LHP Ethan Elliott 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 K; 2B Reinaldo Ilarraza 2-for-3, 2B, RS, BB, 2 SB (9); LF Tirso Ornelas 1-for-4, 2B; RF Agustin Ruiz 1-for-4

Prospect Watch: Ethan Elliott has been one of the most dominant starters in High-A, which is why a five-inning, two runs allowed performance could be considered his worst start of the year.  In 2019, he was named our co-top pitcher at Tri-City with a 1.77 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .205 BAA, and a 9.59 K/9 in 35.2 IP.  After this start, Elliott also has exactly 35.2 innings in High-A Fort Wayne.  His numbers… 2.02 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, .175 BAA, and a 13.12 K/9.  … Not often do we see a prospect return to the same team multiple years in a row.  Even rarer for it to be after a year hiatus.  Still even more unfathomable is a player being in the same city for nearly five years, but that is Reinaldo Ilarraza.  The now 22-year-old has been with the TinCaps since 2017 when he was the youngest player in the league.  The Venezuelan has shown signs of brilliance with his on-base percentage (.358) and speed (9 stolen bases) but still lacks enough power to put him in the conversation of top-30 prospects.  The double tonight was a welcome change as it was just his fourth extra-base hit in 27 games (he had 13 in 68 games in 2019).  If Ilarraza can start to hit for even close to average power, look for his name to start appearing on prospect lists, and maybe he will finally make it out of Indiana.

Robert Hassell III had another multi-hit game for the Storm. (Photo: Mike Wilson)

Storm 8, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 5

Key Stats: CF Robert Hassell III 2-for-4, 2 RS, HBP, 2B; C Brandon Valenzuela 4-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 RS, 4 RBI; 3B Jarryd Dale 2-for-5, RS, RBI, SB (6); RF Angel Solarte 2-for-3, RBI, HBP

Prospect Watch: The report on Robert Hassell III coming out of high school was that he would be the type of player that could stay in center field, hit for a good average with a high OBP, and steal bases.  The biggest question on him was his power.  So far, Hassell has done almost exactly what we thought he would do.  He has reached base 56 times in 30 games (.389 OBP), played a great center field, and stolen 12 bases (on pace for 50 stolen bases).  The one question mark was on his power, Hassell added his 11th double of the season tonight, and raised his slugging to .488.  In June (eight games), Hassell has six extra-base hits and a .588 slugging percentage. So far, so good, from the former first-round selection. … The Storm offense is usually only as good as those around Hassell.  Tonight, most of that went through Brandon Valenzuela,  He came a home run short of the cycle, instead finishing the game with seven total bases and four RBI.  Just like Hassell, the big question mark was on his power after he managed a .399 OBP but only a .290 SLG in the AZL in 2019.  This year he already has more extra-base hits in far fewer games.  He is another player that will be shooting up midseason top-30s if he can keep it up his performance  … The Storm normally have a reliever, that when everything is going right, they look like the next Kimbrel, and when they aren’t they look like the next Bryan Mitchell.  A few years ago it was Andres Munoz and then Darius Valdez.  This year, his name is Michell Miliano.  He pitched a perfect inning tonight striking out two and currently has 39 strikeouts in 18.2 innings this season.  The opposite of that was a week ago (6/2) when he walked four in one inning.  He also has 15 walks in those 18.2 innings.  This start was his third outing without a walk (12 outings total).  If he can have a few more outings like tonight, he will be another player making waves up the Padres’ prospect board.

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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