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 25 Prospects list, but rather a point-in-time check-in on players. Mark Wilkens and Marcus Pond co-author this monthly feature.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A West)
As the Padres have gotten healthy, the Chihuahuas have had a much more stable roster, especially the lineup. Brian O’Grady cooled off slightly from a red hot end to his May but still delivered a .278/.369/.514 slash line in June for El Paso, adding three home runs and 14 RBI in that span. Luis Campusano got into his groove with steady playing time at El Paso, batting .302 in the month of June while slugging three home runs and driving in 11 runs. Campusano, who made his Major League debut before ever playing a game above Single-A, continues to show he can hit at each level of the minors, and the 22-year-old awaits another chance to show what he can do in the bigs. Veteran infielder Pedro Florimon put up a .997 OPS in June and on the season is slashing .406/.486/.656 against left-handed pitching. The 34-year-old joined the Padres in the offseason, his seventh organization. Patrick Kivlehan hit eight home runs in June to go along with 26 RBI. The veteran outfielder has hit 12 of his 14 home runs in 2021 in home games. Entering 2021, Tucupita Marcano had been primarily a shortstop and had hit three home runs in his career, spanning three seasons, including an entire season with Fort Wayne in 2019. In June, Marcano has played infield and outfield capably and has hit four home runs. Marcano got on base at a .506 clip in the month to go along with his newly-developed power.
On the mound, Cathedral Catholic product Daniel Camarena went 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA for the Chihuahuas in June, earning his first promotion to the Major Leagues on June 19, where he made an appearance before the Padres optioned him back to El Paso. After spending May in San Antonio, Pedro Avila joined the El Paso roster on May 31st, and in 10 June relief appearances, posted a 1.80 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 15 innings.
El Paso Chihuahuas Player of the Month: Tucupita Marcano
San Antonio Missions (Double-A Central)
The Missions had a sub-.500 record in June, despite strong months from their two best hitters, Jack Suwinski and CJ Abrams. Suwinski hit a team-leading eight homers and had five other extra-base hits en route to posting a 1.031 OPS. The 22-year-old outfielder has not only added power this season (already eclipsing his home run output from any previous season with a fraction of the plate appearances) but has been more selective at the plate, leading to an 18% walk rate for the month.
Abrams saw his power dip a bit, going homerless in June (though he collected nine doubles), but continues to make hard contact, racking up 28 hits in 24 games. His month ended abruptly after a collision with Eguy Rosario left him limping off the field, unable to put weight on one of his legs. He had been named to the Futures team earlier in the day. Juan Fernandez and Rosario both posted an OPS higher than .900 for the month.
After failing to escape the first inning of his first June outing, starter Aaron Leasher posted a 1.04 ERA in his next five starts, and rotation mate Adrian Martinez posted a 10.2 K/9 rate, the highest for any Missions starter.
Missions Player of the Month: Jack Suwinski
Fort Wayne TinCaps (High-A Central)
The TinCaps are in fifth place in the High-A Central East, but they are only five games out of first place and won six of ten to close out June. At the plate, Agustin Ruiz followed up a May that saw him hit six home runs with four more in June and improved his slash line to .266/.379/.506. Infielder Kelvin Melean batted .278 with a pair of home runs and 13 RBI in June. The 22-year-old is batting .474 in 19 at-bats during day games. Catcher Jonny Homza continues to breakout at the plate, reaching single-season career highs in nearly every category. His June included a .305 average, a .900 OPS, and seven doubles.
As far as pitching, Ethan Elliott continues to excel, going 1-0 in June with a 3.13 ERA in five starts while walking four and striking out 26. For Elliott, everything is clicking except his tendency to give up the long fly, having allowed six home runs in 23 innings pitched in the month. Since joining the TinCaps on June 15th, 22-year-old Jose Geraldo has made five scoreless appearances, earning one win and three saves in that span. He’s also sporting a 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his stint for Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne TinCaps Player of the Month: Jonny Homza
Lake Elsinore Storm (Low-A West)
Travel up the I-15 to Lake Elsinore, and you’ll see an offense that is clicking, scoring an average of about six runs a game in June. Six of the hitters in their starting lineup had an OPS above .790 for the month. Robert Hassell III continues to barrel the ball, racking up 28 hits in 23 games and getting on base at a .346 clip.
Jordy Barley and Joshua Mears continued to tear the cover off the ball, leading the team in homers (and presumably, exit velocity) and have shown improved ability to draw a walk (both between the 15-20% range). However, they combined to strike out 70 times for the month – both over the 30% mark.
While Brandon Valenzuela and Matthew Acosta each had strong months, the Storm offense was anchored by Euribiel Angeles, who turned 19 in May and is among the youngest players in the league. The 5-foot-11 Dominican has been moved around the infield in Lake Elsinore, but it hasn’t impacted his hitting, as he slashed .385/.424/.468 in June. He didn’t homer but had some clutch hits and got on base in 23 of 25 games.
The pitching results left a lot to be desired, but relievers Michell Miliano, Jose Geraldo, and Ramon Perez all had K/9 rates above 12 (with Milano riding his split-fingered fastball to an impressive 17.6). Miliano is the one to watch the most out of the group, but the 21-year-old still walked more than a batter an inning.
Storm Player of the Month: Euribiel Angeles
MadFriars June Player of the Month: Jack Suwinski
Jack Suwinski has put together the best back-to-back months of his professional career and is among the league leaders in OPS and is leading the league in slugging percentage. In 2018, after a largely disappointing repeat year in Low-A Fort Wayne he had a huge August when he slashed .383/.443/.626 in 133 plate appearances, but this year he may have truly turned the corner. So far he has 13 home runs in 47 games with the Missions after hitting 12 in 2019 with the then High-A Storm in 116.
The left-handed Suwsinki is a solid 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and another month like May and June will put him more on the national radar.