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)
It’s been a tough summer for the Chihuahuas, who carry a -77 run differential into August. El Paso endured two losses at the trade deadline, as Tucupita Marcano was dealt to Pittsburgh in the Adam Frazier deal, and Mason Thompson found himself headed to Washington in the trade for Daniel Hudson. Marcano’s final month in the Padres organization saw him slash .161/.254/.274, and Thompson’s July included seven appearances in which he went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA, striking out six and walking two.
Those who remain are headlined by top catching prospect Luis Campusano, who hit .306 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 85 July at-bats, earning a .966 OPS to top his June mark of .897. Outfielder Taylor Kohlwey hit a blazing .379 on those Texas July nights, going 36-for-95 with a trio of triples (hit in the same game) and a .996 OPS. Brian O’Grady spent time with the big club, but he still managed to shine in 34 at-bats with El Paso, slashing .382/.475/.794 with eight doubles and two home runs for the month. Also starring at the plate this past month was Ivan Castillo, who batted .327 with a pair of home runs and 13 RBI in 101 at-bats.
On the mound, Parker Markel went 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in seven relief appearances. The 30-year-old Markel has been a steady presence on a pitching staff which has struggled mightily with attrition via injuries and promotions. In 10 relief outings, Jordan Guerrero went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA, striking out 14 in 15.1 innings.
El Paso Chihuahuas Player of the Month: Taylor Kohlwey
San Antonio Missions (Double-A Central)
July was a month of transition for the Missions, as they saw some of their biggest names leave town, beginning with CJ Abrams hitting the injured list. Abrams, who was batting .296 with two home runs and 23 RBI in his first full season as a pro, broke his left tibia and sprained his MCL on June 30. He missed all of July, and will miss the rest of the season. Reiss Knehr was promoted to the Padres on July 9, and has had two stints with El Paso in between callups, while Aaron Leasher joined Knehr in El Paso later in the month. Leasher went 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA over 11 innings in two July starts in San Antonio before the promotion. And finally, breakout outfielder Jack Suwinski and his 15 home runs and .949 OPS was traded to Pittsburgh in the Frazier deal. Suwinski cooled off some in July for San Antonio, slashing .250/.408/.382 in his final 76 at-bats in the organization.
With Abrams shelved for the season, Eguy Rosario has taken the bulk of playing time at shortstop, and didn’t miss a step at the plate, delivering a .316/.398/.500 slash line with three home runs and nine doubles in 98 at-bats. The 21-year-old infielder also stole nine bases in July. Allen Cordoba hit 11 of his 23 hits for extra bases, while also walking 11 times on the month, propelling him to a July OPS of .817.
Hitting all five of his home runs in the month of July, Michael Curry delivered a monthly slash line of .276/.344/.552, boosting his July OPS to .896, a vast improvement from June’s .659 line, while Jose Azocar also hit five bombs in July, and his 1.000 OPS for the month handily beats his .758 line for June.
On the mound, Matt Waldron and Ethan Elliott joined the Missions them from Fort Wayne. Waldron came to town after three stellar starts for the TinCaps in which he pitched to a 1.64 ERA and struck out 21 in 22.1 innings vs six walks. In his two starts for San Antonio in July, Waldron went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA, striking out 14 and walking six in 12 innings of work. Elliott ended up with a 6.10 ERA in two no-decisions for Fort Wayne, striking out seven and walking three in 10.1 innings. The lefty finished out the month in San Antonio with a 0-1 record and 3.55 ERA in three starts, striking out 16 and walking six in 12.2 innings of work.
They join Adrian Martinez, who becomes the Missions’ ace with Knehr and Leasher out in West Texas in Triple-A. Martinez, who is 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA on the season, began July with six innings of no-hit ball and carried that momentum through a month in which he only allowed one earned run in 28.1 innings. In five starts in the month of July, Martinez, went 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA and 25:11 K:BB ratio and a 0.95 WHIP. Lefty Osvaldo Hernandez delivered a solid July of his own, going 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA in five starts, striking out 18 while walking three in 26.1 innings pitched.
July also saw the first full month for 44-year-old Joe Beimel. Beimel, whose comeback has added a unique element to a team comprised primarily of players younger than his oldest child. made nine appearances in July, working to the tune of a 1-1 record, 3.97 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and 10:4 K:BB in 11.1 innings.
San Antonio Missions Player of the Month: Adrian Martinez
Fort Wayne TinCaps (High-A Central)
Though the TinCaps are the only affiliate whose roster was unaffected by trades, they still said goodbye to a pair of key players when Waldron and Elliott graduated to San Antonio. One promising replacement is 2020 UDFA Danny Denz. Denz, a 23-year-old lefty from the University of Memphis, rejoined the TinCaps from the Complex League Padres on July 11, and went 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts for the month.
July was just another consistently solid month for Moises Lugo, whose went 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in four appearances. In 17 innings, the 22-year-old righty struck out 24 batters, and put up a strong WHIP of 1.18. Gabe Mosser‘s July was shaping up to be the best month of his season, with a 1-1 record, 3.31 ERA, and 16:7 K:BB. Unfortunately, the righty hit the IL after three starts.
It was also a big month of development for lefty Erik Sabrowski. The 23-year-old made five appearances, three starts for Fort Wayne, and his 0.91 WHIP and 1.96 ERA in 23 innings was complemented by a 29:8 K:BB.
July fireworks brought the pop for Justin Lopez, whose 10 extra-base hits in the month were the most of any month on the season. The 21-year-old Lopez slashed .241/.327/.437 for the month. Tijuana’s Tirso Ornelas, who slugged both of his 2021 home runs in July, increased his OPS 100 points over June’s, posting a .784 mark.
Fort Wayne TinCaps Player of the Month: Erik Sabrowski
Lake Elsinore Storm (Low-A West)
The Storm enter August without Jordy Barley, who was traded to the Washington Nationals. Barley, who was leading the Low-A West with 34 steals, finished with a July slash line of .236/.295/.309 in only 55 at-bats, missing time for various injuries.
Robert Hassell III continues to live up to the “Bobby Barrels” moniker with his best month yet, slashing .368/.477/.462 in July, with 10 doubles, 21 walks against only 15 strikeouts, and eight stolen bases. Hassell’s July particularly showed his ability to impact the game from all facets. Brandon Valenzuela hit .341 in July, slugging a home run and eight doubles for an OPS of .872.
The hitting streak is over, but 19-year-old Euribiel Angeles still scorched his way through July, slashing .365/.453/.568 to outshine even his stellar June OPS of .892. Eleven of Angeles’s 27 hits went for extra bases. But on a team of impressive hitting performances, the highest OPS on the club for July belonged to Joshua Mears and his 1.347 mark, courtesy of seven towering home runs in 54 at-bats. Mears also hit for a .389 average and drove in 20 runs before a shoulder injury sustained diving for a fly ball sent him to the IL.
It was a good month for pitchers named Lugo in the organization, as Jesus Lugo – Moises’s cousin – delivered a 3.60 ERA and 24:6 K:BB. Righty Ruben Galindo, 20, had a solid run, posting a 3.93 ERA with a fantastic 21:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18.1 innings. Chase Walter struck out 25 in 12 relief innings, but some bad luck left him with a 4.50 ERA for the month
Lake Elsinore Storm Player of the Month: Robert Hassell III
Arizona Complex League Padres
July is an interesting time for the Complex League, as the month started out almost entirely with holdover players. It was only late in the month that draft picks began to report after signing, so August will be the time to check in on the exploits of players like Jackson Merrill and James Wood, who, along with Kevin Kopps and other members of the 2021 class, have already had very good debuts in the ACL.
One holdover is 19-year-old righty Justin Lange, the 34th overall pick in 2020. Lange, making his pro debut after the pandemic, has an 0-2 record and 4.60 ERA, but his 1.34 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 15.2 innings show more of the story with his work so far. Lange has shown mid-90’s velocity and a sweeping slider as an out pitch. 2019 14th round pick Bodi Rascon began the year in the ACL, going 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 10.2 innings before being promoted to Lake Elsinore.
20-year-old Cristian Heredia, the lone Padres player born in Spain, has impressed at the plate, where he slashed .250/.361/.423 in July, and in the field, where his diving catch in left field against Brewers Gold is one of the highlights of the Complex League season so far. Anthony Nunez, a switch-hitting infielder from Miami the Padres drafted in the 29th round in 2019, has excelled at the plate while also showing a smooth glove at first base in the Complex League. His July saw him slash .261/.407/.478 with two home runs and 14 RBI.
Arizona Complex League Padres Player of the Month: Anthony Nunez
MadFriars July Player of the Month: Adrian Martinez
Adrian Martinez’s 2021 has put him on the prospect radar for the Padres, and his consistently dominant July put him in the conversation for promotion – either to El Paso, or to the Padres for a spot start like his former teammate Knehr.
Martinez’s 2019 was the first season he started to put it together, with a 7-4 record and 3.22 ERA in 33 games, but only six starts, between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. Making the jump to Double-A, Martinez has stuck as a starter for the first time, and has done so impressively, with a 2.20 ERA, 6-3 record, and a 70:20 K:BB ratio in 69.2 innings of work.
If Martinez can continue his July into August, he could find himself in El Paso, or even working a few innings in San Diego before his 2021 is over.