Chihuahuas 8, Sugar Land Skeeters 7 (10 innings)
Key Statistics: RF Taylor Kohlwey, 2-for-6, R; SS Pedro Florimon, 3-for-5, 2 R, BB; C Webster Rivas, 3-for-5, R, HR (4), 4 RBI; 1B Yorman Rodriguez, 2-for-5, R, HR (2), RBI; LF Gosuke Katoh, 3-for-5, R, HR (5), 3 RBI; LHP Aaron Leasher, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB 2 K; RHP Jordan Guerrero (W, 4-0) 2 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 K; RHP James Norwood (S, 4).
Prospect Watch: El Paso beat their new rival in dramatic fashion. El Paso entered the ninth trailing 7-4 until Gosuke Katoh hit a three-run homer to tie the game. Catcher Webster Rivas singled home a run in the tenth that held up. … For Katoh, the homer was a part of a three-hit night. The versatile contributor also chipped in with a pair of singles. Katoh has been a steady contributor this season, posting a 10% walk rate and showing the ability to play almost anywhere on the field. Overall, his .284/.365/.423 slash-line is just below league-average. … Rivas came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle as part of a three-hit night. The catcher spent a few months in the big leagues but will bounce around a bit with the Chihuahuas. With top prospect Luis Campusano getting most of the work behind the plate, Rivas will see time at first base and designated hitter. … First baseman Yorman Rodriguez had two hits, including his second El Paso homer. The 24-year-old was selected in the minor league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 draft from the Toronto organization. He has seen time with three full-season affiliates, with the bulk of his work coming in San Antonio. …Lefty Aaron Leasher got the start for El Paso but was only able to work 3.1 innings before being lifted. The southpaw allowed six hits and three earned runs but didn’t factor in the decision. After pitching well in San Antonio to start the season, the former Morehead State star has struggled in Triple-A. In four games (three starts) Leasher has failed to complete more than four innings. Triple-A hitters are hitting .365 against him and he’s allowed 12 earned runs in 12 innings. The Chihuahuas rotation doesn’t have a ton of other options so Leasher should continue to get opportunities to right the ship. …Right-hander Jordan Guerrero stabilized things at the late innings and earned his fourth win for his efforts. The big right-hander has had two excellent months (1.38 ERA in May, 2.35 ERA in July) and one awful month (10.35 in June) that has inflated his overall results. The 6-foot-5 righty has 40 strikeouts in 40.2 innings.
ACL Angels 6, ACL Padres 4
Key Statistics: 2B Max Ferguson, 1-for-5, 2 RBI; SS Jackson Merrill, 1-for-4, BB; 1B Lucas Dunn, 1-for-4, BB; RHP Victor Lizarraga (L, 0-4) 2 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; RHP Kevin Kopps (professional debut) IP, H, 3 K; RHP Jairo Iriarte, 4 IP, 3 H, 4 K.
Prospect Watch: The Complex Padres allowed six runs in the third innings and lost, dropping their record to 8-15. … Jackson Merrill reached base twice, once via hit and another via base on balls. The Padres’ first-rounder has hit safely in each of his first six professional games, batting .368/.455/.526 with a double and a triple. … RHP Kevin Kopps made his first professional appearance and struck out the side around a double. The 2021 Golden Spikes Award winner in college threw 89.2 innings for Arkansas, pitching to a 0.90 innings. While there has been some speculation that Kopps could advance to the big leagues quickly, it likely won’t be this season. Before 2021, Kopps’ previous career-high in innings thrown was 49.1, which came pre-Tommy John surgery. … RHP Victor Lizarraga started and struggled with his control. The righty allowed a pair of hits and walked four batters in two innings pitched. The righty got off to a great start in the desert but has struggled in his last three outings, giving up 12 earned runs in 8.2 innings.
San Antonio Missions Week-in-review (Lost four of six to the Amarillo Sod Poodles).
Top Prospects: The Missions went into Sunday with a chance to win the series against the former Padres farm club. Instead, they lost both games of a doubleheader and they failed to get a hit in one of the games. … Outfielder Esteury Ruiz returned on July 25 after a stint on the IL with an injured hand. The 22-year-old had a good series, hitting .261/.308/.478 with a homer and a double. If there is a negative in Ruiz’s return, it is the frequent strikeouts. He struck out nine times in 26 plate appearances. Ruiz’s power has been on display since he returned and if he can find some consistency, he could be in the mix to be added to the Padres’ 40-man roster in the off-season. … Infielder Eguy Rosario had a quiet series, as the strikeouts issues that plagued him in May returned in this series. Rosario struck out a whopping 10 times in 26 plate appearances. He did hit four doubles but outside of one outburst, the Missions’ offense never got going. With Jack Suwinski in the Pittsburgh organization, Rosario’s wRC+ of 121 leads the Missions. … RHP Adrian Martinez capped off an excellent July with 5.1 scoreless innings on Friday. The performance dropped his ERA to 0.32 for the month. He posted a solid K-rate of 23.4% and he did not allow a homer all month. The 24-year-old has firmly put himself on the map as an option for the big league club as soon as this season.
Keep an Eye On: Matt Waldron made his first two Double-A starts last week and tossed six innings in both appearances, earning a six-inning, complete game in the latter outing. The 24-year-old hasn’t produced eye-popping numbers in a limited sample with the Missions but he has done a good job of limiting hard contact. He talked to us a few weeks ago about the improvements he has made with his knuckleball. His ability to effectively work deep into games will be a storyline to watch going forward.
On-site coverage: John has a conversation (subscription required) with Missions’ manager Philip Wellman. They talk about CJ Abrams and the progress of some other prospects in San Antonio.
Fort Wayne TinCaps Week-in-Review (split six-game series with Lansing).
Top Prospects: Agustin Ruiz was the top hitter for Fort Wayne last week. He blasted a pair of homers and hit .407/.448/.704 for the week. Overall, Ruiz has been the most productive hitter in the Summit City this year. His wRC+ of 121 leads the club. … Jonny Homza hit .273/.320/.364 in five appearances. Homza was red-hot in June but struggled a bit in July, hitting .253/.326/.361. The 21-year-old catcher is playing his first full professional season and a drop in production isn’t surprising when you consider the daily rigors of catching. His offensive production overall is 18 percent above league-average and he has arguably been the best player in Fort Wayne all year. … Outfielder Tirso Ornelas had a nice week and connected on his second homer of the year last Tuesday. The outfielder had a .784 OPS in July – his highest mark of the season. The 21-year-old outfielder has only hit two homers this season but he does lead the HAC with 25 doubles.
Keep an Eye On: LHP Danny Denz was promoted to Fort Wayne on July 11 and started in what turned out to be a bullpen game. Since then, the former Memphis Tiger hurler has been solid in five appearances with Fort Wayne. His performance last week earned him the High-A Central Pitcher of the Week. In 9.2 innings against Lansing, Denz did not allow an earned run. He pitched 4.2 no-hit innings on Sunday. He was signed after last year’s draft as a free agent. We got a look at Denz in his first start and he sits in the 88-90 mph with his heater and showed a good curveball. He should continue to get starts down the stretch for Fort Wayne.
On-site coverage: Kevin talked (subscription required) to TinCaps left-hander Erik Sabrowski, who finally made his professional debut this year.
Lake Elsinore Storm Week-in-Review (lost four of six to the Fresno Grizzlies)
Top Prospects: In their first-ever meeting, the Grizzlies won the series in Lake Elsinore. Strangely, this is the only series between the two clubs. … Robert Hassell III continued his excellent work last week at the top of the Storm lineup. Hassell hit .304/.385/.348 in the series with just one extra-base hit in the series. He hasn’t homered since June 12 but the lack of home run power does not tell the story. The former first-rounder has been an on-base machine this year and July was his best work yet. Hassell hit .368/.477/.462 in July with 21 walks, 15 strikeouts, and eight stolen bases. … After missing some time with a shoulder issue that he hurt diving a ball, Euribiel Angeles was back in the lineup this series. He had two multi-hit games in the set to raise his batting average to a league-leading .343. The 19-year-old demolished the Low-A West League in July, hitting .365/.453/.568. The infielder sharply improved his walk rate in July to answer that question about his game. His breakout performance has been one of the most positive developments in the farm system this year.
Keep an Eye On: Outfielder Angel Solarte. With Joshua Mears on the Injured List, no one has benefited as much as Solarte. The 20-year-old outfielder was excellent in July, hitting .337/.357/.424 in 94 plate appearances. He had seven hits in the Fresno series, including a triple. Solarte will need to dramatically improve his walk rate (it’s 2.4% this year) but his ability to make contact has helped make up for the absence of Mears. Solarte should continue to receive regular playing time once the big man returns.