Chihuahuas 7, Sacramento River Cats 3
Key Statistics: CF-2B Matthew Batten, 2-for-4, 2 R, BB, 2B, SB (15); RF Taylor Kohlwey, 2-for-3, R, 2 BB, RBI; 3B Nick Tanielu, 1-for-4, R, HR (11), 4 RBI; LF Gosuke Katoh, 2-for-3, 2 2B, BB, RBI; RHP Alex Powers, 3 IP, 3 H, BB, 4 K; RHP Taylor Williams (W, 1-0) 1.2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 2 K; RHP Steven Wilson, 2 IP, ER, 4 BB, 4 K
Prospect Watch: El Paso won their second straight over Sacramento. … The big hit of the evening came off of the bat of Nick Tanielu who hit a grand slam in the third inning to put El Paso up 5-0. The 28-year-old Tanielu has had a rough season for the Chihuahuas after signing with San Diego as a minor league free agent prior to the start of the 2021 season. He spent the first six seasons of his career in the Houston organization. He is hitting .236/.298/.423 this season. … Outfielder Taylor Kohlwey reached base four times Monday night on the strength of two singles and a pair of walks. Kohlwey was our Player of the Month for July. After a 3-for-19 start to August, he has had multi-hit games in his last two starts. He doesn’t possess a ton of power but the organization has continuously praised his ability to make consistent contact. … Right-hander Alex Powers made the start and fired three shutout innings, walking one and striking out four. It was just the third career start for Powers, who has appeared in 226 games. Powers, 29, signed as a minor league free agent on June 25 – a day after he was released by the Diamondbacks organization. Powers has pitched well as a member of the El Paso staff and has been a bit of a stabilizing force for the Chihuahuas. In 17.2 innings, Powers has pitched to a 4.08 ERA. … RHP Taylor Williams pitched 1.2 innings out of the bullpen in his second rehab appearance and ended up earning the victory. Williams allowed two hits, including a homer to fellow rehabber Evan Longoria. The 30-year-old and figures to get a few more outings before making it back to the Padres’ bullpen.
ACL Padres 7, AZL Brewers Gold 2 (7 innings)
Key Statistics: 2B Max Ferguson, 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB, RBI; SS Jackson Merrill, 1-for-3, BB; DH James Wood, 3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI; LF Pierce Jones, 1-for-2, 2 R, HR (1), RBI, BB; RHP Wilton Castillo, 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K; RHP Jose Luis Reyes (W, 2-0) 2 IP, 2 K; RHP Kevin Kopps, IP, H, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The ACL Padres got some nice performances from their recent draft class and cruised to a win in a seven-inning affair. … Second-rounder James Wood had a nice day at the plate with three hits, including a double. The 18-year-old outfielder fell to the Padres in the second round in July’s draft, partially because he didn’t have a great spring and struck out quite a bit in-game action. While the enormous outfielder has struck out 11 times in his first 31 plate appearances, he has hit .357/.419/.429 overall to start his pro career. … Shortstop Jackson Merrill extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in four plate appearances. The 2021 first-rounder has hit safely in each professional game he has played. Overall, he is off to a .353/.421/.471 to start his career. … Outfielder Pierce Jones connected on his first career homer in the victory. The 20-year-old outfielder was drafted by the Padres in the 26th-round out of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago in 2019. The Padres paid him $125,000 and pried him away from his commitment to Northern Illinois. After a rough start to his pro career in the desert in 2019, Jones has fared much better in his second stint in the desert. Overall, Jones is hitting .279/.385/.442 in 50 plate appearances. … RHP Kevin Kopps worked a scoreless inning, striking out two more. The fourth-rounder has struck out eight of the 15 batters he’s faced in the desert as he gets back into a throwing schedule after a busy year in relief for the University of Arkansas. Look for him to get out to a full-season affiliate in the coming weeks.
San Antonio Missions Week-in-Review (lost five of six against the Corpus Christi Hooks).
Top Prospects: It was an awful week for the Missions as they lost five games against their rivals on the Gulf Coast. … It seems like the Missions’ offense performs when infielder Eguy Rosario is in form and sputters when he is not. Rosario had a brutal series, going 3-for-22 with no walks and seven strikeouts. In turn, the Missions scored 17 runs in the six-game set. After a solid June and July, Rosario has hit a bit of a rough patch. Over the last two weeks, Rosario is hitting an ugly .196/245/.370 with no home runs. Perhaps more concerning is the significant rise in strikeouts. In June and July, Rosario struck out in just 22% of his plate appearances to go with an excellent 11% walk rate. During his current rough stretch, his walk rate has cratered to 4.1% and his K-rate is up to 34.7%. The 21-year-old infielder struggled out of the gate in May with strikeouts but was able to make an adjustment. From what we have seen over the last 14 days, another adjustment is needed. … LHP Osvaldo Hernandez started last Wednesday’s game and took the no-decision in a game the Missions ultimately won. Hernandez, 23, threw 5.2 innings and allowed two earned runs with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. After a rough May (8.00 ERA), Hernandez has been solid since. Since June 1, Hernandez has a 3.07 ERA/4.11 FIP in 55.2 innings. The key for Hernandez has been limiting the long ball; in May he allowed seven homers in 18 innings. Since then, the Cuban lefty has allowed just five. Hernandez doesn’t possess overpowering stuff which limits his upside, but he has always found a way to get hitters out.
Keep an Eye On: Apparently, Adrian Martinez is human after all. Martinez started Thursday and allowed three earned runs in five innings but didn’t factor in the decision. The 24-year-old has put himself in the conversation for a big league opportunity after pitching to a 0.32 ERA (1 ER allowed) in July. In the interim, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Martinez get a promotion to El Paso before the season is over.
Fort Wayne TinCaps Week-In-Review (won four of six against the Great Lakes Loons).
Top Prospects: It was a good week for Fort Wayne, as they won a series against the Dodgers’ Low-A farm club. The TinCaps had split each of their previous two series. … Outfielder Agustin Ruiz went 4-for-19 with a homer and a double against the Loons in his final taste of High-A before a promotion to San Antonio. The 21-year-old Ruiz leaves the High-A Central in fifth place with 15 homers. Ruiz has been the TinCaps’ most consistent hitter this season, leading the club in homers, RBI (56), OPS (.809), and wRC+ (120). … One might look at Tirso Ornelas‘s line last week and not come away impressed. After all, he hit just .222 in five games. However, that would be incomplete as Ornelas had arguably his biggest impact at the plate all season. The 21-year-old hit two homers, after having just two to his credit all season. He drew five walks, scored seven runs, and produced a .947 OPS. He is starting to flash some home run power after a slow start to the year. His strikeout rate has remained flat during the stretch and his walk rate continues to be excellent. Overall, Ornelas is hitting .239/.336/.382 which is right at the league average.
Keep an Eye On: 24-year-old Ethan Skender has arguably been the hottest hitter on the TinCaps the last few weeks. In four games last week, Skender went 7-for-16 with a homer and a double. In five August games, Skender is hitting .444/.522/.557 with three walks and just two strikeouts. Skender has seen some time on the injured list this season with concussion symptoms but has otherwise been a capable starter in the infield. Skender’s hot start in August has pulled his season wRC+ to 105. … After winning the High-A Central Pitcher of the Week award last week, LHP Danny Denz made a start on Saturday and fired four more shutout innings. The former Memphis Tiger has not allowed a run in his last three starts, spanning 13.2 innings. The 5-foot-9 southpaw doesn’t have big-time stuff but he has shown a good curve and a fastball that touches the low 90s. Denz has a 1.77 ERA in 20 innings with the TinCaps. He has had some good luck with balls in play so there may be some regression to worry about, but he has shown the ability to compete in High-A which is impressive for a player who never pitched professionally before this season.
Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (Lost three of five to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes).
Top Prospects: It was a bizarre week for the Storm. It started with a game cancelled to contract tracing due to COVID-19. Seven players were placed on the injured list and the club received most of the reinforcements from the Arizona Complex League. … Robert Hassell III played in three games in the series but did not play in the final two games for undisclosed reasons. He was not one of the players placed on the injured list. Hassell hit .273/.333/.545 with a homer in the three games. Over the last 30 days, the 19-year-old is hitting .376/.491/.494. His on-base percentage ranks second in the league during that stretch. … Euribiel Angeles hit safely in four of the five games he played against Rancho Cucamonga and hit .375/.400/.583 with a double and a triple. With just over a month to go in the minor league season, Angeles is hitting .346 – the highest in the Low-A West. He has been the breakout player in the Padres’ system this year.
Keep an Eye On: Infielder Jarryd Dale had a massive series for the Storm and he could be in contention for the Low-A Player of the Week Award. In five games against the Quakes, Dale hit .381/.409/.810 with three homers, six runs, and a pair of stolen bases. Dale, 20, is an excellent athlete who has developing power and plus speed. He is still very green but his development this season has been impressive. His overall production is below league average, thanks in part to a low walk rate. If he can develop a little more patience at the plate and continue to drive the ball, he could be a name to watch.
Reviewing the trades
Every trade that is consummated in Major League Baseball is broken down at the moment it transpires, but with the value of prospects soaring some trades may take three or four years to properly evaluate. The Padres made a few of those deals last off-season, including a trade with the Chicago Cubs.
In that deal, the Padres acquired staff ace Yu Darvish and his personal catcher, Victor Caratini, from the Chicago Cubs, as the Cubs attempted to dump some salary. In exchange, the Padres shipped out Zach Davies, who was their most consistent starter in 2020 (after the late-season injury to Dinelson Lamet) and a quartet of minor leaguers. The headliners of the package were shortstop Reginald Preciado and Owen Caissie, who was the Padres’ second-rounder in 2020. The deal also included international outfielder Ismael Mena, and shortstop Yeison Santana, who was a part of the Padres 2017 international class. Let’s take a look at the prospects the Padres traded away.
OF Owen Caissie: This one may hurt a little, Padres fan. Caissie, 20, was drafted 45th overall by the Padres last June and never played a game in the organization. The Canadian-born outfielder possesses some intriguing power and could plug into a corner outfield spot. Coming into Monday night, Caissie is hitting a robust .351/.485/.675 and is tied for second in the ACL with six homers. He is fifth in the ACL in BB-rate (20.6%), second in wRC+ (187) and fifth in on-base percentage. His BABIP of .477 ranks fourth in the league but the power looks real. Caissie is still just 18 and the Yu Darvish deal was always about his three years of control. Still, the Cubs have to feel happy with acquiring Caissie. He is the Cubs’ 15th-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
INF Reginald Preciado: Much like Caissie, Preciado has impressed from the outset. The 18-year-old shortstop signed with the Padres in 2019 for $1.3 million dollars and never played in an official game with the organization, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering minor league baseball in 2020. He did spend some time at the Padres’ alternate site at USD a summer ago. The switch-hitter sports a .366/.423/.516 line with a pair of homers in 18 games. His wRC+ of 141 ranks just outside the top-ten and his .366 batting average ranks third, although he has benefited from a .471 BABIP, much like Caissie. Preciado is MLB Pipeline’s 14th-ranked Cubs prospect as of their last update.
OF Ismael Mena: Mena, 18, was part of the same international signing class as Preciado, pulling down $2.2 million, the highest bonus the Padres gave to any player during that period. Mena hasn’t had the same success that the other two players have had but he is still the age of a high school senior. Through 25 games, Mena is hitting .244/.311/.356 with a pair of homers. He has superb athleticism and is still a very interesting prospect, despite the slow start. Mena is not listed among the Cubs’ top prospects, according to MLB Pipeline.
INF Yeison Santana: Santana, 20, was the only prospect involved in this deal who played a game in the Padres farm system. In 2019, Santana was the runner-up for our AZL Player of the Year, losing out to top prospect CJ Abrams. That summer, Santana hit .346/.429/.494 with three homers – so far the only homers of his professional career.
Santana started the season with the Cubs’ Low-A affiliate in Myrtle Beach, where he struggled mightily. In 20 games, Santana hit .147/.238/.173 with 28 strikeouts in 84 plate appearances. He has returned to his old stomping grounds of the newly-named Arizona Complex League and has hit as he did in 2019. In 16 games at the complex, Santana is hitting .353/.489/.382. While he is Rule 5 eligible this off-season, he is far enough away that the Cubs likely don’t have to be concerned.