A scary injury for the Storm as Robert Hassell III had to exit the game after being hit in the shoulder. If it wasn’t for the hit by pitch, all eyes would have been on San Antonio as Agustin Ruiz and Adrian Martinez played like men among boys.
Chihuahuas (34-48): El Paso had a tough week going two and four. They did win two of the last three games in the series, and look to keep up their winning ways starting Thursday with a home series against Reno where John Conniff and Mark Wilkens will be this weekend.
Missions 13, Midland RockHounds 4
Key Stats: RHP Adrian Martinez (W, 7-3) 6 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 7 K; RF Esteury Ruiz 3-for-4, 2 2B, 3 RS, 3 RBI, BB; CF Agustin Ruiz 3-for-5, 2B, HR (16), 3 RS, 7 RBI; 3B Olivier Basabe 2-for-5, 2 RS
Prospect Watch: With Ryan Weathers getting hit around, an obvious question for Padres’ fans becomes ‘who is the next man up?’ There is a very good chance that man is righty Adrian Martinez. Martinez, a 24-year-old from Mexicali, has allowed just five earned runs over his last 39.1 innings (1.14 ERA). While he has been effective all year, he turned the corner when he started locating his 91-94 mph sinker lower in the zone. This led to his ground ball rate nearly doubling, and his ERA plummeted.
His performance has been so impressive that shortly after Reiss Knehr was promoted, Missions manager Phillip Wellman said “To be real honest with you, if [the Padres] called and said ‘Hey, we need another spot starter, who you got?’ I’m going to say Martinez or Leasher.” Hopefully, he continues to grow and we get to see him at some point pitching in the big leagues.”
While Martinez kept the RockHounds at bay it was his countryman Agustin Ruiz who led the offense. The 21-year-old Ruiz hit his first Double-A home run in his second game at the level. His seven RBI fell one short of his career-high. In his first three seasons (198 G), Ruiz had five home runs, and looked like each home run was a struggle. He now has 16 homers in only 74 games in 2021. Ruiz’s overall line of .259/.345/.479, combined with his solid glove in the corner outfield spots and his youth, will lead him to the top half of most Padre prospect lists. Ruiz has added a considerable loft to his swing which has led to dramatically more fly balls and home runs. Despite the added loft, he is striking out at roughly his career average (29%). The more Ruiz can cut down on his strikeouts while maintaining his power, the higher up prospect lists he will climb.
South Bend Cubs 5, TinCaps 1
Key Stats: LHP Nola Vela (L, 0-2) 5 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K; LF Grant Little 1-for-3, RS; PH Luis Almanzar 1-for-1, RBI; 2B Ethan Skender 1-for-2, 2 BB; RHP Luke Boyd, IP, BB, K
Prospect Watch: Noel Vela made his home debut a week after being promoted from Lake Elsinore. His season is the exact reason why pitcher wins/losses should not count. He was arguably the best starter on the Storm with a 3.98 ERA and 63 K in 54.1 innings. However, his record was 1-8. In his second start after the promotion, he didn’t allow an earned run over five innings and still fell to 0-2 with the TinCaps, and 1-10 overall. Through nine innings with the TinCaps, Vela has notched 10 strikeouts. … Offensively, the TinCaps couldn’t get anything going all night. The only run came in the eighth as Luis Almanzar singled home Grant Little to bring the TInCaps to within one. On the day, they managed just four hits, all singles. … Ethan Skender singled and drew a pair of walks Wednesday night. Skender extended his hitting streak to seven games. After struggling at the plate for most of the season, the former 28th-rounder is hitting a blistering .435/.548/.608. … Luke Boyd tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen, walking one and striking out a batter. Boyd, 23, was the Padres’ 17th-rounder out of Baylor University. The Ojai, California native worked as a reliever with Baylor and saved eight games while striking out 43 batters in 28.1 innings. He was a fifth-year senior.
Visalia Rawhide 7, Storm 6
Key Stats: CF Robert Hassell III 0-for-0, HBP, RS; 2B Euribiel Angeles 1-for-5, RS; C Brandon Valenzuela 1-for-3, 2 RS,, RBI; DH Colton Bender 2-for-4, BB
Prospect Watch: In the bottom of the first, center fielder Robert Hassell was hit by a pitch in the right shoulder. He stayed in and ended up scoring. During the top of the second, it was evident he was having difficulties moving his shoulder and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the second. It did not appear to be anything too serious, and he was taken out for precautionary measures. After losing CJ Abrams, Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez, Reggie Lawson, and Jorge Ona this year due to injury, the last thing the Padres need is another injury to a top prospect. … Colton Bender turned in his third consecutive multi-hit game for Lake Elsinore in the loss. Bender, who was drafted in the tenth round of this year’s draft, was the third-highest player ever drafted out of small Quinnipiac College. He is not the only Quinnipiac alumnus in the organization, as he now joins fellow Bobcat Matt Batten. Bender hit .295/.350/.400 in his career at Quinnipiac and was heralded for both his bat-to-ball skills and his framing as a catcher. … Bender only received the promotion because Joshua Mears and several other Storm players remain on the IL due to contact tracing for COVID-19. The first day they are eligible to come back is the end of the weekend.
The Arizona Padres have the day off. Leading the club in OPS is 19-year-old Willmert Paula. The Santa Domino native has a .926 OPS, to go along with seven extra-base hits in just 20 games. … Despite missing the first few weeks of the ACL season, center fielder James Wood is showing why he was originally thought to be a top 10 overall pick. He has a batting average of .367 while already leading the team in stolen bases with five in just nine games.