Padres prospect Steven Wilson pitching for El Paso Chihuahuas

Steven Wilson can overwhelm Triple-A batters. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Round Rock Express 6 Chihuahuas 3

Key Statistics: LF Taylor Kohlwey, 3-for-4, R; CF Jose Azocar, 1-for-3, RBI, SB (11); 2B Pedro Florimon, 2-for-4; RHP Reiss Knehr (L, 0-2) 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; RHP Shaun Anderson, 2 IP, H, K; RHP Steven Wilson, 2 IP, 2 K.

Prospect Watch: El Paso lost their fourth straight game to Round Rock. … Left fielder Taylor Kohlwey had three singles and scored a run in Monday’s loss. The left-handed hitter has put up an impressive .328 batting average – which would rank sixth in the Triple-A West if he had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. Despite the high average, Kohlwey’s offensive production is just slightly above league-average due to his lack of power; he has just three homers in 279 plate appearances. … Veteran infielder Pedro Florimon singled twice Monday night. The 34-year-old hit well in June but has struggled over the last few months. Since July 1, Florimon is hitting .176/.274/.327 with a 32% K-rate. The former Twin, Pirate, Phillie, and Oriole is wrapping up his 16th professional season. … RHP Reiss Knehr started and completed 2.2 innings before being lifted. He allowed two earned runs on a first-inning homer and got through the rest of his inning unscathed. Knehr has been limited to short outings over the last month, as he waits for his next opportunity to reinforce the Padres’ bullpen. Overall, he has a 2.93 ERA with El Paso. … RHP Steven Wilson completed two scoreless innings and struck out a pair of batters. The 27-year-old spent some time on the injured list this season but he has pitched well when healthy. He has an impressive K/9 of 13.50 and he has vastly improved his walk rate in his second season of Triple-A baseball. He will be available in the Rule 5 draft, should the Padres opt to leave him exposed. His track record of success in the upper minors could make him attractive to other organizations.

ACL Royals Gold 7, ACL Padres 2 (7 innings)

Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill, 1-for-4, R, 3B; CF James Wood, 1-for-3, R, RBI, SB(8); RHP Adam Smith (L, 1-1) 2 IP, H, ER, 2 K; LHP Matt Sparling, 1.1 IP, 2 K; RHP Vladimir Echavarria, IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K.

Jackson Merrill has a .309/.365/.415 slash line in his first pro season. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Prospect Watch: The ACL Padres lost to one of the Royals’ ACL squads in a game that was shortened to seven innings. … Shortstop Jackson Merrill had a triple in four at-bats, striking out twice. Merrill got off to a hot start in the desert but has cooled off in the last few weeks. Overall, the 18-year-old has an impressive .309/.365/.415 line in his pro debut. … Center fielder James Wood singled and stole his eighth bag of the year as he returned to the field for the first time since he was hit in the hand by a pitch and left a game 10 days ago. The 18-year-old is off to an impressive .318/.416/.409 start in his first pro campaign. His average has been aided greatly by a BABIP north of .500 and his 35% K-rate gives some cause for concern. However, the second-rounder’s athleticism and raw talent has been as advertised so far. … RHP Adam Smith got the start and allowed a run in his two innings of work, striking out a pair. The 21-year-old was drafted by the Padres in the 14th-round of the 2021 MLB Draft, out of UNC Wilmington. Smith started the year in the UNC Wilmington bullpen before being moved into the rotation. He has pitched primarily as a reliever for the ACL squad and has impressed thus far. He’s walked just one batter while striking out 11 in his 10 innings of work. … It appears Vladimir Echavarria, who made his second relief outing of the season, has made the conversion from infield to the mound. Echavarria allowed a pair of hits and a walk but was able to strike out a pair of hitters. Echavarria signed with the Padres as an international free agent back in 2018, for $145,000. He started the year as an infielder with the ACL squad but has not played in the field since July 20. He’s pitched a pair of scoreless outings, striking out four since converting.

Tom Cosgrove. (Photo: Joe Alexander)

San Antonio Missions Week in Review (split six-game series with the Amarillo Sod Poodles.)

Top Prospects: The Missions won on Sunday and were able to salvage a series split against the 2019 Texas League champions. … Infielder Eguy Rosario had another good week, hitting safely in five of the six games. Rosario, 22, hit .333/.333/.458 in the series, striking out just twice. Since August 20, Rosario has struck out in just 6.3% of his plate appearances while producing a wRC+ of 165. Rosario has gone through stretches where he has been strikeout prone but his most recent stretch has been very encouraging. Overall, Rosario ranks 11th in the Double-A Central with a wRC+ of 119. … After winning the Double-A MadFriars Player of the Month award for August, outfielder Esteury Ruiz struggled last week. The outfielder hit just .174 in the series against Amatrillo and failed to notch an extra-base hit. Despite the rough series, Ruiz has been a consistent performer since returning from a hand injury in late July. Ruiz has a solid .264/.355/.479 line since July 25.

Keep an Eye on: LHP Tom Cosgrove pitched in three games last week and tossed four scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. The 25-year-old lefty spent some time on the injured list but has thrown the ball well when healthy. In 19 games. Cosgrove has a 1.90 ERA to go with a strong 11.03 K/9. The left-handed Cosgrove has been tough on opposing lefties, who have hit just .158 against him.

Robert Hassell III made his first week in Hi-A memorable. (Photo: TinCaps)

Fort Wayne TinCaps Week in Review (lost four of six to the Great Lakes Loons).

Top Prospects: The TinCaps had some standout performances in their series against Great Lakes but managed to win just two of the six games. … Outfielder Robert Hassell III introduced himself to the High-A level last Wednesday when he blasted three homers in a dramatic extra-inning win by the TinCaps. It was the only multi-hit game of the series for Hassell. He started all six games and hit .259/.333/.667 overall, with a pair of doubles to go with the homers and he scored five runs. The top prospect will have 12 games to gain some experience in the High-A level before heading into the off-season. … After Euribiel Angeles started the series 1-for-9, he got the day off Thursday. The rest paid dividends, as Angeles went 7-for-15 with two doubles and a homer over the next three games. Angeles has been an offensive force this year and the early returns in High-A (.348/.400/.565) show the teenage infielder’s offensive breakout can be sustained at a higher level. … After a brutal August, Tirso Ornelas had arguably his best series of the year. The outfielder went 10-for-21 with a homer, triple, seven walks and just two strikeouts. Ornelas had a stretch over the last two games in which he reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances. The big left-handed hitter has had stretches where he has been excellent and others where he has looked lost at the plate. Overall, his season slash-line of .235/.336/.382 is right at the league average.

Keep an Eye On: LHP MacKenzie Gore is still the top pitching prospect in the Padres system and he started the game on Sunday. While the overall results were mixed, Gore looked much more comfortable in the final few innings and didn’t allow a run in the final four innings. With two weeks left in the season, Gore should get a couple of starts down the stretch and he seems like a logical candidate to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.

Padres prospect Carlos Luis bats for the Lake Elsinore Storm

Carlos Luis has big bat-to-ball skills. (Photo: Dinur Blum)

Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (lost five of seven to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes).

Top Prospects: The Storm had a rough week against the Quakes, as they lost five of seven, including a 10-run loss on Sunday. … Outfielder Joshua Mears only played in three games against Rancho Cucamonga but he struggled mightily. Mears opened the series on Tuesday with five strikeouts in five plate appearances. Mears didn’t fare much better in the rest of the series, as he finished 0-for-12 with nine strikeouts. Since his multi-hit effort on August 27, Mears is 0-for-18 with 14 strikeouts. The powerful outfielder has battled a shoulder injury and COVID in the second half, and judging by his sporadic playing time and performance, it is still an issue. Mears has 17 homers on the season and will need a big performance down the stretch to reach 20. … LHP Robert Gasser pitched on Friday and fired three scoreless innings, striking out three. Gasser has worked in short spurts since joining the organization after pitching in 85.2 innings for Houston. The southpaw figures to get a couple of more starts down the stretch.

Keep an Eye On: First baseman Carlos Luis had a nice series against Rancho, hitting .364/.417/.409 with a double and two RBI. The 22-year-old got off to a slow start but he has been excellent down the stretch. Since August 1, Luis is hitting .329/.365/.500 with a very good 18.9% strikeout rate. Luis hasn’t shown a ton of in-game power yet but he hasn’t had a lot of at-bats in his professional career. In four professional seasons, Luis’s career-high in plate appearances is 176.

Posted by Kevin Charity

Kevin Charity has written for MadFriars since 2015 and has had work featured on Fox Sports San Diego. He is a lifelong San Diego native and is looking forward to seeing the current wave of prospects thrive in San Diego.

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