A walk-off in Fort Wayne, a comeback for San Antonio, and the Storm win, thanks to a couple of 2021 draft picks.
The Chihuahuas (42-65): El Paso won just one game last week and they look to be truly limping into the end of the season and still no sign, or explanation, on why Luis Campusano hasn’t played yet in September. The Chihuahuas are 23 games under .500 which is the worst record in franchise history. They travel to Albuquerque for their second to last road trip of the year.
Missions 5, Frisco RoughRiders 4
Key Stats LHP Osvaldo Hernandez 4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, BB, 4 K; 2B Ethan Skender 3-for-5, 2B, RS; SS Eguy Rosario 1-for-4, RS, RBI, SB (29); 1B Allen Cordoba 2-for-4, RBI, 2 SB (6)
Prospect Watch: Lefty Osvaldo Hernandez is the perfect example of a kitchen sink pitcher. He will throw anything and everything he can at you (including a kitchen sink), and as a crafty lefty, the speeds go from slow to slower. When it works, it is a thing of beauty to behold. When it doesn’t, it is an agonizing 4.2 innings. Hernandez was constantly in trouble Wednesday night, and hitters were taking some big swings and connecting off of him. As such, his ERA jumped from a Midwest League leading 1.81 in 2018 to a disappointing 5.11 ERA in 2021. His 20 home runs allowed this year, lead the team, and he is just one off the league leader. … Eguy Rosario has quietly posted his best season in four years. With a stolen base today he is now one shy (with a week to go) of reaching the 30 stolen bases plateau for the first time since 2017. It will also easily be his best season offensively since his rookie campaign of 2016. In that year, he was considered one of the better young prospects in an extremely deep system. While that shine has rubbed thin after a few disappointing seasons, Rosario is showing off that shine once again. … Second baseman Ethan Skender had three hits, including a seventh-inning single that put the Missions ahead for good. The 24-year-old has swung a hot bat since being promoted to San Antonio. In 12 games, the Illinois native is hitting .340/.392/.447.
Game 1: Lansing Lugnuts 7, TinCaps 3 (7 innings)
Key Stats: CF Robert Hassell III 1-for-4, RS; 3B Euribiel Angeles 0-for-2, HBP, RS; RF Tirso Ornelas 2-for-3, RS, RBI; RHP Edwuin Bencomo 2.2 IP, H, 3K
Game 2: TinCaps 2, Lansing Lugnuts 1 (7 innings)
Key Stats: CF Robert Hassell III 2-for-4; SS Euribiel Angeles 2-for-3, 2B; C Brandon Valenzuela 1-for-2, 2 BB, 2B Justin Lopez 1-for-3, 2B, BB; RHP Kevin Kopps (W, 1-0), IP, H, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps split the doubleheader thanks to a merciful walk-off in the second game. Down 1-0 in the final inning, the TinCaps loaded the bases with no outs only to hit back-to-back force outs at the plate. With two outs, the unlikely hero Kevin Alarcon singled to center scoring two, and ended the game. The walk-off earned reliever Kevin Kopps his first professional win. Scouts were optimistic he would have early success in the minors. In seven High-A innings, Kopps has allowed just four baserunners, no runs, and struck out eight. … The regularly scheduled Robert Hassell III update saw him collect three hits across the two games. MLB Pipeline stated that the last hitter to hit at least .300/.400/.500 in their first season of pro ball was Bo Bichette in 2017. Four years later, with a week left, Robert Hassell III has a chance to reach that mark. He is currently sitting at .317/.407/.488. That season boosted Bichette to a top-10 prospect ranking in most major publications. While it is unlikely that Hassell gets that high of a ranking boost, it does show just how impressive Hassell III has been this season … Tirso Ornelas is making a bid to finish 2021 with a hot finish. In September (seven games), Ornelas is hitting .480/.581/.680. For context, Ornelas is 12-for-25 in September with an incredible six walks compared to three strikeouts. Tirso collected only 13 hits in the entire month of August with 13 walks and 28 strikeouts. These hot streaks show just how good Tirso can be when he is seeing the ball well.
Storm 5, Visalia Rawhide 2
Key Stats: RHP Levi Thomas 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, ER, 2 BB, 4 K; 2B Max Ferguson 2-for-4, RS, BB; LF Lucas Dunn 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RS, 2 RBI
Prospect Watch: It has been a tough year for last year’s fourth-round pick Levi Thomas. Thomas has been plagued by a high BABIP (.340), which has led to a higher than hoped ERA (5.71). Despite the high ERA, Thomas has averaged 10 K/9 and can attribute part of the failure to being a flyball pitcher in the hitter-friendly Low-A West League. In making most likely his second to last start of the season, Thomas is trying to finish the year on a positive note. Over his last four appearances (17 innings), Thomas has allowed just two earned runs on 13 hits, seven walks, and 18 strikeouts (1.06 ERA). … Most of the firepower in the game, came from left fielder Lucas Dunn. The eighth-round pick this year out of Louisville has hit .253/.317/.411 in a month with the Storm. … Joining him to finish out the season is second baseman Max Ferguson, who was recently promoted from the Arizona Complex League. Ferguson was one of the top hitters in all of college baseball coming into this season, but after a disappointing campaign, he fell to the Padres in the fifth round. In a super small two-game sample size with the Storm, Ferguson has gone a blistering hot 5-for-10 with a 2B, 3B, 2 SB, and hitting .500/.545/.800.
Arizona Complex League Padres: The ACL Padres don’t play on Wednesdays. They look to rebound from the disappointing extra inning loss on Tuesday, when they face the Royals in Peoria on Thursday. With a week left first-round pick Jackson Merrill is hitting .309/.370/.423. Can he make one final impression this season before the season ends, and instructs begin?