Albuquerque Isotopes 5, Chihuahuas 4
Key Statistics: 1B Taylor Kohlwey, 2-for-5, R, HR (6), RBI; 3B Matthew Batten, 2-for-3, R, 2 BB; RF Brian O’Grady, 2-for-4, R, 2B; LF Patrick Kivlehan, 2-for-4, R, BB, RBI; 2B Gosuke Katoh, 2-for-4, 3B, RBI; RHP Jesse Scholtens, 7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, BB, 9 K; RHP Miguel Diaz (L, 0-2) 0.1 IP, H, 2 ER, BB, K.
Prospect Watch: Despite 12 hits, El Paso scored just four runs and lost to Albuquerque. … First baseman Taylor Kohlwey homered for the second straight game as part of another multi-hit affair. Kohlwey, 27, has four multi-hit games this month and he is riding an eight-game hitting streak. In 43 plate appearances this month, the first baseman/outfielder is hitting .389/.477/.583. Kohlwey finally has enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and his .337 average ranks second in the Triple-A West. … Gosuke Katoh had two hits, including a triple Monday night. Like Kohlwey, Katoh has hit well in September for a Chihuahuas team that has struggled with consistency. Through 29 September plate appearances, the former Rancho Bernardo High star is hitting .346/.414/.538. … RHP Jesse Scholtens tossed a season-high seven innings but was denied the victory when Albuquerque rallied for a walk-off against Miguel Diaz. Scholtens allowed three earned runs on nine hits, walking one and tying his season-high with nine strikeouts. Scholtens pitched well in May but struggled in June and July before hitting the injured list. He has thrown the ball well since returning in August. In 19 innings since August 20, Scholtens has struck out 27 batters and walked just five.
Roster Moves: The Chihuahuas released veteran infielder Nick Tanielu and right-handed pitcher Brett Kennedy. Tanielu, 29, signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent prior to the 2021 season. The former Ranger farmhand hit .233/.299/.415 with 14 homers and 42 RBI in 88 games for the Chihuahuas.
Kennedy, 27, was drafted by the Padres in the 11th round in 2015, out of Fordham University. Kennedy moved up through the system and reached the big leagues in 2018, when he appeared in six games. This season, Kennedy has pitched primarily for El Paso and struggled mightily. In 13 games (10 starts) for El Paso, Kennedy pitched to a 10.35 ERA, allowing a staggering 46 earned runs in 40 innings.
ACL Giants Orange 6, ACL Padres 5
Key Statistics: DH James Wood, 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (2), RBI, SB (9); 3B Nerwilian Cedeno, 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, HR (1), 3 RBI; LF Rafael Fermin, 2-for-4; RHP Justin Lange, IP, 2 K; RHP Ryan Bergert, 2 IP, H, R, 4 K; RHP Wilton Castillo (L, 2-2) 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 K.
Prospect Watch: Despite two homers, the ACL Padres went down to one of the Giants’ ACL clubs. … James Wood returned to the lineup for the first time in a week and didn’t miss a beat. The Padres’ second-rounder had two hits, including his second homer of the season. The Maryland native has been as advertised in his short stint as a professional; he has shown big-time athleticism, raw power with a tendency to strike out. Wood has punched out in over 35% of his plate appearances but he has also produced a .884 OPS. Wood’s .427 on-base percentage would rank second in the ACL if he had enough at-bats to qualify among the league leaders. He’s been limited to just two games over the two-plus weeks since he was hit by a pair of pitches in a game. … Third baseman Nerwilian Cedeno had a huge night with a pair of doubles and his first professional homer. Cedeno, 19, is a switch-hitting infielder from Venezuela. Cedeno opened the season on the Injured List before being activated last month. In 45 plate appearances, the 2018 signee is hitting .216/.362/.486 with seven extra-base hits, including five doubles. … RHP Justin Lange started and tossed a scoreless inning, striking out two. Lange has started two games in September, tossing an inning in each of them. Before those two outings, Lange missed about a month for undisclosed reasons. He has thrown just 20.1 innings in his first full professional season, and while he has struck out 27 batters, has walked 14. Lange should be able to get some innings when instructional league starts in October.
San Antonio Missions Week in Review (Won four of six against the Frisco RoughRiders).
Top Prospects: The Missions won a series against first-place Frisco last week. At 55-59, The Missions will need to sweep their final series to finish above .500. … Shortstop Eguy Rosario hit safely in the first five games of the series before going 0-for-4 with a walk on Sunday to finish the series .292/.393/.417 with nine strikeouts. Rosario’s contact frequency has been extremely inconsistent this year. Rosario struck out just four times in 51 plate appearances coming into the series. Overall, the infielder has been solid this season for the Missions, hitting .283/.362/.454 with a career-high 11 homers. … Esteury Ruiz hit a pair of homers last week but had a quiet series overall, hitting just .185/.214/.444, although his strikeout rate was a manageable 17.2%, he was just 3-for-20 on balls in play. After a solid August, Ruiz is hitting just .152/.235/.304 in September. … LHP MacKenzie Gore pitched Saturday – his first outing as a San Antonio Mission. Gore pitched well overall but ran into trouble when he came out for the sixth inning. Gore walked three batters before being lifted. The top prospect ended up throwing 97 pitches. The Missions have one week left in the season, so Gore should get one more start with the Missions. El Paso’s season runs through the first week of October, so it is conceivable that Gore could get a pair of starts at the Triple-A level before the season ends.
Keep an Eye on: Ethan Skender had another good week for the Missions, as the infielder continues to produce at the plate. In the Frisco series, Skender hit .320/.393/.440 with three doubles, two runs, and a pair of walks. Since being promoted to San Antonio, The 24-year-old Skender has produced a 111 wRC+.
Fort Wayne TinCaps Week in Review (split six-game series with the Lansing Lugnuts).
Top Prospects: Robert Hassell III started all six games and hit .269/.296/.385 with a homer and one walk against 11 strikeouts in 27 plate appearances. In a small sample in High-A, his strikeout rate has jumped to 30.6% compared to 17.2% in Lake Elsinore, but his ISO is up to .246 after sitting at .159 with the Storm. Last year’s first-rounder is hitting .246/.305/.491 in 62 plate appearances with the TinCaps. … Euribiel Angeles had a quiet series (by his standards) as well, producing a .750 OPS in the six-game set. In a small 12-game sample with Fort Wayne, Angeles is hitting .298/.400/.447 – good for 38 percent above league average. … Tirso Ornelas had another monster week for the TinCaps, hitting .455/.455/.636, with a double, a homer and 4 RBI. After a putrid August, Ornelas has been on fire in September. In 46 plate appearances this month, the outfielder is hitting .475/.543/.700. The late-season surge has pushed his wRC+ to 105. He will have another week to build on his accomplishments this September.
Keep an Eye on: LHP Noel Vela. It feels like we have written about Vela’s ascent quite a bit this year but his performance has been one of the biggest surprises in the system. Vela’s start last week wasn’t one of his better ones; he allowed three earned runs in four innings of work. He did strikeout eight batters while walking just one. Vela has a fastball that is capable of touching 96 mph but typically sits in the 91-93 mph. He has shown two solid off-speed pitches – a change in the low-80s and a slower curve. The knock on Vela is his command. He is often inefficient and hasn’t been able to work into the fifth inning and beyond consistently. He is still just 22.
Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (Storm split six-game series with the Visalia Rawhide).
Top Prospects: The Storm lost the final two games of the series and had to settle for a split against the worst team in the Low-A West. … After taking an 0-for-6 in the series opener, infielder Jarryd Dale hit safely in the next four games before getting Sunday off. Dale finished the six-game set with a .300/.400/.350 slash-line to go with four runs scored, four RBI, and four walks. Outside of a poor July, Dale has produced a .700 OPS each month in his first taste of full-season ball. The versatile Dale has flashed a little more pop this season but he will need to improve a subpar 6.9% walk-rate to take the next step. … LHP Robert Gasser started last Wednesday and threw three innings of one-run ball. The former Houston lefty has been limited due to an innings cap since being drafted in July. In a very limited sample, he has a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings with Lake Elsinore.
Keep an Eye on: Catcher Gilberto Vizcarra has been receiving more playing time after Brandon Valenzuela‘s promotion to Fort Wayne and the Mexicali native has made the most of it. In the series against Visalia, Vizcarra went 9-for-20, with a pair of homers, eight RBI and just two strikeouts. In 12 games since Valenzuela’s promotion, Vizcarra is hitting .391/.417/.652 – good for 74 percent above league average.