Las Vegas Aviators 9, Chihuahuas 7

Key Statistics: RF Nomar Mazara 1-3, HR (1), 3 RBI, 2 R, BB; CF Trayce Thompson 2-2, HR (5), 2 RBI, R, BB; RHP Mike Clevinger 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 5 K; RHP Tyler Higgins (L, 0-1) 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER

Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas struck first, staking rehabbing Padre starting pitcher Mike Clevinger to a three run lead, but Luis Barrera’s two run home run into the desert night resulted in a walkoff win for the Aviators. Nomar Mazara‘s first organizational home run provided the early cushion, as the 26-year-old tries to earn another crack at big league playing time in an uncertain Padres’ outfield. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native has an OPS just shy of 1.100 in the first four games of his return to the friendly environments of the Pacific Coast League. … Trayce Thompson‘s struggles in big league spring training have seemingly evaporated into the thin PCL air. The well-traveled former second round pick connected for his fifth home run of the season, tied for second in the circuit. While José Azocar currently patrols the Petco Park outfield, Thompson is another option to provide valuable insurance for Trent Grisham in center field. … The story of the evening in Las Vegas was the second rehab start for Clevinger, who looked every bit the part of a frontline starter in less than hospitable, blustery conditions. The only real blemish of Clevinger’s outing was a solo home run to lead off the second inning. The 31-year-old capped his evening striking out Eric Thames for the second time, stranding runners on and second and third. Clevinger threw 48 pitches, 30 of which were strikes.

Amarillo Sod Poodles 19, Missions 10

Esteury Ruiz has been a force on the bases for San Antonio. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

Key Statistics: CF Esteury Ruiz 2-5, GS (2), 2B, 4 RBI, R; 1B Brandon Dixon 2-5, 2 HR (4), RBI, 2 R; LF Tirso Ornelas 3-5, HR (1), RBI, R; RF Agustin Ruiz 4-5, 2B, RBI, R; RHP Gabe Mosser 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, K; RHP Nolan Watson (L, 0-1)(BS, 1) 1.1 IP, 7 H, 10 ER, 1 BB, 2 HBP

Prospect Watch: In a nod to literary titan Charles Dickens, the matinee affair between past and present Padre affiliates was a tale of two ballgames. Esteury Ruiz‘s sixth inning grand slam gave the visiting Missions what seemed like a comfortable 8-2 lead. Unfortunately, the Sod Poodles would counter with 17 runs over the final three innings to roll to victory at Hodgetown in Amarillo. Coming off a middling 2021, Ruiz fell off some prospect radars. The 23-year-old Dominican appears to have made swing adjustments and the results have followed in swift fashion. While a .458 BABIP mark is largely unsustainable, the toolsy center fielder has more walks than strikeouts and is making plenty of hard contact, producing an extra base hit rate north of 53%. … Brandon Dixon enjoyed his best game in a Missions uniform, launching a pair of home runs to double his season total. The 30-year-old was signed by the Padres on March 18 after spending his 2021 campaign with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. He logged time in the Majors each of the three seasons before that. … Tirso Ornelas, in what could be a pivotal year in his minor league career, is off to a solid start in his first Double-A stint. The Tijuana, Mexico native hit his first home run of the campaign, adding a pair of singles for good measure. The now 22-year-old is one of the few remnants of the heralded 2016 international signing class, along with his San Antonio teammate Agustin Ruiz, who rounded out the offense with a career high tying four hit performance. The effort nearly doubled Ruiz’s batting average from .176 to .318. … Somewhat lost in the offensive onslaught was the effort of starting pitcher Gabe Mosser, who scattered two earned runs  across 4.2 innings. The 25-year-old has a respectable 3.72 ERA through two starts in the Texas League.

TinCaps 10, Lansing Lugnuts 3

Key Statistics: C Brandon Valenzuela 3-5, HR (1), 2B, 5 RBI, R; CF Robert Hassell III 2-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R; RF Joshua Mears 3-4, HR (3), 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB; RHP Adam Smith 3 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 2 K; RHP Felix Minjarez (W, 1-0) 2 IP, H, ER, BB, 3 K; LHP Ryan Och (S, 1) 2 IP, H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Joshua Mears is a threat every time he steps in to the box for the Fort Wayne TinCaps. (Photo: John Nagel)

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps kicked off their road trip in grand fashion, drubbing the host Lugnuts at Jackson Field in Lansing. Brandon Valenzuela‘s defensive abilities have garnered industry praise, but his offensive prowess continues to make strides. The Hermosillo, Mexico native finished a triple shy of the cycle, driving in five runs. While power has not been his calling card, the 21-year-old’s outing raised his season OPS to 1.020, good for second among Fort Wayne qualifying hitters. … Another game, another multi-hit contest for Robert Hassell III. After a rare 0-for-3 day Sunday, the 20-year-old got back to business, reaching base twice. Though he already had a pair of homers, the double Hassell recorded was his first of the season. The pair of hits kept his average intact at an even .400 clip through 10 games. … Joshua Mears put his own stamp on the game with three extra-base hits including a mammoth solo home run in the eighth inning. The top of the scale power that the Washingtonian possesses has pushed his early-season slugging percentage up to .667. Perhaps more importantly, after a flurry of strikeouts in the first week, Mears has K’ed just four times in his last four games to lower his strikeout rate to 37.2%. … Adam Smith got the starting nod for Fort Wayne, stretching out to three innings. The 14th round selection in the 2021 draft capped his outing by striking out former Padre prospect Euribiel Angeles to strand a runner in scoring position. Through his first two outings, Midwest League hitters are just 3-for-19 against the righty.  … Felix Minjarez nailed down the win in relief, adding to his gaudy strikeout totals. The former University of Redlands right-hander now has 13 strikeouts across just 5.2 innings. Ryan Och converted his second career save opportunity with a pair of clean innings. The southpaw has been dominant in relief for the TinCaps, holding opposing hitters to an .059 average while striking out 12 in just six innings.

Fresno Grizzlies 6, Storm 5

Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill 1-3, 2 RBI, BB; 1B Carlos Luis 2-4, R; RHP Levi Thomas 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K; RHP Ruben Galindo (L, 0-2)(BS, 1) 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), K

Jackson Merrill at the plate for Lake Elsinore. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Prospect Watch: The Storm rallied from an early three-run deficit to take a brief lead, but were unable to match a late surge by the host Grizzlies. In the ongoing absence of James Wood, Jackson Merrill’s steadiness continues to shine. The 2021 first-rounder singled and walked, raising his on base percentage to a stellar .422. The Severna Park, Maryland product has been on base via a hit or walk in eight of nine games so far in 2022. … Levi Thomas took the mound for his first start and was again plagued by free passes, walking four batters for a second straight time. The former Troy Trojan has flashed plenty of strikeout potential, but has been undermined by a lack of strike zone command, resulting in an inflated 1.83 WHIP.

Note: Prior to the game, former Padre reliever Jose Castillo was added to the Storm roster. Castillo, 26, is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Lake Elsinore in the hopes of rejoining the big league club later this season.

Posted by Ryan Payne

Ryan has written for MadFriars since 2020. Born and raised in East County, he is a former athlete who played wheelchair basketball for 16 years before transitioning into a high school coaching role. He has a healthy obsession with all things prospects, analytics and statistics.

One Comment

  1. Great Game Tin Caps⚾️👍 Joshua Mears keeponkeepingon… You Got This


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