Padres prospect Joshua Mears connects for the TinCaps

Joshua Mears can hit a ball out anywhere. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps)

The Padres system posted a strong week as each affiliate had standout performances from notable contributors. El Paso rode veterans to squeak out a split and the Missions ended their 10-game losing streak by scoring at will in Amarillo. The Storm and the TinCaps both won five games, with the top prospects on each team playing a pivotal role. There’s not much more you can ask for, aside from a few more wins.

MadFriars Player of the Week: OF Joshua Mears, Fort Wayne

TinCaps outfielder Joshua Mears put on a show in Lansing, easily standing out as the system’s player of the week. Mears hit five (yes, five) homers in six games, collecting a pair of multi-homer games. The home runs he hit weren’t cheap ones either. A couple of them hit the video board in left field and the final one on Saturday traveled an estimated 504 feet. In the six-game series, Mears posted an outrageous .368/.455/1.263 line. He struck out six times in 22 plate appearances – good for 27.2% K-rate. With Mears’ immense power potential, a K-rate south of 30% is more than manageable. Mears left Sunday’s game with a hand injury after getting hit by a pitch, so we will watch to see if he is in the lineup on Tuesday. Through the season’s first three weeks, Mears leads the Midwest League in homers (7), and slugging percentage (.784), and his 1.178 OPS ranks fifth in the circuit. The performance earned him Midwest League Player of the Week honors.

Robert Gasser stood out in Spring Training, but got off to a slow start to the season. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: LHP Robert Gasser, Fort Wayne

Gasser, 22, gets the nod after completing five innings for the first time in his professional career. The former Houston Cougar didn’t allow a run as he earned his first professional win in Fresno. The lefty scattered five hits and walked just one while punching out five batters. Through three starts, Gasser has a very good 34.7% K-rate that ranks just outside the top ten in the league. He has been the victim of some bad luck early on – his .481 BABIP is the highest in the league – so perhaps the outing was a sign of things to come.

El Paso Chihuahuas Week in Review (Split series at the Las Vegas Aviators, 3-3)

Top Performers: Another week, another series split for the Chihuahuas, this time against Las Vegas. … Outfielder Trayce Thompson had a monster week for the Chihuahuas that culminated in him being named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. Thompson played in five games and homered in four of them. Overall, the 31-year-old veteran hit .444/.476/1.167 in the series against the A’s Triple-A affiliate. Through the season’s first three weeks, Thompson is tied for the league lead in homers with eight and his 1.256 OPS ranks second in the circuit behind fellow veteran Matt Davidson. … Taylor Kohlwey had another productive week, hitting .333/.462/.476 with three doubles, five walks, and just two strikeouts. The 27-year-old Kohlwey doesn’t possess a ton of power but he gives El Paso good at-bats every night. He ranks seventh in the PCL with a 16.7% walk rate. … LHP Luke Westphal pitched well on Saturday night, working four shutout innings, allowing just two hits. The outing lowered Westphal’s ERA to 2.00 in nine innings. The 32-year-old is in his second season in the Padres organization after signing out of the Atlantic League.

Luke Westphall in action for El Paso. (Photo: Jorge Salgado).

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Infielder Eguy Rosario had a rough week, hitting .154/.241/.269 with a homer and 11 strikeouts. The 22-year-old Rosario has struggled to make contact out of the gate in his first stint in Triple-A. Rosario’s K-rate of 36% is the sixth-highest in the league. Last year, Rosario struck out in just 22% of his plate appearances. It’s still very early this season but Rosario will need to make an adjustment at the plate. … The Chihuahuas received a pair of encouraging outings from two young starters who have big-league service time. Reiss Knehr started Wednesday and allowed three earned runs over 5.2 innings in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in all of minor league baseball. He tied a career-high with seven strikeouts. … LHP Ryan Weathers pitched Friday and fired four shutout innings, albeit with spotty command. Weathers allowed five hits and two walks but more importantly, he kept the Aviators off of the scoreboard. Weathers has had a rough start after being optioned to start the season, but perhaps the outing is a sign he is rounding into form.

El Paso Hitter of the Week: OF Trayce Thompson

El Paso Pitcher of the Week: LHP Luke Westphal

Padres prospect Esteury Ruiz runs the bases for San Antonio Missions

Esteury Ruiz has been on base frequently for the Missions. (Photo: John Moore)

San Antonio Missions Week in Review (Lost series at the Amarillo Sod Poodles, 4-2)

Top Performers: Mears earned a lot of headlines this week but Esteury Ruiz‘s fast start continued in the friendly confines of Amarillo, Texas. Ruiz started all six games in the series and went 11-for-25 with two doubles, a homer, and seven RBI. Ruiz added five stolen bases to the ledger to extend his league-leading total to 12, four more than his nearest challenger. Through the first three weeks of the season, Ruiz is second in the league with a wRC+ of 205 with career-best strikeout and walk rates. … With almost 200 games of big league service time, Brandon Dixon is far-removed from being a prospect, but the 30-year-old has been a welcome addition in the middle of the Missions’ order. Dixon hammered three long balls and finished the week with a solid .370/.452/.741 slash-line. … RHP Gabe Mosser started two games, and though he failed to complete five innings in either outing, he kept the Missions in the game. In 8.2 innings, Mosser allowed three earned runs, good for a 3.12 ERA. Mosser is a sinker-baller and doesn’t throw hard but he has typically been a steady performer in the system. He was a 27th-rounder back in 2018.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Tirso Ornelas hit well, collecting his first homer of the season. The Tijuana native had an up-and-down season last year in Fort Wayne but he performed well in winter ball and has taken that momentum into 2022. Ornelas hit .417/.440/.542 with seven RBI in the series. Ornelas is hitting .318 through three weeks but has just one extra-base hit. If Ornelas can tap into some power this season, he’s still young enough to dream on. … Agustin Ruiz only played in four games, but he had three extra-base hits and scored five runs. The Mexican-born Ruiz is off to a much better start after struggling badly in his brief cameo in Double-A in 2021. Ruiz is hitting .286/.375/.543 this season for the Missions.

San Antonio Hitter of the Week: OF Esteury Ruiz

San Antonio Pitcher of the Week: RHP Gabe Mosser

Corey Rozier is aggressive on the basepaths. (Photo: John Nagel)

Fort Wayne TinCaps Week in Review (Won series at the Lansing Lugnuts, 5-1)

Top Performers: The TinCaps enjoyed their trip to Lansing; they won 5 of 6 and scored 51 runs in the six-game set, despite being shutout in their lone loss to the A’s High-A affiliate. … In addition to Mears’ showcase, Robert Hassell III had a week to remember as well. Hassell had a two-homer game of his own and hit .391/.464/.739 with two doubles and four walks. Hassell struggled a bit in his High-A debut last season, but he’s making consistent contact in 2022. He currently has the second-lowest K-rate in the Midwest League (13.6%) and his .397 batting average ranks fourth in the league. … Corey Rosier‘s batting average doesn’t look appealing at first glance but all he has done thus far is get on base to spark the TinCaps’ potent offense. Rosier hit .238/.407/.381 with a homer and five walks in Lansing and. Rosier has walked in 24% of his plate appearances and his 18 runs scored rank second in the league. He has helped contribute to an offense that leads the Midwest League in runs scored, OPS, and is tied for the league lead in homers.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Second baseman Ripken Reyes went 6-for-16 in five games, adding a double, a triple, and a homer. The 25-year-old has been a solid contributor at the plate when he was able to avoid injuries. He is off to a .286/.432/.571 start while typically hitting near the bottom of the TinCaps’ order. … RHP Ryan Bergert was the hard-luck loser on Thursday, considering it was the only night that the TinCaps offense was silent. The former West Virginia righty worked four innings and allowed four hits, including a solo homer. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. A sixth-round pick last year, the 22-year-old has notched 16 strikeouts in 10.2 innings to start his High-A career.

Fort Wayne Hitter of the Week: OF Joshua Mears

Fort Wayne Pitcher of the Week: LHP Robert Gasser

Jackson Merrill has looked comfortable at the plate and at shortstop for Lake Elsinore. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (Won series at the Fresno Grizzlies, 5-1).

Top Performers: The Storm surely enjoyed their first-ever trip to Fresno, roaring back to win five straight after dropping the series opener. … No one enjoyed the trip to Central California more than shortstop Jackson Merrill. The former first-rounder destroyed Grizzlies pitching all week, hitting .474/.524/.737 with two doubles and his first professional homer. Through three weeks, Merrill is hitting .393/.452/.518. … Outfielder James Wood returned to the field after missing almost two weeks with a wrist issue and made his presence known by going 6-for-15 with two doubles and a grand slam. Despite playing in just six games this year, Wood is tied for fifth in the Cal League in homers (3) and RBI (15). Perhaps more impressively, Wood has struck out in 14% of his plate appearances thus far.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Lucas Dunn has yet to homer this year but has produced in the middle of the Storm lineup. Dunn hit .353/.577/.529 with three doubles, nine walks, and four RBI in the series. The former Louisville outfielder is third in the league with a .492 on-base percentage and he is tied for the league lead in RBI with 16. … RHP Victor Lizarraga pitched into the sixth inning for the first time in his career Sunday and earned his first professional win. The 18-year-old showed improved command and walked just one while striking out six. In three starts, Lizarraga has a 2.03 ERA in 13.1 innings. … RHP Garrett Hawkins earned the win Saturday, dominating Fresno for five innings. Hawkins allowed one run on three hits, racking up six strikeouts. The 22-year-old has struck out at least six batters in all three of his starts. In 13.1 innings this season, Hawkins has walked just one batter while striking out 19.

Lake Elsinore Hitter of the Week: SS Jackson Merrill

Lake Elsinore Pitcher of the Week: RHP Victor Lizarraga

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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