Mike Clevinger on a rehab start in the Sun City. (Photo: Jorge Salgado).

There was Sunshine in El Paso as Mike Clevinger continued his rehab with a start to headline strong start across the system. Some late-inning excitement in Lake Elsinore overcame the offenses at the three upper levels combining to score six runs to help the system break even.

Reno Aces 8, Chihuahuas 2

Key Statistics: RHP Mike Clevinger 3.2 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 5 K; RHP Reiss Knehr 4.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K; SS Eguy Rosario 1-for-4, 2B; C Brett Sullivan 2-for-3, HR (2), RS, 2 RBI, BB;

Prospect Watch: It was a bright day full of sunshine on the mound for El Paso as Mike Clevinger showed off his one-of-a-kind delivery. His velocity was back to pre-Tommy John surgery levels; he topped out at 96.3 mph with absurd movement on his pitches to earn 13 swinging strikes. His offspeed pitches were still a work in progress. While he showed one unbelievable curveball that almost took the hitter to a knee, others didn’t come close to the plate before bouncing. He ran into one difficult stretch in the second when he just started pumping fastballs, giving up three straight hits in the second, but ended the day by striking out the last three batters he faced before hitting his pitch count in 3.2 innings. With MacKenzie Gore continuing to dominate in the Majors, Clevinger might be in line for another rehab start to get closer to 80+ pitches. … Brett Sullivan, the catcher received in the Victor Caratini deal, hit his second homer and reached base three times to life his line to .262/..319/.429 over 12 games. On the 40-player roster, Sullivan has developed into a solid defender behind the plate, can run into some power from time to time, and offers a bit of defensive flexibility.

Esteury Ruiz has been on a tear to open the 2022 campaign. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

Missions 4, Springfield Cardinals 1

Key Statistics: Esteury Ruiz 2-for-3, 2B, HR (6), 2 R, 2 RBI; RF Agustin Ruiz 1-for-2 2B, BB;  1B Brandon Dixon 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; RHP Dwayne Matos (W, 1-1) 5.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K; RHP Alek Jacob 2.1 IP, H, 2 K

Prospect Watch: Nearly five years ago, the Padres traded three big league pitchers in what has become known as “the Matt Strahm trade.” Esteury Ruiz, who connected on his sixth homer in another multi-hit game, is working to change how people remember that trade. The now 23-year-old has been unstoppable in Double-A, hitting .400/.550/.683 on the season to lead the league in OBP and rank second in both average and OPS. He also leads the league with 12 stolen bases and is second with 15 walks. You name it, and Ruiz is doing it while playing full-time in center field. While 10 percent of a season is still a small a sample size, Ruiz’s is already over halfway to his season walk total from last year (28). Ruiz has always been a dynamic hitter, but he is now showing a better approach at working the count and waiting for his pitch. It’s hard not to be excited about his success thus far. … After completely dominating High-A with his low-80s offerings,  Alek Jacob continued his success in his first Double-A appearance. He faced eight batters and retired seven in 2.1 more scoreless innings. In 11.1 innings this season, Jacob has yet to walk a batter while striking out 18, and his run his career line to 31 innings without allowing an earned run. Despite starting for Gonzaga, the Padres are content to keep him in relief.

As a pro, Ryan Bergert has shown solid stuff since returning from elbow surgery. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Dayton Dragons 2, TinCaps 0

Key Statistics: CF Robert Hassell III 1-for-4; RF Josh Mears 0-for-4 2 K; SS Jarryd Dale 2-for-4, SB (5); RHP Ryan Bergert (L, 0-2) 5 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 7 K; RHP Felix Minjarez 2 IP, 6 K

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps offense strung together all of three base hits as Dragons pitchers completely shut them down for the second day in a row. Australian Jarryd Dale was the only TinCap to collect a multi-hit game. Right fielder Joshua Mears has gone hitless since his monster series last week. Since getting hit in the hand, he has gone 0-for-10 with six strikeouts, pushing his K-rate back to nearly 40%. … The star of the game for the TinCaps was starter Ryan Bergert. If he is a name you aren’t familiar with, you probably should start adding him to your list. Bergert was a sixth-round pick out of West Virginia after missing all of the 2021 season following surgery in December. The Padres gave him roughly third-round money to convince him to leave West Virginia as a junior. In his three starts with the TinCaps, Bergert has allowed just three earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out 19 in 13 innings. The righty ranks in the top 10 in the MWL in strikeouts, WHIP, and BAA.

Max Ferguson settles in to the box for the Storm. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Storm 6, Inland Empire 66ers 4

Key Stats: LHP Bodi Rascon 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 6 K; CF James Wood 0-for-4 K; SS Max Ferguson 2-for-3 2 R, BB, 3 SB (17); RF Justin Farmer 1-for-3, R, BB, SB (6)

Prospect Watch: The St Louis Cardinals lead Major League Baseball with 17 stolen bases as a team. After swiping three more Wednesday, Max Ferguson has 17 himself to lead all minor league players; not only is Ferguson fast, but his .459 on-base percentage is allowing him multiple opportunities to steal a base nearly every night. In 16 games, Ferguson has 15 hits and 18 walks on the year while playing at all three positions up the middle. … Every dominant player has an off night, and center fielder James Wood had his first hitless night for the Storm. He stung a few balls that didn’t drop in, and he was given one last shot when he came up with the bases loaded in a tie game but struck out for only the fifth time this season. Luckily for the Storm, Lucas Dunn was able to avenge an error that led to runs earlier with a sacrifice fly to plate the game-winning run. … Despite being with the Padres organization since 2019, Bodi Rascon‘s four innings Wednesday left him just short of 50 professional innings. The Texas native struck out a career-high six batters and bounced back from a rough first inning when two errors and a passed ball allowed three unearned runs to score.

Posted by Ben Davey

Writer for MadFriars since 2011. San Diego raised. Grossmont alum. Die hard SD and sports fan. Currently keeping my day job as an AP Chemistry Teacher.

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