MadFriars Player of the Week: INF Connor Hollis, San Antonio
It was quite the week for the former Tampa Bay Rays’ prospect, who easily stood out as the top performer in the system. The 27-year-old carried the Missions offense to a series win against Corpus Christi, hitting a scorching .522/.645/.870 with a pair of doubles, two homers and eight RBI. Hollis also drew seven walks and only struck out four times. Hollis’s exploits raised his season slash-line to a robust .287/.415/.460. The offensive output Hollis has shown isn’t exactly surprising; he has a career OPS of .875. Despite the consistent productivity, the Rays released him earlier this spring short of four years after signing him as an undrafted free agent.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Reiss Knehr, El Paso
Padres fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief. After giving up 17 earned runs in 19.1 innings in April, Reiss Knehr looks like he has turned the corner. He started two games last week and pitched to a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings. He allowed only one run over six innings while striking out eight on Sunday. The eight strikeouts is the highest mark this year for an El Paso pitcher, and also moves him up to 10th in the Pacific Coast League. Knehr had 15 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched for the week.
El Paso Chihuahuas Week in Review (Won series at Sugar Land, 4-2)
The Chihuahuas won their second consecutive series, going 4-2 on the road against the Space Cowboys. LHP Ryan Weathers threw seven innings of one run ball in his lone start last week. After surrendering 14 earned runs in 17 innings across five starts in April, he allowed only five baserunners en route to his first win of the season. The 22-year-old’s four strikeouts were his best total of the season. … Offensively, most of the big hits this week came from 1B Aderlin Rodriguez. He hit his first grand slam of the year, which led to him collecting a team high nine RBI in the series. … OF Taylor Kohlwey led the team with 11 hits and scored six runs. He’s now up to .294/.394/.424 on the season. … Matthew Batten had arguably his worst week of the year and still posted a .464 OBP thanks to seven walks. Batten is no stranger to walking as he now has over 160 career walks and a career .364 OBP. … Rehabbing DH Luke Voit got into five games this past week. He has walked twice and scored a run. … C Luis Campusano made his first appearance since being optioned back down from San Diego. Across only three games he went 3-for-8 with a home run and three runs scored. … Infielder Eguy Rosario left last Sunday’s game early, and then missed the next few games. After he returned on Thursday, he hit safely in every game hitting .333/.375/.333. … RHP Jesse Scholtens only logged four innings as he pitched in relief of Pedro Avila, but he continues to dominate. Through seven appearances Scholtens has allowed only seven earned runs, including fewer than two runs in five of his seven appearances. He currently leads the PCL in ERA at 1.95. Ben Davey
San Antonio Missions Week in Review (Won Series at Corpus Christi, 4-2)
The Missions have yet to climb out of the Texas League basement, but they dragged Corpus Christi down into a tie at the bottom of the South division after a six-game spread on the gulf. Obviously, nobody topped Connor Hollis, who not only hit .522 on the series, he knocked a grand slam in the top of the ninth of the third game of the series as part of his offensive onslaught. …Esteury Ruiz had an interesting series, to put it mildly, as the center fielder went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and a double on Tuesday, and only managed one more hit in the series. Yet, because he walked seven times in the remaining games, and was hit by four pitches, he posted an OBP above .500. … Yorman Rodriguez homered in the opener, and fired off a pair of two-hit games on Wednesday and Thursday. … Reggie Lawson allowed three runs in two innings, while walking four and striking out two. The 71st overall pick of the 2016 draft continues to search for his command as he returns from injury, having made only four appearances last year, and six in 2019. … Tom Cosgrove picked up the win on Thursday with two scoreless innings. The lefty reliever is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 11.1 innings. … Matt Waldron struck out six, but allowed three runs, including a homer, in 4.2 innings of work on Wednesday. The Missions came back in that game behind a 4-for-5 performance from Hollis and 2.1 scoreless innings of relief from Osvaldo Hernandez. Mark Wilkens
Fort Wayne TinCaps Week in Review (Lost series at Wisconsin, 1-5)
After dropping five of six to the Dayton Dragons last week, the TinCaps seemed on the verge of a second win against the Timber Rattlers before the bullpen gave up four runs in the ninth inning to lose Sunday. … On the positive side, lefty Robert Gasser had his best outing of the year on Sunday, striking out six against three walks, and allowing jst one hit in six shutout innings. The Competitive Balance B selection from last year’s draft had allowed a season-high four earned runs in his previous start, but did a better job of keeping the run on his fastball in the zone, an area his manager Brian Esposito focused on in our interview last week. … Fellow lefty starters Noel Vela and Jackson Wolf also had scoreless outings against the Brewers affiliate. Vela struck out 10 without a walk over five innings while Wolf matched Gasser’s one-hit effort across 5.1 innings. … After starting the series 0-for-11 with one hit-by-pitch, Joshua Mears began to see some light at the end of the tunnel with a rare single and a walk on Friday, followed by a home run, walks and another single on Saturday, before closing with an 0-3 and a walk on Sunday. Despite a batting average of .189, Mears still sports an OPS of .789. He is tied for first in the Midwest League with eight home runs. The bottom line is he doesn’t need to make that much contact to make a difference. Still, the pitch recognition and strikeout rates will need to improve for him to unleash all of his tools. Robert Hassell III slumped through the first seven games of May with a slash line of .207./.233/.241. However, overall he is fifth in the Midwest League with an OPS of .943. John Conniff
Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (Lost series against Rancho Cucamonga, 2-4)
The Storm had a hard time with their division rivals and dropped the series at home to Rancho Cucamonga. The Storm entered the week with a two-game lead over the Quakes for first place in the Cal League’s South Division. By virtue of the series loss, the Storm and Quakes are tied for the division lead. … With James Wood and Jackson Merrill on the shelf with injuries, the prospect shine isn’t as bright in Lake Elsinore as it was a few weeks ago. We’ve written about the exploits of INF/OF Lucas Dunn, but Marcos Castanon was the best hitter for the Storm in the series. The versatile infielder led the team with an .856 OPS with a pair of doubles. The Padres drafted the 23-year-old in the 12th round out of UC Santa Barbara last year. The former Gaucho has been a league-average bat while playing around the infield. … Max Ferguson has been an on-base machine for Lake Elsinore, and the series against the hated Quakes was no exception. Ferguson drew an incredible 13 walks in the series to fuel a strange .176/.533/.176 slash line. Ferguson also continued to wreak havoc on the basepaths like he has all year, stealing eight bases on 10 attempts. The former Tennessee infielder has drawn a league-leading 33 walks this year — 11 more than the next closest player. Ferguson hasn’t shown much power but he’s been one of the main cogs in the Storm offensive attack this year. He continues to lead all minor league players in stolen bases. … For the first time all season, RHP Garrett Hawkins battled command issues on Friday night and took his first loss of the season. Hawkins lasted just 3.2 innings and walked a season-high three batters. He came into Friday’s start with just one all year. Through five starts, Hawkins has a 2.45 ERA. … RHP Aaron Holiday relieved Hawkins and ended up notching the win. The former A’s prospect fired 2.2 hitless innings, walking one and striking out four. Holiday was drafted in the 13th round last year by Oakland, out of Old Dominion. Kevin Charity