CJ Abrams knocked his 2022 minor league debut out of the park, while Ryan Weathers was knocked out of the park as well.  Two affiliates force extras, but all four squads take the L.

CJ Abrams rounding the bases on one of his two home runs in his Triple-A debut. (Photo: Jorge Salgado).

Sacramento River Cats 10, Chihuahuas 9 (10 innings)

Key Statistics: SS CJ Abrams 2-for-5, 2 HR (2), 2 RS, 5 RBI; LHP Ryan Weathers 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; C Luis Campusano 2-for-5, 2 2B; RF Taylor Kohlwey 2-for-4, R, BB; 3B Matthew Batten 1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB (6); LHP Jose Castillo 1 IP, K

Prospect Watch: If the last month made you wonder if CJ Abrams was really one of the top-10 prospects in all of baseball, he quickly reminded people why he is within the first hour of the game.  After striking out on a questionable full-count pitch in the first, he came up in the second and hit a majestic three-run home run down the right-field line.  An inning later, he homered again, this time to right-center. Defensively, he looked like he was back home. He made plays in the hole, on both sides of second, and running into the outfield. He showed why he is rated so highly defensively, and why the Padres are apprehensive to move him off SS. … Ryan Weathers made one extremely bad pitch and it cost him.  After giving up a couple of runs in the first, Weathers settled down and cruised through the next three innings. However, in the fifth, he loaded the bases thanks in part to a walk and a bloop single and then grooved a 1-2 pitch that was hit a very long way for a grand slam.  That ended his night and turned an 8-2 lead to an 8-6 nail-biter.  After sitting 91-93 in his last start, Weathers’s average fastball Wednesday was 93.9 mph. … Reliever Jose Castillo made his first appearance off his rehab assignment in Elsinore. He threw exclusively fastball and slider and had an easy 1,2,3 inning, including a strikeout of Tommy La Stella.  He struck La Stella out on a nice 95 mph fastball on the outside corner.  He hasn’t looked 100% the same as he did in 2019, but he is throwing strikes and getting easy outs. The organization will want to get him ramped up to throwing on back-to-back days before considering a role back in San Diego. He had been throwing every three days to open the year.

Arkansas Travelers 9, Missions 8 (10 innings)

Kevin Kopps has struggled in his first extended exposure at Double-A. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

Key Statistics: Esteury Ruiz 2-for-6, 2 R, SB (19); RHP Gabe Morales 2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K; RHP Kevin Kopps 1.1 IP, H, 2 K; 1B Juan Fernandez 4-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB (1); DH Tirso Ornelas 1-for-5, R

Prospect Watch: After surrendering five earned runs over two innings in his last two appearances, Kevin Kopps bounced back to dominate the Travelers. He allowed just one baserunner in 1.1 innings and struck out two. It lowered his ERA to a disappointing 5.56 but Kopps has had a scoreless outing in eight of his 11 outings this year.  Hitters are only hitting .135 off of him, but the nine walks in 11.1 innings have been his kryptonite so far. … After playing mainly catcher in the five years since signing with the Padres, first baseman Juan Fernandez has played more in the infield this season. The move away from the squat has helped him considerably on offense.  After a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate, he is now up to .382/.447/.412 on the season.  While he has never been a big power player, he does have a career .261/.344/.379 slash-line.  Combine that success with the ability to play multiple positions including catcher, and Fernandez has a chance in a backup role.

Robert Hassell III was one of the best hitters in the Midwest League in April. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

South Bend Cubs 6, TinCaps 5

Key Statistics: CF Robert Hassell III 0-for-3,2 BB, R; RF Joshua Mears 1-for-3, RBI, Sac Fly, BB, K; DH Angel Solarte 1-for-5, 2 RBI; 3B Justin Lopez 2-for-4, 2B, BB; LHP Jackson Wolf 6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 5 K

Prospect Watch: When Padre fans listen to Don Orsillo and Mark Grant, they expect to hear a certain level of homerism.  It is when they hear the same words said by an opposing team’s broadcasters that make fans realize just how special players are.  For roughly 80% of the first few innings of the game tonight, the South Bend broadcasters would not stop talking about Robert Hassell III. From saying “the ball sounds different off of his bat,” to “there are just some players that you can tell will be major-league players and have long careers in the majors,” the South Bend announcers couldn’t stop talking about Hassell. Even on a night when he went 0-for-3, he made a difference in the game. … At one point those same announcers pointed out that as dangerous as Joshua Mears is he has struck out in 51 of 102 at-bats or a 50% strikeout rate.  It doesn’t matter how much power you have, if you cant catch up to a good 94-mph fastball down the middle, you will never get past Double-A.  Very high ceiling, very low floor. … Jackson Wolf is facing the same problem that so many young pitchers have.  How do you stop the snowball?  In four innings, Wolf allowed one baserunner total. In the other two innings, after giving up a walk and a bloop, or a bloop and a double fair by inches on the line, his frustration was evident over the next few pitches. It’s a move that plagues many young pitchers, and something that Wolf will need to work around as he progresses.

Matt Acosta squares one up for Lake Elsinore. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza:

San Jose Giants 11, Storm 1

Key Stats: LHP Bodi Rascon 3 IP, 9 H, 6 R (5 ER), BB, 2 K; CF Matthew Acosta 1-for-3, HR (3), RBI

Prospect Watch: The lineup is quite different without Jackson Merrill and James Wood.  With both of them sidelined with wrist injuries, the Storm struggled to get anything going offensively. The team that leads the Cal League in walks, managed only one and, despite a league-leaders in stolen bases were thrown out in their only attempt. The only highlight of the night was Matthew Acosta’s solo blast in the seventh inning. The lefty’s third home run of the season, already giving him half of his total from last year. Not much else can be said about a team that managed just four baserunners while allowing 11 runs in the game.  Thankfully it only counts as one, and they can rebound tomorrow.

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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