It was a productive night in the Padres system, as the affiliates went 3-1. El Paso looked poised to make it a perfect 4-0 but they couldn’t hold an early lead. Fort Wayne, San Antonio, and Lake Elsinore all cruised to wins on Friday night.
Round Rock Express 8, Chihuahuas 3
Key Statistics: LF Brent Rooker, 1-for-4, R, HR (5), RBI; 2B Eguy Rosario, 2-for-4, 2B; 1B Kelvin Melean, 2-for-4, 2B; LHP Aaron Leasher (L, 1-2) 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 K; RHP Aaron Northcraft, 1.1 IP, H; RHP Jordan Brink, IP, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas had a 3-0 lead early but Round Rock scored four runs in the fourth inning to pull away. … Brent Rooker only had one hit Friday but he tagged Round Rock for his fifth homer of the year. Rooker was acquired by the Padres in the Taylor Rogers/Chris Paddack swap earlier this season. The 27-year-old hit 29 homers last year – 20 in Triple-A and nine with the Twins. He is hitting .263/.317/.553 in May. … First baseman Kelvin Melean had a pair of hits, including a double. The 23-year-old didn’t make a club to start the season but he was sent to Triple-A on April 30. Melean was signed as an international free agent way back in 2015. He’s played in 383 games as a Padres farmhand. … LHP Aaron Leasher started and breezed through the first two innings before struggling in the third. Leasher allowed three consecutive hits to start the inning then, with the bases loaded, hit a batter. The big blow came on a fielding error that allowed two runs to score. Leasher completed the inning but did not come out for a fourth. He allowed four runs (two earned) in three innings of work. In eight appearances (five starts), Leasher has a 4.99 ERA.
Missions 6, Midland RockHounds 1
Key Statistics: CF Esteury Ruiz, 1-for-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, 3 SB (25, 26, 27); 3B Connor Hollis, 2-for-3, BB, RBI, SB (8); C Yorman Rodriguez, 2-for-3, BB, R, BB; Thomas Eshelman (W, 2-2) 6 IP, 5 H, R, 6 K; RHP Moises Lugo, 2 IP, 2 H, 4 K.
Prospect Watch: In between bites of chicken fried steak and jalapeno sausage, John covered the Missions’ win against Midland.
TinCaps 10, West Michigan Whitecaps 5
Key Statistics: CF Corey Rosier, 2-for-4, 2 R, BB, RBI; DH Robert Hassell III, 2-for-5, R, RBI, SB (14); C Brandon Valenzuela, 2-for-4, R, BB, 2 RBI; RF Matthew Acosta, 2-for-4, R, RBI; RHP Efrain Contreras, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K; Edwuin Bencomo (W, 2-1) 2.1 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 K; RHP Felix Minjarez, 2 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps used an eight-run second inning to cruise past the Whitecaps. … Robert Hassell III started at designated hitter and had a pair of singles. It was his first multi-hit game since May 10th. Hassell got out of the gate quickly in April but he has struggled a bit in May. Friday’s multi-hit effort raised his May slash-line to .221/.303/.294. His walk-rate has been solid but he’s seen a sharp increase in his K-rate. Perhaps his effort Friday will help him get back on track. … Brandon Valenzuela broke out of a slump of his own with a pair of hits. Valenzuela’s multi-hit effort raised his batting average above the Mendoza Line to .202. While Valenzuela’s overall production hasn’t been what it was in Lake Elsinore, there are some encouraging signs. Valenzuela has an excellent 15% walk rate and his 24% K-rate is acceptable. He has been the victim of some bad luck. Coming into Friday’s game, Valenzuela had a .257 BABIP – about 130 points lower than it was during his breakout campaign with the Storm. Valenzuela has a good approach at the plate and hopefully, he will be rewarded with some good luck from the BABIP gods. … RHP Efrain Contreras made his third start for the TinCaps and struggled again. The righty allowed a pair of homers and three earned runs in 3.2 innings. The 22-year-old has a 7.04 ERA in three outings. … RHP Felix Minjarez worked a pair of scoreless innings while striking out three to help the TinCaps preserve the victory. The 25-year-old has been a dominant force in the TinCaps bullpen in 2022. Minjarez has struck out a whopping 15.4 batters per nine innings pitched – the ninth-highest K-rate in the Midwest League (minimum 10 innings).
Storm 14, Visalia Rawhide 3
Key Statistics: SS-CF Max Ferguson, 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, SB (30); RF Albert Fabian, 3-for-6, 2 R, HR (2), 4 RBI; 1B Carlos Luis, 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI; C Jared Alvarez-Lopez, 2-for-4, R, BB, 2 RBI; RHP Garrett Hawkins (W, 2-2) 6 IP, 2 H, BB, 11 K; RHP Ruben Galindo, 2 IP, H, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: The Storm had 13 hits and seven walks to cruise to their fourth straight win over Visalia. … Max Ferguson had his first multi-hit game in nearly a month to pace the potent Storm offense. Ferguson finished a homer shy of the cycle and he added his world-leading 30th stolen base to boot. Ferguson hasn’t hit much in May but he’s still managed to get on base. Ferguson has drawn 21 walks in May and is carrying a .408 on-base percentage. … Right fielder Albert Fabian started the season in extended spring training but he’s been a welcome contributor since joining the Storm. The left-handed- hitting Fabian had three hits, tying the career-high he set in 2019 with the DSL Padres. In 53 plate appearances with the Storm, Fabian is hitting .235/.278/.431. … After a pair of poor outings, RHP Garrett Hawkins righted the ship and got back to his dominant form. Hawkins worked a career-high six innings and struck out 11 hitters, also a career-high. Hawkins struggled with command in his previous two starts but Friday night represented the pitcher we have seen most of the year. He has 45 strikeouts in 30 innings for the Storm.
Roster Moves: The Padres released outfielder Pierce Jones Thursday night. Jones, 20, was drafted out of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago in the 26th round in 2019 and signed him for $125,000. The former Little League World Series star showed plenty of athleticism but hit just .143/.272/.234 in 28 games with Lake Elsinore this year. He did provide a great moment last season when he hit a grand slam late to lead the Storm to victory on the final day of the season. To fill his spot on the roster, the club activated C/OF Tyler Malone from the seven-day injured list. The Padres selected the 24-year-old one round after Jones out of Oregon State.