MadFriars Player of the Week: INF Matthew Batten, El Paso
Batten followed up last week’s Player of the Week performance by doing it again. The utility player (can we call him a utility slugger now?) connected on three homers in the series against Round Rock, giving him eight on the year. Coming into the 2022 season, Batten had never hit more than six in a professional season. While Batten has never been a big contributor on offense, the underlying data shows that this isn’t a fluke. Batten has increased his walk-rate to 15% and reduced his K-rate to 19.8%. His isolated power (slugging percentage – batting average) is .140 points higher this year. The Padres infield is fairly set right now but Batten’s versatility and new-found power should give him a chance at some point.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Garrett Hawkins, Lake Elsinore
Garrett Hawkins bounced back big time after a pair of poor starts. Hawkins had arguably the best start of his career Friday, firing a career-high six shutout innings to earn the win. Hawkins struck out 11 – also a career-high, as he plowed through the Visalia lineup. Hawkins ranks fifth in the Cal League with 45 strikeouts. The performance showed why Hawkins has moved into our updated Top 20 prospects list.
El Paso Chihuahuas Week In Review: (Lost two of three to both Oklahoma City and Round Rock)
Top Performers: After being offensive juggernaughts the first week of May, the bats cooled down, scoring more than five runs only once last week. The little offense they had was once again led by INF Matthew Batten. After hitting six home runs in all of last season, Batten now has seven in May alone. He scored at least one run in five of the six games, and finished the week hitting .304/.407/.783. … C Luis Campusano started four games this week; he got a hit in four games this week. On the month, Campusano has hit safely in every game he has started. While he only had one multihit game this week, he has quietly hit .390/.510/.732 on the month, to continue to remind people that he is a top 50 overall prospect. … Left fielder F Brent Rooker started five games this week; in three he had two doubles, a home run, five runs, and had an OPS over 1.000. In the other two games, 0-for-9, 8 strikeouts and a walk. … After going hitless in the first part of the week against Oklahoma City, infielder Eguy Rosario reached base multiple times in every game against Round Rock (four hits and two walks). The middle infielder has been incredibly streaky this year, and this might be the start of another streak.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: The Chihuahua’s were blown out twice on the week. Both games, were starts by LHP Ryan Weathers. He gave up 14 runs (only eight earned) over 8.2 innings in his two starts. After a terrific first start to May, Weathers has now allowed 20 runs (14 earned) in his last 13.2 innings. … After a magnificent start to his Triple-A career, shorstop CJ Abrams has struggled to make solid contact. He went 4-for-29 on the week, with a double, walk, and six strikeouts. .138/.167/.172. Since going 5-for his first-10, he has gone 4-for-42. … RHP Reiss Knehr started one game and had a quality start. He allowed three runs over six innings with five strikeouts. A solid, albeit unspectacular start. … LHP Luis Castillo appeared in two games and faced only four batters. He retired two of them with a walk and a hit by pitch sprinkled in. Since joining El Paso he has allowed only one hit in 3.1 innings over five appearances. (Ben Davey)
San Antonio Missions Week in Review (Won series against Midland 5-1)
Top Performers: After throwing a no-hitter last week, the Missions decided they needed to add another one on Wednesday as four pitchers combined to pitch one against the Midland Rockhounds. The “Misfits”, as Missions’ manager Phillip Wellman has nicknamed the team because so many players on the club have been signed as minor league free agents, put on a show this week playing clean, crisp baseball, The pitching is vastly improved since the beginning of the year; especially with the starting pitching. After the no-hitter on Wednesday, the starting pitching, Reggie Lawson, Thomas Eschelman, Lake Bachar and Gabriel Morales, gave up a total of one earned run in 18.1 innings over four starts. .. Center Fielder Esteury Ruiz’s streak of 38 consecutive games reaching base came to an end Sunday. It was the longest in affiliated baseball, but Ruiz has put himself on the prospect map this year with a vastly improved approach. Still, he has now become a plus defender in center field. On the base paths, he is leading the Texas League in stolen bases with 29 and is third in walks with the same number.
Others of Note: Infielder Connor Hollis, who the Padres signed at the end of Spring Training, may epitomize the type of player that Wellman describes. Despite putting up solid numbers with Tampa Bay’s High-A and Double-A affiliates – he hit .289/.362/.449 – he was released in what he describes as a “numbers game”. The former University of Houston star is one of the leaders in the league in on-base percentage and is a plus defender at second and third base and has a season slash line of .307/.442/.444, good for seventh in the league in on-base percentage. … Dinelson Lamet made his first appearance with the Missions on Saturday and was consistently sitting at 97 to 98 with his fastball. He threw some decent sliders, but not as consistently as he has in the past. .. Both Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon also continued their rehab assignments in Double-A. Morejon was particularly impressive on Thursday and Sunday, hitting with all of his pitches and looking very ready for the next step up. (John Conniff)
Fort Wayne TinCaps Week In Review (Lost series against West Michigan 2-4)
Top Performers: The TinCaps continue to struggle despite the talent of their roster on paper, dropping another series, this time at home against West Michigan, who jumps three games above Fort Wayne in the Midwest League East Division basement. There were some bright spots, however, led by Matthew Acosta at the plate. Acosta, a 2019 12th round pick out of USC, made his High-A and TinCaps debut in the series, slashing .391/.375/.565 with a home run and a double. … Also thriving was the Padres’ top prospect from down under, Aussie Jarryd Dale, who hit .316 in the series with a double, but also walked six times to end the week with a .500 OBP.
Fort Wayne pitching was a strong suit against West Michigan, with Robert Gasser leading the way with six innings of one-run ball. The 71st overall pick of the 2021 draft is 1-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 36.1 innings of work for the TinCaps. … Nick Thwaits put up 3.2 scoreless innings in two relief appearances in the series with six strikeouts and no walks. … Also thriving in relief was Brandon Komar, who delivered 4.1 scoreless innings in long relief, also striking out six with no walks allowed.
Top Prospects And Others of Note: It was a tough week for Robert Hassell III, who went 3-for-25 in the series with no extra-base hits. Of course, this shows the high bar we set for Hassell, as a tough week includes a 2-for-5 performance on Friday. Worry not, the TinCaps’ top Padres prospect is still batting .309. … Outfielder Joshua Mears did not appear in the series, as he has been put on the Developmental List. … Jackson Wolf allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings. The 2021 fourth rounder is 1-4 with a 4.11 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. (Mark Wilkens)
Subscriber Content: Lots of great stuff from John’s trip out to the Summit City, including a Q&A with Robert Gasser, one with reliever Ryan Och, and another check-in with their catcher, Brandon Valenzuela.
Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (went 5-1 against the Visalia Rawhide).
Top Performers: After a rough series in San Jose, the Storm bounced back in Visalia, winning five of six against the Diamondbacks’ affiliate. … It seems like every time we do one of these write-ups, we mention Lucas Dunn and this week’s version is no exception. Dunn had another monster series in Visalia, hitting .450/.520/.950 with three doubles, two triples, and his second homer of the year. With James Wood and Jackson Merrill on the shelf, Dunn has been the MVP of a Storm squad that is currently in first place in the Cal League’s South Division. Dunn currently ranks fourth in the league with a wRC+ of 158 and his .447 on-base percentage ranks third. … First baseman Cole Cummings also raked for the Storm last week, a welcome site after some early struggles. Cummings, 23, hit .316/.500/.737 with a triple, a pair of homers, and nine RBI. The former UCSB Gaucho burst on to the scene last year after signing as an undrafted free agent. In 12 games for the Storm in 2021m he posted a 1.123 OPS. This year in 20 games, Cummings is hitting a solid .269/.416/.448 with three homers. … Outfielder Albert Fabian didn’t make the team out of spring training but he’s quietly been productive when pressed into duty. The 20-year-old outfielder homered and drove in nine runs against the Rawhide. In 20 games with the Storm, Fabian has driven in 15 runs.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: We’ve mentioned it before but infielder/outfielder Max Ferguson has been the x-factor for the Storm offense this year. When he is going well, the Storm offense is remarkably productive. When he struggles, the offense sputters with him. You might surmise Ferguson had a good series if the Storm scored 69 runs in six games. Well, you’d be correct. Ferguson got on base at a .500 clip, scored nine runs and stole six more bases without getting caught. Ferguson has scored 34 runs in 35 games this season and drawn a league-leading 43 walks. In fact, Storm outfielder Justin Farmer is second in the league with 29 walks. Ferguson has been an absolute menace on the base paths this year, stealing a league-leading 32 bases. … RHP Aaron Holiday appeared in two games out of the bullpen and continued his excellent run in his first full professional season. Holiday fired five scoreless innings and allowed just two hits while striking out four. Holiday has been excellent since joining the organization in the Sean Manaea deal, pitching to a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings this season. (Kevin Charity)
Subscriber Content: Kevin’s got a great profile on Matt Swilley, who this time last year was picking up innings in a college summer league and this year picked up his first win in affiliated ball in a decade. We also talked with Lucas Dunn about his hot start at the plate and his work to convert to catching.