There were some great offensive performances in the system Friday night, although it was limited to the Texas teams. Fort Wayne was defeated by Mother Nature and the Storm couldn’t get anything going at home.
Chihuahuas 9, Sugar Land Skeeters 5
Key Statistics: 2B CJ Abrams, 1-for-4, 2 R, RBI, SB (5); RF Matt Beaty, 3-for-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI; DH Nomar Mazara, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; 1B Aderlin Rodriguez, 2-for-4, R, HR (11), RBI; C.J. Hinojosa, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI; LHP Ryan Weathers (W, 2-3) 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, BB, 3 K; LHP Jose Castillo, IP, H, 2 K
Prospect Watch: It’s been a wacky series so far for the Chihuahuas. They scored 27 runs in the first two games, got shut out Thursday, then bounced back with nine runs Friday night. El Paso just needs one win this weekend to take the series against their intrastate rivals. Fun fact: per Google Maps, El Paso is closer to San Diego (724 miles) than it is to Sugar Land, Texas (742 miles). Now back to baseball. … Rehabbing big leaguer Matt Beaty had three more hits and drove in a pair. In four games with the Chihuahuas, Beaty is 7-for-17 with a double and a homer. … Big Aderlin Rodriguez had a multi-hit performance Friday, including his 11th homer of the year. Rodriguez’s big fly was his 214th career homer in the minors; he has never played in the majors. Rodriguez’s homer tied him for third in the PCL. Despite the prodigious power, Rodriguez’s overall offensive contribution is just about 10% above league-average. … Nomar Mazara doubled, singled, and drove in a pair of runs Friday night. The multi-hit effort extended his hitting streak to nine games. Mazara is hitting a robust .338/.419/.538 in May. … LHP Ryan Weathers earned his second win of the season by gutting out 5.1 innings despite allowing some hard contact. Weathers allowed eight hits and four earned runs, walking one and striking out three. The former first-rounder has struggled in his second go-around in the PCL. He will finish May with a 6.58 ERA – an improvement from the 7.41 ERA he produced in April. Weathers has allowed a league-high 57 hits this season and has struggled mainly because he just isn’t missing bats. His K/9 of 5.86 is the third-lowest in the PCL among qualifiers and his walk rate is nearly twice what he produced with the Padres in the big leagues last year. Weathers will need to find a way to generate more strikeouts or it could be a long summer for the 22-year-old lefty. … LHP Jose Castillo fired a scoreless inning for the Chihuahuas, striking out a pair. Between five outings with the Storm and seven more with El Paso, Castillo has not allowed an earned run in 10.2 innings. He’s walked just two batters and struck out 13 between the two stops.
Roster Moves: El Paso lost Matt Batten, Taylor Kohlwey and Jesse Scholtens to the COVID list before the game. RHP Ryan Lillie was activated from the development list in San Antonio and shipped up to El Paso. Lillie’s last outing with the Missions came on May 18, when he fired the first four innings of the Missions’ second combined-no-hitter. Utility man Kelvin Alarcon was also added to the El Paso roster.
Missions 8, Frisco RoughRiders 2
Key Statistics: CF Esteury Ruiz, 2-for-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI, SB (32); 3B Connor Hollis, 1-for-4, R, HR (5), RBI, BB; SS Domingo Leyba, 2-for-5, R; 1B Juan Fernandez, 3-for-5, RBI; DH Thomas Milone, 2-for-5, 2 R; Chandler Seagle, 2-for-5, RBI; LF Korry Howell, 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (4), RBI; RHP Moises Lugo, 2.1 IP, R, 2 BB, 3 K; LHP Osvaldo Hernandez (W, 4-1) 2.2 IP, H; RHP Alek Jacob, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The Missions pounded out 16 hits to cruise to an easy win. After a 3-11 start that included a 10-game losing streak, the Missions’ win improved their record to 23-20 and gave them a share of first place. … The Esteury Ruiz show continued Friday, as the electric center fielder had a pair of hits, drew a walk, and stole his league-leading 32nd base of the season. The 23-year-old has cooled off a bit over the last week but there is no denying the impact he is having on the Missions this season. He leads the Texas League in runs scored (47) and on-base percentage (.478). In addition, he is in the top-five in the Texas League in doubles, walks, and OPS. In our re-worked MadFriars Top-20 prospect list, Ruiz shot all the way up to #7 on our list. … Don’t look now but Chandler Seagle had two more hits. The defensive stalwart is a tremendous receiver behind the plate but he posted a ghastly .523 OPS in the Texas League in 2021. In 55 plate appearances in May, Seagle is hitting a respectable .275/.327/.392. That type of production won’t make anyone think about Mike Piazza but Seagle could find a big-league opportunity with passable offensive production. … Outfielder Korry Howell delivered two hits, including his fourth bomb of the year. Howell came over with Chihuahuas catcher Brett Sullivan in the Victor Caratini deal just before opening day. After struggling in April, Howell has been scorching in May. The former 12th-rounder is hitting .298/.444/.489 for the month and has cut his K-rate from 36.4% in April down to a respectable 25% this month. … After Moises Lugo struggled a bit to start the game, LHP Osvaldo Hernandez relieved him and stabilized things for the Missions. Hernandez allowed just one hit in 2.2 innings and earned his fourth win in the process. After a disastrous start to the season in which he allowed nine earned runs in his first 2.1 innings, Hernandez has allowed just two earned runs in 15.2 innings. Hernandez has transitioned to a bullpen role in May and he is thriving. In 13.2 innings this month, opposing hitters are batting just .130 against the southpaw from Cuba.
Fort Wayne TinCaps: The TinCaps were rained out again on Friday. The good news is that there is no rain in the forecast Saturday They are scheduled to play two games against Quad Cities on Saturday.
Roster Moves: The TinCaps placed outfielder Angel Solarte on the seven-day injured list with the ankle injury he sustained last week. Left-handed reliever Ryan Och also hit the injured list while RHP Wen-Hua Sung was placed on the COVID list. Outfielder Agustin Ruiz was activated from the San Antonio development list and sent to Fort Wayne to support the winnowed outfield. The 22-year-old outfielder was hitting .237/.352/.382 with two homers for the Missions. As underwhelming as his production has been, it’s a fairly significant improvement from the .599 OPS he produced last year with the Missions.
Inland Empire 66ers 7, Storm 1
Key Statistics: 2B Max Ferguson, 1-for-4, RBI; LF Albert Fabian, 1-for-4; SS Charlis Aquino, 2-for-3; RHP Jairo Iriarte (L, 2-1) 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K; RHP Matt Swilley, IP, 2 K; LHP Ben Miller, IP, K; RHP Keegan Collett, IP, 3 K
Prospect Watch: A night after hosting 18+ night at The Diamond, the Storm’s offense was not suitable for fans of any age Friday night. Lake Elsinore mustered just five singles and struck out 14 times without drawing a walk, in their loss to Inland Empire. … Charlis Aquino started and singled twice. The 20-year-old infielder has played sparingly since being promoted from extended spring training on May 4. When Aquino has played, he’s produced a .316/.436/.421 slash-line. He’s pitched in all over the infield and has played a little outfield as well. … RHP Jairo Iriarte had his worst start of the year and took his first loss of the season. Iriarte struggled with command and walked four batters and allowed four hits in 3.2 innings. The 20-year-old hurler has been very good for the Storm this season and has established himself as a potential top-30 guy. Iriarte allowed 25 hits in nine innings last season in Lake Elsinore but this season he’s allowed just 20 in 33 innings pitched. … After Iriarte left, the Storm got good work out of their bullpen. RHP Matt Swilley threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. We profiled the former El Camino star’s unlikely comeback story earlier this week. … RHP Keegan Collett came in after Swilley and struck out the side in his lone inning of work. The 23-year-old out of Florida Gulf Coast continues to post ridiculous strikeout numbers in the Cal League. With Friday’s outing, Collett has punched out 28 batters in 15.2 innings, but has also walked 13 this year. In 65 professional innings, Collett has struck out a remarkable 113 hitters.