The Chihuahuas’ scoring outburst was helped by a newcomer you’re all very interested in, the Missions dropped one in Corpus Christi, the TinCaps squeaked by at home, the Storm had a tough night at the Diamond, and the ACL Padres dug too deep a hole early.
Chihuahuas 12, Albuquerque Isotopes 2
Key Stats: LF Esteury Ruiz, 4-for-5, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, SB; 2B Eguy Rosario, 2-for-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI; RF Brent Rooker, 2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, SB; DH Kyle Martin, 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI; RHP Evan Miller, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K; LHP Ray Kerr (W, 2-0), 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K; RHP Jesse Scholtens, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K
Prospect Watch: You all came for the Esteury Ruiz update, I understand. Aside from being the pop-up prospect of the year, Ruiz plays a position of need for the Padres, and a promotion to Triple-A hasn’t slowed him down at all. Thursday, he produced one of the most stuffed box scores imaginable, smacking two home runs and a double among four hits, scoring four runs, driving in three, and stealing a base. Yes, the ball carries in the PCL, but that’s a strong performance anywhere. Acquired from Kansas City as an infielder with Travis Wood, Matt Strahm and cash in 2017 for Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill, once Ruiz left the Arizona Complex League in 2018, his best OPS was 2021’s .739, and his fielding struggles forced him to the outfield. Fast forward to 2022, and he’s not only made strides defensively as a center fielder, but he’s also slashing .349/.477/.651 in 192 at-bats between the two levels, with 12 home runs, 18 doubles, 35 walks against 43 strikeouts, and 38 stolen bases. All aboard the hype train, folks. … This would’ve been Eguy Rosario‘s night if not for Ruiz having the titanic evening he did. Rosario slugged a homer of his own and added a triple for good measure, continuing a red-hot start to the series, and also contributed a highlight-reel play in the field. The versatile infielder is batting .245 with a .725 OPS as he finds his groove in Triple-A. … Brent Rooker smacked a pair of hits, drove in a run, and the big man swiped his third bag of the year. The “other guy” in the Taylor Rogers trade is batting .236 in El Paso, but his prodigious power has his OPS at .900 and earned him a phantom player call-up earlier in the month. … New signee Kyle Martin didn’t match the fireworks of his El Paso debut, but the big lefty swatted a double. A first baseman by trade, Martin had been out of affiliated ball since 2018 and played most recently with the Guerreros de Oaxaca. … It’s a feat to allow only two runs in Albuquerque (the Johnny Cash lyric “go back to your friends and loved ones, tell others not to go to the God-forsaken country they call New Mexico” takes on new meaning in the PCL), and even more impressive to pull it off in a bullpen game. Evan Miller delivered two perfect innings as the opener. It’s the second start this year for Miller, who is 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA and two saves in 27.1 innings pitched. … The win went to Ray Kerr, the lefty acquired from Seattle in the Adam Frazier deal. Kerr has been getting his footing after a rough start to his time in the Padres system, taking his April ERA of 7.71 down to 4.50 in May and now four scoreless appearances in June. … To spice things up in this bullpen game, a starter closed things out, as Jesse Scholtens celebrated coming off the COVID list by getting an inning of work in. The veteran righty is having an excellent year, with a 3-0 record and 2.98 ERA in 42.1 innings in 10 games (seven starts).
Corpus Christi Hooks 7, Missions 4
Key Stats: LHP Jason Blanchard, 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7K; LHP Tom Cosgrove (H, 3), 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K; 3B Connor Hollis, 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB; SS Domingo Leyba, 2-for-4, HR, R, 4 RBI
Prospect Watch: The Replace-Missions nearly had another win, but the bullpen faltered late as the home team came away with the win. Battling a COVID outbreak, the new-look San Antonio squad has hung in admirably this week. Jason Blanchard had a nice outing in his third start of the season, holding the Hooks to two hits in four innings and striking out seven batters. Blanchard was a ninth-round selection in 2019 and was part of a combined no-hitter that year for Tri-City, but missed all of 2021 following surgery. … Tom Cosgrove picked up a hold was and continues to turn in solid work for the Missions, owning a 4-1 record and 29 strikeouts in 20.1 innings to go with a 3.10 ERA. … Connor Hollis reached base four times, including a pair of hits, and scored two runs as well. The former Rays farmhand is batting .326 and owns a .913 OPS. … Domingo Leyba hit a three-run home run in the third, and an RBI single in the fifth to propel San Antonio to a 4-2 lead. The veteran infielder signed with the Padres in the offseason after a run in the Texas Rangers organization.
Additional Note: The club made an announcement before the game that they will be wearing jerseys styled after Uvalde High School’s Coyotes on June 16, and will be auctioning off the jerseys during and after the game to benefit the Robb School Memorial Fund.
TinCaps 5, Lake County Captains 4
Key Stats: LHP Gabe Morales (W, 1-0), 3.1 IP, 0 H, R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K; RHP Dwayne Matos (S, 1), 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K; C Brandon Valenzuela, 1-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI; DH Augustin Ruiz, 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI; 1B Jack Stronach 1-2, 2B, 2 BB
Prospect Watch: The Captains ran ashore in Fort Wayne as the TinCaps held on for a nice home victory, led by Gabe Morales, who came on in relief to deliver seven outs of no-hit ball. He struck out four, and allowed just one unearned run to grab the win, though he did walk four. The lefty from Maracaibo, Venezuela is 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 29.2 innings across two levels. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in four outings since coming down to High-A. … Dwayne Matos, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, was adventurous in grabbing his first save since the DSL. He walked a batter and hit the next in the eighth, and, after escaping that jam, allowed a leadoff double in the ninth before setting them down in order. The righty has struggled to the tune of a 9.13 ERA, but much of that damage was done in four starts to begin the season in San Antonio. Since settling down in Fort Wayne, Matos has a 4.15 ERA in 8.2 innings pitched for the TinCaps, and is showing improvement as the season goes on. … Brandon Valenzuela has had a tough year statistically after an offensive breakout in 2021, batting .221 with a .670 OPS, but a tape-measure home run Thursday was his second in seven games this month. Valenzuela is highly-regarded defensively, but if the offense can continue to come along, he makes for a very nice catching prospect for the organization. … Augustin Ruiz is 2-for-31 since being sent down to Fort Wayne, but both those hits have left the yard, including tonight’s solo shot. Hopefully, it’s the start of something for Ruiz, who has hit .187 in 107 at-bats this season, which he started in San Antonio.
Roster Move: Before the game, the TinCaps placed LHP Danny Denz on the COVID list. He joins Robert Hassell III and Corey Rosier, who were placed on the list last week. The TinCaps did not announce a corresponding move. Hopefully, all of the players will be back to full health soon.
San Jose Giants 7, Storm 4
Key Stats: RHP Jairo Iriarte, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K; SS Max Ferguson, 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI; 2B Nerwilian Cedeno, 2-for-4, 2B, RBI; LF Albert Fabian, 2-for-4, 3B, R
Prospect Watch: Another Thursday, another Jairo Iriarte start, this one far better than last week’s. The 20-year-old Venezuelan righty did walk four in five innings, but seven strikeouts impressed, giving him 53 on the season in 42.1 innings pitched. … Max Ferguson didn’t add to his stolen base total, so he is once again one behind Ruiz, but he did find his way to scoring position with a double. The 2021 fifth-round selection has a .392 OBP despite batting .220 as he’s walked 51 times compared to 53 strikeouts. … Nerwilian Cedeno smacked a double and added a single for good measure. The youngster from Rio Tucani, Venezuela is in his first year with the affiliates after spending 2021 in the Arizona Complex League. … Albert Fabian showed his athleticism with a triple. The 215-pound Fabian has been on a tear in June, slashing .357/.455/.679 in 28 at-bats. A member of the 2018 signing class, Fabian played seven games for the Complex League club last season and is getting his first shot at significant playing time stateside for the Storm.
ACL White Sox 9, ACL Padres 5
Key Stats: RHP Jose Quezada, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K; RHP Walki Lezan, 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K; RF Eddy Beltre, 2-for-3, 2 2B, R, RBI; 3B Josttin Diaz, 1-for-3, HR (1), R, 2 RBI; C Colton Bender, 1-for-1, HR, R, RBI
Prospect Watch: Those of you who remember any of the daily reports I wrote last season will recall how little I care about scores in the ACL. Oftentimes the scoreboard isn’t even turned on on the backfields. That said, it’s all about development, debuts, and in the case of Jose Quezada, rehab, Quezada delivered a scoreless inning as he works his way back from injury. The 26-year-old righty had a 4.80 ERA in 46 appearances for San Antonio and El Paso in 2021. … Also of note on the “veteran” side of things, James Wood went 1-for-4 as he works his way back to the Storm, and Joshua Mears, who was 0-for-4 as he continues to get work in after returning from the Development List. … Walki Lezan delivered two-plus innings of perfect ball, striking out three batters in his debut. Lezan was 4-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 19 appearances for the DSL Padres in 2021, his first professional season after signing in 2020 out of the Dominican Republic. … At the plate, it was a big day for Eddy Beltre, who popped a pair of doubles in his third game of ACL action. The 2021 signee from Santo Domingo hit .295 with a .869 OPS in 112 at-bats in the DSL last season. … Switch-hitting Josttin Diaz hit his second professional home run and first stateside, returning to ACL after 46 at-bats for the Peoria side in 2021. The 2018 signee hit .153 in 98 at-bats in his home country’s Dominican Summer League in 2019. … Colton Bender also put one over the fence. The 2021 10th rounder spent most of his time in 2021 with the Lake Elsinore Storm, where he hit .260 in 77 at-bats. … Right-hander Riley Yeatman, who has been fairly well-known to Padres fans since signing in 2021 due to his 6-foot-5 frame, being an Aussie, and his social media presence, gave up six earned runs while getting only one out in his professional debut. He allowed three hits, including a home run, walked one and hit two batters before striking out the last batter he faced. The best part about the Arizona Complex League is there’s always tomorrow, and the score doesn’t matter. Onward and upward.