It was a fruitful night on the farm, as the full-season clubs got a clean sweep. Only an ACL Padres loss prevented the organization from having a perfect night.
Chihuahuas 3, Albuquerque Isotopes 2
Key Statistics: CF Esteury Ruiz, 1-for-4 2B, SB (2); C Brett Sullivan, 2-for-4, 2B, R; 3B C.J. Hinojosa, 2-for-4, R, 2B; 1B Kyle Martin, 2-for-3, R, HR (2), 2 RBI, BB; RHP Grant Gavin, 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 K; LHP Luke Westphal, 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; LHP Ian Krol (W, 1-0) IP, 3 K
Prospect Watch: These two offensive juggernauts combined for 49 runs in the first three games of the series, but played an atypically low-scoring PCL affair Friday. El Paso edged Albuquerque to clinch at least a series split. … Everyone loves a good comeback story. Disney made a movie about math teacher-turned-reliever Jim Morris. Matt Swilley is with the Storm after a seven-year absence from affiliated ball, and now we have Kyle Martin. The newly-signed slugger had a pair of hits, including his second homer in three games. The organization plucked the 29-year-old from the Guerreros de Oaxaca in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol. Prior to his stint with El Paso, the last time Martin saw action in affiliated baseball was in 2018 with High-A Clearwater in the Phillies’ organization. Martin spent three years in the American Association before channeling his inner Kenny Powers and taking his talents south of the border. Martin demolished baseballs in Mexico, putting up 1.365 OPS in 39 games. Perhaps, Martin was merely a veteran taking advantage of a notoriously hitter-friendly environment in Mexico or maybe he’s just a late-bloomer who figured something out. I suppose the Padres will find out this summer. So far, the experiment is coming up Milhouse. … Esteury Ruiz had a double and stole his second Triple-A base in the El Paso victory. After a hitless debut with the Chihuahuas, Ruiz is 6-for-13 in his last three games. … The Chihuahuas threw a bullpen game and suffice to say, it worked. Grant Gavin got the party started and kept the Isotopes in check for two innings. Gavin gave up a pair of hits and a walk, and struck out four. A minor league Rule 5 pick from the Royals organization, Gavin is tied for second on the squad with 20 appearances. He’s walked 16 in 25.2 innings, but has struck out 38 batters and opposing batters are hitting .238 against him, which is decent in the PCL. … Luke Westphal relieved Gavin and pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs. The Padres signed Westphal last season from High Point of the Atlantic League. The 32-year-old has been a valuable contributor as a swing man for El Paso this season. His ERA sits at an unspectacular 4.66 but if you subtract one nightmare outing (seven ER in 2.2 innings) he’s pitched to a 2.75 ERA in his other 26.2 innings.
Roster Move: The Padres re-signed infielder Robinson Canó to a minor league contract and assigned him to El Paso. The eight-time all-star and five-time Silver Slugger with 2,635 career hits will get regular at-bats in the PCL while attempting to earn another big-league opportunity. If nothing else, Canó should be a fun draw for the Chihuahuas and provide a veteran presence to a team currently loaded with top Padres prospects.
Missions 7, Corpus Christi Hooks 4
Key Statistics: 3B Connor Hollis, 0-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB; 2B Kelvin Alarcon, 2-for-5, 2B; SS Domingo Leyba, 1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB; LF Reinaldo Ilarraza, 2-for-4, R, HR (1), 3 RBI, SB (1); RHP Lake Bachar, 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; RHP Moises Lugo (W, 4-0) 2.2 IP, BB, 6 K; RHP Alek Jacob (S, 1) 2 IP, 5 K.
Prospect Watch: The Missions ended their mini, two-game losing streak to even up their series with Corpus Christi. … Baseball can be really strange sometimes. The offensive star for the Missions Friday night was utility man Reinaldo Ilarraza, 23, who began the year struggling to a 1-for-36 start in 14 games at Fort Wayne. Last week, he was moved up to El Paso to provide some additional depth. After four appearances, he was shuttled across Texas to help out a San Antonio team that has been decimated by COVID-19. Friday, Ilarraza had two hits, including his first homer of the season at any level. The 23-year-old might be playing for his career, as the Padres organization is up against the 180-player limit that they can carry in their minor league system. With the draft looming next month, the Padres will probably need to make some cuts. Friday’s performance could help Ilarraza stay in the fold. … Lake Bachar struggled through 3.2 innings. The 27-year-old hurler allowed four earned runs on six hits, walking a pair, and striking out five. The results haven’t been there yet for Bachar in his return from Tommy John surgery but his stuff has looked better in his last two starts. In his first 11 innings, Bachar struck out just three batters, however, he has eight strikeouts over his last 6.2 innings. … Moises Lugo came in later in the game and wiped out the Hooks with ease, striking out a season-high six in 2.2 innings. Lugo showed plenty of promise last year as a member of the TinCaps rotation to earn a late-year promotion to the Texas League. This season, the 23-year-old has worked as a multi-inning reliever. The strikeouts have been plentiful but unfortunately, so have the walks. In 26.2 innings, Lugo has punched out 39 to go with 20 free passes. The righty may not possess the command needed to pitch as a starter, but his stuff plays out of the bullpen.
Roster Move: The Missions announced prior to Friday’s game that outfielder Rafael Fermin was placed on the 60-day injured list. The outfielder was hit on the wrist with a pitch during Thursday’s game. The Missions did not announce a corresponding move to replace him. They currently have 27 players on their roster, and could start to get some players back from the COVID list early next week.
TinCaps 2, Lake County Captains 1
Key Statistics: SS Kelvin Melean, 2-for-4, R, HR (1), RBI; DH Brandon Valenzuela, 2-for-4, 3B, RBI; 2B Wyatt Hoffman, 1-for-2, BB; LHP Jackson Wolf, 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 BB, 6 K; LHP Fred Schlichtholz (W, 1-0) 1.1 IP, 2 K; LHP Luke Boyd (S, 4) 0.2 IP, H, K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps edged the Guardians’ High-A affiliate in a pitcher’s duel in Fort Wayne. … System veteran Kelvin Melean provided some early offense with a solo homer in the first inning. The 23-year-old failed to make a club out of spring training. He was added to the El Paso roster on April 30 and was transferred back to Fort Wayne a month later. Melean is hitting .190/.346/.333 with Fort Wayne. He was signed as an international free agent way back in 2015, receiving a $500,000 bonus. That international class, headlined by the hard-throwing tandem of Andres Muñoz and Emmanuel Clase, was A.J. Preller’s first as the Padres’ General Manager. Melean has played 395 career games for the organization. … Catcher Brandon Valenzuela turned in his first multi-hit game of June with a two-hit night that included a triple. The catching prospect got off to a slow start at the plate, but his bat has begun to heat up. Over his last ten games, the Hermosillo native is hitting a blistering .316/.350/.605 with three home runs. The Fort Wayne offense has scuffled over the last six weeks, so Valenzuela’s hot streak has been a much-needed sight. … Jackson Wolf bounced back after a rough six-run outing at Great Lakes last week, allowing just one run in five innings. Wolf added six strikeouts Friday night, giving him 69 in just 52.2 innings to remain second in the Midwest League.
Storm 4, San Jose Giants 3
Key Statistics: SS Max Ferguson, 1-for-4, R, HR (2), RBI; 2B Nerwilian Cedeño, 2-for-4, R; 1B Cole Cummings, 1-for-3, HR (5), 2 RBI, BB; RHP Garrett Hawkins (W, 3-4) 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K; LHP Ben Miller (S, 4) 2 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The Storm used a couple of homers to squeak past the Giants at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore. … First baseman Cole Cummings got the Storm on the board in the first inning with a two-run shot off of the scoreboard in right. It was the fifth homer of the season for Cummings. The 23-year-old undrafted free agent opened the season on the injured list but he has been among Lake Elsinore’s most productive hitters when in the lineup. In 125 plate appearances, Cummings is hitting .254/.384/.465. He is tied for second on the club in homers, trailing Justin Farmer. … Nerwilian Cedeño had a pair of hits and scored a run. The 20-year-old infielder is hitting .263/.341/.316 in 10 games since joining the Storm. … Garrett Hawkins had an uneven outing Friday but his performance was good enough to notch his third victory of the year. Hawkins started out hot, striking out the side in order. In the second inning, he allowed two runs on four singles. In the third, he allowed a long home run to Vaun Brown, who is third in the league with 13 bombs. Hawkins settled down after that and completed five innings. The outing raised Hawkins’ ERA to 5.19. However, the full picture is more promising than that. Hawkins has had horrendous luck with balls in play. Coming into Friday’s start, opposing hitters were batting a league-high .412 against him on balls in play; typically the league average is in the low .300’s. On top of that, Hawkins’ K/BB ratio is the third-best in the league. The Canadian-born righty has an excellent fastball and is developing feel for his slider and could be in line for better results as his luck evens out. … Ben Miller pitched the final two innings to notch his fourth save of the year. The 22-year-old out of San Joaquin Delta Junior College has pitched well out of the bullpen for Lake Elsinore this year. In 22.2 innings, the Lodi, California native has a 1.99 ERA with 20 strikeouts.
ACL White Sox 3, ACL Padres 0 (7 innings)
Key Statistics: CF Eddy Beltre, 1-for-3; DH Gilberto Vizcarra, 1-for-2; C Colton Bender, 1-for-2, BB; RHP Miguel Rondon, 4 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K; RHP Joshua Paulina (L, 0-1) 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB; RHP Brenden Heiss, 1.2 IP, 2 H, K
Prospect Watch: It was a hot one in Phoenix, as the game-time temperature was a scorching 113 degrees. But hey, it’s a dry heat. The ACL Padres wilted in the heat, as they managed just three hits in a shutout loss. … Catcher Colton Bender has been the top performer in the early season in the ACL. The former Quinnipiac backstop singled and drew a walk in three plate appearances. In four games, Bender is 3-for-8 with a homer and a double. … Gilberto Vizcarra began a rehab assignment in the desert and singled in two plate appearances. The 23-year-old was in the middle of his second stint in Lake Elsinore before sustaining an injury. The Mexicali native produced offensively last season after Brandon Valenzuela was promoted but this season he played behind Jared Alvarez-Lopez with the Storm. … Miguel Rondon got good results in his first start of the season, pitching four shutout innings before giving way to the bullpen. Rondon allowed just one hit and two walks, striking out three. The 21-year-old, signed in 2017, appeared in 24 games for the Storm last season and struggled. He struck out 65 batters in 46.2 innings but a 2.12 WHIP led to an ERA over 10. Today’s start could be a step toward getting another opportunity in the Cal League.
Roster Move: The Storm sent back catcher Alejandro Hernandez to the ACL Padres. The 22-year-old did not appear in a game while with Lake Elsinore.