MadFriars Player of the Week: OF Esteury Ruiz, El Paso
Esteury Ruiz greeted the Pacific Coast League the same way he left the Texas League: with absolute dominance. Ruiz started all six games for El Paso last week and went 11-for-25 with two doubles, three homers, four RBI, and four stolen bases. Ruiz’s 1.413 OPS was the highest in the system last week. We’ve talked a lot about Ruiz’s rise in the Padres’ system, but even the most optimistic prospect junkie could not have predicted what Ruiz is doing this year. He’s walking more, striking out less, playing excellent defense at a premium position, hitting for power, and absolutely wreaking havoc on the base paths. In 55 games this season, Ruiz has a ridiculous slash line of .356/.481/.644 between San Antonio and a week’s worth of games at El Paso. Surprisingly, this is the first time that Ruiz has earned the nod as MadFriars Player of the Week this year.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Brandon Komar
Robert Gasser had a dominant outing, but Brandon Komar‘s overall production gives him a razor-thin victory for our MadFriars Pitcher of the Week. Over the last two seasons, Komar has generally done excellent work as a multi-inning reliever. This may have been his best work yet. In two outings in the TinCaps’ series against Lake County, Komar pitched nine total innings and allowed a grand total of one base runner. He started on Sunday and pitched four perfect innings, striking out three. After an extremely poor outing on May 14 in which he allowed six earned runs, Komar has fired 21.2 straight scoreless innings. The 25-year-old righty has had success with a groundball rate approaching 60% and a career-best walk rate.
El Paso Chihuahuas (34-26) Week In Review: (Won Home/Road split series against Albuquerque 4-2)
Top Performers: Another winning week saw the Chihuahuas climb higher above the .500 mark and into second place in the division. The arrival of Ruiz, who now leads all organized baseball with 41 stolen bases, seemingly boosted C.J. Abrams. After five days off, Abrams returned and hit in each of the four games he played in the series, including eight hits over his last two games to raise his week line to .500/.500/.650. While Abrams has walked only once this month, he has yet to strike out in 38 at-bats. … Eguy Rosario went hitless on Tuesday, then collected nine hits over the final five games, scoring eight runs and driving in nine. … Taylor Kohlwey came off the IL just as Shogo Akiyama landed on it and hit in each of the five games he played, including a big three-run home run Sunday. Kohlwey hit .409/.480/.591 on the week. … Brett Sullivan collected multiple hits in four of the five games he played. He ended the week going 10-for-22 with four doubles, four runs scored, and only two strikeouts. Sullivan is hitting .305/.400/.535 on the season.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: One of the few players not to have a good week was Luis Campusano, who went 2-for-12 with two walks in the three games he played. As hot as the offense has been, Campy is only hitting .212/.278/.273 over the past few weeks. … Robinson Canó signed a minor league deal and immediately became a marquee name in El Paso. He had three hits in two games, including his first extra-base hit since April 15. … For many players, six hits, two doubles, and five runs would be considered a good week. But for April and May’s All-Star Matthew Batten, that performance was just status quo. … As well as Reiss Knehr performed for the Padres on Saturday, he was only available because he was chased so quickly from his last El Paso start on Tuesday when he gave up seven runs in two innings. … Ryan Weathers, who started one day later, pitched into the seventh, but still gave up five earned runs. … Jose Castillo gave up his first run of the year this week, then rebounded to toss a scoreless inning on Sunday. Castillo has now allowed just one earned run over 15 innings across two levels. (Ben Davey)
San Antonio Missions (Won series at Corpus Christi 4-2)
Top Performers: The Missions are back in action and played a full series after being cut off last week due to health and safety protocols. The Missions embarked on a new era without their top performer in the lineup and with a cobbled-together roster. Unsurprisingly, the top bat with Ruiz headed west was Connor Hollis. In 21 at-bats, Hollis slashed .524/.643/.571, especially in a Missions lineup that still uses many players called up to fill spots from the COVID situation. … Kelvin Alarcon was 7-for-17 with a pair of doubles after coming down from El Paso midweek to help the Missions handle their roster crunch. … Catcher Juan Zabala, who was acquired at the start of the week in a rare transaction with the Dodgers organization, also stood out. The backstop went 8-for-20 in his first week with the Missions.
Reggie Lawson is shaking the rust off on the mound in his return from injuries. In two starts this week, Lawson threw 9.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking six, and striking out 13. This includes a nine-strikeout scoreless outing on Sunday. … Thomas Eshelman, who we featured over the weekend, also excelled, throwing eight innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts in a hard-luck loss. … Out of the bullpen, Alek Jacob, Tom Cosgrove, and Henry Henry each made two scoreless appearances during the series, with Jacob throwing four innings, Cosgrove 3.1, and Henry 2.1. Cosgrove was particularly nasty, striking out eight while walking one.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Dinelson Lamet fired off a pair of scoreless innings, earning a promotion back to El Paso. … Michel Baez allowed one run in three innings of work, striking out seven batters. … Tirso Ornelas was 2-for-9 with a pair of RBI in the series. (Mark Wilkens)
Fort Wayne TinCaps Week in Review (Lost series against Lake County Captains 2-4)
Top Performers: Infielder Kelvin Melean, 23, was the week’s top offensive performer with six hits and a pair of walks for a .375/.444/.563 slash line. He has been in the Padres organization since 2016, and this is his fourth run in the Summit City at both the Low-A and High-A levels. … First baseman/designated hitter Jack Stronach had a batting average of .133 in April and .178 in May. So far in June, he is posting a slash line of .323/.432/.484, and this week he hit .294/.400/.412. … In addition to Komar, who earned Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honors, lefty Robert Gasser set season highs with 11 strikeouts and seven innings. … Big lefty Jackson Wolf has also been rounding into shape and delivered a five-inning outing in which he struck out six against three walks and four hits.
Top Prospects of Note: The big news was Robert Hassell III‘s return after a two-week layoff Sunday with a double off of the wall in left field and a two-run home run to center. Hassell leads the Midwest League in batting average at .310, is ninth in on-base percentage at .377, and tenth in OPS at .951. … Outfielder Corey Rosier also returned from the COVID-19 list for the series’ final two games. … This week, we had a profile of Australian shortstop Jarryd Dale, who is second on the team with 39 hits and 27 walks and is tied for the doubles lead at eight. His walk rate is up from 7.2% last year in Lake Elsinore to 12.2% with the TinCaps, and he is striking out less (23.4% to 24.4%). His batting average on balls in play continues to hover at .270, well below his .352 mark last season and what would be reasonable to expect with better luck. … Noel Vela still has the best ERA of any TinCaps starter with more than ten starts at 3.65 but needs to be more efficient to go deeper into games and cut down on his walks. He has a live arm, as demonstrated by 62 strikeouts in 44.1 innings, and can make batters chase up in the zone with a rising mid-90s fastball. (John Conniff)
Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (Won series against the San Jose Giants, 4-2).
Top Performers: It was another solid week for the Storm, as they won a series against a very talented San Jose squad. The Storm won the series’ final three games after losing two of the first three. Lake Elsinore has a two-game lead over Rancho Cucamonga for first place in the Cal League South Division. … Charlis Aquino was a key cog for the Storm offense, providing quality at-bats, despite hitting at the bottom of the order. Aquino hit .375/.444/.625 with a double, homer, and a pair of RBI in five games. Primarily an infielder, the 20-year-old spent the majority of the week in the outfield out of necessity. The Storm have had injuries, promotions, and a release ravage their depth in the outfield. In fact, Justin Farmer is the only opening-day outfielder currently on the active roster. Aquino has helped the Storm immensely, appearing in 10 games in the outfield this season. In 21 games overall, he is hitting .296/.380/.455 with four doubles and a homer. James Wood‘s return shouldn’t be far off, but Aquino’s versatility should help him stay in the Storm lineup. … Cole Cummings has done nothing but hit since joining the Padres organization, and last week was no exception. Cummings played in all six games and hit .318/.423/.591 with a double, triple, homer, and three RBI. The 23-year-old signed last year as an undrafted free agent after playing his college ball at UC Santa Barbara. This season. Cummings has delivered offense 32 percent above league-average, including a 16% walk rate. After logging time at third base last season, he has exclusively played at designated hitter or first base this year. Cummings is tied for second on the Storm with five homers. … As we wrote in yesterday’s s daily, lefty Jesus Gonzalez turned in the best start of his professional career. The 21-year-old worked a career-high seven innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) with no walks and seven strikeouts. The seven strikeouts represent a new career-high for the young lefty. After a rough May, Gonzalez has pitched well in two June starts, working 13 innings combined while pitching to a 2.77 ERA.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: The Storm received a bit of an uneven outing from RHP Garrett Hawkins on Friday night. On one hand, Hawkins struck out nine batters in five innings, including punching out the side on two different occasions. He allowed three singles and a walk in the second inning on some hard-hit line drives. Hawkins still managed to earn the win, his third of the year. Hawkins is third in the Cal League with 67 strikeouts, but he’s had some pretty bad luck with BABIP. Among Cal League pitchers with at least 30 innings under their belt, Hawkins’ .416 BABIP is the second-highest in the league. His 5.19 ERA looks rough, but his 3.21 FIP and 3.02 xFIP paint a portrait of a starter with the ability to dominate who’s had horrendous luck. Hawkins has shown flashes of a guy who could be a viable starter in the organization. … RHP Jairo Iriarte turned in a solid outing on Thursday, pitching five innings and allowing two earned runs. Iriarte walked four but managed to strike out seven batters. The 20-year-old righty has been inconsistent at times this season but has flashed enough ability to establish himself as a legitimate prospect. After a brutal debut in the Cal League last season, Iriarte has averaged 11 K’s per nine innings and a 4.25 ERA. (Kevin Charity)
ACL Padres Week in Review (went 2-3 last week).
Top Prospects: The ACL Padres opened their season and won two of the five games they played. They will play five nights a week, with off-days on Wednesdays and Sundays through a 60-game season. Right now, the roster is comprised of a few rehabbing prospects and a ton of international players. The draft takes place next month, so more reinforcements should be on the way. … Shortstop Victor Acosta struggled before homering Saturday in the first few games of his stateside debut. Acosta turned 18 last week and figures to spend his summer in the “fire league” after hitting an excellent .285/.431/.484 last year in the DSL. He’s off to a 2-for-12 in his first action stateside. … Outfielder Ruben Salinas got into four games and went 4-for-10 – all singles. The Guerrero Negro, Mexico native, made his pro debut last year and appeared in just two games in the desert before an injury shut him down. He is one of the more interesting players the Padres have in the desert. … Outfielder Eddy Beltre played in four games and scored 5-for-12 with three doubles, two RBI, and three runs. His three doubles were tied for the league lead entering Monday night’s slate of action. Beltre, 18, appeared in the DSL last year, and while players like Acosta, Samuel Zavala, and Daniel Montesino generated more attention, Beltre quietly yielded results as good as any of them. Beltre hit .295/.423/.446 with three homers and 24 stolen bases. … RHP Jarlin Susana made his professional debut and fired three shutout innings. Susana, 18, allowed just one hit, walking one and striking out two. Susana was rated by most publications as the top pitcher in last year’s international class.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Aside from the desert’s international flavor, there are many rehabbing prospects who should be heading back to their respective affiliates. Joshua Mears isn’t rehabbing an injury, but he is making his way back after being placed on the Development List on May 16. Mears appeared in four games for the ACL Padres and has gone 2-for-13 with a homer and four strikeouts. … James Wood, 19, appeared in three games and went 1-for-9 with four strikeouts working back from a wrist injury that has kept him out of action for over a month. … Finally, catcher Giberto Vizcarra began his path to getting back to a full-season club. Vizcarra went 2-for-5 in a pair of games with the ACL club. The 23-year-old began the season with the Storm and should make his way back to Lake Elsinore shortly. (Kevin Charity)