MadFriars Player of the Week: INF Eguy Rosario, El Paso.
Most of the recent attention on the Chihuahuas has understandably focused on Esteury Ruiz and the now-promoted C.J. Abrams. However, last week, Eguy Rosario was hotter than the Mojave Desert. Rosario led the El Paso offensive attack with an absurd .429/.478/1.046 line with four doubles and three homers. The 22-year-old didn’t sacrifice contact for power; he struck out just three times in 23 plate appearances. Much like last year, Rosario got off to a slow start but he has caught fire in June. In 16 games this month, Rosario is rocking an impressive 1.108 OPS. Rosario is already on the 40-man roster, so he could get an opportunity at some point this season.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: LHP Robert Gasser, Fort Wayne.
This may be the easiest honor we’ve given out this season. It was a banner week for the Fort Wayne ace. Gasser started last Tuesday and pitched well, completing five shutout innings with four strikeouts to earn the victory. Gasser got his second start of the series and fared even better Sunday. The former Houston Cougar pitched seven hitless innings, allowing just one walk and striking out eight. Gasser has been brilliant over the last few weeks. He’s allowed just one run in his last 19 innings pitched. The southpaw has had a few rough outings but for the most part, he’s been one of the better pitchers in the Midwest League this year. Gasser was our #12 prospect coming into the season. In May, we talked to him about his rapid rise from a player struggling to get into the University of Houston rotation to a second-round selection in the 2021 draft.
El Paso Chihuahuas (37-29) Week In Review: (Split their home series with Las Vegas Aviators)
Top Performers: In each of their three wins the Chihuahuas scored double digit runs. In their three losses, they scored a combined 12 runs. While the top of the order made the most headlines, Taylor Kohlwey had a loud week as well. In four games, Kohlwey went 9-for-18 with a double, two home runs and eight RBI. Possibly even more impressive, Kohlwey struck out just once this week and three times in all of June. … While still having an impressive overall week, center fielder Esteury Ruiz finally showed signs of cooling off. He went 1-for-9 over his last two games including striking out to end the game on Sunday. Over the first half of the week though, Ruiz was a cool 7-for-11 with a home run and seven stolen bases. In 11 El Paso games Ruiz is hitting .422/.527/.733 with 11 stolen bases among his MLB-leading 48 total for the year. … Hitting right behind Ruiz, before his call-up, C.J. Abrams had at least one hit in each of the five games he played going 9-for-24 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and three stolen bases. Abrams has now reached base in 19 straight games. … Outfielder Brent Rooker continues to mash. After missing a few games after a call-up by the Padres, Rooker returned and immediately got five hits in his first two games, including two doubles and two home runs. Despite missing almost a month in the PCL, Rooker still has 11 home runs and a .592 SLG.
Key prospects and others of note: While no longer a prospect, now right-handed reliever Dinelson Lamet made his first two appearances in Triple-A. He threw two scoreless innings in both appearances. Combined he allowed only one hit while striking out three. … Slowly but surely they are increasing lefty Jose Castillo’s usage. He appeared in every other game last week. After striking out the side in the first game, he allowed a run on two hits in his second outing. For the week, Castillo allowed one run in 3.1 innings, striking out eight. … Robinson Canó started five games, and got a single hit in each of them. … May’s wonderkid Matthew Batten had eight hits over the last five games with two doubles. … Luis Campusano had a hit in every game, splitting time between catcher and DH. He went 7-for-20, all singles. On the month Campy is slugging just .302. … Hard to be the backup catcher to a top 100 prospect, but catcher/sometime outfielder Brett Sullivan is still hitting .313 for the season and .400 for the month. He went 5-for-5 on Friday, and 7-for-17 on the week. (Ben Davey)
San Antonio Missions (Won series against Amarillo Sod Poodles 4-2)
Top Performers: The Missions continued their surge atop the South division of the Texas League and now three games ahead of Frisco with a 34-27 record. They took a series win over third place Amarillo, including an emotional walkoff win while representing the Uvalde Coyotes. The standout in this series was Texas League Player of the Week, Domingo Leyba. Signed as a free agent after he spent 2021 with the Orioles and Rangers organizations, Leyba began the season in El Paso, but was sent down to San Antonio for more playing time. The 26-year-old flourished this week with a .458/.519/.833 slash line in 24 at-bats, slugging three doubles and a pair of home runs. … Tirso Ornales, who not only hit the dramatic game-tying home run in Thursday’s walkoff, excelled for the week, hitting .476 in 21 at-bats to raise his average on the season to .291.
On the mound, Reggie Lawson continued his resurgence, tossing five innings of one-run ball, earning the win as he heats up heading into the summer months. The 24-year-old righty only struck out one, but allowed just three hits and a season-low one walk. … Nolan Watson delivered four scoreless innings in his start, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out three. The minor league free agent signee hasn’t allowed an earned run in 9.1 innings this month.
Key prospects and others of note: Korry Howell was 5-for-18 (.278) with a home run and a pair of stolen bases, and Juan Fernandez hit .333 in 21 at-bats with six RBIs. … Chandler Seagle hit .235 for the series, but he delivered a grand slam for four of his five RBIs. … Michel Baez made two appearances, allowing a run in 2.2 innings of work. … Alek Jacob made two more scoreless appearances out of the bullpen, allowing two hits in 3.1 innings, while Moises Lugo threw three innings of one-hit ball, striking out five in relief. … Henry Henry also came through with three scoreless innings in a sterling week for San Antonio’s bullpen, while Tom Cosgrove earned a win amidst a pair of appearances without allowing a run. (Mark Wilkens)
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Won series at Lansing Lugnuts 4-2)
Top Performers: Complementing Gasser’s stellar performance, Robert Hassell III had a big week at the plate in the Midwest League. The 19-year-old outfielder, who we have ranked only behind only C.J. Abrams, had ten hits in the last six games, including five doubles, a triple, and a home run with three stolen bases. Hassell has stolen 18 bases this year without getting caught. He leads the Midwest League in batting average at .317 and is in the top ten in the league in hits, OPS, and stolen bases.
Key prospects and others of note: Corey Rosier, in his first full series back since coming off the COVID-19 list, had a solid week to post a .318/.423/.500 line with four walks and surprisingly no stolen bases. Rosier is third in the Midwest League in walks with 38 and tied with Hassell for fifth in stolen bases. His 18.5% strikeout rate is up from last year’s 14.2% mark, but the big difference is his batting average on balls in play is down at an unlucky .276 compared to .434 during his big year in Modesto last season. … Jarryd Dale continues to improve defensively at shortstop and had seven hits in the five games he played for a .292/.320/.375 line. After playing seven different positions last year for the Storm, he has played all but three of his 59 games at shortstop this season. … After a slow start in High-A, Lucas Dunn found his footing in Lansing, posting an .810 OPS and just a 20% strikeout rate. … No one was going to top what Gasser did on the mound this week, but Noel Vela gave it a run with a stellar six-inning performance, giving up one run on three hits and a walk while striking out six. Vela can match anyone on the TinCaps staff for pure stuff; his big challenge is limiting his walks and being more efficient with his pitches to go deeper into games. (John Conniff)
Lake Elsinore Storm Week in Review (won series at Modesto Nuts, 4-2)
Top Performers: The Storm moved closer to clinching a playoff spot as they won a series in Modesto to move out to a three-game lead over second place Rancho Cucamonga. They open a crucial series against Rancho Tuesday night in Lake Elsinore. … The Storm had a great week offensively, as they had eight players post an OPS over .850. Infielder Marcos Castañon paced the Storm offensive attack with three homers in the series, including the first multi-homer game of his professional career. In 29 plate appearances in Modesto, Castañon hit .240/.345/.640 and scored eight runs to lead the club. The 23-year-old hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz this year but he’s quietly been a very solid contributor. He’s posted a solid 13.3% walk-rate and a solid wRC+ of 107. … Carlos Luis didn’t crack any of our individual top-30 lists coming into the year, but his production this year should change that. Luis had another excellent series, hitting .476/.500/.619 with three doubles and five runs batted in. The 22-year-old has big-time power potential and he is slowly starting to show it off in game settings. He only has four homers this season but he’s sixth in the league in RBI, thanks to an outstanding .359/.419/.484 slash-line with runners in scoring position. … Thanks to a pair of lengthy outings, reliever Hazahel Quijada actually led the team in innings as the southpaw fired 6.2 frames of excellence. The former UC Riverside hurler tossed four shutout innings on Saturday night, earning his third save in the process. Quijada struck out seven Nuts without walking a batter. The 24-year-old was the Padres’ 17th-rounder back in 2018. He’s battled injuries throughout his career but this season he has provided the Storm with mostly solid work out of the bullpen. He will need to cut down on the walks but the lefty has generally been able to miss bats. Saturday’s outing was just the fourth time in 16 appearances that Quijada finished without a walk.
Key prospects and others of note: He’s back. Outfielder James Wood returned to the Storm lineup on Thursday and went 0-for-5. Wood heated up in the final three games of the series, going 5-for-16 with a double and three stolen bases. The 19-year-old missed about six weeks with a wrist injury. … We’ve written a lot about how impressive Albert Fabian has been this season and last week was no exception. Fabian hit two homers against the Nuts, giving him seven this season – just one behind club leader Justin Farmer. The 21-year-old outfielder played in just seven games stateside prior to the 2022 season, all of which came in the ACL last season. Fabian failed to make the Storm roster out of spring training but has been an important offensive piece for a winning ball club. Fabian’s excellent week boosted his wRC+ to 116. That mark ranks third on the team, among Storm hitters that have had 100 plate appearances. Only Cole Cummings and Dunn have been better at the plate. … Infielder Max Ferguson had another good series, as he continued his excellent work on the base paths. Ferguson stole six more bases last week, giving him 44. Ferguson has only been caught three times all year. Of course, you can’t steal first base and Ferguson was able to get on base. He finished the week with a .500 on-base percentage. (Kevin Charity)
ACL Padres (2-3 on the week)
Top Performers: Rosman Verdugo hit in all five games for the complex league squad this week, going 6-for-13 and connecting on his first two professional homers to lift his line for the year to .355/.382/.677. The 17-year-old from Baja California signed as the top prospect out of Mexico in January after appearing with the Mexico City Diablos Rojos last summer. He struck out five times on the week, leaving just two balls in play that went for outs. … Jarlin Susana tossed four hitless innings in his outing on Tuesday, striking out seven. Manuel Castro followed him and kept the no-hitter going until two outs in the ninth when, after an error kept the inning going, he surrendered a walk-off homer. He struck out eight in 4.2 innings.
Key prospects and others of note: Joshua Mears continues his work to get on track in the desert. The powerful righty had a double and homer on the week, but struck out in 8 of 13 at-bats. … After missing the first nine games of the season, Samuel Zavala got underway on Saturday and connected on an RBI double for his first hit of the year on Monday. The 17-year-old outfielder from Venezuela is one of the top bats in the desert. … Cuban lefty Javier Chacon struck out nine over 3.2 innings in his outing for the week. The 19-year-old has struck out 18 while allowing just 10 runners in 10.2 inning on the year. … Henry Baez‘s strong outing Monday night was his best performance so far. The 19-year-old, who shows good arm speed and plenty of projectability, struck out seven over four frames in his third appearance of the year. … Backstop Gilberto Vizcarra caught three games as he rehabs from an injury that had him on the shelf from mid-April. He’ll likely be headed back to the Storm within the week. (David Jay)
Monday’s Game: ACL Diamondbacks Red 9 – ACL Padres 4
Key Stats: CF Samuel Zavala 1-for-3, 2B, K; RF Joshua Mears 1-for-3, 2B, K; 2B Rosman Verdugo 1-for-3, HR (2); RHP Henry Baez 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB