We hope everyone had an awesome and safe July 4. The minor leagues broke the status quo this year and every team was in action Monday. The 4th of July is typically the biggest attendance day of the year for most MILB franchises, so it made sense to shift the off day to Tuesday. While there were plenty of fireworks supplied by the Chihuahuas’ offense, the rest of the system was a dud; Padres affiliates went 1-4 Monday.
Chihuahuas 11, Sugar Land Space Cowboys 7
Key Statistics: CF Luis Liberato, 2-for-4, 3 R, BB, 2B, HR (10), RBI; RF Brent Rooker, 2-for-3, 2 R, HR (14), 4 RBI, 2 BB; 2B C.J. Hinojosa, 2-for-5, R, HR (5), 4 RBI; 3B Reinaldo Ilarraza, 2-for-5; RHP Pedro Avila, 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K; RHP Evan Miller (W, 2-2) 1.2 IP, H, 3 ER, 2 BB, K
Prospect Watch: El Paso won two games Sunday, flew across the state, and took apart the minor league team formerly known as the Skeeters in Sugar Land. … Center fielder Luis Liberato had a double and a homer – his tenth of the year. It was the third time that the 26-year-old has reached double-digits in homers in his career. The former Mariners prospect had a rough first two months of the season but he came on quite a bit in June, hitting .333/.410/.583. He’s off to a 5-for-13 start in July. … Brent Rooker hit a grand slam in the second inning off of Space Cowboys righty Forrest Whitley, who is still one of the top prospects in the Astros system. The homer was Rooker’s 14th of the year, giving him the team lead. The 14 homers are also the highest total from any player in the entire Padres organization. Rooker has a .977 OPS in 48 games for the Chihuahuas this season. … Veteran infielder C.J. Hinojosa drove in a team-high four runs, in addition to connecting on his fifth homer this season. The 27-year-old is playing with the fourth organization since being drafted in 2015 by the Giants. Hinojosa actually spent last season with the Houston organization and played for Houston’s Triple-A team, when they were known as the Skeeters. … Righty Pedro Avila started the night off strong, throwing two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third. The former big leaguer allowed three runs in the third before working a scoreless fourth. The 25-year-old has bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen this year. He’s battled command issues (25 walks in 48 innings) but he has allowed opposing hitters to bat just .247 which is a good mark for the Pacific Coast League.
Frisco RoughRiders 11, Missions 0
Key Statistics: C Yorman Rodriguez, 1-for-4, 2B; RF Jorge Oña, 2-for-3, 2B, BB; LF-1B Tirso Ornelas, 1-for-3, BB; RHP Nolan Watson (L, 1-4) 3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K; RHP Kevin Kopps, 2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 3 K
Prospect Watch: More than 7,000 people came out to Wolff Stadium to see the Missions get whitewashed in the series opener against Frisco. … The Missions couldn’t push a run across but outfielder Jorge Oña certainly did his part. The Cuban-born outfielder had a pair of singles and drew a walk. The 25-year-old outfielder has hit well over the last month, shaking off a very slow start. In 55 plate appearances since June 1, Oña is hitting .320. He’s only drawn two walks in that span but just seeing him on the field daily is encouraging. He’s dealt with myriad injuries since signing with the Padres as part of their 2016 international class. … Tirso Ornelas reached base twice with a walk and a single. He also shifted from left field to first base after Juan Fernandez was removed. It was the first time in his professional career that he has seen game action at first base. … Kevin Kopps worked a pair of innings and allowed a run on two hits, walking one and striking out three. The 25-year-old right-hander has struggled to limit the walks this season and it’s worked against him. Kopps has issued a walk in seven of his eight outings since June 1. The good news is that Kopps has allowed just one earned run in five innings since allowing four earned runs in an outing in Wichita.
Lake County Captains 6, TinCaps 0
Prospect Watch: 8,350 people packed into Parkview Field to see the TinCaps get three-hit in a loss. … Fort Wayne got one runner into scoring position all night. … Robert Hassell III singled in the ninth to avoid the hitless night. He has reached base nine times in 18 plate appearances this month. … Left-handed starter Jackson Wolf pitched into the sixth inning, allowing four runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. The former West Virginia hurler didn’t walk anyone and struck out seven. Wolf went through a rough June, pitching to a 6.87 ERA in four outings. Despite the struggles, Wolf has still averaged more than one strikeout per inning. … Edwuin Bencomo took over for Wolf and recorded five outs without allowing a base runner. Bencomo also struck out three batters. The 23-year-old from Venezuela has been a reliable middle reliever for the TinCaps this year. His scoreless outing Monday dropped his season ERA to 2.79.
Visalia Rawhide 8, Storm 5
Key Statistics: 3B Marcos Castañon, 2-for-2, 3 BB, 2 2B; CF James Wood, 1-for-4, BB, 2B; DH Juan Zabala, 2-for-4, R, 2B; RHP Manuel Castro (L, 1-1) 1.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, BB, 2 K; LHP Ben Miller, 2.1 IP, 2 H, BB, K; RHP Aaron Holiday, 2.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The Storm traveled up the road to Visalia and dropped the series opener as Visalia scored seven runs in the second inning to put this one away early. … At the plate, there might not be a hotter hitter on the Storm roster than Marcos Castañon. The Storm third baseman reached base in all five of his plate appearances. He had two doubles and three walks. Castañon, who was born in San Bernardino and attended high school in Rialto, has reached base 14 times in 19 plate appearances in July. The 23-year-old had three doubles in all of June but has four already in July. The perfect night at the plate raised Castañon’s on-base percentage to .408 which ranks fourth in the circuit. His nine homers are second on the squad, one behind Justin Farmer‘s team lead. … Juan Zabala had a pair of hits, including a double. The 23-year-old came over last month from the Dodgers’ organization after the Missions struggled through a COVID-19 outbreak. Zabala has settled in with the Storm and he’s been excellent in a small sample. In 11 games, Zabala is hitting .425/.500/.725 with a pair of homers. In addition, he will go down in history as the first catcher in club history to catch a no-hitter, as he was behind the plate in last Friday’s Storm no-no. … RHP Aaron Holiday bounced back after a rough couple of outings, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings. Holiday allowed 11 earned runs in his previous two outings, spanning three innings. The former A’s prospect was excellent in May, so hopefully, this is the first sign of him getting back on track in July.
ACL Athletics 5, ACL Padres 3 (7 innings)
Key Statistics: SS Rosman Verdugo, 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (3), RBI; RF Ruben Salinas, 1-for-4, 2B, RBI; LF Albert Fabian, 1-for-2, R, BB; RHP Henry Baez, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 9 K; RHP Miguel Mendez (L, 0-1) 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The ACL Padres lost a seven-inning affair to the Athletics. … 17-year-old Rosman Verdugo continues to hit in the desert. The Ensenada native had a pair of hits, including his third homer of the year. Verdugo has been the best hitter in the desert this season, hitting .297/.361/.531 in 21 games. … A pair of rehabbing outfielders made starts Monday afternoon. Big leaguer Matt Beaty went hitless in three at-bats, starting at designated hitter. The former Dodger has been on the injured list with a shoulder impingement since early May and had to shut down his first attempt at a comeback in El Paso. … Albert Fabian started in left field and went 1-for-2 with a walk and he reached base after being hit by a pitch. The 20-year-old was one of the Storm’s most productive hitters. Assuming he can make it back soon, Fabian only deepens a very good Storm lineup. … Henry Baez worked into the fifth inning but couldn’t record the final out. Baez allowed one earned run on two hits. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out a career-high nine batters. The 19-year-old righty has struck out 24 in 15.2 innings this season.