MadFriars Player of the Week: INF Marcos Castañon, Lake Elsinore.

Over the last few weeks, there has been no hotter hitter than Storm infielder Marcos Castañon. The 23-year-old infielder cleaned up once again last week in Visalia, hitting .300/.391/.750 with three homers and eight RBI. His power output helped the Storm salvage a split in the Central Valley. The Rialto, California native has nine homers in his last 29 games and thanks to a keen eye at the plate, he has a .407 on-base percentage. He may not be the best prospect on the team but he has been the best player in Lake Elsinore over the last month.

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Nolan Watson, San Antonio.

Watson, 25, allowed nine earned runs in his previous three outings, spanning 11 innings. His performance on Sunday was about as unexpected as one could have imagined. Watson pitched six stellar innings to lead the Missions to victory. It was the first time since August 4, 2018, that Watson pitched at least six innings. Watson allowed just two baserunners – including a walk and a hit without allowing a run. Watson struck out a season-high nine. The Indianapolis native has bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen this season. If last week’s outing is any indicator, he should remain in the Missions’ rotation going forward.

El Paso Chihuahuas (48-36) (Won series at Sugar Land Space Cowboys 4-2)

Transactions: Sunday, the Padres sold the contract of Robinson Canó to the Braves for $1. June standouts Brent Rooker and C.J. Abrams are with the big league club and Esteury Ruiz is on standby as part of the Padres’ taxi squad in Colorado.

Eguy Rsoario is making a strong push for a big league call-up. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Performers:  The reigning PCL Player of the Week Eguy Rosario came back to earth a bit, but still had a great week. He went 6-for-21, with three doubles and a home run for a crisp .286/.444/.571 line. Before being called up to San Diego, outfielder Brent Rooker went 4-6 in two games with two doubles, a home run and three walks.  He hasn’t quite had the same success in San Diego, but the power is there. … Lefty Jose Castillo continues to be dominant although used sparingly.  Despite the mile high ERAs for most of the team, Castillo threw another two scoreless innings lowering his overall ERA to 0.87.  He still hasn’t pitched in back to back games in nearly two months. … Ryan Weathers had his best start in two months.  He had faced the minimum threw four innings before his no hitter and shutout were broken up in the fifth.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Ruiz joined the taxi squad off of arguably his worst week in Triple-A.  He collected only three hits over the six games.  He did walk four times and steal four bases. … Catcher Luis Campusano had two multi-hit games in the series but went hitless in his other appearances. He finished the week batting .222/.333/.389, but did hit his second home run in a week after going more than a month without one. … After dominating at two levels already, right-hander Alek Jacob was promoted to Triple-A.  Not only did he throw two scoreless outings, but he collected his first Triple-A save on Sunday.  He is the first person from the Padres’ 2021 draft class to make it to Triple-A. … Since we last saw Reiss Knehr, he has moved to the pen, and the results have been substantially better. He has yet to allow a run in July, including two scoreless innings this week, as he also collected his first save of the year. (Ben Davey)

San Antonio Missions (42-37) (Lost series to Frisco RoughRiders, 4-2)

Top Performers: The Missions’ offense struggled overall but outfielder Tirso Ornelas had a nice series. He led the team with a .956 OPS in five games played. Ornelas homered, doubled, and drove in a team-high six RBI. The left-handed hitting outfielder has swung a hot bat over the last six weeks. Since June 1, Ornelas is hitting .336/.383/.477 with a pair of homers and a 125 wRC+. … Outfielder Thomas Milone also produced for the Missions, hitting .300/.364/.500 with a homer and four RBI. The former Yankees farmhand started the year in El Paso but was sent back to San Antonio in May. He struggled out of the gate but provided league-average offense in June.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Reggie Lawson made his sixth consecutive start allowing one run or fewer, throwing seven innings of one-run ball, striking out four and walking none. The 71st overall pick in 2016 has shaken off the rust and looked much like the pitcher he was before Tommy John surgery. While he is 4-4 with a 4.47 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 54.1 innings overall on the year 2022, that includes a 14.54 ERA in April and 8.10 ERA in May, showing the magnitude of his improvement. … Kevin Kopps, last year’s third-rounder, appeared three times in the series, allowing one earned run in four innings. The Arkansas product issued one walk while striking out four. The 2022 season as a whole has been disappointing for Kopps, as his command has slipped at times, walking 22 batters in 28.2 innings, while striking out 29 and posting a 5.02 ERA.  (Mark Wilkens)

Fort Wayne TinCaps (32-49) (Split series with the Lake County Captains)

Matthew Acosta had a big week for the TinCaps. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Top Performers:  Versatile Matthew Acosta was the star this week with a .316/.435/.474 slash line with three doubles and four walks. The former USC Trojan has seen time at first base and right and center field this year for the TinCaps. … Middle infielder Jarryd Dale was held to three singles in 19 plate appearances but walked six times for a .450 on-base percentage. … Both catcher Adam Kerner and first baseman/designated hitter Jack Stronach have been fighting for playing time, but each made the most of their opportunities this week. Kerner rapped out three hits in nine plate appearances and drew a walk, while Stronach got in three games for a .444/.500/.677 slash line in 11 plate appearances. … Both Robert Gasser and Jackson Wolf turned in impressive starts this week. Gasser had 10 strikeouts in six innings against a walk, and an earned run and has been dominating the Midwest League since giving up five earned runs on June 2. Wolf had one of his longer starts of the year, going 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts, a pair of walks, and only allowed two hits. Unfortunately, both went over the fence for the two runs that he allowed.

Top Prospects of Note:  Robert Hassell III, the sole Padres prospect named to the All-Star Future’s Game, made the most of his only appearance this week as he hit a pair of doubles, a home run, and walked three times. He missed the rest of the week with an undisclosed lingering soreness described as being day-to-day. … Max Ferguson had a tough week with only a single hit in 23 plate appearances that was somewhat offset by four walks and a stolen base. Finally, Brandon Valenzuela, the number nine prospect in the Padres’ system, had a .250/.455/.625 slash line in 11 plate appearances. … Ryan Bergert has been up and down this year but turned in a solid performance this week in his start allowing two runs in four and two-thirds innings. Bergert might have the best fastball on the staff but needs to bring his secondary offerings up to the same level. … Seth Mayberry had a solid night in his one relief outing this week with four strikeouts in a scoreless inning and a third. (John Conniff)

Justin Farmer has thrived in the leadoff spot. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Lake Elsinore Storm (49-32) (Split series against Visalia 3-3)

Top Performers: The Storm stumbled a bit against Visalia but were able to win the final two games of the series to split the series. They return home on Tuesday to open a six-game set against the Modesto Nuts. … Outfielder Justin Farmer has replaced Max Ferguson as the spark plug of the Storm offense. Farmer hit .467/.619/.667 out of the lead-off spot with three doubles, six walks, and four stolen bases. Farmer has a .500 on-base percentage in nine July games. … Utility-man Kervin Pichardo only played in three games last week but he homered twice; Pichardo and Marcos Castañon were the only Storm hitters to leave the yard. The 20-year-old came over from the Phillies in exchange for reliever James Norwood. … Righty Duncan Snider made his first two outings in the organization and pitched exceedingly well. The 24-year-old debuted with the Storm on Wednesday and pitched a scoreless inning. He came back on Sunday and tossed 5.2 innings of shutout ball, walking one and striking out five. Duncan was signed by the Padres out of the American Association a few weeks ago. He saw time last season with Tucson of the Pecos League. He attended college at Upper Iowa University, a Division II school. … Lefty Bodi Rascon started on Wednedsay and earned the win, pitching five solid innings. Over his last two starts, Rascon has allowed just one earned run in 10 innings.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Outfielder James Wood didn’t find the seats last week but he still had plenty of impact at the plate. In four games, Wood went 6-for-16, with three doubles. Wood led the club with seven runs scored and he drove in seven runs. In 19 plate appearances, Wood struck out just three times. His K-rate is 16.8% this season which is astonishing, considering it was higher last year when he played at IMG Academy. … Right-hander Garrett Hawkins started Friday in his first outing since combining for the first no-hitter in Storm history. The results weren’t as kind this time around as Hawkins took the loss. He allowed four runs in four innings, two of them earned. He added four strikeouts to the ledger, along with two walks. (Kevin Charity)

ACL Padres (12-14) (3-2 on the week)

ACL White Sox 6 – Padres 0

Key Stats: 2B Rosman Verdugo 1-for-3, BB; CF Ruben Salinas 1-for-3, BB; RHP Henry Baez 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 5 K, 3 BB; LHP Luis Gutierrez 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 K

Victor Acosta started slow, but is finding his footing in Arizona. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Prospect Watch: The rookie-league Padres managed only three singles and weren’t able to capitalize on seven walks as they were shut out on a day they had the chance to get back to .500. … Lefty Luis Gutierrez was one of the headliners of the club’s 2019 international free agent class, but his command completely deteriorated after he signed on his 16th birthday and he hadn’t been stateside after his initial instructional league appearance that fall. He finally rediscovered some consistency in the DSL this summer and was brought over to Arizona earlier this week. The lefty from Venezuela gave up a pair of homers against the first four batters he faced, then settled in and got through the next inning and two thirds unscathed.

Weekly Top Performers: Juan Murillo went 7-for-15 with a walk and stolen base in five starts. Announced as an infielder when the Padres signed the 19-year-old Cuban defector in January, the right-hander has been playing in the outfield corners in the desert. … Rosman Verdugo was 5-for-17 with a .765 slugging percentage in five contests. The 17-year-old has drawn a walk in four straight contests and is in the midst of a very impressive professional debut as one of the youngest players in affiliated ball. … Victor Acosta has added more than 200 points to his OPS over his last seven games. The switch-hitting shortstop went 5-for-13 on the week, drew five walks against just two strikeouts, and swiped a pair of bases. (David Jay)

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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