MadFriars Player of the Week: Carlos Luis, Lake Elsinore
It was a week to remember for Carlos Luis, as he continued his breakout season in a big way. The first baseman earned California League Player of the Week by hitting .545/.583/.909 with five doubles, a homer, and eight RBI. Luis’s hot week raised his batting average to .320, which ranks third in the league. He’s tied for second in the league with 25 doubles and his 68 RBI ranks third. While the offensive bar for first base is quite high, if Luis can continue make better swing decisions and drive the ball, the Padres may have a legitimate prospect at a corner infield spot, something the organization can surely use.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: LHP Jackson Wolf, Fort Wayne
The left-hander had the advantage of making two starts last week but he was brilliant in both outings. Wolf started last Tuesday and earned the win by pitching five shutout innings. He allowed just one hit and a walk before giving way to the bullpen. When Wolf started the finale of the six-game series, he mowed down the Chiefs again, allowing just one earned run on five hits in five more innings. In that contest, Wolf struck out nine batters – two off his career-high. His excellent work lowered his ERA to 4.40.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Lost series at Tacoma 2-4)
Top Performers: As great as the El Paso offense has been over the last month, that was far from the case this week. Excluding their 9-4 win on Wednesday, El Paso scored a combined 12 runs over the other 5 games at sea level. Many of the club’s primary contributors from the year are either in San Diego, traded, or slumping. As a result, the top performer was a pitcher. Lefty Ryan Weathers did not allow an earned run over six strong innings and for the first time in a long time, he had a sub 1 WHIP, to earn his fifth win of the season. … Rehabbing Padre, Wil Myers only had four hits, but made the most of them with two home runs. … After going hitless in his first Tacoma game, Eguy Rosario made up for lost time the rest of the series. He was the only batter to record a hit in five straight games including a home run in back-to-back games. Rosario ended the month hitting .364/.449/.670.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Sugar Man, aka Jose Azocar, collected six hits over the first four games in the series, including a double and home run in that 9-4 rout on Wednesday. The two extra base hits represent 40% of his total since joining El Paso. … Luis Campusano collected his ninth home run on the season, and third in July. After hitting .320 in June, Campusano hit .217 in July. … Lefty Jose Castillo got into two games throwing a scoreless 1.2 innings allowing just two baserunners with three strikeouts. … Ray Kerr got into three games. After surrendering a run in his first appearance, the left-hander did not allow an earned run the last two innings, and picked up his second save of the year. … Brent Rooker had three hits in his four games this week. He doubled twice and walked twice but struck out five times over his last eight at bats. (Ben Davey)
San Antonio Missions (Lost Series at Midland 2-4)
Top Performers: The Missions failed to carry momentum from their weekend home series, dropping a road trip to Midland. By far their best performer at the plate was Tirso Ornelas, who went 12-for-25 (.480) with three doubles and a triple. Ornelas’ week was bolstered by Sunday’s career-best game when he collected five hits and drove in three runs. … Yorman Rodriguez tied Ornelas for the team lead in the series with six runs batted in, while homering and batting .333 for the week. Rodriguez is batting .298 with 11 home runs in 2022, while playing catcher, first base, and getting starts at DH. … Mr. Consistency himself, Connor Hollis went 7-for-19 (.368) in the series with three doubles. Hollis, the former Rays farmhand, is making a strong bid for the Texas League batting title, currently tied for the lead with a .323 mark. … Kevin Kopps made three scoreless appearances in the series, earning a save, while striking out three and walking one in 3.2 innings. Kopps posted a 1.42 ERA in nine July appearances to bring his season mark down to 4.21. … Nolan Watson allowed one run on three hits in four innings, bringing his ERA for July down to 4.58 in his fourth start of the month.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: It was a bump in the road for Reggie Lawson, who lasted only 3.1 innings total in two starts in the series, allowing six earned runs on five hits and eight walks in the span. After a stellar June, walks have returned as an issue for Lawson, who is regaining his feel after elbow and shoulder injuries. … Jorge Oña went 1-for-5 in the series with a double, but appeared to injure himself on the double, being lifted for a pinch hitter later in the game. (Mark Wilkens)
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Split series at the Peoria Chiefs, 3-3)
Top Performers: This section of the weekly is getting close to being named the “Corey Rosier Memorial.” Rosier he had another huge week with 10 hits in six games including a double, triple, and four stolen bases in four attempts for a .435/.440/.565 line. The UNC-Greensboro product had his best month of the season in July, hitting .346/.427/.519. … Cole Cummings, 24, also had a nice week with nine hits in six games for a .333/.379/.370 slash line. Cummings, a left-handed hitter from UC-Santa Barbara, joined the Storm in late April and worked his way to the Midwest League in late June. The 2021 undrafted free agent has seen time at first base and designated hitter. … Lefty Noel Vela had a nice outing on the mound, going five innings with five punch-outs against a pair of walks and two runs. In four of his five starts in July, Vela went at least five innings as he has made significant strides to become more efficient.
Top Prospects of Note: Joshua Mears returned to the Midwest League and slashed .269/.296/.500 with seven hits in 27 plate appearances and his first home run since May 7. He still had 13 strikeouts, but there is progress. Robert Hassell III, the subject of intense trade speculation this week, had six hits with a pair of doubles but also struck out nine times. Despite a tough week, Hassell is still fourth in the league in batting average at .299 and tenth in OPS. … Max Ferguson only hit .240 in Peoria, but had four extra-base hits in six games and a pair of stolen bases. … Right-hander Ryan Bergert had seven strikeouts in five innings but gave up four earned runs as he struggled with his secondary stuff.
Roster Moves: The Padres traded Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet, and TinCaps’ star left-hander Robert Gasser, 23, to the Milwaukee Brewers for premier closer Josh Hader. Gasser was our number 12 ranked prospect, and with the graduation of Mackenzie Gore, our highest-ranked starter in our midyear update. The former University of Houston Cougar had a 4-9 record with a 4.18 ERA and, more impressively, 115 strikeouts, which was good enough for third in the league, against 28 walks. The lefty was particularly good in June when he had a 2.69 ERA in 30.1 innings with 36 strikeouts. His manager Brian Esposito described what made Gasser successful: “He has that inside-outside approach, a sweepy slider, and his ball plays at the top of the zone. He has four weapons that he is building on. If you have a lefty pitcher that throws from a funky slot with a little uphill, that is tough to pick up and square up.”
If he hadn’t been traded, the Padres were expected to move him up to Double-A San Antonio. The Brewers have already confirmed he’s bound for their Southern League Biloxi Shuckers affiliate. (John Conniff)
Lake Elsinore Storm (won series over Stockton Ports, 5-1)
Top Performers: The Storm lost the series opener last Tuesday 12-3 to extend their losing streak to six straight. However, the Storm bounced back against Stockton, winning the final five games of the series. At 17-13 in the season’s second half, the Storm are tied for first place. They already clinched a berth in the playoffs by virtue of winning the first-half title. … Outfielder James Wood saved his best work for the final game of the series. He started the day by blasting a homer to right-center field which is the deepest part of The Diamond. The homer was Wood’s tenth of the year. He then singled, doubled, and stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the eighth inning, needing a triple to complete the cycle. Wood didn’t triple but he stroked a single to the opposite field. The 19-year-old center fielder finished the week hitting .450/.520/.909 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI. … Infielder Wyatt Hoffman had a nice series, going 6-for-15 with a pair of doubles. Hoffman, 23, has settled in with the Storm and has a .706 OPS in 19 games. The former Pacific Tiger has played capably at second and has helped Lake Elsinore offset last month’s promotion of Max Ferguson. … We’ve written a lot about the offensive prowess of the Storm this season but their pitching was the biggest reason the Storm won five straight. 18-year-old Victor Lizarraga pitched Saturday and shut down Stockton for five innings. Lizarraga allowed an unearned run on two hits, walking two and striking out four. In four July starts, the San Diego native went 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Left-handed starter Jesus Gonzalez had one of his best starts on Saturday. Gonzalez earned the win, pitching into the seventh inning for just the second time this year. He allowed nine hits but just two earned runs. The 21-year-old doesn’t miss a lot of bats but has had flashes of success this season. While his 5.22 ERA isn’t impressive, the bulk of that was caused by a three-start stretch in July in which he allowed 16 earned runs. … RHP Garrett Hawkins bullied the Ports Friday night but thanks to a high pitch count, he didn’t stick around to earn the win. Hawkins threw 77 pitches in four shutout innings. He walked a pair and struck out nine. The 22-year-old from Saskatchewan has racked up the strikeouts this season but has struggled with some bad luck with balls in play. In July, things normalized a bit and Hawkins allowed just one earned run in 19 innings. In 72.1 innings, Hawkins has struck out 100 batters. … Right-handed pitcher Jairo Iriarte had one of his best starts of the season Thursday. The 20-year-old pitched five innings of shutout ball, allowing just four hits. The young righty has shown better command in July. He walked just two in 14.2 innings in three July starts. (Kevin Charity)
ACL Padres (3-2 on the week)
ACL Padres 5, ACL Dodgers 4
Key Stats: DH Eddy Beltre 1-for-2; CF Samuel Zavala 2-for-3, 2B, SF; 3B/2B Graham Pauley 2-for-4, 2B, E; LHP Javier Chacon 4 IP, 3 H, 5 K, 2 BB
Prospect Watch: The Padres got a walk-off win despite not getting a ball out of the infield in the bottom of the ninth, giving themselves a winning week amid plenty of roster turnover as new arrivals to the system begin to make their debuts. Lefty Javier Chacon worked four scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out five. The 19-year-old Cuban lowered his ERA on the year to 2.23 and has a strong 48:15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32.1 innings. … Samuel Zavala missed most of the first two months of the season, but the talented left-handed hitter has more than held his own in the tiny sample size of 31 plate appearances. The 18-year-old’s double Monday night gives him four extra-base knocks among his first seven hits.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Josttin Diaz, who’s played primarily first base but bounced around the field about defensively, went 8-for-19 on the week with one double. The switch-hitter has done almost all of his damage on the year from the left side. … Rosman Verdugo had an unsightly 9 strikeouts to zero walks in 18 trips to the plate still had a .763 OPS for the week thanks to a double and home run. … On the mound, Jarlin Susana once again dominated over a four-inning start. The enormous 18-year-old struck out eight and didn’t allow a hit. He’s likely ticketed to join Lake Elsinore at some point before the end of the year, his first since signing a contract with the Padres. … Henry Baez allowed just one earned run over five innings in his longest outing of the year. The 19-year-old with a whippy fast delivery has now struck out 37 in 28.2 innings in his stateside debut. (David Jay)