MadFriars Player of the Week: INF/OF Olivier Basabe, Fort Wayne.
While the TinCaps mostly struggled offensively, the versatile Olivier Basabe more than did his part. Overall, he hit .500 (8-for-16) for the week with three homers, six RBI, and just one strikeout in Fort Wayne’s series against Lake County. Basabe’s OPS for the week was 1.642 which ranked second in the organization behind Joshua Mears. We gave the slightest edge to Basabe because he had a .579 on-base and struck out just once all week. Basabe’s performance last week seemingly came out of nowhere as the 25-year-old had just two homers coming into the series. The Padres drafted the Venezuelan native in the eighth round in 2017 after a big year at Faulkner University Montgomery, Alabama. He has seen time at first, second and third base and left and right fields.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: LHP Jackson Wolf, Fort Wayne.
Despite the TinCaps losing all six games against Lake County, they got another great performance from Jackson Wolf, who takes our pitcher of the week honors. The left-hander started on Friday and pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits with a walk and ten strikeouts. It was the second time this season that Wolf has notched double-digit strikeouts in a game and the eighth time he had at least seven. Wolf’s 120 strikeouts rank fourth in the Midwest League this season.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Lost to Sugar Land Space Cowboys 4-2)
Top Performers: El Paso scored 43 runs in the series and still lost four of six games. The week started with a bang as OF Taylor Kohlwey hit for the cycle on Tuesday. He collected another three hits and four RBI later in the week. … CF Jose Azocar had a fantastic finish to the series. After only starting once Monday through Thursday, Azocar had seven hits, including four extra-base hits on the weekend. After slugging .323 with the Padres, Azocar now has a .588 SLG with the Chihuahuas. SS Eguy Rosario reached base safely in five of the six games. He finished the week with seven runs, seven hits, and five walks. … LHP Jay Groome made his second start with El Paso. Despite being a home game in hitter-friendly El Paso, Groome tossed six innings of one-run ball, he didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Rehabbing Matt Beaty who now has just over a week left in his rehab stint, hit his first home run since May on Sunday. Beaty has been hitting well (.338 average) but has just started hitting the ball for power the past week. … C Luis Campusano started the week off well, homering Monday and collecting five hits and a walk in the first three games, before going hitless the last two. After a .348 SLG in July, Campusano is slugging .581 so far in August. … RHP Michel Baez had his worst career outing Wednesday. He surrendered eight earned runs while recording just one out. He came back on Sunday and struck out the side around a walk and a hit. LHP Jose Castillo has started pitching multi-inning efforts. He threw two innings of one-run ball, striking out five on Tuesday, before going another 1.1 innings of scoreless relief on Saturday. … LHP Ryan Weathers has shown the ability to go deep into games, but for the third time in his last four starts allowed six earned runs. He did set a season-high with seven strikeouts. (Ben Davey)
San Antonio Missons (Won at Frisco RoughRiders, 4-2)
Top Performers: The week started on a good note, with Fernando Tatis Jr. on the road with the Missions, in hope of making it back to the Padres active roster. We all know how that turned out, so let’s look at what transpired on the field. … The Missions’ offense did not have a great week but infielder Domingo Leyba continues to be a steady performer. He played in four games and produced an .837 OPS with a pair of extra-base hits. The 26-year-old has delivered a .773 overall for the Missions this year. … Right-hander Nolan Watson has been an interesting story over the last few months for San Antonio. At one point, the former Royals first-rounder looked like a candidate to be released but he’s sinced established himself as the Missions’ best starter. Watson pitched Saturday and allowed a pair of runs in his five innings of work. He walked three and struck out seven. In three August starts, Watson has a 2-0 record with a 1.69 ERA. In his last 16 innings, he’s walked four and struck out 20. … Right-hander Edwuin Bencomo was promoted to San Antonio at the start of the week and continued to do what he did in Fort Wayne: put up zeroes. Bencomo, 23, appeared in two games and threw 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit and a pair of walks. The right-hander has typically been deployed as a multi-inning reliever over the last few years. He has a 2.26 ERA overall in 59.2 innings this season.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: The streaky play of outfielder Tirso Ornelas was on the downward tilt, as the outfielder went just 3-for-25 with a double and 11 strikeouts in six games. In June and July, Ornelas hit a robust .337/.384/.485 with 13 doubles, a triple, and three homers. This month, the 22-year-old is hitting just .200/.259/.260. … Right-handed reliever Kevin Kopps appeared in just one game, firing two scoreless innings. The 25-year-old has pitched much better over the last two months after enduring a rough stretch in June. Since July 1, Kopps has a 1.59 ERA in 17 innings. He’s averaging less than a strikeout per inning but he’s lowered his walk rate to 7%. Through the end of June, it was 18%. The reduction in walks has allowed Kopps to develop into a reliable arm for manager Philip Wellman.
For subscribers: In case you missed it, Right-hander Reggie Lawson decided to call it a career last week. The righty from the High Desert has been a fixture in our prospect lists, ranking as highly as eighth as recently as 2021. However, the talented pitcher struggled with injuries and will move on to the next phase of his life. Mark Wilkens caught up with Reggie in San Antonio a few weeks ago and he has an excellent feature on Lawson’s journey. (Kevin Charity)
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Lost at Lake County Captains 6-0)
Top Performers: After splitting last week’s series with South Bend, Fort Wayne lost all six to the Cleveland Guardians’ affiliate Lake Country on the road. Still, there were a few bright spots for the duo who took our system-wide top player and pitcher of the week. … Joshua Mears had a monster week at the plate, hitting .438/.471/1.188 with three doubles and three home runs among his seven hits. He drew a walk, though did still strike out seven times in five games. Since returning to Fort Wayne, he’s posted a .667 slugging percentage while while playing strong defense in center field.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Right-hander Ryan Bergert’s rising high-spin fastball continues to generate strikeouts, and he had nine of them in his sole start this week while walking one and giving up two earned runs in his five inning stint. The key for Bergert will be to continue to improve upon his secondary offerings and get more early outs so he can go deeper into games. Alan Mundo, 22, was recently promoted to High-A. The converted shortstop from Delicias, Mexico, had a 2.23 ERA for the Storm with 68 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. This week he continued his scoreless streak, not giving up a run in either of his two outings while striking out four in 2.1 innings with no walks. … Miami native Anthony Vilar performed well in limited opportunities with four hits in three games in his ten plate appearances. Fellow catcher, and University of San Diego alum, Adam Kerner also continues to make the most of his opportunities with a pair of hits, including a home run and two RBI in eight plate appearances. (John Conniff)
Lake Elsinore Storm (Lost to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 4-2)
Top Performers: It was a rough week for the Storm, as they lost four of six to the Dodgers’ Low-A affiliate. … Offensively, the Storm were once again led by third baseman Marcos Castañon. The 23-year-old infielder hit .364/.464/.682 with a double, two homers, and a team-leading 8 RBI. With three series left, Castañon sits at 17 homers, good for fourth in the league. Five years ago Fernando Tatis Jr. and Hudson Potts hit 21 and 20 respectively with the TinCaps – the last Low-A players to reach the mark in the organization. He ranks seventh in the Cal League for on-base percentage (.406), and ninth in doubles (22). … Outfielder Justin Farmer also had a nice week at the plate. The former Florida International star hit .333/.464/.619 with three doubles, six walks, a homer, and five RBI. The 23-year-old’s homer was his first in nearly two months. Farmer has shown the ability to work walks at the plate but he’s had trouble making contact at times. Still, his contributions as an undrafted free agent have been a big reason why the Storm are playoff-bound in 2022. … Righty Manuel Castro appeared in a pair of games and allowed just one run in four innings. The 20-year-old opened some eyes this season in late June when he struck out 12 batters in a start against Inland Empire. Since then, the 20-year-old has been hit hard in the Cal League. He allowed 20 earned runs in 8.2 innings in July (20.77 ERA) but has been moved to the ‘pen where he stuff played much better against a Rancho Cucamonga offense that did a number on Storm pitching. In four innings, Castro notched four strikeouts.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Shortstop Jackson Merrill had a good series hitting at the top of the lineup. He went 6-for-21 with two doubles, a triple, two walks, and two RBI. On Thursday night he had a multi-hit effort that included an opposite field double to the left-center gap – an impressive feat at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore . In August, Merrill is hitting an excellent .302/.362/.395 for the Storm. … 18-year-old Samuel Zavala struggled in his second week in Low-A, going 4-for-23 with two doubles and nine strikeouts. Zavala was promoted along with Ruben Salinas when James Wood was traded in the Juan Soto deal. He hit well in his stateside debut with the ACL and has shown a nice stroke from the left-side of the plate. Zavala is in just his first stateside season, but he should get plenty of playing time down the stretch for the Storm.
A Fond Farewell: When an organization signs a player on the international market, the grim odds are it is unlikely he will never see the big leagues. That dream ended on Saturday for infielder Kelvin Alarcon, when the Padres released him. Alarcon, 23, was signed by the Padres as part of the international class of 2015 – the first under A.J. Preller. He signed for $425,000 and made his pro debut in the DSL the next year. Over the next six seasons, he never hit much but filled in all over the organization. He played at every level in the minors and hit a cumulative .237/.352/.289 in 276 games. He made his final appearance last Friday when he pitched the final inning of the Storm’s blowout loss to the Quakes. He allowed a run on three hits and even notched a strikeout. Good luck to Kelvin on whatever comes next! (Kevin Charity)
ACL Padres (3-2 on the week)
ACL Dodgers 7, ACL Padres 3
Key Stats: SS Rosman Verdugo 2-for-4, HR (7); DH Jonny Homza 1-for-4; LHP Javier Chacon 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 K, 3 BB; RHP Luis Acosta 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 K
Prospect Watch: Javier Chacon had a rare rough outing, surrendering a pair of homers as he allowed four runs across 3.2 innings. The 19-year-old lefty from Cuba entered the game with a 2.41 ERA and had not given up more than two earned runs in any outing on the year. Opponents are hitting just .216 against him in what amounts to his first season of professional baseball after appearing in one game without recording an out in his only game last summer. … Rosman Verdugo went deep in the ninth inning for his team-best seventh homer of the summer. The 17-year-old infielder is on track for the best power season the Padres have seen in the desert since Junior Perez’s big campaign in 2019. He’s striking out at a 34.4% clip courtesy of an aggressive approach, but the Ensenada native is impressing in his first professional campaign.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: As the organization eases new draftees and free agents into the system, only three players joined Verdugo in collecting double-digit at-bats. First baseman Nathan Martorella, the Padres’ fifth-round selection out of Cal, had three hits in 13 trips to the plate. On the mound, righty Adrian Luna had his strongest outing of the year, striking out eight over four scoreless innings. Luis Gutierrez continues to settle into his work, overcoming four walks to throw 3.2 scoreless frames. Undrafted free agent Braden Nett made his professional debut and recorded all four outs via the strikeout.