MadFriars Player of the Week: 1B Griffin Doersching, Lake Elsinore
We haven’t seen a week like Doersching had in a long time. The 24-year-old hit an incredible six homers including a pair of multi-homer games. His excellence performance led to him being named the Cal League’s Player of the Week by MiLB.com. He had two homers each on Saturday and Sunday and finished each game with nine total bases. The big first baseman has some swing-and-miss tendencies that could be a problem long-term, but his power at first base is something the Padres haven’t had in their system in a long time. Anytime you have an OPS of 1.700, you will draw the attention of prospect hounds.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Reiss Knehr, El Paso
Knehr, 25, made two appearances and pitched a team-high six innings for the Chihuahuas. Knehr pitched Wednesday night and allowed a run on three hits, striking out three. He followed that up with three more innings on Sunday, allowing just two hits while shutting down Round Rock. The former Fordham hurler hasn’t put up impressive numbers this season but he has pitched better since July after a rough start to the season. He’s fared much better in the big leagues and could be a candidate to be added to the Padres’ bullpen when rosters expand on September 1.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Split series at Round Rock 3-3)
Top Performers: After months of El Paso having the most feared offense in baseball, they suddenly went ice cold. They scored just 13 runs in the six game series. … On Tuesday, Eguy Rosario stole his 20th bag of the year. On Sunday, he hit his 20th home run. In doing so he became the first ever Chihuahua with a 20/20 season. … After plenty of frustration since moving up to Triple-A, knuckleballer Matt Waldron finally had a vintage outing, allowing only one run in five innings to lead El Paso to a 2-1 win. More impressively Waldron only walked one. … Lefty Jose Castillo had one of the more dominant nights for any reliever on Thursday. He faced seven batters in two innings, striking out six. With another third of an inning on Sunday, Castillo is now up to nine innings in August with 15 strikeouts.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: After allowing three earned runs in his first Triple-A appearance, Drew Pomeranz rebounded with a clean inning, only surrendering a walk. … Luis Campusano hit a blast on Thursday that helped propel the team to a win. The home run was part of a five-hit week for the catcher. … After last week’s disaster (8 earned runs while only getting one out), RHP Michel Baez rebounded with two perfect innings this week. It lowered his PCL ERA to 12.54. … Taylor Kohlwey started the week off strong with five hits in his first three games but finished 0-for-11. … In his third start in the organization, 6-foot-6 lefty Jay Groome allowed two earned runs in five innings, striking out five. … Ryan Weathers had another tough start, giving up four runs on seven hits in five innings. Despite issuing four walks, it was enough to pick up his first win of the month. (Ben Davey)
San Antonio Missions (Split series at Northwest Arkansas, 3-3)
Top Performers: The Missions won the first three games of the series, including an impressive 20-15 win on Wednesday, then dropped the last three to split with the Naturals. Although Brandon Dixon only played in two games of the series, it’s worth noting his .667/.636/.1.667 slash line, as he went 6-for-9 with a double, a triple, two home runs, and 12 RBIs. In Wednesday’s slugfest, he hit for the cycle, all by the 5th inning in only his second game back from a rehab assignment in the Arizona Complex League. … The ever-versatile Juan Fernandez led the club with 10 hits – three of them doubles – and also walked six times in six games. Fernandez is batting .286 with a .688 OPS in 304 at-bats. … Noel Vela allowed one run in five innings, striking out six batters while walking four, and picked up his first Double-A win. The Texan southpaw is 1-1 with a 6.75 in 9.1 innings in two starts for the Missions. … Henry Henry was solid in spot start duty again, allowing one run on three hits in 4.2 innings. The righty struck out six while walking four in his sixth start of the season among 30 appearances.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Kevin Kopps struggled in three appearances, allowing three runs in 3.1 innings for an 8.10 ERA. Kopps, who had a strong July as he began landing pitches for called strikes, is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 36 appearances on the year. … Tirso Ornelas homered, drove in six runs, and walked 10 times in six games, batting .333 with a .548 OBP. (Mark Wilkens)
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Lost to Dayton Dragons 1-4)
Top Performers: Carlos Luis, 22, has been one of the most improved players in the Padres’ system this year, and this week the left-handed hitting first baseman collected six hits in 15 plate appearances for a .400/.400/.667 slash line. A walk would have been nice, but Luis had a pair of doubles and triple to go against six strikeouts. For the Storm, he hit .319/.390/.465 in 354 plate appearances; in 46 plate appearances with the TinCaps, he has a .293/.370/.415 mark. … Anthony Vilar, 23, contributed three hits in the three games he got in, including a double to go along with a walk and a strikeout. At the University of Miami, Vilar, 23, was an infielder, primarily a second baseman, and this is his first full year as a catcher. August has been his best month with a .292/.346/.375 slash line in his first eight games (26 plate appearances). … Reliever Gabe Morales, 23, takes the honors as top pitcher with eight strikeouts against one walk in a four-inning relief stint where he followed Efrain Contreras. After being sent down from San Antonio, the lefty has worked exclusively as a reliever. While he can show some of the best stuff in the system, he has walked 32 in 36.1 innings. He has shown improvement in August with 19 strikeouts in 10 innings against five walks. … In two appearances, Nick Thwaits, 23, didn’t allow a run over four innings. The righty didn’t issue a walk and struck out three. After having a 5.25 ERA in June, he lowered it to 1.04 in 8.2 innings in July, and this month, he has a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Jackson Wolf, 23, gave up four runs in 5.2 innings in his one start this week. Still, since posting a 6.87 ERA in June, the former Mountaineer has been very good with a 3.71 ERA in 26.2 innings in July and a 2.55 ERA so far in 17.2 innings in August. …. Right-hander Jose Espada, 25, started the year with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association and was a mid-season sign by the Padres. This week he had a nice outing against Dayton throwing five innings and striking out nine against four walks, and three earned runs. … Joshua Mears had a tough week, going 1-13 with a double and five strikeouts. He also took a pitch of his back elbow and, for the second time in as many weeks, left a game with a minor injury. Despite the week, he has been having a solid August at .280/.321/.620 in 50 plate appearances. (John Conniff)
Lake Elsinore Storm (Split series at Stockton Ports, 3-3)
Top performers: The Storm took their final regular season excursion to Northern California to take on Stockton. Lake Elsinore’s offensive firepower was on display but they managed just a split against a team 30 games under .500. … Third baseman Marcos Castañon had a solid week, posting a .796 OPS while playing in all six games. The 23-year-old connected on a pair of homers and drove in five runs. With three weeks and 18 games left in the regular season, the former UCSB Gaucho has 18 homers. Assuming he can keep his production where it has been, he seems like a safe bet to reach 20 homers. … Infielder Nerwillian Cedeño started the week off with a bang with a two-homer night Tuesday. He was relatively quiet the rest of the week but the big night helped him put up an .844 OPS. The 20-year-old infielder also stole three bases for good measure. … Right-hander Duncan Snider pitched Tuesday night and fired five innings of two-run ball to notch his fifth victory. The 24-year-old from Upper Iowa took the scenic route to the Padres organization. He started his pro career last season pitching for Tucson in the Pecos League and Lake Country and Houston of the American Association. Since joining the organization, Snider has a 2.38 ERA in 34 innings.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: With all the trades over the last few months, shortstop Jackson Merrill has a strong case as the top prospect in the Padres system. His production continued to live up to it as Merrill went for 8-for-23 in five games with a double, two homers, and eight RBI. The 19-year-old came into the series with just one homer as a member of the Storm. Overall, Merrill is hitting .318/.392/.485 in August. … Outfielder Samuel Zavala continues to play well since his promotion to Low-A. Zavala hit .400/.520/.900 with two doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs in the series. The 18-year-old outfielder has played well since joining the Storm and helping the offense not lose a beat, despite the departure of James Wood, Carlos Luis, and Albert Fabian. In 17 games with the Storm, Zavala has a .906 OPS. (Kevin Charity)
ACL Padres (3-2 on the week)
Giants Black 6, ACL Padres 5
Key Stats: LF Juan Murillo 1-for-4, HR (3); DH Jonny Homza 1-for-4, 2B; CF Eddy Beltre 1-for-3, BB; RHP Miguel Rondon 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 6 K, BB; RHP Wilton Castillo 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The complex league squad had only five hits on the night, but they strung three of them together with a walk and an error to plate five in the sixth inning. Once again, outfielder Juan Murillo came through with the big hit, a three-run homer. Playing almost exclusively in left field, the 20-year-old from Cuba has posted a .317/.373/.495 line in his first professional season. He’s drawn only five walks, but has kept his strikeout rate in check and added 10 stolen bases in 36 games. … Righty Wilton Castillo tossed another scoreless frame in his final rehab appearance. The 6-foot-7 reliever has struck out nine in four innings since spending two months on the IL.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: As the squad continued to rotate 19 position players through their final full seek of the complex league, Nathan Martorella went 8-for-12 with four extra-base hits and did not strike out. The first baseman out of Cal has a 1.070 OPS in the early going of his career. … Outfielder Tyler Robertson had a team-high 15 plate appearances, converting for a .308/.438/.692 line. The Padres selected the Alabama native in the 14th-round out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. … Righty Miguel Rondon was the only member of the staff to work more than three innings. While he struck out 11 in his eight frames, he was taged for a pair of homers to keep his ERA for the year up at 5.40. … Lefty Luis Gutierrez continues to walk a tightrope with his command, but worked three more scoreless innings. He’s posted a 2.03 ERA since coming stateside despite issuing 15 free passes in 17.2 innings. (David Jay)