Salt Lake Bees 3, Chihuahuas 1
Key Stats: LHP Jay Groome (L, 0-2) 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K; RHP Michel Baez IP, H, BB, K; DH Brandon Dixon 2-for-4, SB; 2B CJ Hinojosa 1-for-4, 2B
Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas had another rough night at the plate. After being shut out Tuesday, they scored just one run on three hits Wednesday. Designated hitter Brandon Dixon played in his second game since being promoted to El Paso and was the only Chihuahuas hitter to notch two hits. He also stole a base — his seventh of the year between San Antonio and El Paso. Dixon appears to be done with a stellar, injury-shortened Double-A campaign in which he hit .367/.430/.786 in 25 games. … The other key story of the night was El Paso’s starting pitcher Jay Groome. The former first-round pick didn’t have his best stuff but he was able to keep El Paso in the game during his four innings of work, but needed 90 pitches (59 strikes) to get there. Groome was a highly touted prospect when he was drafted back in 2017. He has had his share of peaks and valleys in his professional career but he’s still just 24. He might also be the best starting pitching option the Padres have in the minors currently.
Corpus Christi Hooks 7, Missions 4
Key Stats: SS Connor Hollis 2-for-4, HR (7), 2 R, RBI; CF Joshua Mears 1-for-4, HR (3), RBI, 2 K; RF Ripken Reyes 1-for-3, R, BB; 2B Domingo Leyba 1-for-3, 2B, RBI; RHP Nolan Watson (L, 4-6) 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; RHP Grant Gavin, 2.2 IP, H, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The Joshua Mears experience was in full effect on Wednesday night. Mears hit his third Double-A home run and 20th home run in 77 games across three levels, but also struck out twice. The power-hitting outfielder continues to strike out at nearly a 50% clip, but also is averaging nearly a home run every three games. The 21-year-old outfielder is only hitting .167 with San Antonio, but when he does make contact he is 5-for-13 with three home runs and two singles. … Third baseman Connor Hollis had a brief call-up to Triple-A but didn’t produce as well offensively as he did during his first stint in the Texas League. Since his return, he is reaching base at a .500 clip and hit his first home run since June 30. Hollis can play all over the infield, and his .431 OBP for San Antonio is exactly why he gets pegged to hit at the top of their order. … After a rough outing from starter Nolan Watson, righty Grant Gavin pitched well out of the bullpen. The former Royals prospect pitched 2.2 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit while punching out a pair. The 27-year-old started the season in El Paso where he went 5-0, with a 4.85 ERA. He’s faired a bit better with the Missions. In eight outings with the Missions, he has a 2.84 ERA while averaging a strikeout per inning.
West Michigan Whitecaps 6, TinCaps 4
Key Stats: RHP Efrain Contreras (L, 0-5), 2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K; CF Justin Farmer 2-for-5; 2B Lucas Dunn 3-for-4, 2 2B, RS, BB; DH Brandon Valenzuela 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, RS; RF Agustin Ruiz 1-for-4, RBI, BB
Prospect Watch: It has been a difficult few months for infielder Lucas Dunn since being promoted from Lake Elsinore. When Dunn was promoted on May 30, he was hitting .293/.422/.507 for the Storm. Wednesday’s three-hit effort raised his High-A slash-line to .222/.352/.335. His three-hit performance tonight was his first since July 24, and only his second multi-hit game of the month. … Speaking of coming out of a slump, before Tuesday’s double, catcher Brandon Valenzuela was mired in a 1-for-22 slump since returning from a foot injury. Wednesday night, he collected his second multi-hit game of the month. Valenzuela broke out last year, hitting .307/.389/.444 with the Storm, but has cooled off considerably with the TinCaps. This year, he has struggled to maintain an OPS above .650. Valenzuela is still just 21 years old and was always billed as a defense-first catcher, but his prospect light tends to shine as far as his bat will take him. … Center fielder Justin Farmer also collected his second multi-hit game as a TinCap with a double and a single. The patient Farmer has drawn six walks in 34 plate appearances. Farmer wasn’t drafted but he has emerged as a solid contributor this season. In 133 career games, Farmer has an impressive .384 on-base percentage.
Storm 12, Visalia Rawhide 11
Key Stats: SS Jackson Merrill 3-for-5, 2 HR (4,5), 3 R, 5 RBI; CF Jakob Marsee 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 3B, RBI; 3B Marcos Castanon 1-for-4, HR (22), 2 R, RBI, BB; 2B Graham Pauley 3-for-4, 2B, HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB
Prospect Watch: Jackson Merrill continued to show why he the top prospect in the system Wednesday night as the 19-year-old had two home runs in a wild Storm win. Despite missing three months and coming back slowly from a wrist injury, Merrill will finish August with a .317/.367/.515 line and has a hit in 15 of his last 16 games. … Center fielder Jakob Marsee doubled and hit his first triple with the Storm as he continues to make the most out of recent opportunities, The University of Central Michigan standout has hit .286/.474/.464 in a little over a week with the Storm. … Graham Pauley, another 2022 draft pick out of Duke, was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He hit his second home run in a week and has reached base safely in all eight games with the Storm. In those eight games, Pauley has 11 hits and four walks for a .441 OBP. … LHP Jesus Gonzalez made the start for the Storm and pitched 2.2 innings before leaving with what appeared to be an injury, although it was unclear what happened. We will be sure to relay any information concerning his status. … The Storm made this one as interesting as possible. After jumping out to an 8-0 lead, then holding a 12-4 lead, Lake Elsinore allowed seven runs in the final two innings. The Rawhide had the winning runs on base when they turned things over to Justin Lopez, the former infielder-turned-pitcher. Lopez sat at 97 mph with his fastball and flashed a solid slider as he got the final two outs, including a strikeout to end the game and record the save in his first pitching appearance in full-season ball. Lopez was named to the San Antonio opening day roster but moved back to Fort Wayne after the organization signed infielder Connor Hollis. Lopez struggled offensively with the TinCaps and was moved off the roster to start his conversion to a pitcher in late May. While it’s obviously a small sample, the early returns on Lopez have been encouraging. In 7.2 innings with the ACL Padres and the Storm, he’s allowed just one earned run while racking up 10 strikeouts.