Welcome back to Thursday night/Friday morning dailies in 2023. I hope you enjoy the ride like we did last year. The first week of the season is special with every level of the system filled with optimism. As we know, it’ll be a long season. … “Trouble ahead, trouble behind, and you know that notion just crossed my mind,” but a fun one nonetheless. The Chihuahuas lost a PCL slugfest, the Missions got off to a slow start in Tulsa, the TinCaps lost a tight one in West Michigan, but the Lake Elsinore Storm put the hurt on the Rawhide and kept those doggies rollin’.

Sacramento River Cats 10, Chihuahuas 5

Key Statistics: RHP Joe Musgrove, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K; RF Brandon Dixon,
2-for-5, R; C Brett Sullivan, 1-for-4, HR (1), R, RBI; SS Matt Batten, 1-for-5, 2B, R; 1B Rangel Ravelo, 1-for-4, 2 RBI;

Brett Sullivan has shown the ability to control the game at catcher. (Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: Another night, another ringer for the Chihuahuas, as Joe Musgrove got the start for El Paso at Sacramento. Rehabbing from a toe injury, Java Joe pitched into the fifth inning, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out six, walking one, and hitting three batters. Reaching his 85-pitch limit, Musgrove hurled 52 of the pitches for strikes in his tune-up action for El Paso. … The Chihuahuas scored five runs on only six hits, thanks in part to six walks. The only multi-hit outing belonged to Brandon Dixon, who smacked a pair of singles and scored a run. Dixon started 2022 with Double-A San Antonio and seemed like his career may be winding down until he found his home run stroke, hitting 23 bombs between the Missions and Chihuahuas and finding himself on the Padres’ postseason roster. … Brett Sullivan showed some pop from the catcher position, hitting his first home run of the season. Sullivan was seen as a possibility to begin the season on the big league roster with Austin Nola hurt, but Nola didn’t need an IL stay, and Sullivan returned to the Chihuahuas to start 2023. … Another Padres depth piece in 2022, Matt Batten, is back with El Paso and clubbed a double and scored a run on the day his alma mater, Quinnipiac, made the Frozen Four Final in NCAA hockey. Batten was one of the feelgood stories of 2022 when the 2017 32nd rounder made his Major League debut. … Rangel Ravelo was a name that came up a few times in spring training after signing a minor league deal with the Padres this winter. The first baseman finds himself in the El Paso lineup, batting .333 with four RBIs after Thursday’s two-RBI performance.  The 30-year-old Ravelo was selected by the White Sox in the sixth round in 2010.

Tulsa Drillers 7, Missions 0 

Key Statistics: RHP Efrain Contreras (L, 0-1), 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; RHP Jose Espada, 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K; C Chandler Seagle, 1-for-2; SS Evan Mendoza, 1-for-4, LF Daniel Johnson, 0-for 3, 2 Ks

Efraín Contreras delivers in the 2023 season opener. (Photo: Rich Crimi)

Prospect Watch: The Missions got two-hit in Tulsa in their season opener, getting held scoreless by the Drillers. Efrain Contreras got the nod for Opening Day, going three innings and allowing three runs on five hits. The 23-year-old native of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico made 17 starts recovering from Tommy John surgery at Fort Wayne while occupying a 40-player roster spot in 2022. He went 0-5 with a 5.74 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 25 walks in 53.1 innings pitched as he worked his way back from injury. … 26-year-old Jose Espada made his Double-A debut, throwing two innings of one-hit ball as the highlight for the Missions staff for the night. Espada, a native of Puerto Rico, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the fifth round in 2015, and went 1-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 11 appearances (seven starts) for Fort Wayne in 2022. The Padres signed him out of the American Association last summer. … Catcher Chandler Seagle collected on of the club’s two singles and was hit by a pitch. Seagle returns to San Antonio for his third season with the Missions after spending the spring in big league camp, where he earned an opportunity to show off his defensive prowess in game action. … The other hit went to Evan Mendoza, who made his Missions debut after spending the past two seasons in Memphis playing for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate. Mendoza was an 11th-round selection by St. Louis in 2017 out of North Carolina State. He was selected by the Padres in the minor league phase of last winter’s Rule 5 Draft. … Newcomer Daniel Johnson, another Triple-A veteran, got the start in left field, and while he went 0-for-3 at the plate, he did manage to throw out a runner at home in San Antonio’s defensive highlight for the evening.

San Antonio roster moves: The San Antonio Missions announced that infielder Jarryd Dale and right-hander Gabe Mosser were placed on the 60-day injured list, Fred Schlichtholz hit the 7-day IL, and infielder/outfielder Ripken Reyes was placed on the development list, meaning he will be away from the team for at least seven days.

West Michigan Whitecaps 1, TinCaps 0

Key Statistics: RHP Jairo Iriarte (L, 0-1), 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K; RHP Nick Thwaits, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K; CF Jakob Marsee, 1-for-3, BB, SB; C Brandon Valenzuela, 1-for-2, SS Jackson Merrill, 0-for-4;

Nick Thwaits has found a groove working with a cutter. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Prospect Watch: The deepest roster in the system got off to a quiet start at the plate on Opening Day as the TinCaps were held scoreless on four hits and one walk. Jairo Iriarte got the ball for the first start of the season, and struck out six in three innings, but took the hard-luck loss by allowing the lone run of the game. The 21-year-old Iriarte, a righty from Venezuela, went 4-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 21 appearances (18 starts) for Lake Elsinore in 2022, striking out 109 while walking 42 in 91.1 innings pitched. If he can show refined command this season, his fastball/slider combination could lead to a strong year. … Carrying the bulk of the relief was 23-year-old righty Nick Thwaits, who pitched three innings of one-hit ball and struck out four. Thwaits, chosen in the 15th round in 2018 by the Padres, returns to the TinCaps after going 3-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 32 appearances for Fort Wayne in 2022. … With a single, the lone TinCaps walk, and a stolen base, Jakob Marsee did his best to try to get something started at the top of the order. Marsee, a sixth-round pick last year out of Central Michigan, slashed .254/.419/.463 in 86 plate appearances for Lake Elsinore last season, drawing 16 walks while striking out 15 times. … Brandon Valenzuela backstopped the TinCaps through an excellent pitching performance, and also went 1-for-2 at the plate. Valenzuela returns to Fort Wayne after batting .209 with 10 home runs in 413 plate appearances for the TinCaps in 2022. … We know you’re eager for Jackson Merrill news but there wasn’t anything significant to report. Merrill was quiet in his Fort Wayne debut, going 0-for-4 at the plate while batting third and playing shortstop.

Storm 17, Visalia Rawhide 0

Key Statistics: LHP Robby Snelling, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K; RHP Ian Koenig, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K; C Anthony Vilar, 3-for-4, HR (1), R, 3 RBIs; 3B Graham Pauley, 3-for-3, 2 2B, 3 R, BB; DH Albert Fabian, 2-for-5, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBIs;

Robby Snelling impressed in his first spring training to earn the opening day nod for Lake Elsinore. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Prospect Watch: The Storm put on a clinic on Opening Day, dominating on the mound and at the plate at the Diamond. Fans got their first glimpse of Robby Snelling, the 19-year-old lefty the Padres selected 39th overall last year. Snelling delivered as promised, as the 6-foot-3 southpaw threw three innings of one-hit ball, walking one and striking out three while sitting at 93 with his fastball. Since Snelling did not pitch in any professional games in 2022, the club will bring him along a bit carefully with shorter outings like Thursday’s. … Ian Koenig took the ball next and put up a nearly identical line in relief. Koenig, a 21-year-old righty from San Jose, was signed after last year’s draft and made one appearance in the Arizona Complex League, throwing one scoreless inning for the ACL Padres. … 2021 15th-round pick Anthony Vilar went 3-for-4, including a home run and a trio of RBI. Vilar, a product of the University of Miami, spent 2022 with Fort Wayne, slashing .226/.342/.321 in 168 at-bats for the TinCaps. …Duke alum and 2022 13th-rounder Graham Pauley had a night at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and scored three runs. Pauley is a 22-year-old third baseman who swings a lefty bat and slashed .328/.458/.500 in 58 at-bats after being promoted to Lake Elsinore late last season. … Putting a big swing on it in the DH spot, Albert Fabian went yard for his first home run of the year. Fabian, a 21-year-old with a big lefty bat, slashed .278/.362/.502 in 241 at-bats for Lake Elsinore last year, earning a promotion to Fort Wayne for the last 29 games of his season.

Minor league transactions:

With all four full-season squads underway and the Padres needing to get down to the in-season limit of 180 active stateside players, the club has released C Adam Kerner, LHPs Osvaldo Hernandez and Hazahel Quijada, and RHPs Luis Madrazo, Angel Garza, Adrian Luna, Felix Minjarez, and Walki Lezan

Kerner was listed on the initial San Antonio roster but he was released before the club opened its season on Thursday. Kerner, 24 was signed by the Padres as a minor league free agent after the abbreviated 2020 draft. The former University of San Diego backstop spent most of the 2021 and 2022 seasons in Fort Wayne, where he played sparingly. In 80 games as a Padres farmhand, the Tarzana, California native hit .194/.288/.310. … Osvaldo Hernandez signed as part of the Padres’ massive 2016 international class, although he finalized his contract in March of 2017. The now-25-year-old received a hefty $2.5 million bonus from the organization. His best work came in 2018 when he went 11-4 with a 1.88 ERA in 109.2 innings. He experienced some arm issues in 2019 with Lake Elsinore and struggled in 2021 with the Missions and moved into a bullpen role with San Antonio in 2022. He will finish his time in the Padres’ system with a 3.78 ERA in 355 innings. … Hazahel Quijada was the Padres’ 17th-round pick in 2018, out of UC Riverside. The 25-year-old pitched four seasons in the system, spending last season in Lake Elsinore, where he went 6-1, with a 4.18 ERA in 32 relief outings. … Luis Madrazo signed last January as a free agent and made 14 appearances with the TinCaps and one appearance with the Missions The 25-year-old had a 5.28 ERA in 29 innings. … Angel Garza, 18, pitched last season in the DSL, where he went 6-2, with a 6.39 ERA in 15 games. The Monterrey, Mexico native initially signed with the Padres as an international free agent in January of 2022. … Adrian Luna, 21, pitched two seasons in the organization – most recently in the ACL. Last season the Venezuelan hurler went 3-1 with a 7.03 ERA in 11 games. … Felix Minjarez pitched four seasons in the San Diego system – an impressive feat considering he pitched collegiality at Division III University of Redlands. Minjarez pitched at every level in the system during his tenure as a Padres farmhand. In three stops last year, he went 5-0 with a 5.15 ERA in 34 innings. … Lezan, 20, pitched in 16 games, most of which took place in the ACL. In 29 innings, he pitched to an 8.07 ERA.

Posted by Mark Wilkens

Born in San Diego and raised in Escondido, Mark now calls Phoenix home. Prior to MadFriars, Mark had multiple articles featured on Bleacher Report and SI.com covering the Padres, Angels and Clippers.

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