Sacramento River Cats 9, Chihuahuas 4
Key Statistics: RF Fernando Tatis Jr., 0-for-5, K; LF Brandon Dixon, 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (1,2), BB, 2 RBI; C Pedro Severino, 1-for-5, R, HR (1), RBI; 1B Alfonso Rivas, 2-for-3, R, BB; LHP Jay Groome (L, 0-1) 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K; LHP Ray Kerr, IP, 2 H, ER, K
Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas hit three homers Friday night, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Sacramento on the road. … Fernando Tatis Jr. played nine innings for the first time since starting his rehab assignment this week in Sacramento. He went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. … A year ago, Brandon Dixon was in Double-A, with his baseball career looking to be on its final stretch. Then he got hot, was promoted to Triple-A, and ended up with 23 homers in just 51 minor league games before getting back to the big leagues. Friday, he picked up where he left off in 2022, hitting a pair of homers – his first two of the season. In six games this season, Dixon is hitting .300/.464/.600. … Left-hander Jay Groome struggled through five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out four. Groome had an excellent spring with the Padres, but sometimes struggled to throw strikes. While the PCL is a difficult place to pitch, Groome will need to find the strike zone more consistently to be an option for the big league club.
Missions 2, Tulsa Drillers 0
Key Statistics: 1B Pedro Castellanos, 2-for-4; LF Daniel Johnson, 1-for-4, 2 R. 2 SB (1, 2); 3B Luis Aviles Jr., 1-for-3, BB, 2 SB (1, 2); C Michael De La Cruz, 1-for-2, 2 BB, RBI; LHP Jackson Wolf (W, 1-0) 5 IP, BB, 4 K; RHP Kevin Kopps, 2 IP, BB, 3 K; CD Pelham (S, 1) IP
Prospect Watch: The Missions almost did it again after throwing two no-hitters a season ago. However, a Drillers single in the eighth inning broke up the bid. Much like New Radicals, the Drillers managed just one hit. … The system’s story of the night was the performance of southpaw Jackson Wolf.The left-hander battled command a bit in the first but settled down and made quick work of a talented Drillers club. He went five hitless innings, walking one and striking out four. The former West Virginia hurler has shown increased velocity this year after topping out at 90 mph last year in Fort Wayne. Wolf needed just 46 pitches to cruise through his five innings of work. He threw 30 of the 46 pitchers for strikes. … Righty Kevin Kopps came in to relieve Wolf, and he looked sharp, holding the Drillers hitless over two frames. He walked one batter and struck out three. Last season, Kopps struggled to get swinging strikes with his famed cutter that helped him earn the Golden Spikes award in college. If the 26-year-old is able to pair something with the cutter, he could help the Padres bullpen. … The Missions’ offense wasn’t potent, but they did a lot of damage on the basepaths. Outfielder Daniel Johnson reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning and took third on a single by Luis Aviles Jr. With runners on the corners, the Missions executed a double steal with the fleet-footed Johnson stealing home. Johnson, 27, ended the evening with two stolen bases. He signed with the Padres as a free agent this offseason. Last season, Johnson played at Triple-A in the Guardians, Mets, and Nationals organizations, hitting a collective .219/.268/.347. The Vallejo, California native has 35 games of big league experience.
West Michigan Whitecaps 8, TinCaps 2
Key Statistics: CF Jakob Marsee, 3-for-4; C Juan Zabala, 2-for-3, 2 RBI; RHP Victor Lizarraga (L, 0-1) 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, BB, 2 K; RHP Bobby Milacki, 2 IP, H, K
Prospect Watch: A day after getting shut out to begin the season, the TinCaps mustered just two runs in a second consecutive loss at West Michigan. … The offensive attack had just six hits – half of which belonged to center fielder Jakob Marsee. Marsee singled out of the lead-off spot three times. The Central Michigan University product, who the Padres drafted in the sixth round last year, is off to a 4-for-7 start. … Shortstop Jackson Merrill had a quiet day, going 0-for-4 at the dish. He grounded into a pair of double plays. … Catcher Juan Zabala had two singles to drive in both runs for Fort Wayne. The 23-year-old was somewhat of an invisible acquisition last season when he was poached from the Dodgers organization after the Missions roster dealt with a COVID outbreak. Zabala eventually found a home in Lake Elsinore and was their primary catcher during their run to a Cal League title. He hit .294/.390/.393 last year in Low-A. … Victor Lizarraga struggled in his Midwest League debut. The 19-year-old completed just 2.2 innings and allowed five earned runs on five hits, walking one and striking out two. In 20 games (19 starts) last year with the Storm, Lizarraga had a 3.43 ERA. … Right-hander Bobby Milacki pitched the final two innings and allowed just one hit, striking out one. The Padres signed the 26-year-old as a minor league free agent this winter after he put together a solid season last year in the Midwest League for Cedar Rapids, pitching a 2.83 ERA in 38 games. Bob’s father pitched part of eight seasons in the big leagues, most of which came for Baltimore.
Storm 2, Visalia Rawhide 1
Key Statistics: C Anthony Vilar, 1-for-2, R, HR (1), RBI, BB; DH Albert Fabian, 1-for-3, RBI; RHP Manuel Castro, 3 IP, 2 H, 5 K; LHP Fernando Sanchez (W, 1-0) 2 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K; RHP Cole Paplham (S, 1) IP, K
Prospect Watch: A night after scoring 17 runs, the Storm managed just a pair of runs on the evening. The good news is that was enough to give the Storm the victory and their first series win of 2023. … Anthony Vilar has started both games behind the plate and homered in both. His blast Friday was the difference in the game. Vilar played sparingly last year as the primary backup to Brandon Valenzuela in Fort Wayne, and has already matched his season home run total. The former 15th-rounder out of the University of Miami converted to catcher after playing second base and shortstop in college. … Righty Manuel Castro made the start and dominated the Rawhide for three innings. He allowed a few hits but did not walk a batter and struck out five. Castro, 20, pitched in 14 games last year with the Storm and was mostly overmatched on his way to a 9.66 ERA. He did manage 44 strikeouts in 31.2 innings, so the stuff is intriguing. At just 20 years old, Castro is still young for the Cal League. … Righty Cole Paplham pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save in his first professional outing. The 23-year-old righty with premium velocity signed with the Padres as an undrafted free agent out of the University of New Orleans last year. He appeared in 12 games for New Orleans last year and allowed eight runs in 9.2 innings.