MadFriars Player of the Week: 1B Alfonso Rivas, El Paso
Rivas, a San Diego native, had quite the introduction to his hometown organization. In three games last week, the 27-year-old hit an excellent .417/.533/.917 with a double, triple, and homer. The hot stretch included Rivas notching five hits in the final two games of El Paso’s series in Sacramento. The former La Jolla Country Day star has played in the majors each of the last two years with the Cubs. While he doesn’t have a clear path to San Diego, he’s a quality depth option in the minors

Jackson Wolf impressed in his first action of the year. (Photo: Rich Crimi)

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: LHP Jackson Wolf, San Antonio
The Missions’ roster this season is rife with players signed as free agents, but Wolf is the best pitching prospect on the squad. The lefty’s performance last week lived up to the billing. On Friday night, Wolf pitched five no-hit innings, walking one and striking out four. Impressively, Wolf needed just 46 pitches to get 15 outs. Wolf made a pair of outings at the end of last season with the Missions and struggled after a successful stint in Fort Wayne. Wolf has shown some increased velocity this spring and he should be a player to watch with the Missions.

El Paso Chihuahuas (Split series at Sacramento River Cats 3-3)
Top Performers: Taylor Kohlwey was one of the last cuts in spring and is back for his fourth season in El Paso after hitting .297/.389/.443 in 2022. Against Sacramento, the outfielder/first baseman had seven hits in five games in 26 plate appearances, with three doubles and a pair of walks. … On the mound, right-hander Julio Teheran had a pair of starts, and struck out 11 in 10.1 innings against two walks. Despite allowing an avalanche of 15 hits, he limited the damage Sacramento could do and kept his ERA at only 3.48.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Joe Musgrove were both on rehab assignments with the Triple-A affiliate. In 19 plate appearances and four games, Tatis walked six times with three hits; a single, double, and home run for a .231/.474/.538 line. In his start, Musgrove threw 4.1 innings in 85 pitches and allowed a pair of earned runs with five hits. After not pitching all spring, his command was off, and he landed awkwardly and jammed his shoulder trying to make a play off the mound, which will likely extend his time in the Sun City. … Brandon Dixon, who destroyed the minors last year with 23 home runs in 51 games, hit a couple in the three games he played this week to go along with five singles and a pair of walks. The performance earned him a return trip to the big league club Sunday. … Tim Lopes, who came over from the Rockies organization, continued his hot start with a .300/.417/.400 slash line while playing all over the infield.Angel Felipe, all 6-foot-5 – at least – of him, had six strikeouts in three innings but also gave up three walks. … Tom Cosgrove, who didn’t give up a run in three games, and Ray Kerr, who gave up one in 3.2 innings while recording four strikeouts but also issuing two more walks, both showed they could be viable lefthanded bullpen options. (John Conniff)

Note: Starting on Thursday we will be in El Paso for the first of our affiliate trips this season.

San Antonio Missions (Lost at Tulsa Drillers 1-2) 

Top Performers: After Wolf’s stellar start, righty Duncan Snider delivered an impressive second act, tossing four scoreless innings of his own in his Double-A debut. The 25-year-old, signed as a free agent last summer, had to work around traffic on the bases, but induced plenty of grounders to keep the strong Drillers offense off the board. … It was a rough opening set for the Missions offense, which managed just four runs in three games. Outfielder Daniel Johnson, who joined the organization as spring training got underway, scored three of them despite a .282 OPS. The 27-year-old lefthanded hitter swiped a pair of bases as well.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Korry Howell, the top position prospect on the roster, went 0-for-13 with eight strikeouts in a rough opening series. The 24-year-old got off to a very slow start last season before heating up in May. … Catcher Juan Fernandez, back in San Antonio for the third straight season, had a double for the Missions’ only extra-base hit of the series. … Righties Jose Espada and Kevin Kopps both worked two scoreless innings in their season debuts and each struck out three batters. Kopps issued a walk and it a batter as the 26-year-old works to refine his command. … Lefty CD Pelham picked up the save in his first appearance in the organization, working a perfect inning. (David Jay)

Fort Wayne TinCaps: (Lost at West Michigan White Caps 0-3)

Top Performers: Opening day starter Jairo Iriarte turned heads this spring with his fastball and continued it to start the season. Outside of a solo home run, Iriarte looked unhittable, striking out six over three innings.  The 2018 international signee showed a promising fastball and lively slider in Lake Elsinore, but often struggled with control. While it’s just one start, six strikeouts against one walk is an encouraging start to his 2023 season.  … Center fielder Jakob Marsee, a sixth-round pick last year, led the team offensively. The 21-year-old out of Central Michigan University hit .444/.583/.444 on the week with two walks, and a stolen base. He did not strike out in the series.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: The only things colder than the Midwest spring were the TinCaps bats as the club  scored three runs in their three-game series. Top prospect Jackson Merrill went hitless in 12 at-bats. He did not walk or strike out. … Outfielder Joshua Mears went hitless in nine plate appearances but did walk and steal a base.  Mears struck out in 45% of his plate appearances last year so three in nine trips to the plate is a move in the right direction. … Catcher Brandon Valenzuela got the opening day start. This week, he singled and was hit by a pitch in his only game. … 2022 Big 10 Pitcher of the Year Adam Mazur threw three scoreless innings in his professional debut. He needed only 36 pitches to complete the three innings, allowing just one baserunner while striking out two. … Former Montgomery High Aztec Victor Lizarraga did not fare as well as his fellow top prospect starters.  He was tagged for five runs over 2.2 innings, hit a batter and walked one.  Lizarraga took a big step forward in 2022. The 19-year-old will look to rebound with his next appearance. … Former 5th-round draft pick RHP Chris Lincoln appeared in his first game in more than three years. While he was shaky and inherited runners came around, he did not allow a run of his own in his first game back. (Ben Davey)

Lake Elsinore Storm (Swept Visalia Rawhide, 3-0)

Top Performers: The Storm took apart the Rawhide on opening weekend to cruise to a series sweep. Lake Elsinore outscored the Rawhide 27-2, including a 17-0 drubbing on opening night. … Catcher Anthony Vilar played a pivotal role for the Storm and was a candidate for MadFriars Player of the Week. Vilar blasted a homer on opening night and hit a key solo shot on Saturday that turned out to be the difference in a 2-1 Storm victory. Vilar played in 54 games for the TinCaps a season ago and hit two homers all year. Going into Tuesday’s action, Vilar leads the Cal League in homers. While the 24-year-old is playing at a lower level than he did a season ago, he has a much clearer path to playing time with the Storm. In his two games of action last week, Vilar hit .667/.714/1.667. … Lefty Austin Krob got the start on Saturday night and pitched around three walks, keeping the Rawhide hitters off-balance all night. He didn’t allow a hit and allowed just one unearned run, striking out a career-high six batters. Krob was the Padres’ 12th-rounder last year out of TCU.

Robby Snelling showed in spring training that he is ready to compete in 2023. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Top Prospects and Others of Note: The Storm offense averaged nine runs a game, so one would assume that Samuel Zavala would have been in the middle of things but the talented outfielder had a quiet week. The fourth-ranked player on our MadFriars Top-20 list was hitless in 12 plate appearances. He still found ways to contribute by drawing three walks and driving in three runs. In a late-season cameo last season, Zavala had a .863 OPS for Lake Elsinore. … Young infielder Rosman Verdugo collected his first Low-A hits but otherwise had a quiet week. He went 3-for-14 in three games. … Third baseman Graham Pauley had a nice week, going 4-for-9 with a pair of doubles and three walks. The former Duke star routinely found the gaps at The Diamond and showed the excellent approach we saw in a small sample last year. … Albert Fabian started all three games for the Storm and led the club with five RBI. Fabian broke out with the Storm last year, hitting 12 homers in 62 games before earning a promotion to Fort Wayne, where he struggled mightily. Fabian is back in Lake Elsinore and he, along with first baseman Griffin Doersching, are the biggest power threats in the Storm lineup.… Right-hander Kobe Robinson piggybacked with Krob and flashed the premium stuff that intrigued last year. The Tennessee native missed much of last season with a shoulder injury but looked good on Saturday. He allowed no runs on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw a team-high 3.2 innings. Robinson has functioned as a swing-man so far in his career but his stuff could play up in short relief. … Robby Snelling was one of five other Storm hurlers who tossed three scoreless frames in the series. The Padres’ second pick in last year’s draft allowed just one hit in his professional debut. (Kevin Charity)


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