Albuquerque Isotopes 13, Chihuahuas 12
Key Statistics: RF Fernando Tatis Jr., 3-for-4, R, RBI, SB (1); CF Luis Liberato, 1-for-2, R, HR (1), 3 RBI; LF Preston Tucker, 2-for-4, 3 R, 3B, BB, 4 RBI; RHP Matt Waldron, 5 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 7 K; RHP Angel Felipe (L, 0-1) 0.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, K
Prospect Watch: As far as PCL games go, this one was a 9.5 on the wild meter. Albuquerque jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings. El Paso scored four in the fifth and eventually tied the game at eight heading into the ninth inning. The Isotopes scored five in the top of the ninth, seemingly putting the game out of reach. However, El Paso scored four in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run on base. Unfortunately, the comeback effort was thwarted when Matthew Batten struck out looking to end the game.
As far as El Paso goes these days, Fernando Tatis Jr. is on the minds of Padres’ fans everywhere. The 24-year-old star made his El Paso home debut and singled three times in four at-bats. He also added a stolen base to his ledger. Tatis is hitting .353/.522/.588 with a pair of stolen bases in five games with the Chihuahuas. … While Tatis wreaked havoc at the top of the lineup, former big leaguer Preston Tucker did damage in the nine-spot. Tucker had a pair of hits, including a triple, and drove in four runs to pace El Paso’s offense. Tucker, 32, came into Tuesday’s action with just one hit in his first twelve at-bats. He has 243 games of major league experience, but none since 2018 with Atlanta. He spent last year with Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett … Knuckleballer Matt Waldron made the start and got roughed up early. He allowed four runs on four hits in the first inning, including a pair of doubles, before getting out of the inning. From there, Waldron allowed just one run over his next four innings before falling apart in the sixth. Overall, the line wasn’t pretty – he allowed seven earned runs in five innings of work. However, he was able to notch seven strikeouts, and he pitched well for a large stretch of the game. The 26-year-old struggled last season in his maiden voyage in the Pacific Coast League, giving up a staggering 92 hits in 69.1 innings, leading to an 8.44 ERA. Waldron’s knuckleball makes him one of the more interesting pitchers in the system, but he will need to have more consistent results to make himself a viable big-league option.
Missions 4, Frisco RoughRiders 0
Key Statistics: RF Tirso Ornelas, 2-for-3, 2 R, HR (1), BB, 2B, RBI; CF Korry Howell, 2-for-4, RBI; 2B Evan Mendoza, 1-for-3, R, HR (1), RBI, BB; RHP Nolan Watson, 3 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K, RHP Seth Mayberry (W, 1-0) IP, K; RHP Lake Bachar, 1.2 IP, H, 2 K; LHP Jared Koenig, 1.1 IP, 3 K
Prospect Watch: The Missions used a pair of homers and solid work from six pitchers to notch a three-hit shutout in their home opener. … Right fielder Tirso Ornelas led the Missions offense with a double, homer, and two runs scored. Ornelas is back for his second stint in the Alamo City after a 2022 campaign in which he posted league-average numbers offensively. The 23-year-old has shown a good approach at the plate but hasn’t been able to consistently hit the ball in the air. He had the sixth-highest groundball rate (49.4%) in the league a season ago. In the very early going, he is hitting the ball in the air, and to the middle of the field, more than he ever has in his career. … Infielder Evan Mendoza reached base twice and connected on his first homer as a member of the organization in Tuesday’s win. The Cardinals drafted the 26-year-old in the 11th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He spent all of last year at Triple-A Memphis, where he hit .247/.348/.325. The Padres poached him from St. Louis in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. … Outfielder Korry Howell bounced back from a rough opening series and delivered a pair of singles for his first hits of the season. The 24-year-old outfielder went 0-for-13 with eight punchouts in Tulsa. … Right-hander Nolan Watson pitched in relief last week and came back to start the home opener. Watson threw three shutout innings before turning things over to the bullpen. The Indianapolis native pitched 91 innings for the Missions last year after signing with the Padres as a minor league free agent before the 2022 season.
Lake County Captains 3, TinCaps 1
Key Statistics: CF Jakob Marsee, 1-for-3, BB, 2 SB (2, 3); RF Justin Farmer, 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI; LHP Bodi Rascon, 3 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K; RHP Ryan Bergert (L, 0-1) 2 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 2 K; RHP Jose Gerardo, 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps returned home to beautiful weather in the Summit City, but it wasn’t enough to heat up the offense. Fort Wayne managed just four hits and lost their fourth consecutive game to start the 2023 campaign. … Center fielder Jakob Marsee extended his hitting streak to four games with a single in four plate appearances. He also added two stolen bases, giving him three on the season. The Fort Wayne offense has just 17 hits in their first four games; Marsee has five of them. He’s off to a .417/.563/.417 start. … 24-year-old outfielder Justin Farmer had a pair of doubles and drove in the TinCaps’ lone run of the evening. The former Florida International star drew a whopping 106 walks last season between Lake Elsinore and a late-season cameo with the TinCaps. He has yet to draw a walk in the early onset of 2023. … Left-hander Bodi Rascon pitched three strong innings for the TinCaps, allowing just a pair of hits, walking one, and striking out five. Rascon, 22, struggled in four starts with the TinCaps last season after a solid showing in the Cal League. After throwing 80 innings last year, Rascon will look to eclipse the 100-inning mark for the first time since earning a six-figure bonus as a 14th-round draft selection in 2019. … Right-hander Jose Gerardo made his first appearance since July 11, 2021, when he walked off the mound with an elbow injury in a game against Lake County at Parkview Field. The injury required Tommy John surgery, and Gerardo missed the entirety of the 2022 season. On Tuesday night, the 24-year-old threw pair of scoreless innings, allowing one hit, one walk, and a pair of strikeouts. Gerardo has a fastball capable of touching the high-90s, and he gives Fort Wayne an arm capable of closing.
Storm 5, Inland Empire 66ers 1
Key Statistics: 3B Graham Pauley, 3-for-4, R, 3B; 2B Rosman Verdugo, 1-for-3, 2B, BB, RBI; CF Samuel Zavala, 1-for-4, BB; RHP Henry Baez, 3 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K; LHP Jesus Gonzalez (W, 1-0) 4.2 IP, 5 H, ER, 7 K; RHP Dylan Nedved (S, 1) 1.1 IP, H, BB, 3 K
Prospect Watch: The Storm hit the road for the first time, making the quick trek over to San Bernardino to battle the 66ers. Lake Elsinore rode more excellent pitching to an easy win. In four games, the Storm have outscored opponents 32-3. … Third baseman Graham Pauley had three hits, including a triple, to lead the Storm offense. The 22-year-old is off to a blistering start, as the former Duke infielder is 7-for-13 with two doubles and a triple to start the season. … After a quiet series against Visalia, Samuel Zavala woke up a bit on Tuesday, notching a single and drawing a walk. Through four games, Zavala is 1-for-13. … The Storm rode three pitchers to a win, starting with righty Henry Baez.The 20-year-old got through three innings without allowing a run. He walked a pair and gave up one hit, striking out three. Baez was the Padres’ top pitching prospect in the ACL last year, working to a 3.82 ERA in 30.2 innings. … Southpaw Jesus Gonzalez took over for Baez and earned the victory, pitching 4.2 solid innings in relief. The 21-year-old allowed a run on five hits without walking a batter. In an extremely encouraging sign, Gonzalez equaled his career-high with seven strikeouts – a mark he set last year. Gonzalez worked primarily as a starter last year, but he should be able to eat plenty of innings in relief this year as a veteran on a very young pitching staff. … Right-hander Dylan Nedved recorded the final four outs to earn his first career save. Nedved was the Padres’ ninth-rounder last year out of Iowa, where he played with second-rounder Adam Mazur. He allowed a hit and a walk and struck out three. Nedved was a two-way player for the Hawkeyes in 2021 but mainly focused on pitching in 2022. He had a 3.47 ERA in 72.2 innings for the Big Ten school in 2022.
Roster Moves: The Storm made their first transaction of the 2023 campaign by sending right-hander Carter Loewen to the Arizona League. It’s interesting to note that Loewen was not placed on the injured list, so it doesn’t appear that he suffered a significant setback. The former Hawaii righthander had Tommy John surgery in 2021 after a promising start with Fort Wayne. Taking his place on the active roster is righthander Dwayne Matos, who returns to the Cal League after pitching for the Storm in 2021. Matos wasn’t on a club to start the season. Matos pitched to a 7.29 ERA between Fort Wayne and San Antonio in 21 games (11 starts) last year.