While the Padres lost a series on the road in the Big Apple, the Storm won again to improve their record to 5-0. The rest of the organization struggled Wednesday, as the top three teams in the system all found the loss column.
Albuquerque Isotopes 7, Chihuahuas 2
Prospect Watch: With a day game after a night game, Fernando Tatis Jr. sat Wednesday and El Paso turned in a forgettable game. … Right-hander Pedro Avila retired six of the first seven batters fairly easily, but hit a wall in the third inning and failed to record an out. He allowed a pair of doubles to begin the frame, followed by a single, a homer, and three consecutive walks before being pulled from the game. In both of his starts this year, Avila has looked strong for all but one inning. In both cases, he gave up five runs and looked out of his league when things went bad. … Righty Reiss Knehr pitched in relief and turned in the only great outing of the day. He faced 10 batters, striking out five, and he did not allow a batted ball out of the infield. This is a big improvement for the 26-year-old, who was tagged for three runs in three innings his last time out. … After hitting the game-tying home run in the ninth Tuesday, center fielder Luis Liberato had the only multi-hit game for the Chihuahuas. Liberato has only struck out once in his last 15 at-bats and has only four – with seven walks – in 11 games this year.
Frisco RoughRiders 7, Missions 1
Key Statistics: RHP Efraín Contreras 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB; RHP Kevin Kopps 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; RHP Nick Hernandez 2 IP, H, 6 K; CF Kory Howell 2-for-4; RF Tirso Ornelas 1-for-2, 2 BB, SS Evan Mendoza 1-for-4, RBI, SB (1)
Prospect Watch: This game would meet the definition of a clunker. The four through eight batters in the Missions lineup struck out 11 times. Things weren’t much better for Efraín Contreras in his second start of the season. Contreras faced eight batters and walked five of them. Contreras induced a pair of double plays, otherwise, the damage could have been even worse. Contreras has now allowed 11 runners in 4,2 innings. … Minor league free agent signee right-handed Nick Hernandez was the bright spot of the evening for San Antonio. The former eighth-round pick of the Astros struck out the side in both of his innings, allowing just one hit. In two games this season, Martinez has eight strikeouts in three innings. He spent most of last year in Triple-A, pitching for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys where he punched out 77 batters in 59.2 innings. … The only run scored for the Missions was on an RBI single by Evan Mendoza. The 26-year-old had spent the last two years starting for the Cardinals Triple-A team before joining the organization in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Through the first week of the regular season, the Missions rank as the second-worst offense in all of minor league baseball, scoring just 1.8 runs per game in five games.
Lake County Captains 4, TinCaps 0
Prospect Watch: Five games into the season, the TinCaps offense has yet to get going, scoring a minors-worst four runs. The club features the best collection of talent in the system but it has not translated yet. Wednesday’s loss dropped the TinCaps to 0-5. They are averaging less than five hits a game and have a combined team OPS of .423. It is an extremely small sample size but not the way you want to start a season. The good news is that there is nowhere to go but up. … One of those very talented prospects, Jackson Merrill, picked up his first hit of the season and is 1-for-19 through five games. At least Merrill has only struck out once this season (5% K-rate) so the hits should start to come soon. … Starter Garrett Hawkins labored through three innings but only gave up one run. He allowed six baserunners — three of them coming via the walk. Among pitchers who threw 60 innings in the Cal League last season, Hawkins had the fourth-lowest walk rate (2.32 per nine innings). The 23-year-old started four games at the end of last season for the TinCaps.
Storm 7, Inland Empire 66ers 4
Key Statistics: CF Samuel Zavala 1-for-4, R, BB; DH Albert Fabian 1-for-2, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB; SS Rosman Verdugo 3-for-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI; C Anthony Vilar 2-for-4, 2 RBI; RHP Isaiah Lowe 3.1 IP, 4 H, R, 4 K; RHP Cole Paplham (S, 2), IP, K
Prospect Watch: The Storm have been the best offensive team in the league. While the roster features multiple college products, one of their best players in the young season has been infielder Rosman Verdugo. The 18-year-old from Ensenada has hit safely in four of five games this season, including his first three-hit game of the season Wednesday. He was one of the bigger-name signings in last year’s international class, and so far has shown exactly why the Padres were so high on him. … The top remaining signing from the year before, center fielder Samuel Zavala, looks to be heating up. This is his second game in a row with a hit, and with the walk has now reached base safely seven times in the last three games. … The biggest surprise in the Padres 2022 draft might have been the bonus earned by 11th-round pick Isaiah Lowe. Lowe received the sixth-biggest bonus in the Padres’ draft class, equal to a pick at the end of the fourth round. Not much about the small-town North Carolina product was in the public space, but the Padres were in on him. Making his professional debut, Lowe looked every bit deserving. After nearly being hit by the first batted ball of the game, Lowe would come back to mow through the rest of the order generating pop-ups and strikeouts. The 19-year-old completed 3.1 innings and struck out four without allowing a walk.