MadFriars Player of the Week: Tyler Robertson, Lake Elsinore

Tyler Robertson has stood out early in the year. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

There were quite a few outstanding performances to choose from, but no Padres prospect was as hot as Storm outfielder Tyler Robertson. Robertson went 10-for-19 with eight runs scored, two doubles, an RBI, and four stolen bases. In five starts, the Louisiana-Lafayette product had three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort last Tuesday. The 23-year-old outfielder hasn’t connected for his first homer of the year yet, but the athletic 6-foot-4 outfielder has hit the ball hard to all fields and is showing excellent speed and headiness on the bases with a league-leading eight stolen bases. Overall, Robertson is hitting .367/.439/.490 with the Storm.

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: Robby Snelling, Lake Elsinore

Robby Snelling showed what could be on the horizon last Friday. (Photo: Robert Escalante)

Robby Snelling looked sharp in his first two starts with the Storm but he shined as the organization upped his pitch count and he was able to work deeper into the ballgame on Friday night. Snelling pitched a career-high five innings and earned his first professional win against Modesto. He allowed just one run on three hits – the run coming on a solo homer. He walked just one and struck out a career-high six.

“The most impressive thing for me wasn’t the strikeouts, it was second and third with no outs and he gets out of it,” Storm manager Pete Zamora told our David Jay after Friday’s game. “[It] was very impressive for a young kid to do that.”

The 19-year-old has pitched well in his pro debut. Through three starts, Snelling has allowed just one earned run in 11 innings. He’s walked four and struck out 14.

El Paso Chihuahuas  (Lost series at Tacoma Rainiers 1-5) 

Tim Lopes had a huge week in Tacoma. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Performers: Despite the Chihuahuas only winning a single game in the Pacific Northwest, Tim Lopes had a scorching week hitting .423/.464/.692 with a pair of home runs and a double. The Huntington Beach, California native has spent parts of three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners before signing as a minor league free agent with San Diego last offseason. The 28-year-old, who had a big spring, can play all over the infield and outfield corners, but his best defensive position is at second base. … After three bad outings, righthander Matt Waldron, had his best start of the season while relying less on his knuckleball. He tossed six innings with seven strikeouts against a pair of walks. If Waldron can find the right balance throwing the knuckler and his other pitches consistently, he will be someone to watch.

Eric Hanhold had six strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work this week. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Pedro Severino, now the Padres’ de facto third catcher option, had a nice week hitting .300/.381/.600 in 21 plate appearances. Severino has eight years of big league experience with the Nationals, Orioles, and Brewers. On the season, he is hitting .327/.386/.500. … Lefty reliever Tom Cosgrove continued to rack up innings. In three appearances, he threw four innings, struck out two, allowed one walk, and hit a batter – but no one got a hit or crossed the plate, which is the same story as it has been all season for the former Manhattan Jasper. …Eric Hanhold, another player in the upper minors who came to the Padres via minor league free-agency, threw 2.2 innings and had six strikeouts without allowing a hit or a run. On Thursday night, the righty, who has been in four other organizations since coming out of the University of Florida, pitched 1.2 innings and got all outs via the strikeout. (John Conniff)

San Antonio Missions (Won series 4-1 at Corpus Christi Hooks with one rainout)

Top Performers: Big first baseman Pedro Castellanos got off to a brutal 2-for-29 start to the season, but he bounced back in a big way in Corpus, posting a .333/.417/.810 line powered by three homers in 21 at-bats. The 25-year-old, who originally signed with the Red Sox out of Venezuela in 2015 and spent six years in the organization until opting for free agency last winter, has had 13 homers in each of the last two seasons. His best season came in 2019, when his walk rate spiked to 8.7%, more than double his line from the rest of his career. … Righty Nolan Watson didn’t pick up the victory in his outing at Whataburger Field, but his five scoreless inning appearance was the best on the staff last week. The 26-year-old, who is in his second season after signing with the Padres organization as a minor league free agent, allowed just two hits while striking out five. The Indianapolis native hasn’t allowed a run in nine innings so far this year.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: In a pair of relief appearances, Edwuin Bencomo tossed 4.2 scoreless innings while giving up just one hit. The 24-year-old righty has been in the organization since signing late in the 2015-16 international period. … Duncan Snider came up an out short of the five innings he needed to earn a win, but allowed just one run in 4.2 frames while striking out five. The 6-foot-7 righty fought his control a bit in the outing, issuing three walks, bu only gave up two hits. … Ripken Reyes only got into two games after being activated from the Development List, but the 30th-round pick out of University of San Diego made the most of it, going 4-for-8 with a homer and two stolen bases. … Korry Howell had a rough week, managing two singles in 17 at-bats. The fleet outfielder did draw five walks to post a .348 on-base percentage and converted all four of his stolen base attempts. (David Jay)

Marcos Castañon had a big week at the plate. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps)

Fort Wayne TinCaps (lost series at Peoria 1-5)

Top Performers: After a slow start, Marcos Castañon has been on fire. After starting the season 2-for-13, Castañon has hit safely in eight of nine games. Over his last five contests, the infielder went 8-for-18, with a double and two homers, drawing three walks with only one strikeout. That’s a cool .444/.524/.833 line to raise his season numbers to a .915 OPS. … First baseman Nathan Martorella was the first TinCap to homer in back-to-back games earlier in the week, then became the second TinCap to have a four-hit game in Saturday’s win. The Padres’ fifth-round pick last year is tied for the team lead with three home runs and is hitting .264/.371/.491 so far this season. … After starting the year with a forgettable outing when he walked all three batters he faced and all three came around to score, Aaron Holiday has had a solid rebound.  This week, the hard-throwing righty got into two games, throwing 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one base runner, and striking out eight.  The five strikeouts were one short of a career-high. … RightyJairo Iriartemade his third start of the season and allowed one run over four innings, striking out a team-best seven hitters. The 21-year-old leads the club with 17 strikeouts over 10 innings this season.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Dropping five of six games is always tough.  It is even tougher when an illness is making its way through the clubhouse.  Several players fell ill due to the bug including top prospect Jackson Merrill who fell ill on his 20th birthday.  He hit his second home run of the season on Tuesday, before exiting the game Wednesday and missing the rest of the week. … Top prospects RHP Adam Mazur and RHP Victor Lizarraga also were announced as gameday starters during the week before being pulled at the last minute.  Of the remaining healthy starters, Garrett Hawkins and Ryan Bergert both tossed four innings of one-run ball. … Leadoff hitter Jakob Marsee reached base safely in every game in the series and 13 times over the six games.  His .431 OBP leads the team. … Joshua Mears struck out nine times over five games and has struck out at least once in all but one game this season.  He did however hit his first home run of the season and reached base safely in four of the five games. (Ben Davey)

Lake Elsinore Storm (split series 3-3 against Modesto Nuts)

Top Performers: The Storm had their first non-winning series of the year, splitting the six-game set at home against Modesto. The culprit for the split was the inconsistency of their offense. In the three games they lost. Lake Elsinore scored just six runs; in three victories, the Storm offense pushed across 23 runs. … First baseman Griffin Doersching busted out of a slow and provided the pop the organization expects from him. The 24-year-old Wisconsin native had three doubles, connected on his first homer, and produced an OPS north of 1.000 against Modesto. Doersching struggles at times to make consistent contact but when he is right at the plate, his power makes him one of the more fun players to watch on a daily basis. … Catcher Anthony Vilar continued his torrid start with another impressive week. Vilar hit .250/.429/.563 with a double, a homer, and five walks. The 24-year-old moved back a level in 2023 but the consistent playing time has opened up a lot of eyes. Through three weeks, Vilar leads the Cal League with a .523 OBP and 1.304 OPS and he’s tied for fourth with three homers. … The Storm got another nice effort from Isaiah Lowe, who impressed yet again last week. Lowe started Wednesday night and gave up just one run in four innings. He walked a pair and struck out six. The 19-year-old didn’t pitch in an official game after the Padres selected him out of a North Carolina high school with their 11th-round pick last year. The early returns on Lowe have been tremendously encouraging. In his first two pro outings, the righty has allowed just one earned run in 7.1 innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: The overall numbers don’t reflect it, but last week marked encouraging improvement from top prospect Samuel Zavala. On Sunday, Zavala connected on his first homer of the season – an opposite-field shot that just cleared the left-field wall. In five games, the 18-year-old hit an unremarkable .200/.273/.400 but he struck out in just two of his 22 plate appearances. In the previous two series, his K-rate was in the mid-30% range. The left-handed outfielder isn’t hitting the ball with the same authority he did in his cameo in the Cal League last season but he’s starting to make more consistent contact. Assuming this trend continues, he could break out this week in Visalia. … Rosman Verdugo had a quiet series, going 4-for-19 with three doubles and a pair of RBI. The 18-year-old has shown some flashes at the plate but has struggled a bit against Cal League pitching. He has driven in 10 runs in 14 games, thanks in part to a 1.028 OPS with runners in scoring position. Verdugo narrowly missed our MadFriars preseason top-20 list. … While there wasn’t necessarily anything flashy about what infielder Graham Pauley did last week, the former Duke Blue Devil continues to hit. Pauley hit .368/.429/.421 with six singles, a double, and three RBI. Through 14 games, Pauley is third in the Cal League with a .380 batting average. … Southpaw Austin Krob was one of two Storm pitchers who completed five innings last week, although he didn’t earn the victory. The former TCU pitcher allowed three runs but only one was earned. He walked two and had four punchouts. Through three starts, Krob is averaging 12.7 K/9. (Kevin Charity)

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