MadFriars Player of the Week: OF Preston Tucker, El Paso
Have yourself a week Preston Tucker. The 32-year-old outfielder had nine hits over four games including a five-hit performance on Saturday. He finished the week 9-for-17, with two doubles, a triple and three home runs, good for an overall line of .529/.600/1.294 and an OPS of 1.894. He also scored eight runs and drove in 10. With only two games left in May, Tucker is hitting a cool .377/.479/.902 on the month
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Ryan Bergert, Fort Wayne
Ryan Bergert, 23, threw the longest and best outing of his career Friday, going seven shutout innings with eight punch outs and only giving up three hits. His last start of May punctuated a dominant month that saw him allow only two runs, one of them a home run, in 18 innings across four starts for a 1.00 ERA. The righthander from the University of West Virginia’s ERA for the year is 1.69, down from 5.84 from last season. A big reason is his home run per fly ball rate has dropped to 3.1% from 15.1% and a BABIP that has gone from .376 to .260 as Midwest League batters are not squaring up pitches against him.
Chihuahuas (beat Reno Aces 4-2)
Top Performers: The organizational home run leader on the week was Matthew Batten. The infielder had at least one hit in each of the six games, 10 hits in total, with four long balls. The infielder had nine runs scored and 10 RBI on the week. After an extremely slow start to the season, Batten has reached base in all but one game this month and now has over 20 runs, RBI, and walks this month. … On the mound, RHP Matt Waldron turned in the only good start for the Chihuahuas. The knuckleballer retired the first 14 batters of the game before issuing a two-out walk in the fifth. He carried the no-hitter into the sixth before allowing a two-out, two-run home run. Overall he allowed only four runners to reach base over six innings striking out six.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Last week the Padres signed veteran backstop Kevin Plawecki and assigned him to El Paso. In his first full week with the Chihuahuas, he finished 4-for-15, all singles, with a couple of walks. The 32-year-old, originally drafted and developed by the Mets, had spent most of the last three years as the backup catcher in Boston. … Taylor Kohlwey, working for his first call-up and addition to the 40-player roster, had an excellent week. The outfielder reached base safely in all six games, with seven hits including three home runs, and six walks. He scored seven runs, drove in 11, and even stole two bases for good measure. After posting a .618 OPS the first month, Kohlwey has a 1.025 OPS in May, with more walks (19) than strikeouts (12). … David Dahl had a week to forget. Over four games, Dahl went 2-for-15 with a double and three runs. … First basemanRangel Ravelo, had seven hits over four games. He finished the week hitting .467/.579/.667. … After being activated and sent down to the minors, lefty Jose Castillo pitched two scoreless innings giving up a hit, a walk, and a strikeout. … After looking tremendous for the better part of the last month, righty Anderson Espinoza came crashing down. He allowed seven runs over 4.1 innings, walking four against only one strikeout. He will finish the month with a 4.94 ERA, with 10 of the 13 runs he allowed coming over his last seven innings. … Lefty Jay Groome had possibly the worst start of his career, failing to get out of the first inning. He walked three, hit a batter, and surrendered five earned runs. Over two starts, Groome allowed 13 earned runs in 5.1 innings with eight walks. … Reliever Reiss Knehr appeared in two games over the week, allowing three runs over 4.1 innings, including two home runs. He did strike out seven without walking a batter. (Ben Davey)
Missions (Beat Amarillo Sod Poodles 4-2)
Top Performers: Outfielder Daniel Johnson reached base 11 times in five games, good for a .524 on-base percentage on the week. The 27-year-old outfielder, signed as a minor league free agent in February, also swiped a pair of bases and scored a team-best seven runs against Amarillo. Despite having a table-setter profile, Johnson has been especially effective hitting in the middle of the Missions lineup this year, posting an OPS more than 200 points above his season mark of .689 when he hits in the four or five hole. … Lefty Jackson Wolf once again paced the Missions pitching staff, tossing six innings of one-run ball to claim a win in his only start of the series. The 24-year-old struck out four to push his season total to 53, good for fourth in the Texas League.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Outfielder Korry Howell returned from the IL and posted an odd .188/.409/.313 line. The 16th-ranked prospect coming into the season, Howell got off to a slow start for the second consecutive year and missed most of May on the IL, but he offers a blend of power and speed that few in the organization can match. … Catcher Michael De La Cruz went 6-for-11 with a pair of doubles in limited exposure on the week. The 30-year-old, now in his 10th professional season, has a .786 OPS as the backup catching option for the Missions. … Infielder Ripken Reyes, who has been the club’s most consistent offensive producer all year, stayed hot with an .847 OPS across all six games. … Big righty Duncan Snider threw five one-run innings as a hard-luck loser Saturday. The 25-year-old owns a solid 3.89 ERA on the year after skipping over High-A but is struggling to maintain his control. He’s walked 25 to match his strikeout count in 37 innings on the year. (David Jay)
TinCaps (Beat Lansing Lugnuts 4-2)
Top Performers: Lefty Bodi Rascon delivered five innings of shutout ball in his start, giving up just three singles and a walk. The 22-year-old lefty threw 57 or 82 pitches for strikes, working effectively off his split-finger fastball. Rascon has struggled for consistency this year, but has shown the ability to put things together in individual outings. … In a relatively quiet week for the offense, Nathan Martorella, 22, continued to offer what manager Jonathan Mathews described as professional at-bats. The first baseman led the team in hits with seven to go along with three walks for a .733 OPS. …
Top Prospects and Others of Note: A big reason Fort Wayne won four out of six from was strong pitching against the Midwest League’s least productive offense. In addition to Bergert, and Rascon, righthander Jared Kollar, 24, threw five shutout innings in his winning start. In five appearances since joining the TinCaps, Kollar has held opponents to a .188 average. … Reliever Keegan Collett, 24, had six strikeouts against one walk and one hit in four shutout innings over two appearances. Collett has one of the better curve balls in the system, and he is tough to hit when his fastball command is on. … The only down note for the pitching staff is that Jairo Iriarte, 21, gave up all six of his earned runs in May on his start Tuesday, but still held Midwest League batters to a .158 batting average for the month. … Joshua Mears, 22, only had one extra-base hit in 20 plate appearances but had six hits and only struck out six times for a .316/.364/.368 line. … Lucas Dunn, 24, reached seven times in six games for a .348 on-base percentage and .769 OPS, and while catcher/designated hitter Colton Bender, 24, only got in a pair of games, he made the most of opportunities with a couple of hits, two RBI and three walks in eight plate appearances. (John Conniff)
Storm (split series at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes)
Top Performers: The Storm offense was relatively quiet in Rancho, as they slugged .291 in the six-game set. However, Griffin Doersching continued to hammer Cal League pitching. The big first baseman went 9-for-23 with a team-high four doubles and six RBI. For the week he posted a .988 OPS more than 200 points better than any other Storm hitter. The 24-year-old first baseman has shaken off a dreadful April and put together a strong May, hitting .314/.363/.514 this month. … Righthander David Morgan made a pair of relief outings in Rancho and allowed just one run on two hits in 5.1 innings. He walked one and struck out five. The 23-year-old is a Mission Viejo native who played last year at Hope International University, an NAIA school in Fullerton. Morgan was a two-way player and spent most of the year playing the outfield. He hit .349/.473/.627 with eight homers and pitched to a 2.89 ERA in eight games. This season, he started the year in extended spring training before being added to the Storm roster as an injury replacement. In seven appearances, Morgan has a 2.35 ERA in seven outings.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Samuel Zavala homered Friday, but otherwise had a quiet series by his standards. He finished with a .754 OPS with 10 strikeouts in 29 plate appearances. Zavala had been on a roll coming into the series with an .896 OPS this month. … Graham Pauley has been one of the best players in the Cal League this season but he had a quiet series against the Quakes. Pauley went 5-for-25 without an extra-base hit. He struck out five times and walked just three times which has been quite unusual for the left-handed hitting infielder. … Anthony Vilar had a .375 on-base percentage but otherwise, he had a rough series. He went 1-for-16 with a team-high walks but he struck out 11 times to pace the Storm. After a red-hot start to the season, Vilar is hitting .115/.356/.154 this month. … Robby Snelling pitched five more shutout innings Thursday night, scattering five hits in the process. Through seven starts, Snelling has a 1.14 ERA. … Austin Krob took over for Adrian Morejon‘s rehab outing on Tuesday and threw the ball well once again. Krob didn’t allow a run in 4.1 innings. He walked two and struck out six. There are higher-profile pitchers with the Storm but Krob has been as good as any of them, posting a 1.86 ERA good for seventh in the league among pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings. (Kevin Charity)