Hitter of the Week: C Oswaldo Linares, ACL Padres
Linares started the ACL season with a bang, posting a .571/.700/1.286 line with four doubles and a pair of homers over four contests in the desert. While the ball has always carried in the desert, Linares smoked line drives around the field while splitting time between catcher and designated hitter. The 19-year-old, who came stateside for the first time this year after two years playing in the DSL, is part of a deep pool of catching talent in the lower ends of the Padres system.
Pitcher of the Week: RHP Raul Brito, Fort Wayne TinCaps
While it is rare for a reliever to get the nod here, righty Brito earned it. The 26-year-old reliever pitched in relief on Tuesday and Sunday. Combined, the 26-year-old went 2-0 over seven scoreless innings, allowing just two walks and two walks while striking out 13. On Sunday, he struck out nine of the 13 batters he faced and only allowed one batter to reach base in a 1-0 win. After signing with the Padres as a minor league free agent, he has a 1.00 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP in his first season.
Chihuahuas (lost 4-2 to OKC Dodgers)
Top Performers: Half of outfielder Luis Liberato’s eight hits went over the wall with a pair of walks and six RBI for an OPS of 1.313. Liberato, 27, signed with San Diego before the 2022 season and before getting his first brief call-up to the majors. He got off to a slow start in April and missed two weeks on the IL in May, but now is hitting .289/.398/.474 on the year. … Anderson Espinoza, 25, went six innings and didn’t allow a run despite unsexy peripherals of only two strikeouts against four walks and five hits. It was the third time this year that the righthander has gone six innings. This season, among the four El Paso starters with 10 starts or more, Espinoza has the lowest ERA at 6.07 in 46 innings.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Infielder Tim Lopes, 28, had another solid week with a team-high nine hits and two home runs in five games for a 1.071 OPS. The infielder with 290 career big league plate appearances has a .306/.384/.498 line in his first year in the Padres’ organization. He is posting a career-high walk rate of 10.9 percent and already has matched his career best of 11 home runs with more than half a season still left. … Jose Azocar’s two home runs this week are two more than he’s hit in 271 career plate appearances in the majors. The Venezuelan hit .333 this week and tied Lopes with nine hits in six games. … Taylor Kohlwey, 28, did what he has done best since he’s been in Triple-A with San Diego, get on base. The Wisconsin-born first baseman/outfielder had eight hits, two doubles, and three walks for a .478 on-base percentage. … Even though he was only in three games Preston Tucker, 32, hit three doubles and walked five times for a .375/.571/.750 slash line in 13 plate appearances. On the season, the corner outfielder is hitting .364/.492/.699 and has 25 extra-base hits in 181 plate appearances. Eguy Rosario, 23, returned to El Paso at second base after suffering a broken ankle in the offseason but got shut down after just one game with soreness. He’ll look to resume his rehab assignment in the coming week… On the mound, lefty Jared Koenig, 29, threw 5.1 innings in three games and struck out six against three walks and four hits. … Reiss Knehr, 26, continues to succeed in long relief, throwing three innings in his lone appearance and only allowing one run, a pair of hits against four strikeouts, and, most importantly, no walks. (John Conniff)
Missions (Won 4-2 over Wichita Wind Surge)
Top Performers: With six shutout innings, Jackson Wolf once again shined for the Missions. The southpaw struck out seven and walked none while allowing two hits in his start in the series. The 6-foot-7 lefty, a fourth-round pick in 2021, is now 5-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 11 starts and owns a staggering 68:14 K: BB ratio in 51 innings. … With a .467 average and 1.385 OPS, Ray-Patrick Didder had a monster series, going 7-for-15 at the plate with a double, a home run, and seven walks, good for a .652 OBP. The 28-year-old outfielder, a native of Aruba, is slashing .216/.373/.284 in 88 at-bats for San Antonio, his first season playing in the Padres organization. However, he did spend the 2020 season with San Diego when a minor league season did not materialize due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Efrain Contreras earned a win with six innings of three-run ball. The 23-year-old righty is 3-4 with a 5.21 ERA in 12 starts in 2023 but 2-0 with a 4.93 ERA in a pair of starts in June so far. … Michel Baez made two appearances in the series and earned two wins. The Cuban righty lowered his ERA to 6.50 as he looks to get a tough 2023 season back on track and work his way back to the Padres. … Ripken Reyes hit .450 with a 1.093 OPS in the series. Reyes, a 30th-round pick in 2019, has slashed .278/.423/.375 in 144 at-bats for San Antonio, solidifying himself in a role at the top of the order in a resurgent 2023 campaign. … Tirso Ornelas went 9-for-27 (.333) with three doubles and an .801 OPS for the series. The 23-year-old outfielder owns a .864 OPS in the month of June, heating up after a tepid start to the season. (Mark Wilkens)
TinCaps (Won 5-1 at Quad Cities River Bandits)
Top Performers: The offense was paced by catcher/DH Brandon Valenzuela. The 22-year-old had at least one hit in all five games he played in. He finished the week 9-for-20, 7 RS, 3 2B, HR, RBI, 3 BB, or a line of .450/.522/.750. On the month, Valenzuela is hitting .393/.452/.643. Valenzuela, a defensive first catcher, burst on the Top 30 lists after he posted a .822 OPS in Lake Elsinore in 2021 before a disappointing .682 OPS last year in Fort Wayne. This season, his 153 wRC+ is the best on the team. … Both games Raul Brito won were started by Jairo Iriarte, who became the first TinCaps starter to go on four days’ rest this year. After giving up three runs in four innings on Tuesday, he came back with four scoreless frames Sunday. Overall, he struck out eight and limited the damage despite allowing nine hits, walking three, and hitting a pair of batters.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Ryan Bergert had his worst start of the year for him but was still solid, allowing two earned runs on four hits over five innings with six strikeouts against just one walk. The two runs allowed are tied for the most he has allowed in 10 starts this season, and the four hits are the second most allowed. His season ERA is now up to 1.67. … Adam Mazur gave up four straight first-inning hits leading to three runs on Wednesday. Then he settled in and allowed just two baserunners over the next five innings in the start. For the third time in four starts, he went six innings and didn’t walk a batter. Over 37 innings this season, Mazur has walked only five batters and has a 1.95 ERA. … Victor Lizarraga struggled on Saturday, allowing three runs over five innings. The 19-year-old struck out just three and now has a 5.40 K/9 on the season after averaging more than a strikeout per inning in each of his first two seasons. He has cut his walk rate significantly to just 5.8%. … After three excellent starts in May (one earned run over 14.2 innings), Jared Kollar has continued to succeed out of the pen. The righty earned the save Wednesday after throwing three scoreless innings, striking out five, and allowing only one baserunner. Kollar has a 1.35 ERA in 26.2 innings this season. … After reaching base nine times in the series’ first four games, Jackson Merrill finished the week with a rough 0-for-9. After a strong May, Merrill is hitting .227/.286/.273 for the month.
… After a slow start to the month, Nathan Martorella reached safely in each game of the series, including his first two home runs since May 21 to end his longest homerless streak of the year. The first baseman also drew five walks to finish the week with a .887 OPS. … Lucas Dunn hit safely in every game, extending the team’s longest hitting streak at eight games. In addition to seven hits in six games, the versatile defender also walked six times. … Outfielder Justin Farmer stole three bases and is now second on the club. He had eight hits over the first four games before going 0-for the last two. After posting a .519 OPS in April, Farmer has a 1.118 OPS this month. Marcos Castanon had hits in four of the six games, including a double and a home run on Saturday. On the week, he went 7-for-22 scoring four and driving in five. (Ben Davey)
Storm (Lost 1-5 at Fresno Grizzlies)
Top Performers: Corner bat Albert Fabian powered the Storm offense for the week, connecting on three homers and as many doubles for a .304/.385/.826 line on the road. The 21-year-old lefthander from the Dominican Republic has been much more aggressive at the plate this year, shaving 5% off both his walk and strikeout rates while continuing to hit the ball with authority. … Robby Snelling gets the nod from among several strong starts from Storm pitching. The lefty gave up one earned run over five innings while striking out eight without issuing a walk. The performance actually raised the 2022 compensation-round pick’s ERA slightly to 1.30 on the year. The 19-year-old from Reno now sports a 48:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 41.2 professional innings while holding opponents to a .201 average.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Lefty Austin Krob continued his impressive professional debut, allowing just one unearned run over five innings while striking out six. The lefty out of Texas Christian dealt with arm issues in his college season and didn’t pitch at all for the Padres last year. He fought his command a bit early this year but has been lights out over his last five starts, allowing just three earned runs in 26.1 innings with a stellar 29:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. At 23 years old, watch for him to be among the first pitchers who get moved up. … Righty Henry Baez allowed just one earned run in his outing but walked four and had a pair of unearned runs cut short his outing. The 20-year-old now has 44 strikeouts and 23 walks over his first 38.2 innings in full-season ball. … Outfielder Nick Vogt went 7-for-16 with a pair of doubles in the series. The Padres’ seventh-round pick last year, who grew up 90 minutes up the Central Valley from Fresno, has been a solid contributor since joining the Storm the previous month, posting a .785 OPS. … Wyatt Hoffman had three multi-hit games, including a 6-RBI performance Friday. The 24-year-old utility infielder finished the week 7-for-16 with a .500 on-base percentage. (David Jay)
AZL Padres (3-2 on the week)
Top Performers: First baseman Romeo Sanabria went 6-for-14 with three doubles in the first week of play, good for a 1.143 OPS. The big lefty from Miami was the Padres’ 18th-round pick out of Indian River CC, one of the top junior college programs in the country last year. After playing catcher as an amateur, the 21-year-old will play mostly first in the future. He drew four walks against four strikeouts to get the season underway. … With pitchers working on tight pitch counts in the desert, summaries from one week offer very little to go on. Righty Jonney Rosario worked a pair of scoreless outings, striking out six over 3.2 frames in the strongest showing of the week. The 18-year-old spent two years in the DSL after signing out of Venezuela in 2021.
Top Prospects and Others of Note: Infielder Alain Camou went hitless in the season opener but then went 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles in his next three contests while drawing a pair of walks. He offers hitability from the left side while showing good instincts in the field. … Outfielder Braedon Karpathios drew six walks in three games to fuel a .643 on-base percentage on the week. Shortstop Yendry Rojas got off to a rough start, going 2-for-21 with seven strikeouts. The smooth-fielding left-handed hitter from Cuba was one of the headliners of the Padres 2022 international class. … Henry Martinez made his professional debut in the ACL season opener, giving up a pair of runs over four innings. The 19-year-old righty signed as a projection high school pick in the 16th round of last year’s draft out of Florida. (David Jay)