Tirso Ornelas has been on a tear for San Antonio. (Photo: Joe Alexander)

MadFriars Player of the Week: OF Tirso Ornelas, San Antonio
Tirso Ornelas is in his sixth full season in the Padres system, but he never had a week like the one he did in Amarillo. The 22-year-old exploded for four homers and went 13-for-25, finishing the week with a 1.720 OPS. The ridiculous week earned Ornelas the Texas League Player of the Week award. As of press time, Ornelas’ wRC+ stands at 120 — the highest mark he has posted since he was in the complex league as a 17-year-old back in 2017.

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week, RHP Jairo Iriarte Fort Wayne
Jairo Iriarte had his best outing since throwing the first six innings of a combined no-hitter on May 16.The righty from Venezuela equaled his season-high with six innings pitched. Though he had to work around three walks, he allowed just one run on four hits and struck out six. After allowing eight earned runs over 15 innings in May, Iriarte has a 2.57 ERA in three starts this month with a strikeout per inning.

El Paso Chihuahuas (lost series 1-5 to Round Rock Express)

Taylor Kohlwey was on base frequently. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Performers: It wasn’t a great week in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin, as all but a few bats were quiet. Taylor Kohlwey, 28, reached base 13 times in 23 plate appearances and was successful in both of his stolen base attempts for a .944 OPS to go along with a home run and three RBI for the week. Kohlwey got off to a slow start in April with a .618 OPS but has a slash line in June of .320/.444/.560 in 50 plate appearances.. … On the mound, lefty Adrián Morejón, 24, looked good coming out of the bullpen in two appearances, getting El Paso’s sole win and allowing only a single unearned run in four innings of work to go along with seven strikeouts against three hits and one walk. If Morejón gets back with the big club, it will be coming out of the bullpen.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Tim Lopes, 28, had seven hits and five walks in 27 plate appearances for a .808 OPS, which was fairly close to his season’s .876 OPS. The middle infielder leads the team with 79 hits and 11 home runs, and is second with 17 stolen bases in 21 attempts. Lopes has a career slash line of .276/.342/.433 in five career seasons in Triple-A. One of the reasons for the uptick is a newfound patience that has contributed to a career-high 11.6 percent walk rate, and his home run total has already matched his career best. … In 16 plate appearances, Alonso Rivas, 26, hit .455 with a .626 with five hits and five walks after returning from a brief stint with San Diego. As with many players on the El Paso roster, the lefthander has some big league experience with 344 plate career appearances in the majors, including going 2-for-8 with a walk this time in San Diego.  … Angel Sanchez, 33, was the best of the starters this week as the righthander went five innings and gave up three earned runs while taking the loss. Jay Groome, 24, continues to struggle, throwing two and a third innings while walking four and allowing five earned runs. Last year in 51.1 innings in El Paso, Groome had a 3.16 ERA; this season, he has a 9.80 ERA in 59.2. The most obvious reason is his control, with his walk rate spiking to 7.54 from 3.33 last year. (John Conniff)

San Antonio Missions (Split series at Amarillo Sod Poodles)

Ripken Reyes has had a breakout year for the Missions. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

Top Performers: Ornelas wasn’t the only Missions hitter who enjoyed the trip to the elevation in Amarillo. Infielder Ripken Reyes had a big series, slashing .381/.567/.714 while playing all six games. The 28-year-old came to the Panhandle with a .375 slugging percentage for the year, and left with the mark up to .418. … While starting pitching was a struggle for San Antonio in the series, there were some notable performances out of the bullpen, led by Aaron Leasher, who earned a win while making two appearances. The lefty threw 3.2 scoreless innings while striking out five and walking one. The 27-year-old has been working with the Missions after returning from the IL. Originally a starter, Leasher began working primarily out of the bullpen at El Paso in 2022, going 8-6 with a 4.23 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 87.1 innings.

Top Prospects and Others of Note:  Ray-Patrick Didder only had four hits on the week, but all of them went for extra bases. The 5-foot-9 utilityman connected on three home runs and a double and is now slashing .302/.483/.620 in 43 at-bats June. … After entering the series without a homer on the year, Juan Fernandez connected on a pair and added two doubles, slashing .381/.435/.762 in 21 at-bats. His .411 slugging percentage on the year is on track for his best in full-season ball. … Alek Jacob earned a three-inning save in his lone appearance in the series, striking out two while only allowing a hit. The righty reliever is sporting a 0.81 ERA in 14 appearances on the season. … Kevin Kopps threw three scoreless innings in two appearances, striking out five while walking one. The 2021 third-rounder has a 40:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32 innings. (Mark Wilkens)

Fort Wayne TInCaps (split series with Dayton Dragons)

Adam Mazur continues to deal for the TinCaps. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Top Performers: Jackson Merrill being healthy and hitting is a good sign for the TinCaps and a problem for the rest of the Midwest League.  Merrill went 9-24 with two doubles, two home runs, and a walk for a line of .375/.400/.708.  More impressively, Merrill did not strike out all week.  While Merrill has always been a contact-first hitter, this current seven-game stretch without a strikeout is a new career high. … As strong as Iriarte looked against Dayton, Adam Mazur generally matched him. The 22-year-old struck out a career-high eight batters over five scoreless innings while dealing in the mid-90s. The Minnesota-born righty held the Dragons to just three hits, lowering his opponents’ average on the year to .206. He was originally scheduled to throw on four days’ rest for the first time, but rain pushed him back to get only one game in. Since coming back from the IL in early May, Mazur has had a 1.25 ERA over seven starts.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Righty Victor Lizarraga turned in his best start of the year. The 19-year-old fired five innings of one-run ball, striking out a season-high six.  Lizarraga has fought to find a consistently effective breaking ball to pair with his fastball and changeup, but used it effectively Saturday.  While it is a learning process, Lizarraga has improved every month.  After posting a 6.75 ERA in April, he cut it to 4.50 in May, and is now sitting at 3.00 in June. … For the first time all season, Ryan Bergert had a rough outing.  After giving up just three earned runs in his previous five starts, Bergert was tagged for four runs in 4.2 innings.  This was the first time in 11 starts the righty allowed more than two earned runs.  He did tie his season high with eight strikeouts. … The move out of the TinCaps rotation was short-lived for RHP Jared Kollar.  With Tuesday’s rain-out, Kollar took the ball in game two of a Wednesday doubleheader.  He allowed two runs over five innings, striking out six.  Since joining the TinCaps in late April, the Rutgers and Seton Hill product is 4-0, with a 1.71 ERA over 31.2 innings.

Jacob Marsee breaks for home. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps)

Marcos Castañon hit in four of the six games, including a 4-for-5 performance on Saturday. The UC Santa Barbara alum finished the week with a .333 average and a .791 OPS. Right behind Castañon was Jakob Marsee, who had seven hits on the week, including two doubles and a home run. The three extra-base hits nearly matched his total from the prior three weeks. While the speedy center fielder has an OBP hovering near .400 and a team-leading 20 stolen bases, he’s been working to make consistently louder contact … Slugging first baseman Nathan Martorella only went 3-for-18, but two of the three hits left the yard. Combined that with six walks, and he finished with a respectable OPS of .750.  He leads the club with 11 home runs and a .863 OPS.  After making MLB Pipeline’s prospect team of the week last week, catcher Brandon Valenzuela only had one hit in his four games. However, he did reach base safely in every game, drawing four walks to finish the week with a .461 OBP.  As we reach the last part of June, Valenzuela is hitting .351/.455/.568 for the month. (Ben Davey)

Lake Elsinore Storm (split series with Stockton Ports, 3-3)

Albert Fabian has given a boost to the Storm lineup. (Photo: Dylan Otto)

Top Performers: The Storm managed just a split with Stockton, who entered the week with a 20-27 record. Lake Elsinore won three of four to start the series before dropping both weekend games. … For the second straight week, Albert Fabian supplied much of the offense for the Storm. Fabian went 9-for-24 with a pair of homers and a team-high 10 RBI. While the RBI has fallen out of favor, Fabian leads the Cal League with 57 RBI — 10 more than the next closest player – thanks to a .920 OPS with runners in scoring position, which includes six homers. Overall, Fabian has 12 homers this season, just two off of the league lead. … Carter Loewen kept the Ports off of the board in a pair of relief outings. In three innings, the 24-year-old year retired all nine batters he faced, punching out five strikeouts in the process. Loewen has had a nice bounce-back season in his first full campaign removed from Tommy John surgery. Overall, he has a 2.16 ERA in 16.2 innings spread out over 15 appearances.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: After a slow few weeks, Samuel Zavala picked up his production against Stockton. The 18-year-old Zavala hit .400/.571/.700 with a homer, three doubles and eight walks. Zavala has drawn 45 walks this season, tied for the league-lead with Cole Young of Modesto. Thanks to his keen eye at the plate, Zavala ranks ninth in the circuit with a .404 on-base percentage. … Storm PR efforts to bill left-handers Austin Krob and Robby Snelling as the “Disgusting Brothers” have carried as the duo dominated the Cal League. However, both pitchers endured their worst outings of the season against Stockton. Krob threw on his traditional Tuesday spot and lasted just four innings. He allowed eight hits and four runs, three earned. The rough outing raised Krob’s ERA to 2.00. Despite the less than stellar outing, the former TCU hurler has looked like an absolute steal after being selected by the Padres in the 12th round of last year’s draft. He’s worked through some early control struggles and has consistently given the Storm five innings each time out. … Snelling gave up a season-high three runs in five innings Thursday night. Snelling gave up eight hits but ultimately did not factor in the decision. The start raised his ERA to 1.74 which is still awfully impressive. Snelling has shown excellent command and has drawn rave reviews from the Storm coaching staff and teammates for his abilities and intangibles. … Most of the attention around the Storm lately has centered around 17-year-old Ethan Salas. This was the first week that Salas didn’t produce good results. He went just 2-for-19 with a double and four walks. He still hung tough and struck out just four times all week. In 15 games with the Storm, Salas is hitting .193/.356/.291 — which gives him a wRC+ of 89. Despite the results not lighting the world on fire, Salas has worked himself deep into counts and has looked good defensively. While baseball is a numbers-driven industry, the fact that the 17-year-old looks like he belongs in the Cal League is encouraging enough. … Graham Pauley had another good week at the plate, slashing .273/.385/.500. Pauley chipped in with a double, two triples, and four stolen bases. The Storm third baseman and sometimes-outfielder ranks fifth in the circuit with a .917 OPS. (Kevin Charity)

ACL Padres (3-3 on the week)

Top Performers: Outfielder Braedon Karpathios hit .381/.417/.476 while playing all six games. The 19-year-old had a triple in 21 at-bats. …No member of the pitching staff except rehabbing righty Gabe Mosser tossed more than four innings on the week, but Reinier Parra allowed just one earned run with seven strikeouts in his two outings. The 22-year-old righty, who originally signed back in 2019, has a stellar 16:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 8.2 leagues in the complex league, but opponents are hitting .333 against him.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Righty Henry Martinez bounced back from a rough outing, giving up one earned run over four innings on Monday to secure a 3-1 win. The Miami high school product overcame four walks. On the year, he’s the mirror image of Parra; while he has a rough 5:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio, opponents are hitting just .147. … Braian Salazar tossed three scoreless innings Monday, with four strikeouts. While the 18-year-old lefty tops out at 91 mph, he has struck out 13 in eight innings and sports a 0.75 WHIP. (David Jay)


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