Tacoma Rainiers 8, Chihuahuas 6
Key Statistics: LHP Jay Groome, 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K; 3B Jantzen Witte, 3-for-3, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB; DH Kevin Plawecki, 2-for-4, 3B, R, 3 RBI; RF Luis Liberato, 2-for-3, 2B, BB; 2B Eguy Rosario 1-for-3, BB
Prospect Watch: In a fairly typical PCL battle with 14 runs and 18 hits between the two squads, the Chihuahuas drew the short end of the stick in El Paso. Jay Groome was charged with six earned runs and has allowed five or more in six consecutive starts. He gave up three home runs among the seven hits allowed, walked four and struck our four. The lefty is now 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA after a no-decision and sports a hefty 2.22 WHIP in his first full season in the Padres organization. … El Paso fared much better on offense, led by Jantzen Witte, who reached base in all four plate appearances and put the lumber to the baseball with a pair of doubles and a home run. The veteran infielder has been a solid contributor at the plate for the Chihuahuas, batting .309 with a .913 OPS in 194 at-bats in his first season in the Padres organization. … Kevin Plawecki, another seasoned ballplayer who chipped in, went 2-for-4 and legged out the always-impressive catcher triple (even though he was tonight’s DH). Since arriving in El Paso, the veteran backstop has slashed .306/.370/.514 in 72 at-bats, good for a 106 wRC+. … Luis Liberato continued a very productive run for the Chihuahuas’ seven-through-nine hitters (Witte, Plawecki, Liberato), who slugged a doubled as one of his two hits on the evening. Liberato, memorable to Padres fans for his cup of coffee with San Diego in 2022, is slashing .271/.384/.452 in 166 at-bats for El Paso in the 2023 season. … Infielder Eguy Rosario, who began his rehab assignment back on June 6, but hadn’t appeared in a game since, returned to action for the Chihuahuas and had a single and walk in four trips to the plate. The 23-year-old, who broke his leg in winter ball, could add some versatility to the big league roster down the stretch after he returns to full speed.
Midland RockHounds 10, Missions 8
Key Statistics: RHP Nolan Watson 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 6 K, 0 BB; LHP Jason Blanchard, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K; RHP Michel Baez, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K; C Chandler Seagle, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; 1B Cole Cummings, 2-for-4, 2 R
Prospect Watch: The Missions fell behind 5-0 in the top of the third, rallied back to tie the game in the sixth, then saw that slip away as the RockHounds mounted a four-run seventh inning in a Texas League thriller. Jason Blanchard came on in relief to stop the bleeding, and while he did allow an inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly, he got out of the seventh inning and pitched a scoreless eighth, ending the inning on a full-count strikeout. The 25-year-old southpaw is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 26.2 innings of work in 2023 split between Fort Wayne and San Antonio. … Michel Baez struck out the side in the ninth for his second consecutive scoreless appearance. The 27-year-old righty has a 6.28 ERA and 14:9 K:BB in 14.1 innings since being sent to San Antonio from El Paso. … With a double and a pair of runs batted in, Chandler Seagle enjoyed a solid night at the plate. The 27-year-old Appalachian State product is slashing .208/.281/.296 in 125 at-bats in his third season with San Antonio. … Cole Cummings adding another pair of hits to raise his average since being promoted to San Antonio to .270 to go along with an .818 OPS. The UC Santa Barbara product, signed by the Padres following the 2021 draft, continues to be one of the most intriguing undrafted players in the organization.
South Bend Cubs 5, TinCaps 1
Key Statistics: RHP Ryan Bergert 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 6 K, 3 BB; RHP Aaron Holiday, 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K; RHP Jose Geraldo, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K; 2B Chase Valentine, 3-for-4; SS Jackson Merrill, 1-for-4, SB
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps fell behind early and lost on the road in South Bend. After pitching at least five innings in three consecutive starts, starter Ryan Bergert has had back-to-back starts in which he has struggled. In four innings, the former West Virginia product allowed three earned runs on four hits, walking three and striking out six. The outing raised Bergert’s ERA to 2.61. While Bergert is fifth in the Midwest League with 62 strikeouts over 51.2 innings, his walk rate is up almost 50% from last year. Aaron Holiday delivered a scoreless inning to hold off South Bend. Holiday, the last remnants of the Sean Manaea trade that sent Euribiel Angeles and Adrian Martinez to Oakland, is 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA in 22 innings pitched in 2023. … Jose Geraldo also pitched a scoreless inning, dropping his ERA to 7.43 in 13.1 innings pitched. A 24-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, Geraldo was excellent in his debut with the TinCaps in 2021, going 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 9.2 innings, but is working his way back to full strength after missing the entire 2022 campaign following Tommy John surgery. … An undrafted free agent from Central Arizona Junior College, 21-year-old Chase Valentine has found himself playing in the Arizona Complex League, with Lake Elsinore, and now the TinCaps, where he’s done his best work. His 3-for-4 performance leaves him 5-for-13 with a walk as he holds down second base as Fort Wayne awaits the return of Nerwilian Cedeño from the IL. Last year, the versatile infielder found himself promoted from the complex to El Paso to fill a need for depth. … Padres top prospect Jackson Merrill went 1-for-4 and stole a base. The shortstop extended his hitting streak to four games, a span in which Merrill is 8-for-18.
Storm 14, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1
Key Statistics: LHP Robby Snelling (W, 5-1), 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K; LHP Andrew Vail, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K; SS Rosman Verdugo, 3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB; DH Ethan Salas, 3-for-6, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Prospect Watch: The Storm were the only victorious affiliate on the night, and they won by enough of a margin to outshine the rest of the system. The club got another strong performance from southpaw Robby Snelling, who collected his fifth win with five innings of one-hit ball, walking none and striking out four. In 51.2 innings pitched, the 2022 39th-overall pick leads the California League with a 1.57 ERA and owns a 1.01 WHIP and 59 strikeouts against only 13 walks. … Andrew Vail pitched the final two innings, scattering a pair of hits and striking out five Quakes, bringing Lake Elsinore’s total to 12 strikeouts for the evening. A 22-year-old native of New Jersey, Vail was drafted in the final round last year while he finished a rehab process after Tommy John surgery. The lefty did not make his professional debut until this season. After giving up 10 earned runs in his first two innings of work, Vail has allowed just two more over his last eight frames while striking out 13. … It was a big night at the plate for Rosman Verdugo, who went 3-for-5 with a home run and drove in four runs while scoring a pair himself. The Ensenada native has slashed .281/.352/.391 in June, a very encouraging sign after some struggles at the plate in the first two months of the season. The homer was his first as a member of the Storm. Verdugo is the second-youngest qualified hitter on the circuit. … Getting an “off day” at the DH spot, Ethan Salas went 3-for-6 with a double. After a scorching start to his professional career, Salas has fallen somewhat back to earth. Thursday’s was his first multi-hit game since June 14 as the 17-year-old has slashed just .169/.304/.246 for the month.
ACL Royals 10, ACL Padres 1
Key Statistics: RHP Enmanuel Pinales 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 K, 1 BB; Jonney Rosario, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; CF Estuar Suero, 1-for-4, HR (2); RF Braedon Karpathios, 1-for-4, 2B; C Carlos Rodriguez, 1-for-3, 2B; LF Tyler Robertson 0-for-1, BB, SB
Prospect Watch: It was a rough one on the mound for the Padres, who struck out 12 but allowed 10 runs on 13 hits. Jonney Rosario enjoyed the most success, allowing one run on two hits while walking two and striking out four in two innings of work. The 18-year-old Rosario, a native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA and 14 strikeouts in eight innings pitched in his first season stateside after two years in the Dominican Summer League. … Estuar Suero hit his second home run of the season. The blast was the switch-hitter’s second hit in 13 trips to the plate from the right side. The six-foot-five center fielder, just 17 years old, is a native of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. … Braedon Karpathios remains hot in the desert, hitting his third double in 35 at-bats for the Complex League squad. Karpathios, who turned 20 earlier this week, was signed as an undrafted free agent last summer. … Carlos Rodriguez slugged a double, his first of the year. The 20-year-old native of Cumana, Venezuela, is in his second season in Arizona after signing with the Padres in 2019 and debuting in the Dominican Summer League in 2021. … After his first rehab assignment was cut short when he felt a twinge in his injured hamstring, Tyler Robertson got underway again Thursday. The dynamic outfielder drew a walk in two plate appearances and stole a base before a scheduled departure from the game. The 23-year-old will prepare to rejoin Lake Elsinore in short order.