MadFriars Player of the Week: 3B Jantzen Witte, El Paso
It was an incredible series for the 33-year-old Jantzen Witte who also earned the PCL Player of the Week. The Chihuahuas’ third baseman hit four homers, drove in 10, and posted an almost comical OPS of 1.842. The veteran has spent time with the Red Sox and Mariners organizations but he has yet to make his big league debut. After spending last season in Japan, Witte signed a minor league deal with the Padres. He doesn’t have a clear path to a big league job but it sure would be a good story if he got there. He has done his part, as he is hitting .319/.382/.574 on the year.

Jairo Iriarte set a new career high with 10 strikeouts. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps)

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: RHP Jairo Iriarte, Fort Wayne
The 21-year-old hurler turned in an absolute gem, helping the TinCaps to a win series in South Bend. The righthander pitched six innings and allowed just one run on three hits, striking out a career-high 10 without a walk. The hard-throwing righty became the first TinCaps pitcher to reach double-digits in strikeouts on the year. Across his last three starts, Iriarte has allowed just two runs over 16 innings with a stellar 20:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. On the year, he has punched out 69 batters in 55 innings with Fort Wayne.

Chihuahuas (split series with Tacoma Rainiers)

Top Performers: Anderson Espinoza, 25, delivered his best start of the year, striking out 12 in six innings while only allowing two runs and a pair of walks. He got 17 swinging strikes on the day, working exclusively with his fastball and slider.  Espinoza’s command can go up and down – on the season, he’s walked 40 in 56 innings – but when he’s on, he can still work over a lineup even without the premium velocity he had before two Tommy John surgeries. He’s struck out 58 batters while posting an ERA of 5.79 in his return to the Padres system. … Witte wasn’t the only Chihuahua with a loud series. Luis Liberato, 27, had a big week against his former organization-mates after a down June, posting a .350/.435/.750 slash line. He had a pair of homers in the series and now has six in June after hitting just one in April and May.

Luis Liberato makes the grab. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Two other Chihuahuas posted an OPS over 1.000 against Tacoma. Kevin Plawecki, 32, hit .353 while splitting time between his catching duties and DH, with six RBI and three extra-base hits, including a triple. He played in the big leagues for eight years, mainly with the New York Mets. … Jose Azocar, 27, was swinging when he went to the plate this week, drawing only a single walk in 25 plate appearances against seven strikeouts. However, he also had eight hits, including a double and a pair of home runs for a .333 batting average. … Pedro Avila, 26, has a nice outing, going five innings and only allowing a run while punching out six. Avila has been up and down this year, but June has been his best month with a 4.76 ERA as he’s held batters to a .261 batting average after .333 in May and .354 in April. … Ryan Weathers, 23, made two starts against Tacoma; in the first, he gave up five runs in 4.1 innings – and, more worrisome, six walks. In the finale, his fastball hit 98 mph, and he used his slider much more to generate a 10:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in six innings, giving up a sole earned run in the Chihuahua’s loss. (John Conniff)

Missions (Lost series to Midland RockHounds 4-2)

Efrain Contreras continues to contribute for El Paso. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

Top Performers:  Of all the Missions’ regulars, pedonce again, no one this week top Tirso Ornelas, who went 6-for-20 (.300) at the plate with a home run, a walk, and four runs batted in. The 23-year-old Ornelas, a native of Tijuana, enters the final week of the month with a .378/.434/.656 slash line in 90 at-bats as the outfielder has been elevating the ball with more authority than we’ve seen before. … On the mound, Efrain Contreras earned a win with five innings of three-hit ball in his lone start in the series, walking three while striking out eight. Though Contreras is no longer on the Padres’ 40-player roster, he remains an intriguing prospect at just 23 years old, posting a 3-0 record and 4.95 ERA in the month of June.

Top Prospects and Others of Note:   Before his series ended early on Friday night with a hamstring injury that sent him to the IL, Chandler Seagle enjoyed an excellent series at the plate, going 4-for-9 with two doubles and a home run. The 27-year-old Seagle brings a valued presence behind the dish with pitchers and an excellent arm. … Cole Cummings went 6-for-20 with a double. The UC Santa Barbara product owns a .775 OPS in 85 at-bats since being promoted to the Missions, primarily playing first base and right field … Although his Tuesday start left much to be desired, Jose Espada delivered four scoreless innings on Saturday, striking out seven batters. The 26-year-old Espada has pitched in relief and as a starter for San Antonio in his second season in the organization after signing out of the American Association last summer. … Bobby Milacki relieved Espada and threw three scoreless innings of his own, posting a 1.80 ERA in two appearances in the series, his second week with San Antonio after being promoted from Fort Wayne. (Mark Wilkens)

Adam Mazur has been on a roll. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

TInCaps (won series at South Bend 4-2)

Top Performers: The TinCaps’ most consistent hitter over the week was Jakob Marsee, who reached base safely in every game with eight hits, five walks, and four stolen bases. The Padres’ sixth-round pick last year struck out only three times while scoring seven runs hitting primarily out of the second spot in the lineup.  As June draws to a close, the left-handed center fielder has a .438 OBP and nine stolen bases for the month. …  Adam Mazur allowed one earned run over five frames to earn his third straight victory. Last year’s second-round pick now boasts a 1.72 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP on the season. In eight starts since returning from a virus in early May, Mazur has allowed more than one earned run just once. He’s been picking up his strikeout totals as the season grinds on, setting down 16 batters on strikes over as many innings in his last thee starts.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Righty Jared Kollar, was given another start and continued to shine in his opportunities. He went to a career-high six innings, allowing one run on six hits; he struck out five and did not walk a batter.  In nine games this year the 24-year-old undrafted free agent has a 1.67 ERA. … Victor Lizarraga continued to battle command. While he only walked one and was attacking the zone more, he consistently missed location, leaving his pitches down the middle.  The 19-year-old surrendered three runs over 4.2 innings. … For much of the season, Ryan Bergert had been nearly unhittable, not allowing more than two runs in any of his first 10 outings. Now, however, he’s given up seven over his last two starts, including three across four innings on Thursday. The 2021 sixth-round pick is still picking up strikeouts, but has allowed 26 runners over his last 19.2 innings. … Joshua Mears went just 3-for-18, but all three hits were home runs, including an extra-inning grand slam on Sunday. Of the 15 outs, nine of them were strikeouts. He boasts a 43.1% K rate, but thanks to the three home runs this week, got his wRC+ back over 100. … After not striking out for nine games in a row, Jackson Merrill K’ed in four straight to end the week. He had a very ordinary week, collecting seven hits, only one for extra bases; although he did steal a base.  Merrill is currently hitting .268/.301/.402 in June. … Nathan Martorella capped Sunday’s epic extra-inning outburst with a solo shot of his own. The home run was his first in 10 days, but still pulled him into a tie for the league lead with 12. Martorella has reached base safely in 10 straight games. … Marcos Castañon reached base safely in all six games. He had seven hits, including a home run on Friday, as well as five walks. While his slugging and OBP have both gone down considerably from last year, his .271 average is the best of his career. … Brandon Valenzuela only got into four games in the week, collecting three hits including a double, and two walks.  He’s still hitting .291/.391/.455 in June. (Ben Davey)

Griffin Doersching has been in the middle of things for the Storm offense. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Storm (lost series at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, 5-1)

Top Performers: It was a miserable week for the Storm as they lost five of six against their arch-rivals. The Storm bats were cold as the team collectively hit .215/.335/.272 and scored just 19 runs in the six-game set. The offensive output looks even more bleak when you factor in the fact that they scored 14 runs in their lone win in the series. … At the plate, the offense was led by first baseman Griffin Doersching. The 24-year-old first baseman had an .896 OPS for the week, with three doubles and a home run. The power hitter has drawn 16 walks in June which has helped him carry a .397 on-base percentage this month. His .717 OPS this month has been good enough to post a 112 wRC+. … After missing a turn in the rotation because of a blister on his pitching hand, lefty Jagger Haynes turned in a solid outing. In 3.1 innings, Haynes allowed two runs (one earned) with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. In a strange twist, the 20-year-old lefty has made six of his nine starts on the road. He’s actually pitched better on the road than at the Diamond, which is typically more pitcher-friendly than other Cal League venues. In 17 innings on the road, Haynes has a 2.57 ERA.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Infielder Rosman Verdugo connected on his first homer of the year and produced solid offensive numbers in Rancho. The 18-year-old went 5-for-18 with a homer and four RBI and ranked second on the club with a .794 OPS. After limping through a rough May, Verdugo has looked much better at the plate in June. His .698 OPS is the best mark he has posted in any mark this month. … Ethan Salas had a relatively quiet week against the Quakes, hitting .250/.286/.300 with a double. The 17-year-old hasn’t lit the Cal League on fire since joining the Storm but with organizational promotions across baseball, it will be interesting to see if Salas spends more time behind the plate. He has alternated between catcher and designated hitter as he gets acclimated to professional baseball. In 20 games for the Storm, Salas is hitting .208/.340/.286, good for a 83 wRC+. … Samuel Zavala also had a quiet series, hitting just .222/.263/.222, without an extra-base hit. Despite the rough series against the Quakes, Zavala has produced a solid .793 OPS this month. … The only Storm win featured another outstanding outing from Robby Snelling. The 19-year-old lefty threw five solid innings and allowed just one hit. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. His victory appears to be his swan song in the Cal League as Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported that Snelling will be promoted to High-A Fort Wayne. Assuming that Snelling is done with the Storm, the Nevada native will finish with a 1.51 ERA in 51.1 innings. (Kevin Charity)

ACL Padres (2-3 on the week)

ACL Padres 11, ACL Guardians 6

Romeo Sanabria had a monster week at the plate. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Key Stats: 1B Romeo Sanabria 4-for-6, 2B, 3B, HR (3); LF Daniel Montesino 3-for-5, 2 SB (2); SS Yendry Rojas 1-for-2, 2B, 3 BB; 2B Jose Sanabria 2-for-3, 2BB; 3B Alain Camou 2-for-4, 2 BB; RHP Henry Martinez 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 5 K, 2 BB; LHP Tom Cosgrove 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; RHP Jonney Rosario (S, 1) 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB

Top Performers: Going into the ninth inning Monday night, Romeo Sanabria was a single short of the cycle and seemed unlikely to get one more shot at it. But then the first four batters came through with hits and, with one out, Sanabria pulled a grounder to right to lock up the cycle. The 21-year-old first baseman capped a stellar week, finishing 8-for-18 with a 1.556 OPS. The big lefty is fourth in the ACL with a .704 slugging percentage through his first 64 plate appearances. Originally drafted as a catcher, he’ll work exclusively at first base going forward. … Zack Qin allowed just one hit over four shutout innings Friday, turning in the best outing from a pitcher in Peoria yet. The 17-year-old righty, who signed with the Padres out of China last summer, has walked seven through his first 9.2 professional innings, but has held opponents to a .211 average.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Braedon Karpathios finished his stint in the desert on a high note, reaching base 10 times over his final four games before getting promoted back to Lake Elsinore. The outfielder, who turned 20 earlier this month, had a .500 on-base percentage in 13 games in the complex league. … Oswaldo Linares went 3-for-10 with four walks on the week before he also made his return to the Cal League prior to Monday’s game. The 19-year-old backstop posted a 1.157 OPS across 13 games in the desert. … Linares’s fellow 2019 international free agent Carlos Rodriguez stepped right into his role on Monday, connecting on his first home run of the year. He will see the bulk of the time behind the plate for the Peoria squad. … Hard-throwing righty Luis German struck out four in his two innings of work for the week. The 21-year-old, who signed before the 2022 season, has shown big velocity, but inconsistent control, so his one walk across two outings is a good sign. (David Jay)


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  1. […] had a 5.79 ERA in 13 starts and 56 innings pitched, the best among pitchers with 10 or more starts. As we wrote yesterday, when he’s on, he can still get impressive results even after a pair of Tommy John surgeries […]


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