With much of the system off so that teams hosting this week’s series can have a game on July 3, the Storm and ACL clubs were the only teams in action. Before the games got underway, the Padres announced a number of player moves.
Seven players were promoted from Lake Elsinore to Fort Wayne, headlined by lefty starters Robby Snelling and Austin Krob. Among pitchers with 50 Cal League innings, they ranked first and second respectively in ERA. Right-handed relievers Will Geerdes and Carter Loewen, signed as undrafted free agents in 2022 and 2020 respectively, catcher Anthony Vilar, and corner bats Graham Pauley and Albert Fabian will also move up. Loewen, Fabian and Vilar all have previous experience in the Summit City.
Righties Ruben Galindo and Nick Thwaits and utility infielder Chase Valentine moved down from the TinCaps to Lake Elsinore. Galindo and Valentine were both with the Storm to open the year and subsequently jumped up to fill roster needs in High-A. As previously reported, Oswaldo Linares, Braedon Karpathios, and Wilton Castillo were promoted to Lake Elsinore from the complex league on Monday.
Catcher Brandon Valenzuela leads the group moving the other direction from Fort Wayne up to San Antonio. The 22-year-old switch-hitter has rebounded from a disappointing 2022 campaign with a .279/.372/.456 line that’s 38% above Midwest League average. He’ll be joined by righthanders Jared Kollar and Raul Brito and outfielder Justin Farmer. Kollar, 24, has been one of the good stories of the first half in the organization. He’s posted a 1.67 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP in a swing role in his first campaign after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers where he pitched a COVID fifth year after a strong career at tiny Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Farmer, himself an undrafted free agent from 2020, has heated up over the last month, posting an .807 OPS and swiping seven bases in eight attempts in June.
With all those moves covered, let’s get to the on-field action.
Storm 11, Inland Empire 66ers 4
Key Stats: C Oswaldo Linares 3-for-5, 2B; RF Braedon Karpathios 1-for-2, 2 BB; 3B/1B Devin Ortiz 3-for-5, SB (3); DH Ethan Salas 1-for-3, 2B, BB, SF, SB (2); RHP Manuel Castro 2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 K; RHP David Morgan 2 IP
Prospect Watch: The Diamond was home to one of just five scheduled games in the full-season minors as the Storm won in front of an announced crowd of 902 Tuesday morning. Starter Manuel Castro was touched for three runs on four hits in the first inning as the 66ers jumped on pitches early in the count. He stopped the bleeding and tossed 42 pitches through 2.1 innings, his shortest outing in two months. The righty with a lively fastball has seen his ERA go up each month of the season. While he has allowed nine runs on 21 hits in 14.2 innings this month, he’s also posted a stellar 23:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. … Linares went just 2-for-27 in the first month of the season with the Storm before going out to Peoria to regroup. He returned with a bang Tuesday, collecting three hits including a two-run double to the gap in right-center. The 20-year-old backstop torched the ACL in 13 games this month, batting .325/.557/.600, walking more than twice as often as he struck out. He and Ethan Salas will split the bulk of the catching duty for the Storm. … Salas connected on a double with the help of Inland Empire’s outfield, walked, and hit a sacrifice fly from the DH slot in the lineup. The precocious talent weathered a 1-for-18 stretch and has now hit in three of four games. … Like Linares, Karpathios reached base three times in his return to the Cal League, connecting on a hit and two walks. The 20-year-old has 23 strikeouts and 21 walks in 89 plate appearances across two levels this year.
ACL Padres 8 ACL Diamondbacks 3
Key Stats: RHP Dylan Lesko 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; RHP Gabe Mosser 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 7 K, 1 BB; LHP Luis Gutierrez 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 K, 3 BB; DH Tyler Robinson 2-for-4, HR (1); 2B Nerwilian Cedeño 1-for-1, 2 BB; C Jacob Campbell 2-for4, 2B
Prospect Watch: The second start for Dylan Lesko went slightly better than his first as the 19-year-old worked one inning, giving up a homer a pitch after appearing to have tossed strike three. The Padres’ 2022 first-rounder struck out a pair and, once again, worked with a mid-90s fastball. He’ll likely stretch out a bit more in the coming weeks and could see Lake Elsinore by the August if all goes well. … Gabe Mosser made his sixth and likely final rehab appearance, tossing three scoreless innings while striking out seven. The righty, who hit the IL last May and opened this year on the 60-day IL, has given up one earned run over his last 9.2 innings in the desert as he’s built back up. He could rejoin San Antonio over the weekend. … The rehab work wasn’t limited to just the mound Tuesday as both Nerwilian Cedeño and Tyler Robertson contributed to the offense. Cedeño, in his second game since a wrist injury sidelined him from the TinCaps in early April, singled and drew two walks in three trips to the plate. The switch-hitting second baseman has dealt with a series of injuries over the last few years, but has flashed tantalizing bat-to-ball skills when he’s been on the field. … Robertson got the Padres on the board with a two-run homer in the first and later added another single as he continues to work back from a hamstring injury that pushed him to the Lake Elsinore IL last month. He’s had multiple hits in each of his last three games and should be ready to rejoin the Storm shortly. The Padres’ 14th-round pick last July, Robertson is a premium athlete who has produced an .844 OPS in his first 157 professional plate appearances.