Las Vegas Aviators 12, Chihuahuas 6

Luis Liberato has heated up as the weather has. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Key Statistics: CF Jose Azocar, 3-for-4, R, 2B, 2 SB (7, 8); RF Luis Liberato, 1-for-4, R, HR (8), 2 RBI; C Brett Sullivan, 1-for-3, R, BB, RBI; LF Tirso Ornelas 1-for-3, BB, SB (1); RHP Nolan Watson, 4 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 3 K

Prospect Watch: In front of a crowd of over 9,000 in El Paso, the A’s top affiliate doubled up the Chihuahuas. … Center fielder Jose Azocar had three hits, including a double in the loss. Once he got on base, he created some chaos with a couple of stolen bases; he has eight with El Paso. While he’s hit at a .278 clip since his demotion from the big leagues, his lack of power translates to just a .731 OPS in 27 games, significantly below league average. Of course, Azocar’s value is with defensive versatility in the outfield and his speed. … Right fielder Luis Liberato had just one hit, but it left the yard. Liberato’s homer was his eighth of the year and his seventh since June 1. The outfielder got a cup of coffee with the Padres last summer after spending the previous six years in the Mariners’ system. He connected on 20 homers last season with Chihuahuas. … After a decent first start in Triple-A, righty Nolan Watson had his first ‘how do ya do’ with the Pacific Coast League. The 26-year-old pitched four innings and allowed eight runs on eight hits, including a pair of homers. He also walked five batters which added to the onslaught. The former Royals first-rounder had success with the Missions this year, despite notching just 41 strikeouts in 64 innings for San Antonio. For Watson to have success in the PCL, he will need to find a way to miss more bats.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5, Missions 3

Jose Espada has given the Missions quality innings in 2023. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

Key Statistics: CF Daniel Johnson, 1-for-4, RBI; LF Pedro Castellanos, 1-for-4; C Brandon Valenzuela, 2-for-4; RHP Jose Espada, 4 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 6 K; RHP Kevin Kopps (L, 3-3) 1.2 IP 3 H, 4 R (0 ER), BB, 4 K

Prospect Watch: Despite managing just five singles, the Missions had a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth before the Hooks erupted for four runs, aided by a Juan Fernandez error that started the inning. The Hooks got a pair of hits against Kevin Kopps with two outs to push across the winning runs. … At the plate, Brandon Valenzuela was the only Missions player to record two hits. The backstop had a pair of singles in the loss. In a small sample of six games with the Missions, Valenzuela has an excellent .867 OPS. The Padres will need to add Valenzuela to the 40-man roster this off-season to keep him out of the Rule 5 draft for a second consecutive winter. … Righthander Jose Espada pitched for the first time in 10 days and put together another nice outing. Espada worked four innings and allowed just one run on three hits, walking one and striking out six. Outside of a disastrous outing on June 20, the 26-year-old has been terrific with the Missions as a swingman. Recently, he has moved into the rotation but has yet to work more than four innings in any appearance. Over his last two outings, he’s struck out 13 batters in eight innings while allowing just one earned run.

TinCaps 8, West Michigan Whitecaps 7

Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill, 4-for-5, R, SB (10), RBI; RF Lucas Dunn, 3-for-4, 3 R, 2B; 2B Nerwilian Cedeño, 4-for-5, R, 4 RBI; RHP Jairo Iriarte, 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K; RHP Keegan Collett (W, 2-4) 2.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Jackson Merrill connects for the TinCaps. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps)

Prospect Watch: In front of over 8,000 at Parkview Field, the TinCaps claimed the victory with a Nerwilian Cedeño walk-off, two-run single to win the first home game they’ve played in over two weeks. … The hit capped an incredible day at the plate for Cedeño, who set a new career-high with four hits. The 21-year-old has battled injuries throughout his career, and 2023 has been no exception. He went down in April with a wrist injury and missed about 10 weeks recovering. The switch-hitter has shown some power at the plate when healthy, and his offensive ability should aid a Fort Wayne club that looks poised to make a playoff run after an awful start to the season. … While Cedeño’s four-hit day was impressive, Jackson Merrill also chipped in with four hits. The four singles Merrill produced raised his average to a season-high .280. In four games this month, Merrill is 9-for-16. After a miserable April, Merrill has produce to justify his ranking as one of the top prospects in the game. He will represent the Padres in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game this weekend. … Lucas Dunn had three more hits, including a double. He also scored three runs in the Fort Wayne victory. Over his last five games, Dunn is 8-for-14 with a double and a homer. The hot stretch has raised his batting average to .231. The former Louisville star has been a solid contributor with his defensive versatility, but he had yet to break out offensively until recently. If he can continue to produce, he will lengthen a lineup that ranks second in the Midwest League in runs scored. … Righty Jairo Iriarte ran into some trouble early but righted the ship to earn the quality start. He allowed a pair of runs in the first inning before settling down and flashing his trademark nasty slider and a fastball that touched 97 mph. It was the third consecutive start in which Iriarte has worked six innings. During that span, he’s walked five and struck out 24. Overall, the 21-year-old righty has a 3.10 ERA in 61 innings.

Visalia Rawhide 7, Storm 2

Brandeon Karpathios. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Key Statistics: C Ethan Salas, 1-for-4, R, HR (3), RBI; 1B Griffin Doersching, 1-for-2, 2 BB; LF Braedon Karpathios, 2-for-3, BB; RHP Gabe Mosser (L, 0-1) 3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; RHP Nick Thwaits, 1.1 IP, K

Prospect Watch: The Storm hit the road to open up a six-game set in Visalia. After Elsinore scored a couple of runs early, their bats went silent and Visalia pulled away to cruise to a victory. …  Ethan Salas connected on a homer that easily cleared the right field wall for his third homer of the year. Through 119 plate appearances, Salas has produced a more than satisfactory .755 OPS. It is especially impressive, considering Salas would be entering his junior year of high school had he remained in the United States through childhood. While there have been some growing pains out of the gate, what Salas is doing as a teenager is nothing short of remarkable. … At the bottom of the order, 20-year-old Braedon Karpathios had his second career multi-hit game as a member of the Storm. Karpathios singled twice and drew a walk. The undrafted free agent started the year in extended spring training before making a cameo appearance with the Storm in May. Thanks to injuries and promotions, Karpathios is getting an opportunity after producing in the ACL in June. Between the ACL and Cal League, he has a .820 OPS in 74 at-bats. … Righty Gabe Mosser continued his rehab assignment in Lake Elsinore and took the loss. Mosser pitched 3.1 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) with three walks and three strikeouts. The 27-year-old was the Padres’ 27th-round pick way back in 2018.

ACL Padres 7, ACL Brewers 3

Luis Campusano got underway in Maryvale on July 4. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Key Statistics: PH-RF Josttin Diaz, 2-for-3, R, 2B, 2 RBI; C Luis Campusano, 2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI; 1B Romeo Sanabria, 2-for-4, R, BB, RBI; CF-RF Estuar Suero, 2-for-4, R, BB, RBI; 2B Alain Camou, 3-for-4, R, BB, RBI; RHP Dylan Lesko, 2 IP, 2 H, 3 K; RHP Robert Suarez, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), BB; RHP Luis Gutierrez, 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K

Prospect Watch: The ACL squad pounded out 13 hits to defeat the Brewers on a hot day in Phoenix. … Luis Campusano started his path back to the Padres by beginning a rehab assignment. He had two doubles in five at-bats as the designated hitter. The ACL is off on Wednesday, but Campusano figures to see action behind the plate in the coming days. … Robert Suarez recorded a pair of outs but got a bit of complex league treatment. He allowed a pair of hits, a walk, and three runs, though one was unearned. He worked at 95-97 and showed feel for his slider. The fact that Suarez is marching back toward the big leagues is an encouraging sign for the Padres, who have missed him at the back of the bullpen. … With Campusano in the DH slot, Korry Howell made his first appearance in the field as he works back from his latest shoulder injury. While the right-handed outfielder went 0-for-2 with a walk at the plate, he threw out a runner at third base. … One player to watch after the draft is first baseman Romeo Sanabria. The Miami native looks like he is too advanced for the ACL competition. The 21-year-old is hitting .372/.467/.628 in the desert. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity in Lake Elsinore in the near future. … Dylan Lesko extended to two innings for the first time and had the best results of his pro career. Last year’s first-rounder allowed two hits while striking out three. The 19-year-old will continue to stretch out over the coming weeks as he moves further away from his pre-draft Tommy John surgery, and could get to Lake Elsinore later in the summer.

Posted by Kevin Charity

Kevin Charity has written for MadFriars since 2015 and has had work featured on Fox Sports San Diego. He is a lifelong San Diego native and is looking forward to seeing the current wave of prospects thrive in San Diego.

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