MadFriars Player of the Week: Ethan Salas:

It was a banner week for the 17-year-old mega-prospect who had his coming-out party in Visalia. Salas went 7-for-19 against the Rawhide with four homers and 10 RBI. He homered in three straight games and nearly homered in a fourth but the ball bounced off the warning track for a solid triple. Overall, the teenage catcher has a .881 OPS in 139 plate appearances.

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: Jackson Wolf

Jackson Wolf continues to progress in Double-A. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

The 24-year-old Wolf turned in his best work of the season on Friday night. Wolf tied a season-high by pitching seven innings. He allowed a run on four hits walking one and striking out a season-high 11 batters to earn the win. The excellent outing lowered Wolf’s ERA to 3.49 and his WHIP is at an elite 1.00. The Ohio native has struck out a Texas-League best 98 batters against 20 walks in 80 innings.The former West Virginia hurler continues to put himself in a position to be in the mix for a big league job. We talked with him about his progress on our recent trip to San Antonio.

Chihuahuas (Lost Series at Las Vegas 1-5) 

Top Performers: It’s been a rough two weeks for El Paso as they have lost 11 of their last 13 games, but still, there were some performances that stood out this week. Most notably, Brett Sullivan, 29, hit .529 in 20 plate appearances to go along with a .765 slugging percentage. Primarily a catcher, Sullivan also made his second appearance this season at third base in the field. He is having one of the best seasons of his minor league career with a slash line of .329/.410/.540, and the left-handed hitter is making a strong case to rejoin the big club after going to the major leagues for the first time earlier this season. … Another player who might be on track to rejoin the big club is Ryan Weathers. The lefty went six innings and only gave up a run as he struck out ten against one walk. Weathers, 23, has been up and down since returning to Triple-A, but in both of his quality starts, he has relied on his sweeper more than his changeup.

Brett Sullivan is having a big year in Triple-A. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Another player who was briefly up with the Padres, Alfonso Rivas, continued to hit the ball well as he returned from the IL. The 26-year-old had five hits in three games, three of which were doubles. The left-handed first baseman/outfielder has a 1.009 OPS for the season in 247 plate appearances this year for the Chihuahuas. … After being the Texas League Player of the Month for June in San Antonio, Tirso Ornelas, 23, struggled in El Paso with a .200 batting average this week in 19 plate appearances and no-extra-base hits. In his first 11 games and 46 plate appearances in the Sun City, his sole extra-base hit is double, yielding a slash line of .200/.304/.225. … Jay Groome, laboring through a tough year, had a quality start to end the first half on a high note. The 24-year-old tossed six innings of one-run ball. Although he only recorded three punchouts, most importantly, he only walked two as he scattered six hits. Groome’s walk rate has doubled from last year, in addition to a huge spike in his home run rate, so this start was a positive turn in the right direction. … Luis Campusano, 24, was 3-for-6 in two games on his rehab assignment, and Matthew Batten, 28, was called up when the Padres released Nelson Cruz. At the time of his call-up, Batten was leading the PCL in stolen bases with 27 in 29 attempts. (John Conniff)

Missions (Lost Series at Corpus Christi 2-4) 

Top Performers: Though he only went 5-for-20 at the plate, Daniel Johnson made every hit count. With a pair of home runs and a double, Johnson drove in six runs, posted an OPS of .838 for the week, and stole a base. The veteran outfielder is slashing .241/.305/.356 in 253 at-bats for the Missions in 2023, his first season in the Padres organization. … Lefty Daniel Camarena made one start and then got an extra inning of work on Sunday heading into the break. The 30-year-old, who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery, gave up three earned runs over seven innings, allowing just six baserunners. The San Diego county product pitched a season-high six innings in his start on Wednesday.

Daniel Johnson. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Pedro Castellanos went 8-for-24 (.333) with three doubles and a pair of runs batted in. The 25-year-old is slashing .234/.279/.339 in 295 at-bats in 2023, his first season in the organization. … Jose Espada made two appearances (one start) and threw five innings of one-run ball, striking out nine while only walking one. The 26-year-old righty has struck out 27 in 17 innings dating back to June 1. … Jared Kollar threw six innings of two-run ball in his lone start, earning a no-decision. The 24-year-old righty owns a 3.38 ERA after his first two starts since being promoted to San Antonio, a span of 10.2 innings pitched. (Mark Wilkens)

TInCaps (Won series against West Michigan 5-1)

Marcos Castañon connects on another homer for Fort Wayne. (Photo: TinCaps)

Top Performers: The system’s most prospect-rich team has been on torrid stretch over the last two weeks, including a six-game winning streak. Marcos Castañon earned Midwest League Player of the Week honors heading into the break with an 11-for-23 series that included seven extra-base hits. Over his last 12 games, the Padres’ 12th-round pick in 2021 has six doubles, and five home runs and has walked six times. … Over his last two starts, 19-year-old RHP Victor Lizarraga has made considerable improvement after struggling to locate his breaking balls much of the year. When he has feel for the breaker, his low-90s fastball suddenly plays well at the top of the zone. In last week’s start, Lizarraga allowed a season-low two hits and just four baserunners over six innings. After not going past five innings in any previous start, Lizarraga has now gone six in back-to-back outings.

Robby Snelling has been solid since moving up to High-A. (Photo: Courtesy, The Journal Gazette/Dylan Sinn).

Top Prospects and Others of Note: Lefty Robby Snelling may not have dominated quite like hie did in Lake Elsinore, but the 19-year-old has still impressed since his promotion to High-A. After allowing two runs before recording his first Midwest League out, he has allowed only one more over 10.2 innings, including a solid 5.2 inning showing in his second appearance. … The Padres’ 12th-round pick from 2022 Austin Krob also impressed after joining Fort Wayne. In his two starts, he allowed three runs in 10 innings, walking two and striking out nine. Krob spoke to MadFriars shortly before his promotion about adjustments that have helped him improve since the season started.  After allowing nine runs over his final three starts in June, Ryan Bergert got back on track, allowing just three runs over his two starts.  Bergert did not walk a batter in either start while striking out 13.  Through 12 starts, the 2021 sixth-round pick is 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA. His 10.95 K/9 rate is fueling a 3.13 FIP in 61.2 innings. … Adam Mazur rebounded from his first loss of the year by allowing only one earned run over six innings to pick up the win this week.  In 58 innings, the second-rounder has a 2.02 ERA, a 1.55 BB/9, and a 2.82 FIP.  … Despite the TinCaps playing 12 games in 12 days, righty Jairo Iriarte only toed the rubber once. He allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings with eight strikeouts. In 61 innings this season, Iriarte has a 3.10 ERA and 77 strikeouts. … After missing most of the season with a wrist injury, infielder Nerwillian Cedeño returned to the Summit City.  In just his second game back, Cedeño had a four-hit game, including a walk-off hit that cued the fireworks on July 4.  In his six games back Cedeno is hitting .304/.333/.478. The 21-year-old who signed with the Padres the same day as Iriarte in 2018, is trying to build on his .256/.362/400 line from Lake Elsinore last year. … In his final nine games before leaving for the Futures Game, Jackson Merrill hit .371/.436/.657 with three home runs.  After an extremely rare four-strikeout game, Merrill would only strike out once over the next eight games.

Jakob Marsee has been getting to the ball with more authority. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

At one point in the season, Merrill was hitting .177/.246/.339.  Since then, he is hitting .309. … After a miserable first few months, Lucas Dunn is heating up with the weather. The 8th-round pick from 2021 reached base safely in 10 of his last 12 games and drew seven walks. Over the two-week stretch, Dunn hit .351/.455/.622.  His .622 SLG is nearly 100 points higher than his April OPS (.541). … Jakob Marsee continues to do what he does best, get on base and score runs. He leads the league with 65 runs, is second with a .393 OBP, and ranks third with 28 stolen bases.  (Ben Davey)

Storm (Storm win the series against the Visalia Rawhide 4-2)

Top Performers: In 43 plate appearances in June, Charlis Aquino had just five hits. Last week in Visalia, he nearly doubled that production. In four games, the normally light-hitting utility player went 8-for-13 with his first two homers of the season. He added three stolen bases, although he was also caught three times. The slender Aquino, listed at 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, has tremendous athleticism but hasn’t added enough strength to let his tools play. If last week’s series is any indication, perhaps he is finally breaking out. Over the last week, Aquino has raised his batting average 42 points to .254. … Righthander Nick Thwaits made a team-high three appearances and held Visalia scoreless. In the six-game set, Thwaits pitched 4.2 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out four. The 24-year-old has spent the majority of the last two seasons in Fort Wayne where he’s pitched to some mixed results. After he turned in a 3.13 ERA last year, Thwaits’s ERA rose to 4.58 this season before being demoted.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: The hitting was good in Visalia as the Storm collectively hit .321/.455/.547 with 55 runs scored. Top prospect Samuel Zavala was one of seven Storm hitters with an OPS over 1.000 in the series. The 18-year-old homered twice and scored nine runs. In seven games in July, Zavala is hitting .250/.457/.542. … Outfielder Tyler Robertson hit safely in all five games he played last week, as he made up for lost time. Robertson went 9-for-24 with a pair of homers, a double, and two stolen bases. He also matched Zavala with nine runs scored. Robertson missed two months with a hamstring but when he has been in the lineup, the Storm offense has been potent. In 37 games with Lake Elsinore, Robertson is hitting .309/.398/.471. … 24-year-old third baseman Devin Ortiz has found his stride offensively and has thrived hitting in the middle of the Storm order. The former University of Virginia two-way player hit .471/.625/.529 with six RBI. Ortiz has a .767 OPS overall in 29 games with the Storm. (Kevin Charity)

ACL Padres (3-2 on the week)

Top Performers: Outfielder Juan Murillo paced the offense, going 5-for-14 with a homer and three stolen bases. The 20-year-old, originally from Cuba, has an .896 OPS as he repeats in the ACL this year. He’s a likely candidate to move up as the Padres make room for draftees at the complex in the coming week. Lefty Luis Gutierrez turned in his best outing as a professional, allowing just two hits over 5.1 scoreless frames. The 19-year-old Venezuelan, a headliner in the Padres’ 2019 international class, has battled the yips since joining the organization and entered the year with 36 walks and 18 wild pitches in 46 professional innings. While he’s posted a more viable 23:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19 innings this year, his ERA on the year is still sitting at 7.58.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: In his third game appearance, Dylan Lesko stretched out to two innings of scoreless work with three strikeouts. The Padres’ top pick in last year’s draft, the righty is slowly rounding into form, getting his fastball up to 97 while showing off his elite changeup. … Mexicali-born righty Jose Luis Reyes delivered six solid innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out five. The 20-year-old missed most of last year with an arm injury, but has shown flashes over parts of three seasons in the organization. … Romeo Sanabria continued his assault on the ACL, going 7-for-15. The big-bodied first baseman leads the Padres with a 1.050 OPS in 24 games. … Shortstop Yendry Rojas is showing signs of putting it together with the bat. The left-hand hitting 18-year-old went 4-for-13 with four walks and a pair of stolen bases. (David Jay)

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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