Chihuahuas 5, Sugar Land Space Cowboys 4
Key Statistics: 1B Alfonso Rivas 1-for-2, 3 R, 2 BB, 2B; CF Jose Azocar, 2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, 2 SB (12) RBI; 2B Max Schrock, 2-for-4, RBI, SB (2); DH Preston Tucker 0-for-4; C Luis Campusano 0-for-3, BB; RHP Pedro Avila, 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, BB, 3 K; RHP Jake Sanchez (W, 2-4) 2 IP, 2 H, K; LHP Ray Kerr (S, 6) IP, BB, K
Prospect Watch: El Paso, which came in having lost 10 of their last 12 games, held on to win this one on the road in Sugar Land. … Center fielder Jose Azocar doubled, singled, and stole a pair of bases for his second multi-hit affair this month. The former big leaguer has scuffled at the plate in July . Even with his two-hit night on Friday, he is hitting just .231/.302/.282 this month. Suddenly, the outfielder picture in Triple-A has gotten a bit crowded. The Padres signed former Cardinals outfielder Oscar Mercado to a minor league deal last week, and they acquired Ben Gamel from the Rays, who was assigned to El Paso. In addition, Preston Tucker is in El Paso on a rehab assignment, and Tirso Ornelas was recently promoted to the Sun City. To get another crack at the big leagues and perhaps retain his 40-man roster spot, the 27-year-old will need to show more at the plate. … After a subpar start from Pedro Avila, the El Paso bullpen shut down the Space Cowboys over the final five innings. The win went to right-hander Jake Sanchez, who pitched two scoreless innings. The 33-year-old has spent the last four years pitching in Mexico, including stints in Tijuana and Monterrey. The Imperial County native has a 7.39 ERA in 26 games for El Paso this season. … Ray Kerr pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save of the year. The hard-throwing lefty has seen some time with the Padres this year but has spent most of the year with El Paso, where he has excelled. The 28-year-old has a 3.04 ERA in 26 games. Opposing hitters are batting just .216 off of the Sacramento native.
Roster Moves: The Padres acquired veteran outfielder Gamel from the Rays for cash, and assigned him to El Paso. The 31-year-old brings 679 games of big-league experience to the organization. He was hitting .276/.402/.463 with Triple-A Durham. Utilityman Ray-Patrick Didder was also promoted to El Paso from San Antonio. Righty Matt Waldron will also rejoin the El Paso roster after being optioned to Triple-A.
Missions 4, Northwest Arkansas Naturals 2
Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill, 1-for-4, 3B; 3B Marcos Castanon Castañon, 1-for-3, BB, 2B; 1B Michael De La Cruz, 2-for-4, R, 2B; C Brandon Valenzuela, 1-for-4, R, HR (1), 2 RBI; RF Korry Howell, 1-for-3, R, HR (1), RBI; RHP Jose Espada, 3 IP, 4 H, BB, 5 K; RHP Raul Brito (W, 2-0) 2.1 IP, 3 H, BB, 4 K; RHP Jose Quezada (S, 2) IP, BB
Prospect Watch: The newly-refreshed version of the Missions won their series opener at home against the Royals’ Double-A affiliate. … Jackson Merrill made his Double-A debut and tripled in his first at-bat for his lone hit of the day. The 20-year-old shortstop was hitting .458/.519/.625 this month in Fort Wayne before his promotion. The top prospect on our preseason list will have an opportunity to help the Missions march toward a championship down the stretch. … Catcher Brandon Valenzuela connected on his first Double-A homer – a two-run shot that turned out to be the difference in the game. The 22-year-old has been fantastic offensively since being promoted to Double-A. In nine games with the Missions, Valenzuela is hitting .286/.429/.464 after producing an .828 with the TinCaps. … First homers were a theme for the Missions Friday, as Korry Howell connected on his first homer of the year. The former Brewers farmhand has battled injuries this year and has had two separate stints on the injured list with shoulder issues. Coming into the season, Howell was arguably the best position-player prospect on the roster. If Howell can stay healthy, he should benefit from a suddenly deep Missions batting order. … Right-hander Jose Espada did what he has generally done this year and gave the Missions quality innings. Espada, 26, pitched three shutout frames and allowed four hits. He walked one and struck out five. In 22 appearances, Espada has a 2.94 ERA. In 52 innings, Espada has racked up 72 strikeouts for the Missions. He has been limited to three innings in his outings, but at least one time through the batting order, he has dominated the Texas League.
Roster Moves: There were a ton of moves throughout the system, so we break those down below:
The Missions remade their roster overnight, receiving five players from Fort Wayne and Mosser, who was briefly on the Storm roster coming off an extended IL stint. Merrill obviously headlines the group, but Iriarte, Mazur, and Bergert enjoyed breakout campaigns in the Summit City and Castañon was tied for second for homers in the Midwest League. Pichardo and Bencomo each spent time with Fort Wayne earlier in the season. Castellanos and Cederlind had signed with the organization as minor league free agents.
Great Lakes Loons 3, TinCaps 2
Key Statistics: CF Jakob Marsee, 3-for-4, R, HR (8), BB, 2 RBI, SB (29); 1B Nathan Martorella, 2-for-5, 2B; LF Lucas Dunn, 2-for-3, BB; 3B Graham Pauley, 1-for-2, 2 BB; LHP Austin Krob, 5 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 5 K; RHP Adam Smith, 2 IP, 2 H, BB; RHP Will Geerdes (L, 0-2) 0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps had a 2-1 lead in this game, but the Loons rallied with two in the ninth to earn the walk-off win. … Jakob Marsee led the TinCaps’ offensive attack with three hits, including his eighth homer of the year. The former Central Michigan star has improved every month this season, and he continues to tap into his power. After slugging just .250 in April, Marsee has slugged at least .400 every month, which is solid in the Midwest League. In addition, Marsee stole his 29th base Friday and is third on the circuit. In 356 plate appearances this season, Marsee has an impressive .796 OPS. … Lucas Dunn had a pair of singles and drew a walk on Friday night. Dunn played extremely well in July after scuffling through the first three months. The former Louisville outfielder is hitting .333/.429/.567 for Fort Wayne this month. … Lefthander Austin Krob made his third start as a TinCap, and it was his best one yet. He worked five innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits. He walked one and struck out five. The 23-year-old has pitched five innings in each of his three outings since joining the Midwest League. While Krob has allowed 17 hits in 15 innings, he’s only walked three batters while notching 14 strikeouts. Earlier this week, we profiled Krob’s ascent into a legitimate pitching prospect.
Fresno Grizzlies 9, Storm 6
Key Statistics: DH Ethan Salas, 2-for-5, R, RBI; 1B Griffin Doersching, 2-for-3, 3 R, 2 BB, 2B, 2 RBI; C Oswaldo Linares, 2-for-4, RBI, BB; 2B Wyatt Hoffman, 2-for-5, SB (18); RHP Henry Williams, 4 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), BB, 5 K; RHP Kobe Robinson (L, 6-2) IP, 3 H, 2 ER
Prospect Watch: The Storm jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Fresno scored five over the final three innings to pull away to take game one in Lake Elsinore. … Ethan Salas started at designated hitter and singled twice in five at-bats. Salas hit a ball to the wall in left field that was a few feet from going out in his final at-bat, but the left fielder made a fantastic play to take away extra bases from the teenager. Salas has at multiple hits in four of his seven July games, posting a staggering 1.414 OPS. The 17-year-old has quickly become the biggest threat in the Storm lineup. … First baseman Griffin Doersching doubled, scored three runs and drove in a pair. Much like Salas, Doersching found another gear in July. The 24-year-old first baseman is hitting .346/.541/.769 with three homers. He came into July with just four homers to his name. The hulking Doersching has prodigious power when he makes contact and typically hits homers in bunches. … While Salas gets all the attention amongst Storm catchers, Oswaldo Linares has been excellent since returning from the desert. Linares doubled, singled, and drew a walk Friday and is now 7-for-20 in July with a pair of doubles. The 20-year-old has punched out 10 times, but he’s also drawn six walks. The Venezuela native showed some pop with the ACL squad, but he has yet to homer with the Storm. … Righthander Henry Williams made the start and pitched well at times, but he unraveled in the fourth inning. He struck out a pair in a 1,2,3 first inning and fanned two more in the second inning before allowing a homer that barely cleared the high wall in right. In the fourth, he allowed the first three batters to reach base, and a throwing error by Doersching exacerbated the situation. He was able to get out of the inning after allowing three runs. After dominating Inland Empire on July 1, the last two starts for Williams have been on the rough side. He’s allowed seven earned runs over his last six innings. If there is a silver lining, it is that he has racked up eight strikeouts.
Roster Moves: The Storm sent lefty Miguel Cienfuegos back to Fort Wayne prior to Friday’s action. They also received right-handers Henry Baez and Jose Luis Reyes from the ACL. Baez had been moved on paper at the end of the first half to deal with roster issues. Reyes, 20, missed most of last year on the IL and has worked 15 innings at the complex.
ACL Padres 12, ACL Athletics 3
Key Statistics: RF Juan Murillo, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 2 R, BB, 2 RBI; 1B Romeo Sanabria, 4-for-5, 4 R, HR (4), 4 RBI; CF Estuar Suero, 2-for-5, RBI, 2B; DH Kaden Hollow, 2-for-5, R; SS Yendry Rojas, 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 SB (6, 7); RHP Duncan Snider, 2 IP, 2 BB, 2 K; RHP Jordan Guerrero (W, 2-0) IP, BB, K; LHP Javier Chacon, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K
Prospect Watch: The ACL Padres beat up the ACL A’s in sweltering conditions. At first pitch, the temperature was a balmy 115 degrees. … While the atmosphere was on fire, so was the bat of Romeo Sanabria. The first baseman had four hits, including his fourth homer of the year. The Miami native has been one of the best players in the ACL this season. He ranks fifth in OPS (1.083), tied for seventh in homers, and third in hits with 35. As draft picks pour into Peoria over the next week, Sanabria could be on the move to Lake Elsinore. … Juan Murillo continued his torrid stretch with two more hits, including a double and a triple. Murillo has hit safely in his last six games. The 20-year-old got off to a slow start this year but is 10-for-27 in July. … Toolsy center fielder Estuar Suero had two hits, including a double. Much like Murillo, Suero has heated up in July. The 17-year-old has four multi-hit games in six starts and is hitting .375/.464/.500 in July. The 6-foot-5 outfielder will likely spend the entire season in the desert, but he has tools that fans can dream on. … Right-hander Duncan Snider started his path back to full-season ball by throwing two scoreless innings. He walked a pair and struck out two batters. Snider has been on the injured list since June 9.