MadFriars Player of the Week: OF Samuel Zavala, Lake Elsinore

It was a tight race this week, but Samuel Zavala’s performance ultimately stood out. Zavala hit .350/.500/.850 with three homers, a double, nine runs, and three stolen bases. On Thursday night, Zavala connected on a pair of homers. One was an inside-the-park homer, and the other was hit well to the left center. It has been more than a hot week for Zavala; the 19-year-old has been otherworldly in July. In July, Zavala is hitting .291/.468/.636 with five homers. He ranks ninth in the circuit with a wRC+ of 135. 

MadFriars Pitcher of the Week: LHP Ryan Weathers, El Paso

Ryan Weathers had the best outing from any starter in the system last week. He worked into the seventh inning against a very good Oklahoma City team on the road. In 6.2 innings, he allowed one run on five hits, walking four and striking out seven. Weathers earned his first win of the season for his efforts. While the lefthander has struggled in a few different stints with the Padres, he’s been much improved while pitching for the Chihuahuas. In seven starts, he has a 3.53 ERA, and he is averaging a career-high 11.36 K/9 for El Paso. 

Chihuahuas (Split series at Oklahoma City Dodgers 3-3)


Oscar Mercado brings plenty of big league experience to the Chihuahuas. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Top Performers: Five players posted an OPS of .800 or better. The best was Oscar Mercado, 28, who the organization signed as a minor league free agent after the St. Louis Cardinals designated him for assignment earlier this month at 1.377. At Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, he had three extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs and six overall hits with two walks. Mercado has played center in the past, but so far, he has been in the corner outfield spots and at DH for El Paso. Mercado was a second-round draft pick by St. Louis in 2013 and, as with many on El Paso’s team, has significant considerable big league experience with 973 plate appearances and a .677 OPS. … Righthander Jake Sanchez made two appearances out of the bullpen, tossing five scoreless innings. The 33-year-old struck out five against just one walk and gave up two hits. After a rough June, the Brawley native has given up only a pair of runs on seven hits over 9.2 frames this month.


Top Prospects and Others of Note: After struggling with El Paso after the best month of his career in San Antonio, Tirso Ornelas, 23, had a nice showing in the three games he played in Oklahoma City, with four hits, including a home run, and three walks in 15 plate appearances. … Tim Lopes, 29, ran wild with six stolen bases, five of which came on Friday night. On the season, the infielder has 26 in 32 attempts and is third in the PCL in stolen bases. This week, he also rapped out five hits, with a pair of doubles and two walks for a .440 on-base percentage. … Brett Sullivan, 29, posted a .762 OPS, and Luis Liberato, 27, tied for the team lead in hits with six and had a .935 OPS. … Ray Kerr, 28, notched another save in his two appearances and allowed no runs and one hit in an inning and a third. The lefthander is seven for seven in save opportunities this season. (John Conniff)

Missions (Lost series to the Frisco RoughRiders, 2-4)

Top Performers:  With back-to-back Player of the Game honors in the series, Daniel Johnson is not only your MadFriars top performer for the Missions in this series but also the league’s Player of the Week for the second time in his career. The 28-year-old outfielder scored 9-for-21 (.429) with two home runs, three doubles, and four batted in, and he scored six runs. The New Mexico State alum is slashing .261/.334/.413 in 283 at-bats for San Antonio this season. … It was a tough series on the mound for the Missions, but Efrain Contreras picked up the win in three scoreless innings of relief, striking out eight batters and allowing only two hits. The 23-year-old righty has a 5.75 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 73.2 innings of work in 2023, primarily as a starter before a recent move to the bullpen.

Top Prospects and Others of Note:  Top prospect Jackson Merrill hit his first Double-A home run as well as a double and a triple in the series, batting .379 with a .973 OPS in the span. The shortstop is slashing .317/.326/.537 in 41 at-bats since his promotion to San Antonio. … Marcos Castañon went 8-for-21 (.381) with a pair of doubles and five runs batted in. The 24-year-old third baseman slashes .323/.421/.419 in 31 at-bats since he joined the Missions. … Jose Espada shined with 3.2 innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen. The one run went unearned for the righty, who struck out three and walked two while allowing one hit. The versatile 26-year-old owns a 2.75 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 55.2 innings pitched for San Antonio in 2023. … Jairo Iriarte made two strong appearances out of the bullpen, throwing three scoreless innings and striking out four batters. Since joining the bullpen in San Antonio after spending the first half of the year starting in Fort Wayne, Iriarte has thrown five scoreless innings. The 21-year-old righty could conceivably see the big leagues before the end of the year. (Mark Wilkens)

TinCaps (Lost series to Lake Country Captains, 2-4)

Victor Lizarraga. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

Top Performers: After throwing four dominant innings just to be knocked around in the fifth in his last start, this time, Victor Lizarraga was able to finish the job. The 19-year-old tossed a five-inning shutout, though he did walk four as he collected three strikeouts. The walks have been an issue all year, but his 3.38 ERA in July, is his best of the season.  … Lucas Dunn had a huge week at the plate and was instrumental in both TinCaps wins. On Wednesday, he had two doubles, scored two, and drove in two more in a close win. On Saturday, he would hit a two-run home run in the first that would give the TInCaps an early lead, and later scored what would end up being the game-winning run in a 6-4 win. The 2021 8th-round draft pick on the week had seven hits and four walks, good for a .368/.500/.632 while scoring six runs. He swiped two bases for good measure.

Top Prospects and Others of Note: After the first waves of promotions in and out from Fort Wayne, the top prospect on the roster is now Robby Snelling. The lefty had allowed just three earned runs over his first 10.2 innings in Fort Wayne coming into his start Tuesday but then delivered the roughest start of his career. He allowed four runs (three earned) over two innings. He did strike out four over the two innings but also allowed four hits and two walks. Even after that outing, the 19-year-old still has a 2.10 ERA over 64.1 innings between Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne. … Miguel Cienfuegos returned to Fort Wayne after more than two months on the IL to deliver his best start of the year. He did not allow a run over five innings, walking two and striking out two. … Despite being tagged with a loss, lefty Bodi Rascon had one of his best outings of the year. He allowed one run over five innings, striking out six. This was Rascon’s fifth straight outing of four-plus innings where he did not allow more than one earned run.

… After starting with back-to-back multi-hit games, Jakob Marsee finished going 1-for-15 over his final three contests. The center fielder still ended up with six hits, four walks, and two steals. Marsee leads the league in walks (68), runs (71), and is second with 33 steals. … Nathan Martorella reached base safely in every game, yet surprisingly only had one extra-base hit in 24 plate appearances despite ranking fifth in slugging percentage in the Midwest League. Still, Martorella had six hits and six walks. His .381 OBP also ranks in the top 10 in the league. … Starting the week off with a bang, infielder Graham Pauley homered in back-to-back games – three in a row if you go back to last Sunday. After hitting four home runs in 62 games in Lake Elsinore, Pauley hit four home runs in an 8-game span for Fort Wayne. Pauley has slugged a team-leading .520 in 21 games since joining the club. (Ben Davey)

Storm (Won series against Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, 4-2) 

Top Performers: It was a wild week at The Diamond, as the Storm offense exploded for 66 runs in the six-game series. They had a pair of 18-run wins and capped off the series by returning from a four-run deficit to steal the series away from the Quakes. … Outfielder Kai Murphy had his best series of the year, as the 22-year-old doubled his homer output for the year in one series. The former ASU outfielder and pitcher homered three times against the Quakes, including his first multi-homer game as a professional. Murphy hit .360/.385/.760 with nine runs scored, three homers, and six RBI. Murphy has flown under the radar, but he’s produced a solid 115 wRC+ in his first full professional season with the Storm. … Righty Henry Baez made his first outing since the all-star break on Thursday and earned the win. Baez worked five innings without allowing a run. He gave up just four hits, walking two and striking out four. Overall, the 20-year-old has pitched to a 3.90 ERA in 64.2 innings this season in his first taste of full-season ball. 

Top Prospects and Others of Note: On Friday night, Padres fans perhaps got a glimpse into the future with righthander Dylan Lesko on the mound and wunderkind Ethan Salas behind the dish. For Lesko, his High-A debut couldn’t have gone much better. The right-hander worked three hitless innings. He did walk three but managed to limit the damage as he struck out four batters. The former first-rounder has been building up slowly in the desert this summer, and he should be able to get six or seven starts for the Storm down the stretch. Out of the gate, the results are very encouraging. … Salas had a solid series against the Quakes, posting a .727 OPS in five games. While the 17-year-old didn’t connect on a homer, he had a pair of doubles and a triple. … Tyler Robertson continues to beat up on Cal League pitching. The 23-year-old outfielder connected on a couple of homers and went 6-for-22 with three doubles in the series. The 6-foot-4 outfielder has shown increased power in July and has typically been a menace on the basepaths. Despite missing time with a hamstring issue, he has 18 stolen bases and five homers this season. … Third baseman Devin Ortiz hasn’t shown much power, but that hasn’t stopped him from being a big-time contributor on offense. Ortiz led the Storm with nine RBI, hitting .409/.519/.545 with three doubles. In 19 games this month, the former Virginia infielder has a 1.028 OPS, including a .528 on-base percentage. … … Nick Vogt posted a 1.043 OPS last week with two doubles, a homer, and seven RBI. However, his biggest contributions came on the basepaths. Vogt stole nine bases without being caught, including five in one game. The former seventh-rounder has a 106 wRC+ for the Storm after failing to make the club out of spring training. (Kevin Charity)

ACL Padres (3-2 on the week)

Top Performers: Romeo Sanabria capped yet another stellar week in the desert with a three-hit night Monday, including his 11th double of the season. The 21-year-old saw very limited action after the Padres selected him in the 18th round last year but has been the driving force of the offense in the desert this year. The left-handed hitter went 7-for-15 on the week with four extra-base hits and now has the league’s second-best OPS on the year at 1.121. … Righty Xavier Ruiz tossed 2.2 scoreless innings Monday night to give himself a 3.38 ERA across two appearances on the week. The 20-year-old signed out of the Dominican Republic at the start of the 2022 international free agency period and had a solid debut campaign in the DSL before coming stateside this year. Over nine outings this year, Ruiz has struck out 23 in 16 innings while holding opponents to a .227 average.

Top Prospects and Other Key Performers: Alain Camou had yet another productive week, going 5-for-15 with a pair of doubles. The 19-year-old now has a share of the league lead with 12 two-baggers on the year. While the lefthanded-hitting infielder will need to add strength, he’s posting a strong .300/.393/.400 line through 120 at-bats in his first professional season in the U.S. … Homer Bush, Jr., one of three draftees to get underway on Saturday, is off to a quick start. The fourth-rounder went 2-for-6, collecting his first professional homer Monday night. The second-generation Padre draftee also swiped his first base. … Righty Alejandro Lugo surrendered four runs in as many innings but struck out nine batters along the way. The 20-year-old from Venezuela has K’ed 27 opponents, but 15 walks in 17.2 innings have inflated his ERA to 7.64 on the year. (David Jay)

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