Round Rock Express 14, Chihuahuas 4

Michael Cantu connects for the Chihuahuas. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Key Stats: CF Daniel Johnson 3-for 5, 2B; DH Ji-Man Choi 1-for-4, BB; C Michael Cantu 2-for-3, HR (2), BB; RHP Glenn Otto 0.2 IP 1 H, 6 R (0 ER), 3 BB; LHP Adrian Morejon 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 3 BB, HBP; RHP Sean Reynolds 1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB; RHP Kevin Kopps 1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 K, 2 BB

Prospect Watch: Righty Glenn Otto‘s system debut definitely didn’t go according to plan. The righty, who the Padres claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers last week, was charged with six unearned runs and failed to get through the first inning as he squared off with his former organization. After a pair of errors behind him to open the game, the 27-year-old walked three before giving up a grand slam to dead center. Otto had mixed results in the big league rotation last year, then spent the first half of this year on the Injured List. He got hit hard when he returned to the Rangers bullpen but posted a 3.38 ERA since joining Round Rock in late July, holding PCL opponents to a .176 ERA with a solid 39:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 29.1 innings. Originally a fifth-round pick of the Yankees in 2017, Otto’s best pitch is a slider that generated whiffs on more than a third of his offerings in the big leagues. … Lefty Adrian Morejon got through two innings of relief while allowing just one run despite three walks and a hit batter. He sat 94-95 with his fastball but only landed 18 of 39 pitches for strikes. PCL opponents have hit .309 against him in 19 innings. … Catcher Michael Cantu, who has been a favorite organizational role player since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2017, had a three-run homer as part of one of his best days at the plate for El Paso. Cantu also had a hit and walked in his third start since coming off a stint on the Development List at the beginning of the month. … Daniel Johnson connected on three more hits, including a double. In 17 games with El Paso, Johnson owns a .991 OPS.

Midland RockHounds 3, Missions 0

Graham Pauley has had a breakout campaign in 2023. (Photo: San Antonio Missions)

Key Stats: 3B Graham Pauley 1-for-3; RHP Jared Kollar 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 4 K, 2 BB, WP; RHP Henry Henry 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB; RHP Efrain Contreras 2 IP

Key Stats: With Jackson Merrill and Jakob Marsee both out of the lineup with lingering injuries, the Missions offense was held to one hit and dropped their series in Midland. Graham Pauley, playing third base for the afternoon, squibbed a slow grounder to third base for a single in the first inning, then was quickly erased on a double-play ball. The Missions didn’t have another batter reach base until Homer Bush, Jr. walked to lead off the ninth. Even as the offense sputtered, Jared Kollar worked around some early traffic on the bases to keep his team in the game. The 25-year-old, who signed as an undrafted free agent last summer and opened this year in Fort Wayne, carried a shutout into the sixth inning before a one-out error, stolen base, and single put Midland ahead and chased him from the game. Kollar tossed 85 pitches in the contest, allowing three hits and a pair of walks. After permitting fewer than one runner per inning in the Midwest League, the Pennsylvania native has allowed 57 hits and 17 walks on his way to a 4.53 ERA in 49.2 innings since joining San Antonio. … After another rough outing from Henry Henry put the Missions behind by three, Efrain Contreras finished out the game with two scoreless frames. The 23-year-old from Juarez, Mexico, has allowed just one run over 10.2 innings in his last eight outings. Since moving to the bullpen, the 2017 signee has posted a 3.46 ERA.

Victor Lizarraga had another strong start to finish the regular season. (Photo: Adam Gaddy)

Dayton Dragons 4, TinCaps 2

Key Stats: RF Tyler Robertson 3-for-5, SB (5); LF Kai Murphy 2-for-4; 1B Griffin Doersching 1-for-4, 2B; SS Kervin Pichardo 1-for-3, BB; RHP Victor Lizarraga 6 IP, 6 H, 6 K, 1 BB; RHP Will Varmette 0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, BB; RHP Francis Pena 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB

Tyler Robertson uses his speed. (Photo: Adam Gaddy)

Prospect Watch: On the back of another strong start by Victor Lizarraga, the TinCaps were six outs from claiming their first playoff appearance since 2017 when Dayton rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth. After Fort Wayne couldn’t come back in the ninth, they had to wait out the completion of West Michigan’s loss to know that they’d play in the postseason starting Tuesday. Lizarraga, coming off six shutout innings in his last start, wasn’t quite as dominant this time around but still put up zeroes again. The 19-year-old loaded the bases with a single, walk, and hit batter in the first inning before escaping with a double play grounder. The Dragons put at least one more runner on base in each of the next four innings, but Lizarraga continued to make pitches when he had to before finally setting them down in order in the sixth inning. The San Diego-born righty had an up-and-down campaign in High-A but turned in his best work down the stretch to finish with a 4.09 ERA in 94.2 innings – one-third more than he tossed in 2022. … Tyler Robertson collected three more hits in the game and almost came up with the play of the season. After Dayton had closed to 2-1 in the eighth inning, Hector Rodriguez hit a ball deep into the right field corner. Robertson leaped high above the wall and briefly had the ball in his glove to save a home run, but as he hit the wall, the ball came out for a triple. The talented athlete, who has been stellar at the plate this month, struck out to end the game with the tying runs on base. After striking out 16 times in his first 35 at-bats in High-A, the 23-year-old has gone 14-for-32 in September with only eight strikeouts.

Storm 6, Inland Empire 66ers 5

Romeo Sanabria cuts an imposing figure in the box. (Robert Escalante)

Key Stats: 1B Romeo Sanabria 2-for-4, 2 2B; DH Jay Beshears 3-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, SB (1); 2B Nik McClaughry 2-for-4, 2B; RHP Henry Martinez 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 6 BB; RHP Alejandro Lugo 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K

Prospect Watch: The Storm fell behind 5-0 early but finished their season with a bang, rallying for a win in the final Cal League contest of the year. Jay Beshears capped the comeback with an RBI double, his third hit of the game. The Padres’ sixth-round pick ended his campaign on an eight-game hitting streak. … Romeo Sanabria put a loud finishing touch on his season, connecting on two doubles. After turning in one of the top offensive years in the Arizona Complex League, the big left-handed slugger posted a .283/.424/.434 in 16 games with Elsinore at the end of the season. Eight of the 21-year-old’s 15 hits for the Storm went for extra bases, though he didn’t get one over the fence. … Nik McClaughry had a single and double to finish the season with a 10-game hitting streak that raised his OPS by 278 points to a solid .752 mark. … Righty Alejandro Lugo came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning and got a strikeout to keep the game close. The 21-year-old then delivered three more innings, giving up just one earned run as he struck out four additional batters. After fighting his command in the complex league, the 2019 signee out of Venezuela posted a 22:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the Storm. … Ruben Galindo, who had to return to Lake Elsinore after a rough seven-week stretch with Fort Wayne early in the summer, capped a stellar second half by closing out the win with a scoreless inning. The 22-year-old, who was with Colombia’s team for the World Baseball Classic to open the year, gave up only four runs over the final 30.1 innings of the California League. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Galindo added to the TinCaps roster for the playoffs.

Posted by David Jay

David has written for MadFriars since 2005, has published articles in Baseball America, written a monthly column for FoxSports San Diego and appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He may be best known on the island of Guam for his photos of Trae Santos that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

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