Anderson Espinoza made a career-high 28 starts for El Paso in 2023. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Chihuahuas 10, Sugar Land Space Cowboys 3

Key Stats: Daniel Johnson 3-for-5, 3 2B; 2B Connor Hollis 2-for-3, 2 BB; SS Evan Mendoza 1-for-4, HR (1); DH Yorman Rodriguez 2-for-5; LF Taylor Kohlwey 1-for-4, HR (12); RHP Anderson Espinoza 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 3 BB; RHP Kevin Kopps 1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB; Sean Reynolds 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB

Sean Reynolds cuts an imposing figure on the mound. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: Needing a win to avoid finishing the year on an eight-game losing streak and in the cellar of the Pacific Coast League, El Paso jumped out to an early lead, put up a six spot in the fourth inning, and cruised to a 10-3 victory in East Texas. They finish the year 62-88, the club’s worst record since relocating from Tucson. … Daniel Johnson, one of 15 players on the active roster in line for minor league free agency next month, finished a great run with the Chihuahuas with three doubles out of the leadoff spot. The New Mexico State alum hit .296/.384/.583 in 28 games for El Paso after spending most of the first five months of the year in Double-A. He matched his career-best with 19 homers and set a new high mark with 30 stolen bases. … Evan Mendoza, who spent much of his first season in the organization on the Missions’ Injured List, came through with his first homer and second stolen base since joining El Paso. The 27-year-old infielder, who the Padres selected out of the Cardinals organization in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, finished with a .561 OPS in 31 games, more than 100 points below his career line. … Anderson Espinoza picked up his career-best eighth win of the year, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven over five innings. While his 6.15 ERA was a disappointment after returning to the Padres organization, the righty worked 131.2 innings. It set a new personal high with 117 strikeouts. … Kevin Kopps and Sean Reynolds each worked a scoreless inning in the victory. After a nightmare start to his tenure in the organization, after he came over from the Marlins with Garrett Cooper at the trade deadline, Reynolds finished his year with four straight shutout innings despite allowing five runners to reach base. The 6-foot-8 righty, who posted a 3.50 ERA in the International League before the trade, finishes with a 13.50 mark in 16 PCL innings.

Coming up from MadFriars

As we head into the offseason, we’ll have a few more pieces we’ve been working on from the year, then run into our wrap-ups on each affiliate over the next month. It’ll be a unique offseason as new rules limit domestic minor league rosters to only 175 in the winter and just 165 when the 2024 campaign begins. We’ll have coverage of roster transactions and begin to roll out our individual Top 30 lists before we ramp back up for spring training.

Thanks to all of our loyal readers and subscribers for your support through the 20th year of MadFriars coverage of the Padres’ minor league system. We couldn’t do all this without you; truly, you are making it possible.

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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