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The Scoop: Prospect Setbacks, Rehabbing Major Leaguers, and Lucchesi’s Strong Start

Photo: Marcus Pond

In his first start for his new team, Travis Wood threw six innings of two-run ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 3-2 Padres win.  Wood allowed just two hits and a walk, while striking out seven.  It was easily his longest outing of the year, as he had been pitching out of the bullpen for most of the year, before starting three games for the Kansas City Royals before his trade to San Diego.

Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, and Brad Hand pitched three innings of shutout baseball, with Stammen striking out the side convincingly in the seventh, and Hand securing his sixth save with a game inning double play ball.  Cory Spangenberg had a big night for the home team, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a big RBI triple in the sixth that scored José Pírela.  Spangenberg would score a few pitches later on a wild pitch by Pirates pitcher Daniel Hudson.

The arguably bigger news items of the day hit just before the Padres first pitch.  After it was announced that Fort Wayne TinCaps starter Mason Thompson would be hitting the disabled list, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune broke the news that Padres no.1 prospect Anderson Espinoza would be undergoing Tommy John surgery.  Espinoza, who hadn’t pitched in a game at all this year, and gotten up to 120 feet in his throwing program, and it was communicated to the fanbase that he was progressing towards throwing either by the end of the year or in the fall.  With the rough estimate of 14 months of recovery, it will be about 31 months between games for Espinoza, who last threw for Fort Wayne on August 31st, 2016.

Despite the raincloud, there were still plenty of silver linings in the minors last night, let’s take a look at them.

Lucchesi Solid in Missions Loss

Joey Lucchesi went six solid innings for San Antonio, allowing just two runs on four hits.  The 24-year-old lefty has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his five Double-A starts, and struck out six while walking three.  His 10.9 K/9 rate in High-A Lake Elsinore has dropped to 7.1 in the Texas League, and his batting average against has risen from .194 to .259.  Despite the iffy peripherals, he has continued to keep runs off the board, and it will be interesting to see how he continues to adjust to the league.

The Missions lost their third game in a row, only managing five hits in a 4-1 loss to the Frisco RoughRiders.  Alberth Martinez hit an RBI double in the fifth, his 23rd of the year, and Javier Guerra went 0 for 0 with three walks.  San Antonio sabotaged themselves on the bases, as Martinez, Guerra, and Nick Torres were all cut down trying to steal bases.

 

El Paso’s Comeback Falls Short

With a lineup featuring six players who had spent time in San Diego this year, El Paso put up a good fight against the Iowa Cubs, ultimately falling by a score of 9-8.  Chihuahuas starter Zach Lee gave up six runs in six innings, increasing his Triple-A ERA to 6.79, and Christian Bethancourt allowed a run on two hits in an inning of work.  Carter Capps was the only reliever to throw a scoreless frame, striking out two and allowing a hit in the seventh.

The rehabbing Travis Jankowski went 0 for 4 with a walk and a strikeout, while Yangervis Solarte (who played the entire game at shortstop) went 2 for 5.  Franchy Cordero provided the spark, also going 2 for 5 with a homer and a triple, good for four RBI.  While he increased his Triple-A OPS to .949, he also struck out twice, increasing his K rate for the Chihuahuas to 28.9%.  Chase d’Arnaud and Collin Cowgill also had multi-hit games.

 

Hedges Rehabs as Ruiz, Barley, & Rosario Power AZL Padres 1

In Austin Hedges‘ first rehab game since being diagnosed with a concussion, he went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and allowed three stolen bases.  He was pulled early, as most rehabbing players are, but, uh, that seems very un-Hedges like, especially at the rookie league level.

Jeisson Rosario went 3 for 4 with a 3-run homer, Jordy Barley went 1 for 3 with a walk and scored twice, and Esteury Ruiz was 1 for 4 with an RBI-double.  Ruiz broke his consecutive stolen base streak, getting caught in his 11th attempt.  18-year-old Sam Keating, the recent 4th round pick who was ranked by MLB.com as the Padres no.30 prospect, threw 2.2 innings, allowing a run on five hits, no walks, and two strikeouts.

 

Elsewhere Around the Farm

  • Ruddy Giron homered and Austin Allen had a single to increase his reaching base safely streak to 17 games in a row, but it wasn’t enough as Lake Elsinore fell to the Visalia Rawhide 5-2. Starter Jake Esch went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned), while striking out eight and allowing seven hits and no walks.
  • The TinCaps bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, as Will Headen and Hansel Rodriguez allowed three runs in the eighth to fall to the West Michigan Whiteaps 7-6. Marcus Greene Jr. went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, and Fernando Tatis Jr. went 1 for 4 with an RBI double of his own.
  • Tri-City could only muster three hits in their 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canadians. Emmanuel Ramirez had another solid outing, going six innings of one-run ball on eight hits, a walk, and seven strikeouts.
  • Every hitter in the AZL Padres 2 lineup had a hit.  Tirso Ornelas went 1 for 3 with a walk and a double, and Gabriel Arias and Justin Paulsen had doubles of their own.  They defeated the AZL Dodgers 6-1.