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Weekly Prospect Review, July 23-30

Photo: Grant Wickes

 

While the Padres had a pretty good week, going 4-3 against the Mets and the Pirates, things were pretty middle of the road for the minor league affiliates in a win/loss record sense.  The five non-AZL teams combined to go 16-16, with only Fort Wayne (4-2) and Tri-City (4-3) posting winning records on the week.  The Missions (3-4) narrowly avoided a sweep at the hands of the Frisco RoughRiders, and have seen their division lead over the Corpus Christi Hooks get cut to three games.

But for the most part, Padreland is excited about how the prospects are progressing, not how much the teams are winning and losing (although I’m personally excited for playoff baseball in San Antonio).  Let’s look at some of the notable performances from the past week:

 

Franchy Cordero, CF – El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)

7 for 26 (.269), 3 HR, 1 3B, 5 R, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 13 K

Cordero’s defense and elite speed made him fun to watch during a 30 game stint in San Diego, but his 44.9% strikeout rate erased the memories of his hot start, and he’s been toiling Triple-A, trying to work on his approach.  Since going back to the Pacific Coast League, he’s been swinging a hot bat, but still hasn’t been able to cut out the K’s, as evidenced by the 46.4% strikeout rate this past week.  He’ll need to cut back on those if he wants to have a prolonged stay in San Diego anytime soon, but the rest of his tools seem to be progressing nicely.

 

Franmil Reyes, OF – San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

7 for 28 (.250), 3 HR, 1 2B, 8 R, 9 RBI, 0 BB, 8 K

On June 22nd, Reyes had a slash line of .294/.354/.476, his highest batting average since his 34th game of the season.  In the following 33 games, that line has dropped to .262/.312/.433.  His 7% walk rate hasn’t helped his OBP, and though he had three home runs this week (including a two-homer game), his power has been lacking.  Here’s hoping that he’s at the beginning of a big power surge; the 6’5″ Dominican had a career high 16 dingers last year in Lake Elsinore, and is already up to 14 in the Texas League.

 

Joey Lucchesi, SP – San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K

Of the three recently promoted starting pitchers in the Missions rotation, Lucchesi has performed the best, posting a 2.35 ERA in five starts.  While he’s done well in keeping runs off the board, he hasn’t been able to keep up with the 10.9 K/9 rate he posted in Lake Elsinore, dropping down to an even 7.0 K/9 in Double-A.  At 24, he’s older than league average by about a year, and ideally he can show enough mastery in San Antonio the rest of the season that he’ll be able to start 2018 off in Triple-A.

 

Austin Allen, C – Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

9 for 28 (.321), 2 HR, 3 R, 7, 1 BB, 6 K

Speaking of players that need to be promoted, Austin Allen needs to get out of the Cal League.  With all due respect to the catchers above him in Triple-A and Double-A, they’re mostly organizational filler (both San Antonio catchers are 26-years-old, and the ones in El Paso are 29 and 30), and Allen has been destroying High-A pitching as of late, hitting .387/.411/.714 in the month of July (24 games, 124 plate appearances).  It also might not hurt to give hot-swinging Kyle Overstreet (another Storm catcher) more playing time behind the plate, instead of playing him at DH and first base.

 

Jesse Scholtens, SP – Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

14.2 IP (two starts), 1 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 9 K

Scholtens made two starts for Lake Elsinore this week, allowing just one run and a sub 1.00 WHIP.  At 23 years old, the 9th round pick from last year is a little older for the league, but since he started the year in Fort Wayne, (and given the stacked rotation in Double-A) he’ll likely finish out the year in Lake Elsinore.  He hit a rough patch in the four starts following his complete game effort on June 15th, giving up 20 earned runs in 19.2 innings, but with three solid starts in a row, Scholtens looks to be back on track.

 

Jacob Nix, SP – Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K

Two of Nix’s last five outings resulted in double-digit hit counts, so it was great to see the no.9 prospect revert back to form.  Like Scholtens, he has had a rough stretch since a complete game (when he posted a season high 11 K’s), seeing  his ERA balloon from 2.84 to 4.32.  In his start this week, he was able to limit contact and damage, and struck out more than a batter an inning.

 

Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

7 for 24 (.292), 1 HR, 2 2B, 6 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K

While not a particularly spectacular week by Tatis Jr.’s standards, he raised his hitting line to .271/.368/.496, while playing some solid defense at short.  His five strikeouts raise his season total to 111, which doesn’t seem great (26% strikeout rate), but his 12.6% walk rate is really good to see for the 18-year-old.  Playing this well in Single-A at the same age as a high school senior is very, very exciting.

 

Marcus Greene Jr., C – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

10 for 21 (.476), 4 2B, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K

Greene Jr. hit a walkoff single for the TinCaps this week, showing that not only has he been producing like crazy this week, but he’s been able to do it when it counts.  He’s 22 and is old for the level (that’s the third and last time I’ll mention that in this post), but has recovered nicely after a rough year at Fort Wayne last year, in which he put together a .217/.286/.406 hitting line.

 

Michel Baez, SP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K

If I said that Austin Allen was destroying the Cal League, then I’m not even sure what adjectives I could use to describe what Baez is doing to the Midwest League.  33 strikeouts and three walks in 23 innings?  A 0.78 ERA and a .130 batting average against?  Baez is the most devastating thing to hit the Midwest since the Chicago Fire of 1871.

 

Adrian Morejon, SP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 2 K

Morejon made his much anticipated (well, for me at least) debut in Single-A, and he pretty much picked up where he left off, throwing a ton of strikes (57 of his 77 pitches) and not walking anyone.  He has a 0.67 BB/9 rate in 40.1 innings, which is ridiculous regardless of age, but especially so for an 18-year-old.

 

Ronald Bolaños, SP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K

With all the hype surrounding Morejon, Baez, and Logan Allen in the lower minors, Bolaños has flown a little bit under the radar so far this season. His 4.12 ERA and 6.4 K/9 rate aren’t much to write home about, but his start this week for Fort Wayne showed a glimpse into why the Padres spent $2.5 million to sign the 20-year-old Cuban with a mid-90’s fastball last summer.

 

Justin Lopez, SS/2B – Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

12 for 32 (.375), 3 2B, 4 R, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K

Being the youngest player in the league isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Just like Double-A stud Luis Urías had a bit of a prolonged slump, Lopez saw his batting average dip below the Mendoza line after his first 23 games of the season.  He’s since brought it up to a robust .268, and had twelve hits (including three doubles) last week.  He’s still striking out at a 27.7% clip and only walking 4.8% of the time, so there’s definitely some room for growth, but there’s a lot to be excited about for the young 17-year-old Venezuelan.

 

Tre Carter, OF – Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

8 for 25 (.320), 1 HR, 4 3B, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB

I’m not sure that I’ve seen any hitters get four triples in a week in the time we’ve been running this site, and it really speaks to the speed that Carter has.  The dude has wheels.  The question has been if he can hit enough to be dangerous, and he certainly was this week, even adding a homer for good measure.  The 20-year-old is still hitting just .229 on the year, but hopefully this week can breathe some life into his season.

 

Nick Margevicius, P – Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 5 K

After making five starts for the AZL Padres, Margevicius made his Low-A debut this week.  He looked the part of the polished college pitcher (he’s 21-years-old), and didn’t allow any free passes, after walking just four in 19 innings in rookie ball.  While he might not have the same ceiling as some of the younger international prospects on the rosters in the lower minors, it will be interesting to see how high his floor is for the 6’5”, 7th round pick from last month’s draft.

  

Tirso Ornelas, OF – AZL Padres 2 (Rookie)

5 for 17 (.294), 3 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K

While Jeisson Rosario, Jordy Barley, and Gabriel Arias all had great (and arguably better) weeks for the AZL teams, I gave Tirso Ornelas the nod here.  The 17-year-old has a .405 OBP, the highest of the Padres qualified AZL hitters, with 22 walks against 30 strikeouts.  The 6’4” native of Tijuana hasn’t homered yet, but has seven doubles through his first 27 rookie league games.  I already mentioned it in my last Four Things For A Friday post, but I really like Ornelas.

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