This will be the final installment of the weekly recap for 2017. With the full-season affiliates wrapping up regular season play today, the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A), San Antonio Missions (Double-A) and El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A) will be looking to bring home some postseason hardware in the coming weeks, and we’ll probably have a few things to say about that when it all shakes down.
It was a rough week for wimpy San Diegans complaining about the weather (sorry, this transplant in Texas experiences 90-degree nights on the regular) and the Tri-City Dust Devils bats, as they failed to score in their final four games, falling out of the Northwest League playoff picture on the last day of the season. However, it was a good week…
…For the San Antonio Offense
Despite going 4-5 on the week (games every day, including a pair of double headers), the Missions bats seem to be heating up at the right time, as San Antonio averaged more than five runs a game. Fernando Tatis Jr. seems to be adjusting to Double-A, going 11 for 34 (.324) en route to putting together an eight-game hitting streak. Franmil Reyes launched three more homers and drew four walks while hitting .257 (9 for 35). The Missions have relied on their young infielders as of late, and getting production from older guys like Nick Torres (13 for 28, .464 average, HR, 2 2B) will be necessary if they want to make a deep run in the Texas League post season.
While Luis Urías and Josh Naylor struggled a bit this week (Urías’ batting average dipped below the .300 mark, and Naylor’s OBP is more than 100 points lower than it was in High-A), Javier Guerra had a surprisingly solid week at the dish, going 7 for 20 (.350) with three doubles and a walk, while striking out seven times.
Tatis and Reyes struck out a combined 15 times, so there’s still room for improvement, but their pitching from Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi is trending up, as both had scoreless seven and six inning outings last week, respectively. Combined, they allowed three hits and two walks in 13 innings, while striking out 17.
…To Be A Young Infielder In The Padres System
Ruddy Giron got hot last week, hitting .300 (6 for 20) with a triple and a pair of doubles for the Lake Elsinore Storm. The 20-year-old struggled to a .235/.292/.350 slash line, and looks to be in line for a second go-around in High-A next season, and though he isn’t much of a power threat (7 homers this year in the hitter friendly confines of the Cal League), I wouldn’t write him off quite yet. Hudson Potts stayed hot, crushing three dingers and knocking in 14 RBI on the week. His 1:7 BB:K ratio isn’t great, and seems to be the main area of improvement moving forward. Due to his rough start, his end-of-the-year stats might not stand out, but since July (238 PA’s in 57 games), he’s hitting .290/.328/.527 with 13 round-trippers.
Down in the AZL, Jordy Barley, Esteury Ruiz, and Olivier Basabe were raking. Here’s a quick chart.
I’m not sure how well Barley’s glove plays at shortstop, but he’s one of the more electric hitters among the Padres rookie league teams. Ruiz hasn’t quite put up the same numbers he did while with the Royals AZL team (since coming over in the Cahill/Buchter/Maurer trade, he’s OPS’d a solid .839, after putting up a 1.219 OPS for Kansas City), but there’s a lot to be excited about there as well. Basabe, the Padres 8th round pick out of Faulkner University in June, hasn’t been great by any stretch since being drafted, but doesn’t strike out much (13.6% K rate), and you can never have too much middle infield depth.
I’ve heard there’s some that believe that Tirso Ornelas is more of a first baseman than an outfielder, but while I don’t think he’s a long term center fielder, I think there’s reason to believe he could play left. Since he’s not an infielder, I won’t mention that he was 6 for 17 this week (.353) with a pair of doubles. He also walked more than he struck out (5 to 3). Nope. Definitely won’t write that here.
…For TinCaps Starters
It’s up for debate which squad has the more impressive starting rotation – the Missions or the TinCaps. This week, however, the Fort Wayne trio of Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez, and Pedro Avila were very impressive, leading the TinCaps to a playoff berth. All allowed just one run each in their outings, and gave up a combined two walks.
Baez, who has allowed nine homers in 11 starts, was able to avoid being burned by the long ball this week, just the fourth start where he kept the ball from leaving the yard. Avila struck out nine hitters in five innings – an abbreviated 79 pitch start to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Morejon also threw just 80 pitches, striking out 6 in five innings.
It will be interesting to see how hard the rotation is pushed in the playoffs, which begin on Thursday. Morejon (63 innings), Baez (63.3 innings), and Lake Bachar (50.2 innings) haven’t pitched too much this season, so they might get to go deep into some games if they can keep the pitch count at a reasonable number.
Other Notable Performances:
Nick Margevicius, SP (Low-A) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K – In my opinion, Margevicius has had the most impressive debut of any player in the Padres 2017 draft class outside of MacKenzie Gore. The lefty out of Rider University finished with a 1.24 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 in six starts with Tri-City. While he tops out in the low 90s, he has good control, walking just four batters in 29 innings.
Michael Gettys, CF (High-A) – 9 for 24 (.375), 2 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 5 R, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 8 K – It may come down to the wire to see who has the most strikeouts in the California League, but as of this morning, Gettys has 188, one more than Rancho Cucamonga outfielder DJ Peters. The toolsy centerfielder has a .331 OBP despite a cringe-worthy 37% K rate. His 17 homers and 9% walk rate are career highs.
Hunter Renfroe, RF (Triple-A) – 16 for 33 (.485), 3 HR, 1 2B, 9 R, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 SB – Hunter Renfroe was the MVP of the PCL in 2016. He’s still hitting like the PCL MVP in 2017. The question is how he will hit in the majors. El Paso is 9-4 since he was sent down, and he’ll help them in the playoffs, as they try to repeat as the Pacific Coast League champs.