Fort Wayne TinCaps:
The Fort Wayne TinCaps, who are 42-27 in the second half of the season, clinched a playoff berth this week as well as home field advantage in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs. After going 26-44 in the first half, Fort Wayne’s young ballclub gelled together and has played some brilliant baseball in the last couple of months. Fort Wayne will face the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays affiliate) in the first round. One thing that is interesting about the Midwest League Playoffs is that the team with home field advantage gets to select which games they want to play at home. Round one is a best of 3 series, and it has been decided that game one will be held on Wednesday in Bowling Green. The final two games (the third, if necessary) will be held at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne.
San Antonio Missions:
The San Antonio Missions have been one of the top teams in all of minor league baseball all season long. They won the first half championship (41-29), and on August 30, clinched the second half championship (37-32).
El Paso Chihuahuas
With a 7-3 victory over Sacramento on Sunday night, the Chihuahuas clinched their third consecutive Pacific Southern Division title. All season long, El Paso hung around in the standings without much recognition. They were incredibly consistent without being flashy. That is, until the past ten days or so. In those ten days, El Paso has gone 9-1 to surge ahead and wrap up the division. They will conclude the regular season tomorrow, and then march into the playoffs with hopes of repeating as PCL Champs.
Failed to Qualify
Lake Elsinore Storm:
For a majority of the season, Lake Elsinore’s rotation was pretty entertaining. Joey Lucchesi, Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, and Jacob Nix were all in the same rotation in Lake Elsinore for an extended period of time before being promoted. Logan Allen came up to pitch for the Storm for the last month of the season, and Jesse Scholtens was a mainstay in the rotation.
In terms of position players, Lake Elsinore was pretty bare. Josh Naylor headlined Lake Elsinore’s offense during the first half of the season prior to his promotion. Rod Boykin, Kyle Overstreet, Austin Allen, Fernando Perez, and always-polarizing Michael Gettys also were notable position players to play at The Diamond. Besides that, though, it was a down year for talent in Lake Elsinore. That should change in the next couple of years, though. Their current record is 64-75 with one game remaining.
Tri-City Dust Devils
It came down to the final day of the season for Tri-City, and they unfortunately were not able to make the postseason. They were in a strange predicament coming into Sunday, as they had to lose (yes, that is right, lose) and hope for Spokane to lose as well. If both happened, Tri-City would make the playoffs. Well, they did their part; “tanking” their way to a 5-0 loss. However, Spokane ended up winning their game, dashing the Dust Devils’ hopes of a playoff berth.
Regardless, Tri-City had an overall successful year. Many of the international signees (Luis Almanzar, Justin Lopez, Adrian Morejon, etc.) were able to make their pro ball debuts with the club. A good portion of the college players from the 2017 draft made appearances as well, and they were in it until the end. They ended their season with a 40-36 record.
Notable Performers For the Week:
LHP Nick Margevicius (5.0IP, 3 H, 0ER, 1 BB, 10K)
3B Hudson Potts (9-28 (.321), 3HR, 14RBI, 5R, 1BB, 8SO)
Potts continues to hit well as of late for Fort Wayne, and will look to maintain his hot streak in the Midwest League playoffs. The 18-year-old is one HR shy of the TinCaps record, which was set by Fernando Tatis Jr. earlier in the season. With playoff seeding already set, it will be interesting to see if Potts plays tomorrow. If he does, he will be looking to tie or perhaps even take over his former (and hopefully, future) teammate’s record.
2B Reinaldo Ilarraza (6-13 (.461), HR, 4RBI, 3R, 2SB, 0SO)
CF Buddy Reed (7-21 (.333), HR, 4RBI, SB, 7SO)
Buddy Reed had a solid week for Fort Wayne. For him, it is all about if he can learn how to hit. While he has had a mediocre season with the TinCaps, he has provided a glimpse into what he *could* be. He was also a part of the Padres’ minor league highlight of the week, which I will get to later on.
RHP Michel Baez (7.0IP, 4H, 1ER, 0BB, 5K)
CF Michael Gettys (9-23 (.391), 2HR, 7RBI, 3BB, 8K)
Michael Gettys is one of the more polarizing prospects in the Padres’ system. His final week of 2017 has turned out to be a solid one, though the strikeouts remain a big concern.
LHP Joey Lucchesi (6.0IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 8K)
The funky left-hander’s ERA is down to 1.79 for San Antonio. He has had a heavy workload the last couple seasons, so that is definitely something to monitor. All seems well, though. Lucchesi will be 24 years of age coming into spring training next season. Health permitting, he will likely be a candidate for the big league rotation to start 2018.
SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (11-34 (.324), 1HR, 6RBI, 2BB, 10K, 2SB)
Fernando Tatis Jr. is currently riding an eight-game hit streak as he continues to settle into AA ball. Two major highlights for him this week: He hit his first home run on Monday, and went 4-5 with 2 RBI on Saturday evening.
LHP Eric Lauer (7.0IP, H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 9K)
Lauer had his best AA outing this week, firing seven innings of one-hit ball. He struck out nine batters in the contest while carrying a perfect game into the sixth inning.
RF Hunter Renfroe (18-37 (.486), 3HR, 15RBI, 12R, 4BB, 5SO)
Hunter Renfroe continues to demolish the PCL, and it is hard to believe the Padres will keep him down for long (as much as they say they will). El Paso did make the playoffs, so maybe he will help them win another PCL crown. Regardless, he should really be back in San Diego.
CF Travis Jankowski (14-35 (.400), 3RBI, 7R, 3BB, 6SO)
Travis Jankowski had his best week of the year at the plate, going 14-35. The speedy outfielder will likely be promoted up to San Diego at the conclusion of El Paso’s playoff run, whenever that may be.
MINOR LEAGUE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK:
— Whitecaps (@wmwhitecaps) September 4, 2017