12-25, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 22 TB
10-28, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 22 TB
Offensively, it was a big week for the El Paso Chihuahuas. Over the last week, the Chihuahuas have had nine players hit over .300, led by Villanueva and Pirela, who slashed .480/.519/.880 and .435/.480/.957 with seven combined home runs. Although these two may be from different backgrounds, both have a lot in common, as each guy is trying to make a return to highly rated prospect status. Villanueva got a late start to the season, but both guys are now off to hot starts, as Villanueva is sporting a 165 wRC+ over his first 54 plate appearances while Pirela is at 158 through his first 134 plate appearances. In Villanueva and Pirela, the Padres have two ready-made, utility-type players should they need extra help at the big league level. However, if both these guys continue to hit like this, they could be worth even more than that.
Ty France– 3B, Double-A, San Antonio Missions
12-26, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 19 TB
Ty France has been on fire over the last few weeks. After getting off to a slow start, France is collecting hits in bunches since being promoted from the Storm to the Missions. Even before his promotion France was beginning to tear apart the Cal League. Since joining the Texas League, it has been much of the same. France’s MLB future still looks uncertain, but he has done a lot over the last few weeks to at least put himself into the conversation of talented young Padres’ prospects.
Hudson Potts and Fernando Tatis Jr. – IF, Low-A, Fort Wayne TinCaps
13-27, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 21 TB
12-26, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 26 TB
Speaking of players catching fire, no two hitters have been hotter than the teenage duo of Hudson Potts and Fernando Tatis Jr. at Fort Wayne. Both guys started the season with too many strikeouts and not enough hits, but now it seems like both guys are doing nothing but hit. Fernando Tatis hit yet another home run on Saturday, his third of the week and sixth of the season, and Potts added in a home run of his own during the week. Both guys have now brought their season averages near .300, and both have clearly started to figure out professional-level pitching. Now if they could only get Eguy Rosario going as well.
Jerry Keel– LHP, Low-A, Fort Wayne TinCaps
14 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 17 K
Another week, another show of dominance for Jerry Keel. Keel has flown under the radar so far this season, but he has very quietly been one of the better pitchers in the Padres’ system. Names like Logan Allen, Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, Dinelson Lamet, and Cal Quantrill may grab the headlines, but Keel has arguably been just as good, if not better, than all those guys. Keel highlighted that fact one more time with his best start of the season on Sunday, as the big left-hander struck out 11 batters over seven shutout innings in the TinCaps victory. Allen may be the next Fort Wayne pitcher to move up a level to Lake Elsinore, but Keel shouldn’t be far behind.
Eric Lauer- LHP, High-A, Lake Elsinore Storm
7 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 9 K
Eric Lauer has a lot of competition in that Lake Elsinore pitching staff, but he continues to show why he may just be the most advanced of the group. Lauer is now down to an ERA of just 1.56 on the season and he continues to strikeout batters over 30 percent of the time. I keep saying it’s only a matter of time before one of the Storm pitchers gets a call up to Double-A, and Lauer still seems like the leading candidate at this point.
Michael Kelly– RHP, Double-A, San Antonio Missions
14 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 6 BB, 12 K
As I mentioned before with Jerry Keel, Michael Kelly is another Padres minor leaguer going under the radar this season. Kelly did not give up a run over his two starts this week, throwing eight shutout innings the first time and six shutout innings the second time. Control has still been a bit of an issue for Kelly, as shown by his six walks this week, but the 24-year-old is making a big impact early this season.
Walker Lockett- RHP, Triple-A, El Paso Chihuahuas
12 IP, 9 H, 7 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 4 K
With injuries to a few members of the Padres’ pitching staff, including Jered Weaver and Trevor Cahill, the Padres may need to dip into their minor leagues for a spot start or two. While Padres fans may clamor for Dinelson Lamet, Walker Lockett appears like the more likely option given his spot on the 40-man roster. Lockett had a bit of an odd week, as he gave up only one earned run in his first start, and then gave up five unearned runs in his second start despite only giving up only three hits in that start. Lockett was victimized by several key errors, and a few big hits in bad spots, that ruined his start early. Even so, Lockett still finished with a strong line on the week; the strikeouts may not come in bunches, but Lockett does a great job of commanding his pitches and getting outs.