Prospect Watch: The year came to an end for the Padres minor league system when the Tri-City Dust Devils came up short in the final game of the Northwest League championship series, falling to Hillsboro 6-1.
Dust Devils starter Jose Castillo blew through the first with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout, but the Hops had four hits, including a pair of doubles, to put up a four-spot in the top of the second. They never looked back after that. Castillo was finished at that point, taking the loss after failing to make it through five innings for the first time in a month. The 19-year-old Venezuelan wraps up the year having thrown 81.1 total innings with a 4.09 ERA in games at two levels.
The Tri-City offense was held in check most of the night. Carlos Belen opened the bottom of the second with a homer and Austin Allen followed with a towering drive to center field that nearly halved the Hops’ lead, but instead was caught on the warning track. That was as close as they got for the rest of the game.
Lefty Will Headean and righty Luis Hernandez kept Hillsboro in check over the next five innings. Headean was particularly effective, striking out four in three perfect frames while allowing only one ball to reach the outfield. He finishes his professional debut season with 47 strikeouts and a 2.27 ERA overall in 35.2 innings split between Arizona and Tri-City.
Beyond Belen’s homer, the offense managed only a pair of singles and four walks against Northwest League pitcher of the year Carlos Hernandez and a trio of relievers. Henry Charles had a two-out hit to left field in the first, but was cut down trying to stretch it into a double. After Belen’s homer, Tri-City didn’t have another hit until Austin Allen singled in the ninth.
Overall, the Padres’ first year affiliation with the Dust Devils was quite a success. The club finished tied for the division’s best record in both halves of the season, and swept the first round of the playoffs against Everett.