San Jose Missions

El Paso gets a shutout win; Renfroe and Guerra both homer on Thursday.

Pitching ruled in El Paso, as the Chihuahuas notched their first shutout victory of 2016. The good vibes weren’t present as San Antonio’s pitching struggled in a loss while the TinCaps and the Storm opened up road trips with a loss.

Chihuahuas 5, Tacoma Rainiers 0

Key Statistics: 2B Carlos Asuaje, 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2RBI; 1B James Loney, 2-for-4, 2B; CF Hunter Renfroe, 1-for-3, HR (1), RS, 2RBI, BB; LF Alex Dickerson, 2-for-4, 2B, RS; RHP Aaron Northcraft, 4IP, 3H, 2BB, 3K; LHP Daniel Moskos (W, 1-0) 2.2IP, BB, K. 

Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas received an excellent spot start from righty Aaron Northcraft and three relievers combined for the shutout win in El Paso ... Hunter Renfroe, playing center field on Thursday, homered for the first time in 2016 in the Chihuahuas victory. Despite the lack of homers, Renfroe does have six extra-base hits and a solid batting line of .292/.346/.479 in his first 14 games. The former first rounder is still striking out a bit too much -- 14 whiffs in 48 at-bats, but if he can continue to hit home runs, the organization can live with the strikeouts ... Second baseman Carlos Asuaje continues to impress, as the 24-year-old had three hits, including a double and a triple. Asuaje had a down year with the bat in Double-A last year but the former 11th rounder is enjoying his first voyage through the PCL. Asuaje has a .932 OPS through 11 games this season, although he has yet to draw a walk in 44 plate appearances ... Righty Aaron Northcraft, who was acquired by San Diego in the Justin Upton deal, pitched four shutout innings in the spot start. Northcraft, 25, struggled last year in Triple-A but the Padres saw enough to bring him back to the organization. Northcraft started the year in extended spring training but he has not allowed a run in 7.1 innings (2 appearances) since joining the Chihuahuas. 

For further reading on the El Paso Chihuahuas, see the El Paso Times. 

Midland RockHounds 9, Missions 2

Key Statistics: LF Nick Torres, 2-for-4, 2B, RBI; SS Jose Rondon, 1-for-2, 2B, BB; RHP Luis Diaz (L, 1-2)  4IP, 9H, 6ER, 5K. 

Prospect Watch: The Missions fell behind early and went down in the first game of their home stand ... Shorstop Jose Rondon’s early performance has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the system in the first two weeks, as he been able to shake off the frustration of his Double-A debut. Rondon is hitting .300/.382/.400 in his first 10 games this season. Rondon’s current 10% walk rate would match a career-high and would be a much welcome sign to his stock as a prospect ... It looks like the Missions’ patchwork of minor league free agents is starting to show a few leaks. RHP Luis Diaz, signed out of the Boston organization in the off-season, got knocked around in the one-sided loss for San Antonio. Diaz, 24, was brilliant in his organizational debut, pitching seven shutout innings in a Missions win. Since then, Diaz has allowed 13 earned runs, 19 hits, and three home runs in his last eight innings of work. Diaz struggled in the Eastern League a season ago and his luck hasn’t changed much in the Texas League. 

For further reading on the San Antonio Missions, see the San Antonio Express-News

Bakersfield Blaze 7, Storm 4

Key Statistics: 2B Luis Urias, 2-for-3, BB, 2B, RBI; SS Javier Guerra, 1-for-4, HR (3), 2RBI, RS; 3B Josh VanMeter, 2-for-4, 2B; LHP Christian Friedrich, 4IP, 4H, 2ER, 4K; RHP Chris Huffman, (L, 2-1) 4IP, 7H, 5ER, 3BB, 4K

Prospect Watch: The Storm jumped out to a 3-0 lead before allowing seven unanswered runs to drop the opener in Kern County ... Shortstop Javier Guerra homered for the second straight game and the top prospect appears to be hitting his stride. The young shortstop is 5-for-8 over the last two games with a pair of dingers. Guerra is still striking out a ton and is third in the league with 21 strikeouts. Still, Guerra’s power seems to be playing very well in the Cal League ... LHP Christian Friedrich made a rehab start for the Storm and pitched well, going four innings, allowing a pair of runs. Friedrich, 28, appeared in 68 games last season for the Rockies, although he will likely be ticketed for a rotation spot in El Paso once he is healthy and stretched out. 

For further reading on the Storm please see the Southwest Riverside News Network.

South Bend Cubs 8, TinCaps 2

Key Statistics: 3B Ty France, 1-for-2, 2BB, RBI; 1B Brad Zunica, 1-for-3, BB; RHP Enyel De Los Santos, (L, 0-1) 4IP, 6H, 3ER, BB, K; RHP Nick Monroe, 3IP, BB, 2K. 

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps were down 3-2 in the eighth with runners on the corners, but failed to score. South Bend scored five times in the eighth to put the game away ... While third baseman Ty France hasn’t flashed a ton of power, he has displayed an uncanny ability to get on base. France had an RBI single in the victory but also walked twice. France is third in the Midwest League with 11 walks and has only struck out five times. France has a sparkling .429 on-base percentage to start the season. France needs to develop some more pop to stick at the corner infield positions ... RHP Enyel De Los Santos struggled and took the loss. De Los Santos was around the plate but allowed six hits, including a home run. The right-hander has a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings of work in three starts. 

For further reading on the TinCaps, see the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.

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