July saw a final, undeniable pivot toward the future by the San Diego Padres as the team began the month with an unprecedented (and continuing) shopping spree on the international free agent market, and ended with a collection of trades that continue to add top-end talent to the minor league system. On the field, July was a month of strong performances from key prospects up and down the system.
As they do each month, the team from MadFriars.com looks at the top performers in the Padres minor league system. Remember, these reports are not meant to be revisions of their top prospect rankings, but rather a look at noteworthy recent performances.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)
The Chihuahuas have been the best offensive club in the offense-happy Pacific Coast League all year, and July simply continued that trend. While Austin Hedges cooled off a bit from his torrid pace in June, the 23-year-old catcher still posted a strong .309/.347/.564 line, hitting six homers and striking out in just 15 percent of his plate appearances. Because the Padres want to keep control of Hedges until the 2022 season, he may stay in El Paso all year despite his continued outstanding performance.
Hedges wasn’t even the top performer at his own position in July. Hector Sanchez, claimed off of waivers from the White Sox in May and sent to El Paso in late June. And all he did through the month was murder PCL pitching. The 26-year-old long-time Giants property hit .378 with an outsized .662 slugging percentage. Though primarily a catcher, the switch-hitter worked at first base and DH for the Chihuahuas.
Among the key prospects knocking on the door of the majors, Hunter Renfroe had a team-best seven homers with an .879 OPS, while Manuel Margot, who missed time sporadically with a heel issue, hit .329 and struck out only five times in 90 trips to the plate. Sometimes-overlooked infielder Carlos Asuaje’s .951 OPS was second-best on the squad.