After spending half of February and all of March in Arizona for Spring Training, members of the San Diego Padres Triple-A squad, the El Paso Chihuahuas, then went on an extended road trip. How extended? 24 games. Now, technically only 20 of those games were road games, as they played four games at their former home in Tucson. They finally got to open their new ballpark in El Paso, Texas on Monday, but lost the first two games in their new ballpark.
Despite the Chihuahuas having the worst record in the Pacific Coast League, Kyle Blanks has been a rare bright spot for the team. He is second in the league in home runs and is in the top 10 in OPS. The only player he trails in home runs could very well be the next big name in the PCL to make his big league debut. Jon Singleton has nine home runs and an OPS of 1.067. The only thing that may keep him in the minor leagues would be the Houston Astros wanting to stagger the debuts of their top prospects and limiting service time.
Another top prospect still tearing up the league is Joc Pederson, but there is no room for him on the Los Angeles Dodgers big league roster. He has the third highest OPS in the league, and has been successful in eight of nine steals attempts.
On the pitching side, Tsuyoshi Wada has been lights out despite pitching in a hitter friendly league. He has made four starts, has a WHIP of 0.65 and an ERA or just 0.68 while striking out 29 batters and walking just three. He went five shutout innings in his last start on the 24th, but the Iowa Cubs have run into weather issues, as their last two games have been postponed due to weather.
The PCL players of the week were Eric Campbell and Nick Tepesch. Campbell has played all four infield positions and both corner outfield spots for the Las Vegas 51’s this season as he is hoping his seventh season of pro ball is the one he finally gets a taste of the big leagues. He is on pace to have his best minor league season of his career, after putting up his best triple slash line of his career last year at Triple-A.
Tepesch put in a complete game, five-hit, shutout in his last start. He is now 4-1 in five starts with an ERA of just 1.82 and opponents are hitting just .208 against him. The Texas Rangers pitching staff is starting to get healthy, but should there be any future injuries, it will be hard for the big league club to ignore what Tepesch is doing.