The Padres are fielding two different teams in the AZL this season, and neither showed well on Saturday night in Peoria. One club faced off against Keston Hiura and the Brewers, losing 20-5, while the other fell to the Rangers 25-3.
Hiura went 1-4, but scored three runs as a result of a pair of errors. His only out was a ball driven about 400 feet to right center in his last AB of the night. He also had an RBI single before being pinch hit for in the 8th. Hiura has been everything he was chalked up to be, hitting over .500 in his very brief pro career thus far. He is still limited to DH duties due to the arm injury, but he approaches each at bat with a plan, stays balanced despite a big leg kick, and makes hard contact.
The truly hard contact of the night came off the bats of the Rangers. In a lineup that featured a pair of picks in the top ten rounds in the recent draft, it was a seventh round pick from a year ago that really impressed. The Phoenix area local, Sam Huff, hit his second AZL home run in his fourth game this year after hitting just one in 28 games in the league last year. His swing is very minimalistic, showing no unnecessary movement and would lead one think it would be hard to generate power, yet he hit a home run halfway up the batter’s eye over the 410 sign in dead center. Behind the plate, his glove control is good and he shows a strong arm, but his footwork is incredibly slow and will be the defensive piece that holds him back.
Also hitting a home run in the game was Starling Joseph, his first home run in the states after hitting six in two seasons in the DSL. In the AB that saw him hit a home run, he turned on a fastball that wound up just foul, but cleared the bullpen, two walkways, and landed in the bar area. The next pitch was under his chin, before driving the final pitch of the AB out to left center.
For the Padres, there wasn’t much to highlight, lots of walks, lots of errors, and little offensive output, but two players did shine some. Highly regarded prospect Jeisson Rosario didn’t look great at the plate, finding himself off balance too often, but his first step in the outfield and closing speed shows signs of a player that can stick in center. Shortstop Jordy Barley also opened some eyes with his range, but he lacks arm strength and fluidity around the second base bag. He did commit two errors, but he showed excellent range. Behind the plate for the Padres was Jonny Homza, a fifth round pick out of Alaska, and he struggled in the Arizona heat. He let a basic pop up behind the plate fall without even giving chase, and of the 11 wild pitches by Padres pitchers, a good 7-8 easily could have been scored as passed balls.