SAN DIEGO -- On the night before the Padres begin their final series of the 2018 season, many of San Diego's highly touted prospects took the field Thursday at Petco Park against the Rangers' prospects in the 2018 Don Welke On Deck Classic.San Diego holds 2018's highest-ranked farm system, according
SAN DIEGO -- On the night before the Padres begin their final series of the 2018 season, many of San Diego's highly touted prospects took the field Thursday at Petco Park against the Rangers' prospects in the 2018 Don Welke On Deck Classic.
San Diego holds 2018's highest-ranked farm system, according to MLB Pipeline, but the Rangers defeated the Padres, 5-3.
San Diego jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Texas tied it in the bottom of the frame. The Padres took the lead with two runs in the second, but the offense fell flat against the young Rangers' arms. Texas was able to chip away at the lead, then Bubba Thompson delivered the big blow in the eighth inning -- a crushing two-run home run off Dauris Valdez to break a 3-3 tie.
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After Rangers pitchers A.J. Alexy and Jean Casanova allowed three runs in the first two innings, the rest of the pitching staff held the Padres scoreless. Emmanual Clase was the winning pitcher and Reid Anderson recorded two scoreless innings in relief.
Here's a look at notable performers for the Padres.
Reggie Lawson: The Padres' No. 21 overall prospect started and promptly struck out the side. Lawson, who was drafted in 2016 in the competitive balance round, notched four innings of two-run ball, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out seven. He also debuted a slider.
"I've been working it in through [instructional league]," he said. "It came in late in the season as something to get off the fastball just a little bit more. ... I wanted to throw it on the big stage and see what it did. That's how I build trust with it."
Lawson's velocity was up a few ticks as well, and he topped out at 97 mph. When asked what led to the increase he smiled and said, "Well, it's Petco."
Lawson, 21, went 8-5 with a 4.69 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP through 24 games (22 starts) with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore this season.
Esteury Ruiz: The Padres' No. 17 prospect crushed a two-run homer to center field in the second inning.
"[The homer] felt great," Ruiz said through interpreter Danny Sanchez. "It's a testament to the preparation I've put in. I try to stay prepared and put in the work in the offseason and during the season to be able to have results like this."
Ruiz was acquired from Kansas City in 2017 with Matt Strahm as part of the Trevor Cahill trade. The 19-year-old was named the Arizona Rookie League's Most Valuable Player in 2017 and posted a .253/.324/.403 slash line this season at Class A Fort Wayne.
Tucupita Marcano: Marcano opened the scoring for the Padres when he ripped an RBI single to score Xavier Edwards in the first inning. Marcano was thrown out at second trying to extend for a double, but he still finished the night 2-for-3 with a bunt single and two walks.
Marcano, 19, signed with the Padres in 2016 out of Venezuela. He split the season between the Arizona Rookie League and Class A Short Season Tri-City, posting an OPS of .888 in 52 games.
Michel Baez: The Padres' No. 7 prospect notched three innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Baez split the 2018 season between Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. He went 4-10 in 21 starts with an ERA of 3.69. The 22-year-old from Havana, Cuba, signed with the Padres in December 2016.
Andres Munoz: Munoz pitched a perfect ninth inning on 10 pitches. Six of those were recorded at 100 mph or more.
Munoz is the club's No. 22 prospect and split time between Tri-City and San Antonio this season. He held opponents to a .139 batting average and posted a 0.73 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.
• Edwards, the 38th overall pick in the 2018 Draft, went 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout.
• No. 28 prospect Edward Olivares reached base safely in all four plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with three walks.
• Josh Naylor went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk.
The Padres named the event in honor of Don Welke, the organization's former vice president of scouting. Welke passed away last week at the age of 75. Welke spent over 50 years in baseball, beginning his career with the Reds in 1965. Fittingly, he also spent time with the Rangers organization, and played an instrumental role in the team's World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
Katie Woo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.