The final Minor League teams still playing this season, the RailRiders and Chihuahuas, took very different paths to the Triple-A National Championship Game.Scranton/Wilkes-Barre went 91-52 during the regular season and led all MiLB teams in wins and all full-season teams in winning percentage (.636). El Paso went 73-70 and snuck
The final Minor League teams still playing this season, the RailRiders and Chihuahuas, took very different paths to the Triple-A National Championship Game.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre went 91-52 during the regular season and led all MiLB teams in wins and all full-season teams in winning percentage (.636). El Paso went 73-70 and snuck into the playoffs with a .510 winning percentage.
Despite the different routes, the two teams have wound up in the same place, both seeking their first national championship. The Chihuahuas and RailRiders will face off Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV in the 2016 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn. The game will also be televised on NBC Sports Network.
Neither team has won a national championship, but Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was the runner-up in 2008, while El Paso is making its first appearance.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Gwinnett in four games in the International League Finals and will send 23-year-old Jordan Montgomery to hill in Memphis.
Montgomery, the Yankees' No. 19 prospect, was rocked in Game 1 of the Finals as he didn't make it out of the first inning, but he had been stellar all season. Montgomery spent most of the season in Double-A, but he was called up on Aug. 16 and instantly proved he was worthy of the promotion.
The lefty gave up two runs in his Triple-A debut, then promptly set a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre record with 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. In total, Montgomery went 5-1 with a 0.97 ERA in six Triple-A starts.
However, the zeros won't come easy for Montgomery on Tuesday as he faces an El Paso lineup that generally features four of the Padres' Top 20 prospects -- Manny Margot (No. 2), Hunter Renfroe (No. 3), José Rondón (No. 12) and Carlos Asuaje (No. 20).
Margot, baseball's No. 27 overall prospect, led the club with a .361 postseason average. Asuaje recorded eight RBIs in eight postseason games and Renfroe, the No. 41 overall prospect, scored at least one run in six of eight postseason games. Renfroe notched two multihit games in the Pacific Coast League championship series against Oklahoma City and has hit .273 in the playoffs.
After winning its first Pacific Coast League title, El Paso will send Walker Lockett, who worked his way through the bulk of the Padres' system this year, to the mound.
Lockett, the Padres' fourth-round selection in 2012, began the season with Class A Fort Wayne, spent time with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, then was promoted to Triple-A on Aug. 20.
The right-hander went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three Triple-A starts, but he posted a 2.96 ERA in 28 games (25 starts) throughout the year.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup features Yankees top prospectClint Frazier (No. 16 overall) and Jack Cave (Yankees' No. 23).
Frazier, whom the Yankees acquired from the Indians in the Andrew Miller trade, began the postseason in a 3-for-25 skid, but he went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Game 4 of the International League Finals and may have found his stroke at the perfect time.
Meanwhile, Cave was named Governors' Finals MVP after hitting .308 with a homer and three RBIs in four games. He's hitting .348 in the playoffs and looks to add to his offensive numbers in the final game of the Minor League postseason.
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.