The latest on Padres top prospects
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Padres top prospect: Rankings | Stats | Box scores
Storm sweep to first Cal League title since 2011 (Sept. 20)
The winds started howling during the final week of the regular season, and only after claiming their first title in 11 years, did the Storm finally die down.
Buoyed by a strong pitching performance from Victor Lizarraga and a knack for the clutch hit, the Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm held off Fresno, 3-2, to sweep their way to their first California League championship since 2011.
The Storm ran the table in the playoffs, going 4-0 after winning five consecutive games to close out the regular season.
Coming off an impressive performance in the opening game, top Padres prospect Jackson Merrill added two more hits and Jakob Marsee drove in a pair of runs, including a two-out RBI single in the seventh that proved to be the winning tally. Full story »
Merrill has huge game in Cal League Finals opener (Sept. 18)
Jackson Merrill wants the ring, make no mistake about it.
The top-ranked Padres prospect was the driving force behind an unrelenting Single-A Lake Elsinore offense, going 4-for-5 with three doubles and four RBIs in the Storm’s 13-2 win over Fresno in Game 1 of the best-of-3 California League Finals.
Lake Elsinore opened the series after sweeping Inland Empire in two games in the league semifinals.
Merrill got off to a quick start in the championship opener, skying a 1-1 pitch from Grizzlies starter Victor Juarez in the bottom of the first up and over the wall in left-center for a ground-rule double. Though Merrill was stranded and Fresno scored first, it was all Lake Elsinore from that point forward. Full story »
Tale of the tape: Dixon, Hilliard go VERY long (Sept. 8)
It was a night that Babe Ruth would have been proud of.
The duo of Sam Hilliard and Brandon Dixon gave the fans at Isotopes Park plenty to cheer about, slugging a pair of homers that traveled a combined 958 feet.
However, it was visiting Triple-A El Paso, buoyed by Dixon's eighth-inning grand slam, which laughed last after finishing off a 9-4 win at Albuquerque.
Hilliard, who has 111 Minor League home runs and 29 more in the Majors on his résumé, provided the first "oohs" of the evening. With the Isotopes trailing by a run in the seventh inning, the 28-year-old launched a 2-0 pitch 114 mph and 478 feet to right-center field.
But Hilliard's mash was just the appetizer. Full story »
New month, same sweet-swinging Merrill for Storm (Sept. 1)
The calendar may now read September, but Jackson Merrill kept hitting like it was still August. The Padres’ top-ranked prospect kicked off the new month with a three-hit performance in Single-A Lake Elsinore’s 8-5 win over Visalia, his second straight outing with three knocks after swatting a pair of homers and plating five runs the night before.
When you’re in a groove like Merrill is at the dish, even softly hit contact finds open space. The 19-year-old -- who has registered a knock in 17 of his last 18 games -- blooped an opposite-field double in the first, before diving headlong into second base.
The hits kept coming for Lake Elsinore’s designated hitter. Merrill laced a single to right in the fifth, before a sizzling line drive ate up the Visalia shortstop in the sixth, earning the left-handed batter an RBI. He added his 10th stolen base of the season later in the frame.
Since returning from a left wrist injury, Merrill has produced six three-hit outings over his last 21 contests. On the year, he has slashed .341/.392/.509 in 37 games with Lake Elsinore, collecting 32 RBIs. -- Jesse Borek
Merrill notches first multihomer game in 5-RBI night (Aug. 31)
An injury-interrupted season has done nothing to diminish the talent and performance of Jackson Merrill. He added a pair of personal milestones to what is shaping up to be a breakout year.
Baseball's No. 88 overall prospect collected the first multihomer game of his professional career and drove in a personal-best five runs as Single-A Lake Elsinore held off visiting Visalia, 12-11.
Merrill has hit safely in 16 of 17 games with four home runs and 21 RBIs in that stretch.
The 19-year-old doesn't believe there is any secret ingredient to his success.
"A lot of hard work," Merrill said. "Working before the games and trying to figure things out that I can take into my at-bats. Tonight was a good night." Full story »
Rosario becomes first 20/20 for El Paso (Aug. 21)
Eguy Rosario's historic season has reached a significant milestone.
The Padres’ No. 6 prospect crushed his 20th long ball of the season, which makes him the first player to hit the 20 homers/20 stolen base milestone in Triple-A El Paso’s history. Rosario did so while going 1-for-4 with one RBI in El Paso's 2-1 win over Round Rock.
The 22-year-old did not wait long to accomplish the feat as he crushed a solo homer to left field in his first at-bat. He became the first player to not only hit the 20/20 mark, but also the first player to have at least 20 long balls, steals and doubles.
The second baseman not only reached the milestone, he brought his run tally to 89 and RBIs tally to 74 on the season.-- Edwin Perez
Merrill homers, reaches base five times at Single-A (Aug. 20)
From the onset of the Storm’s 16-run deluge, top-ranked Padres prospect Jackson Merrill was at the heart of it.
The 19-year-old Merrill slugged a solo homer in the first inning of Single-A Lake Elsinore’s 16-8 win over Stockton, a flurry that saw all of the Storm’s runs come in the first five frames. Now atop San Diego’s prospect rankings in the wake of the franchise-altering Juan Soto deal at the Trade Deadline, last year’s first-round Draft selection (27th overall) is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak.
Merrill walked and later scored in the third inning, before picking up RBI singles in the fourth and fifth. He drew another walk in the ninth, giving him five times on base, which ties his career best and marks his first multiwalk outing of the year.
While a left wrist injury impeded Merrill from getting a full season under his belt, he has been torrid at the dish when cleared. Following his latest performance of at least three hits -- he has seven such outings in 2022 -- his slash line sits at .357/.413/.522 in 39 games between Lake Elsinore and the Arizona Complex League. -- Jesse Borek
Dixon plates nine during second career cycle (Aug. 17)
Brandon Dixon didn't just hit for the cycle for the second time in his career and make history. The Padres farmhand needed just five innings to complete the milestone while homering in his fourth straight game. He finished the evening with five knocks and a career-high nine RBIs to power Double-A San Antonio's 20-15 comeback victory over Northwest Arkansas at Arvest Ballpark.
To dig a little deeper into the magnitude of the performance, the home run Dixon belted was a grand slam. He also reached base in all seven of his plate appearances with a four-pitch walk in the third inning and a fielder's choice in the seventh. Oh, and he did this in just his fourth game back with the Missions after missing more than three months with an injury suffered on April 27.
"Things just kind of worked out, so it was a nice night for sure," Dixon said. "Just to get four hits is a nice night, but to do more than that and add on all those RBIs is always fun. But to be honest, I tried not to let any of that matter and just take care of business. For me right now, it's just about getting at-bats because I haven't played in a while. So it was nice to get seven plate appearances and to get my rhythm and everything going."
In a game that contained 35 runs on 31 hits and six errors with 12 hurlers throwing 420 pitches, Dixon stole the show. Full story »