Major League Baseball’s top farm system is off to a solid start to the 2018 MiLB season. A few San Diego Padres’ minor leaguers brought home awards for their success last week down on the farm.
The AAA El Paso Chihuahuas are off to a blazing start in the Pacific Coast Leauge. The San Diego Padres’ affiliate currently sits at 13-5, first place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division. With top prospects such as Eric Lauer and Luis Urias leading the way, the Chihuahuas are in the midst of a six-game winning streak.
Starting catcher/first baseman Bret Nicholas was named the PCL Player Of The Week after his monster week at the plate. Nicholas went 10-27 (.370) while hitting four home runs, drawing five walks, and striking out just five times.
The Padres traded for Nicholas at the beginning of the year to bring in a veteran backup option at the catcher position. Since joining the Friar’s organization, Nicholas is slashing .386/.455/.807 with six home runs and six doubles.
Nicholas has experienced success at the major league level and could be a better option to backup Padres’ starting catcher Austin Hedges. He has 103 career at-bats, hitting .252 with four home runs, nine doubles, and a .756 OPS. Current backup catcher AJ Ellis has three hits and six strikeouts in 16 at-bats.
Buddy Reed Takes Hom His Own Hardware
Deeper down the organizational ladder, Padres’ outfield prospect Buddy Reed also brought home a Player of the Week award. The California League’s top hitter absolutely raked this past week.
Last Tuesday was, without a doubt, the best performance Reed has put up in his career. The 22-year-old out of the University of Florida went 4-5 with two home runs (one inside-the-park), driving in six runs in the process. Entering Tuesday’s game, Reed had just seven home runs in nearly 600 career minor league at-bats.
The Lake Elsinore outfielder is now hitting .413 on the season with four home runs, six doubles, and five stolen bases. His on-base percentage is only slightly higher than his batting average, .431, however, very few expected this sort of production from Reed.
Congratulations to both players on their honors and impressive performances this past week!