Jose Azocar is on a batting hot streak as the San Antonio Missions return to town for tonight’s home opener at Wolff Stadium.
Azocar had hits in the last four games of the Missions’ recent road series in Midland. He was 7-of-18 (.389) over that stretch with a three-hit game and a two-hit game.
The 25-year-old outfielder from Venezuela is batting .283 for the season with three walks and three RBIs. He has played in all 12 Missions games this season.
Two years ago, Azocar batted .286 with 10 home runs in 129 games in Double-A in the Detroit Tigers organization. Azocar was originally signed by the Tigers in 2012. He was signed by the San Diego Padres as a free agent to a minor lealgue contract in November 2020.
Chris Shull is a freshman from MacArthur High School in San Antonio.
The 6-foot-1 right-hander is listed as an outfielder and pitcher. He has seen action in nine games in the outfield for the Roadrunners this season and is batting .192 with two home runs and five RBIs.
Shull earned all-state honors as a junior at MacArthur. He earned all-district honors for three years. The 2020 high school season was halted, preventing him from being all-district for four straight seasons.
It was four summers ago that Fernando Tatis Jr. was roaming the infield at Wolff Stadium.
In the short time since then, Tatis has gone from a prospect with the San Antonio Missions, to a starter with the San Diego Padres, to a bona fide major league star with a $330 million contract.
So the question in the minors is, who will be next?
CJ Abrams just might be the answer.
The 20-year-old shortstop is the No. 2 prospect in the Padres organization, and the top prospect who is not a pitcher.
Abrams and the rest of the Missions make their 2021 home debut at Wolff Stadium on Tuesday night – weather permitting.
The lanky 6-foot-2 infielder with a whip for an arm has played mostly at shortstop this season. He has also seen action at second base. Abrams also projects to be able to play center field, similar to Mauricio Dubon of the 2019 Missions, who now plays shortstop and outfield for the San Francisco Giants.
Abrams has played in all of the Missions’ 12 games so far this season. He is batting .306 with two home runs, four doubles and three stolen bases.
This is his second year in the minors – it would be his third if the 2020 minor league season hadn’t been wiped out by covid. In 2019, he batted .401 as an 18 year old in 32 games in rookie league with three home runs and 14 stolen bases. He also spent two games in Class A.
More recently, Abrams gained the experience of spending time with the Padres, including the likes of Tatis and Manny Machado, this February and March after being invited to join the major league team in spring training in Arizona.
Juan Fernandez is a 22-year-old catcher from Venezuela.
Fernandez has seen action in eight of the San Antonio Missions’ first 16 games of the season and is batting .250. He was the Missions’ opening day starter at catcher and had three hits and a walk in the first game, an 8-3 road win in Corpus Christi.
This is Fernandez’s first season in Double-A. Two years ago, he played in 53 games in Class A and batted .274.
Fernandez joined the San Diego Padres organization in March 2016 when he was signed as a free agent to a minor-league contract.
Taylor Kohlwey’s stay with the San Antonio Missions was a short one. Kohlwey was on the Missions’ opening day roster, but he was gone before the team played its first home game of the season.
Kohlwey was one of three Missions players to be promoted to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas on Wednesday. El Paso was short-handed after having some of its players called to the majors by the San Diego Padres.
Listed as an outfielder on the roster, Kohlway played first base in the Missions’ season opener in Corpus Christi. He batted .240 in six games with the Missions.
El Paso is familiar territory for Kohlwey. He spent part of 2019 with the Chihuahuas, batting .304 in 11 games.
Kohlwey batted eighth and played left field and center field on Thursday night in his first game back with the Chihuahuas.
Matt Batten took one step closer to the big leagues Wednesday when he was promoted from the San Antonio Missions to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas.
Batten was the Missions’ 2021 opening day starter at third base. He played in six of the Missions’ first seven games.
The 5-foot-11 infielder was a 32nd-round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2017 draft. He had .299 batting average in 109 games with the Chihuahuas in 2019 with six home runs and 48 RBIs.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I changed the spelling of Batten’s first name from “Mat” to “Matt” in this story after it was updated by the Missions. Batten’s milb.com bio page has it spelled both ways depending on where you look. His full first name is “Matthew.”
Three members of the San Antonio Missions have been called up to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, according to Missions radio.
Mat Batten, Taylor Kohlwey and Robbie Podorsky are the three players who are taking the next step.
As of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the three players who were reported to be headed from San Antonio to El Paso are no longer listed on the Missions’ roster on the team website.
The Chihuahuas needed reinforcements after some of their players were called up by the short-handed San Diego Padres.
Podorsky is an outfielder and played in all of the Missions’ first seven games and was batting .370.
Kohlwey is a first baseman and was batting .240 in six games.
Batten is a third baseman and was batting .174 in six games.
None of the three was in the Missions’ lineup tonight as they played on the road against the Midland RockHounds.
UPDATE: Infielder Olivier Basabe has joined the Missions, coming up from Class-A Fort Wayne. The 23-year-old from Venezuela batted .273 in 11 games in Fort Wayne.
Basabe entered Wednesday night’s Missions game and played second base after Eguy Rosario left with an injury. Basabe went 1-for-1 with a single and an RBI in the Missions’ 9-2 road loss to the Midland RockHounds.