Bolaños Improves but Still Suffers Loss for Storm

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Credit: M.Kreg/EVT Sports

Lake Elsinore, California

Ronald Bolanos is a name that gets lost in the mix when it comes to Padres’ prospects.

The big right-hander signed for $2.25 million in the summer of 2016 and was a highly touted pitcher out of Cuba. He has a good three-pitch mix (fastball, curveball, slider) that can make hitters look foolish at times while touching 95 MPH, but the problem for him has been keeping his emotions in check during starts. After a rough first outing, Bolaños went into this outing looking to show why he was so highly pursued as an amateur.

“It’s a maturation process for [Bolaños],” said San Diego Padres Pitching Coordinator Eric Junge before the game Sunday. “We’d like to see him get control of his environment, spend some time working on those intangible things because the talent level is there.”

Bolaños fell behind every Lancaster Jethawk in the first, but escaped giving up only one hit to the leadoff hitter, Forrest Wall, on a softly hit ball to shallow center field.

In the second, Bolaños seemed to find his groove, striking out Vince Fernandez and Brian Serven, allowing only one hit, a topped groundball hit to the left of the mound by Tyler Nevin, and escaping with no runs allowed.

The Jethawks finally made some hard contact against Bolaños in the third as Max George started the inning off with a line drive double down the left field line. Wall then moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. On the next pitch, Willie Abreu smoked a single to right, scoring George from third. After striking out the California League Leader in average and Colorado Rockies’ 4th ranked prospect by, Colton Walker, Bolaños allowed a looping single to left by Roberto Ramos to give the Jethawks a 2-0 lead. After a passed ball let Ramos move up to second, Nevin hit a sharp ground ball that was misplayed by shortstop Kelvin Melean, allowing Ramos to score easily for an unearned run. Bolaños would settle down and close out the inning though, getting Vince Fernandez to fly out to Edward Olivares.
The fourth inning was a different story for Bolaños as he would settle in once again, facing four batters, getting one strikeout, and allowing only a hit batter to reach base.

In the fifth, Bolaños started the inning getting Abreu to fly out to right, and after a walk, Bolaños would get Ramos to strike out swinging, only to have Nevin follow with a single, finishing his day.

For Bolaños, the start was a step in the right direction, but the young right-hander still has a lot to improve on. As Junge said, the talent is there, but fans will have to wait and see if it can ever translate at the professional level.

Credit: M.Kreg/EVT Sports

Game Notes

– The Storm could not escape with their first series win of 2018, losing 7-0 to the Jethawks, splitting the four-game stint.

– Edward Olivares started right where he left off on Saturday night, driving the first pitch seen from pitcher Rico Garcia off the top of the center field fence for a double. The young center fielder has shown early why the Padres sought after him in the trade that sent fan favorite Yangervis Solarte to the Toronto Blue Jays. Olivares finished the day with three hits, tying him for the California League lead with 15.

Dauris Valdez entered in the fifth and looked impressive, striking out Fernandez on a 96 MPH fastball. The 6’8” right-hander, signed in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic, showed an aggressive approach, throwing three first-pitch strikes to four batters in his 1.1 innings, allowing zero baserunners.

Buddy Reed had a multi-hit game for the second time in as many days. To go along with a bunt single in the first, the lanky outfielder from the University of Florida hit a booming double off the right field wall in his second at-bat.

– Jethawks starter Rico Garcia calmed down after a rocky first inning. He kept the Storm hitters off balance the whole game, going seven strong innings, scattering five hits while striking out seven.

– Tyler Nevin, son of Ex-Padre Phil Nevin, had three hits for the Jethawks. The Poway High School product is off to a torrid start, hitting .324 with a .791 OPS.

– Sunday’s attendance was 4,064.

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