Renfroe leads El Paso into PCL playoff opener

Urias, Lockett post best marks in Padres system

Renfroe leads El Paso into PCL playoff opener

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who led all Padres Minor Leaguers in home runs and RBIs this season, leads Triple-A El Paso into Wednesday night's opener of the Pacific Coast League playoffs in El Paso.

Renfroe, the Most Valuable Player of the PCL, hit 30 homers and drove in 105 runs for the Chihuahuas to rank second in the league in both categories.

Meanwhile, California League Most Valuable Player Luis Urias posted the highest batting average among all Padres Minor League players this season, while right-handed starter Walker Lockett, who pitched at all four full-season levels of the Padres' system, posted the lowest ERA. Urias hit .333 for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore plus a brief trip to El Paso. The infielder was the California League's Rookie of the Year as well as the MVP.

PCL All-Star second baseman Carlos Asuaje posted the second-highest batting average at .321 and was followed by catcher Austin Allen (.319), who finished the season at Double-A San Antonio after being named to the Class A Midwest League postseason All-Star team while playing for Fort Wayne.

Renfroe posted the fourth-highest batting average at .306. He was followed by three center fielders -- Michael Gettys (.305 between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore), PCL All-Star Manuel Margot (.304) and Franchy Cordero (.290 between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio).

Austin Hedges was second in the Padres' system in homers with 21 for El Paso. He also made the PCL postseason All-Star team despite missing nearly two months following hand surgery. San Antonio infielder Gabriel Quintana had 20 homers, Lake Elsinore right fielder Franmil Reyes hit 16 and Ryan Schimpf had 15 for El Paso before being promoted to the Padres on June 14. Including the Padres, Schimpf has 32 homers on the season.

Reyes is second to Renfroe in RBIs with 83. Hedges had 82, Ty France (Fort Wayne, Lake Elsinore) and Quintana both had 73. Schimpf had 88 between the Chihuahuas and Padres while Alex Dickerson had 79 with 18 homers.

Gettys led all Minor Leaguers with 33 steals while San Antonio second baseman Nelson Ward had 31 and Margot had 30. Cordero had 23 steals while setting the Padres' all-time single-season mark for triples with 16.

Lockett posted a 2.96 ERA while moving from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore to San Antonio to El Paso during the season. Right-hander Dinelson Lamet posted a 3.00 ERA while advancing from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio to El Paso. Right-hander Kyle Lloyd had a 3.31 ERA with San Antonio and right-hander Brett Kennedy had a 3.55 ERA with Lake Elsinore.

Lamet and El Paso right-hander Carlos Pimentel led the Padres' Minor Leagues in wins with 12. Right-hander Daniel McCutchen had 11 between El Paso and San Antonio while Huffman and Lockett each had 10 wins.

Texas League All-Star Jason Jester led all Padres Minor Leaguers with 14 saves in 2016. Lake Elsinore's Colby Blueberg had 12 and Phil Maton had 11 while pitching for Fort Wayne, Lake Elsinore and El Paso. All three are right-handers.

Lamet led all Padres Minor Leaguers with 158 strikeouts. Kennedy was second with 147, followed by Lockett (123), Pimentel (121) and Kelly (115).

Left-hander Frank Garces will start for El Paso on Wednesday night as the Chihuahuas host Tacoma in the opener of the best-of-5 PCL Pacific Conference finals. The first two games will be played in El Paso before the series shifts to Tacoma.

El Paso won a second straight Pacific Southern Division title with a 73-70 record, although they went only 17-30 over the final 47 games. As a team, the Chihuahuas hit .295 on the season.

Although Renfroe, Margot, Hedges and Asuaje made the All-PCL team, two of El Paso's biggest guns during the season were Dickerson and Schimpf. Dickerson led the PCL in hitting with a .382 batting average with 10 homers and 51 RBIs when he was promoted to the Padres on June 28. Schimpf was hitting .355 for El Paso with 15 homers and 48 RBIs.