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This week in the Minors: lowest levels are underway, 2nd half begins

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Idaho Falls and Burlington started play this week. Bubba Starling is off to a hot start to the 2nd half.

IDAHO FALLS

Welcome to the list, Chukars! The team as a whole unit is off to an inauspicious start, with a 2-5 record in their first week. But we know that's not what counts in the end.

A brand new draftee, 22nd-rounder Mike Hill (3B), has been one of the leaders at the plate, with only one strikeout and 7 hits through the week. Venezuelan SS Jeckson Flores, who has been in the Royals' system since 2010, had a good week too, with 7 hits.

I'll get to the pitchers next week, when there's a little more to work with.

BURLINGTON

The B-Royals started on Thursday, and lost their first three but picked up a Sunday win. Itialian SS prospect Marten Gasparini has already racked up 6 hits, including 2 doubles, but has struck out 7 times.

Brandon Dulin, a hometown boy drafted last summer, homered 3 (!) times this week, along with a double and 2 singles. Last season in the AZL, Dulin only hit 1 homer in 46 games, and ended up with a line of .269/.332/.409.

LEXINGTON

The Legends started the 2nd half on Thursday.
22-year-old Colombian 3B Mauricio Ramos continued what has been a nice season in his first stop at this level, grabbing 6 hits in the first 4 games of the 2nd half. His season line is .303/.390/.423.

On the mound, Cody Reed and Matt Alvarez combined for a 7-hit shutout on Friday. Reed's overall numbers are a little rough, but he has had two nice starts in a row. Luke Farrell (son of John Farrell) sneakily kept his ERA down on Saturday, by giving up 2 "unearned" runs that stemmed from his own throwing error, but no other runs in 7 innings. Tricksy hobbitses!

WILMINGTON

Bubba Starling is on fire so far in the 2nd half, with 9 hits (including 2 doubles and a dinger) since Thursday. He has, however, struck out 7 times in that time. Raul Mondesi had 3-hits including a double and a triple on Saturday, but no other hits over the long weekend.

Left-handed starter Jonathan Dziedzic had another good game on Sunday, giving up just one run in 7 innings. On the year, he has struck out 62 while walking just 18, and has a 2.69 ERA.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

Outfielder Lane Adams, repeating the AA level after some time in Omaha last year, had a great first half of the week, with 4 homers in 3 days. Chelsor Cuthbert had a great first AND second half of the week, with hits every day including 5 doubles and a home run. He's now at .268/.335/.418, and is reportedly moving to second base. Hunter Dozier has 4 hits and 7 strikeouts in his first 4 games at AA.

JC Sulbaran threw 7 shutout innings on Monday, and 6 innings of 3-run ball on Saturday.

OMAHA

Whit Merrifield has done well so far at Triple-A, adding a 4-hit game and scoring the winning run in the 10th last night. He was at .289/.362/.471 heading into last night's game. Brett Eibner is heating back up after a down period, and is on a 9-game hit streak that includes 4 multi-hit games.

Omaha pitchers almost all struggled this week. Even Spencer Patton had one bad outing, giving up 5 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning on Wednesday. But he also threw 2 scoreless in relief and picked up a W last night.

Jeff Francoeur (now with El Paso) hit a grand slam against Omaha on Saturday. This has been your Frenchy Mention for the day.