This is our weekly look at the Royals' Minor Leagues. Everyone is finished except Omaha, who came from a 2-1 deficit to force a Game Five, which was yesterday. And they won! Brian Poldberg finished his first Triple-A season exactly as now-KC 3rd base coach Mike Jirschele left off, scrapping to the finish line and then finishing beautifully.
The Storm Chasers' postseason MVP is, deservedly, Aaron Brooks. In his 3 postseason starts, he gave up just two runs in 24 innings. He also dialed up his strikeouts,* fanning 24 in those 24 innings while walking only 3.
*regular season total: 97 K in 139 IP
Kyle Zimmer turned 23 on Saturday, and made a great impression in his 3 postseason appearances for Omaha. He allowed just one hit in 4 innings spread over 3 appearances. He walked 1 and struck out 4, and flashed lots of great stuff. Kansas City next year?
Paulo Orlando hit superbly throughout the playoffs, finishing with a postseason line of .410/.425/.564. Due to a quirk of timing of teammates being on base, he only drove in 4 runs. Baseball is silly.
Cheslor Cuthbert ended up with a postseason line of.264/.297/.382. He has kept everyday duty since being promoted a month ago, and his defense is good but the bat has faltered somewhat. He needs more time here before any hope of promotion, but he probably won't be sent backwards in the organization.
We gave a hat tip to Buddy Baumann in this space last week, for jumping into a rotation that sorely needed another body. Well, Baumann got back into the bullpen this weekend, just in time to earn a 3.1-inning save in Saturday's Game 4 victory. When the team was handed their trophy, it was Baumann who hoisted it while his teammates chanted "Bud-dy! Bud-dy!"
Early in the season, we (somewhat ironically) asked if it was time to #freeMattFields. Fields unfortunately is in a deep funk at the plate, with just 3 hits the entire postseason, and 15 strikeouts and one walk. To be frank - and I kinda hate being frank when discussing one of the best humans in the game - he's been swinging at garbage, and is clearly pressing.
The Chasers will be finished either as National champions (again!) or "just" league champions on Tuesday, after a 6:05 game against Pawtucket. Who among the Omaha roster could be of help to Kansas City right now? A "spark plug" type like Whit Merrifield? Some help for the rotation in Brooks? A familiar bullpen arm in Tim Collins? Heck, Cuthbert is on the 40-man. Play GM in the comments below, and then check out photos from the deciding Game 5 and celebration.