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This Week in the Minors: standouts of the young season

While the big league club focuses on their beanball war and texting drama, Minor Leaguers are more than a week into their season. Here's how they've started.

Outfielder Moises Sierra is off to a good start with Omaha.
Outfielder Moises Sierra is off to a good start with Omaha.
Minda Haas

This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. This edition, being the first of the 2015 season, covers opening weekend plus the first full week of play throughout the Minors.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (7-3; schedule; roster)

Yohan Pino, before filling in for the big club on Saturday, pitched for Omaha last Sunday. He allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings. He didn't walk anyone, and struck out six.

Clayton Mortensen has been solid in his first two starts, allowing just one run total, with 10 strikeouts. He did walk 4 Zephyrs in Sunday night's late-night, freezing cold game, but escaped without much damage. His ERA is 0.82.

The Chasers ran into a triple play during their home opener on Friday; there is video here. The third out was by RF Moises Sierra, who has been very good other than that play. He's 15-38 so far at the plate, with 4 walks and just 5 strikeouts.

Left fielder Reymond Fuentes has the neatest, tidiest line right now: .400/.500/.450. And while we're talking about outfielders, Brett Eibner has picked up where he left off in Spring Training, going 12-36 so far with 3 doubles and 3 home runs.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (4-6; schedule; roster)

Dusty Coleman is a glove-first shortstop, but he's off to a great start at the plate as well. The Royals acquired Coleman in January; he was drafted by the A's out of Wichita State in 2008. In 9 games, his line is 379/.471/.448, with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. I mention the strikeouts because he had 202 (!!!) of them last season for double-A Midland.

Another late-winter acquisition, Mike Bianucci, has hit 3 homers in this young season. So has outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, who is still on the Royals' 40-man roster.

RHP Andy Ferguson has thrown 9 innings in relief so far, with an impressive 13 Ks and zero runs allowed. In parts of two previous seasons with the Naturals, his K/9 is about 7.5. Ferguson, age 26, spent some time at triple-A Omaha last summer, but started this spring in Arkansas again.

Terrance Gore and Lane Adams each have 4 stolen bases, tied together for the Texas League lead.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (6-4; schedule; roster)

Bubba Starling homered in the Blue Rocks' win on Sunday afternoon, his 2nd of the young season. While Starling is now batting .361, his high strikeout total (15) remains a concern.

First baseman Frank Schwindel was hitless on Sunday for just the 2nd time so far in 2015. At press time, he actually had an OBP lower than his batting average (.302/.295/.372), though one would assume those will even out a bit as the season goes on. His career numbers in those categories are .288 and .317, respectively.

Left-handed reliever Luis Rico, acquired in the Clint Robinson trade, struck out 9 of the first 17 batters he faced, then added 4 more Ks in 3.1 innings on Sunday. He's 21, and young for the Carolina League, but has moved up a level each year since joining the Royals organization.

A Lexington Legends (5-5; schedule; roster)

Last year's Pioneer League MVP, 1B/RF Ryan O'Hearn, has been a little slow out of the gate in his first 10 games in the South Atlantic League. He's 6-38 with one walk and 15 strikeouts. But he also has two homers, second only on the team to Corey Toups.

Toups played exclusively at shortstop last season, but has been at 2B for 6 of his 8 games as a Legend. He's batting .214/.333/.571 thus far.

RHP Zachary Lovvorn, a Royals 6th-rounder from 2012, has struck out 12 batters in 8.2 innings.

Whose season are you looking forward to the most?