This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (9-8; schedule; roster)
Moises Sierra has hit steadily for the Chasers for the season's first fortnight, adding 8 hits last week. He's got a seemingly permanent pass on the Singles Train, with only 4 of his hits all season exceeding one base. And each of those was a double. Thus, his line: .358/.408/.415.
Whit Merrifield has kept doing what he did all of last summer, which is put the "hit" in "Whit." (SORRY, I will probably not do that again.) In the past week he added 10 hits, bringing his season line to .314/.368/.443. He has also been installed at multiple defensive positions, including a good chunk of time at 2nd base. Does this mean he's a serious candidate for callup in case of extended injury to Omar Infante?
On the mound, Chris Dwyer has a 0.96 ERA so far in long relief. This week, he survived six walks (over two outings) with only one earned run given up, but will need to bring the walks down if the ERA is to stay below last season's 5.59 mark.
Joe Blanton started two games this week, each made of six scoreless innings. Through four total starts, he's got a 2.38 ERA, 17 Ks and 7 walks over 22.2 IP. It's exactly the type of performance you'd hope for on this type of flyer deal. He's not on the 40 man, but could be a useful addition if the big club has another injury issue soon.
Luke Hochevar made two more rehab appearances, each one shutout inning.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (7-9; schedule; roster)
As this recap only covers through Sunday's action, we cannot yet record any hits for Bubba Starling at the Double-A level.
The Naturals' bats were led this week by Alex Liddi, a free agent signee last December, and outfielder Mike Biannucci. Each had 8 hits. Biannucci also hit 2 doubles and a dinger. Liddi's bag of hits included 3 (!) home runs, as well as a double and a triple.
Right-handed reliever Aroni Nina probably should have been featured last week, because he's racking up Ks. Through 7 IP (6 appearances), Nina has already struck out 13 batters.
Another righty reliever, Reid Redman, caught my eye for his control - he's only walked one batter so far, in 12.1 innings. Redman came to the Royals in the Aaron Crow trade. He was an infielder but converted to pitching in 2013. For his pro pitching career, Redman has struck out about a batter per inning, while keeping the walk totals low.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (8-9; schedule; roster)
Catcher Zane Evans hit two home runs on Sunday, and that was his 2nd 3-hit game of the weekend. It was his first multi-dinger game of his career. Curiously, my browser's dictionary does not recognize "multi-dinger" as a word.
First baseman Frank Scwhindel is on a bit of a hit streak (knock on wood and all that), with hits in 5 straight games. He knocked two doubles and a single on Sunday. Also streaking is middle infielder Jack Lopez, whose 5-game hit streak brings his season line to .242/ .296/.303.
RHP Luke Farrell has struck out an eye-popping 27 batters in his first 18.2 IP.
A Lexington Legends (6-12; schedule; roster)
It was kind of a down week for Legends bats, as the team slid into a 7-game losing streak.
Ryan O'Hearn might be picking things up a bit after the slow start detailed last time. This week, he cut his strikeouts down to just 3, walked 3 times, and picked up a pair of homers and a double.
Right fielder Elier Hernandez hit his first home run of the season, along with 7 other hits to pull his line up to .236/.276/.309. Hernandez, a 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic, spent all of last season with Lexington as well, but he's still young for the league.