This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. This week, bats came alive in a big way at several levels.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (12-11)
Aaron Brooks pitched 7 innings of 1-run ball Sunday, and only let opponents past first base one time (the occasion on which they scored). This came against Colorado Springs, who score 5.3 runs per game and, you know, play in Colorado Springs. Brooks had given up a pair of dongs at Oklahoma City in his previous outing.
This is the part of this column where I mention that Whit Merrifield just hits and hits. He's played 23 games in 2015 and has hits in 20 of them. His current 17-game hit streak is a career best. His line stands at .333/ .386/ .505, with only 12 strikeouts.
Catcher Francisco Pena only played 4 games this week, but racked up 9 hits, including 3 doubles and a ding-dong. He's been splitting time behind the plate with veteran JC Boscan.
Outfielder Lane Adams hit 3 home runs in the past week, his only 3 of the season at either Double-A or Triple-A.
Louis Coleman, whose options ran out so he can no longer wear out I-29 between Omaha and Kansas City, has held opponents to .081/.171/.081 (3 hits and 4 walks allowed) and has not given up any runs, in 8 outings.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (15-9)
The Naturals won every game this week, all part of a team record 9-game win streak. Lots of their hitters are hitting like their hair is on fire.
Hunter Dozier doubled 3 times, finally pulling his slugging percentage above his OBP. His line for the season is now .247/.348/.351, and he is still awaiting his first career triple, as he was ultimately credited a double on this play that Shaun tweeted on Tuesday.
Hunter Dozier hits the first triple of his career. pic.twitter.com/jdgDUZehM6— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) April 29, 2015
Outfielder/1B Mike Bianucci doubled on Sunday to extend his hit streak to 12 games. Infielder Angel Franco had a pair of 3-hit games this week, as part of a 6-game hit streak. He has only struck out 8 times in 88 plate appearances, and is batting .324/.400/.500.
Also streaking is Alex Liddi, whose streak reached 8 games with his home run on Sunday.
Balbino Fuenmayor, a Venezuelan first baseman in his first year with the Royals, didn't have any hits on Saturday. In spite of that goose egg, he knocked out fifteen (15) (!!) hits this week. These included a home run and 2 doubles.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (12-11)
Eric Skoglund threw 7 shutout innings against Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, allowing just 3 hits and a walk. He struck out 5.
Catcher Zane Evans hit in 5 of his 6 games this week, including 6 doubles. He has also cut down his strikeouts from earlier in the season, though SSS warning applies. In his first 10 games, he struck out 12 times, compared with just 3 times in his last 11 games. Evans was a 4th-round draft pick in 2013.
Third baseman/DH Mauricio Ramos rode the singles train to every stop this week, collecting 9 singles (and also one double).
A Lexington Legends (9-15)
Right-hander Pedro Fernandez is still striking out over a batter per inning for the Legends, in his 2nd season there. None of his individual starts stand out as amazing, but he's going deeper into games almost every time out. On Saturday he went 5.2 innings, yielding only 3 hits and 2 earned runs. That was tied for his 2nd-longest start at this level.
Ryan O'Hearn not only picked up 8 hits this week, but only struck out two times. While he struggled early in the season, he piled up Ks almost every night. By contrast, Sunday was his 5th consecutive game without a strikeout.