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This Week in the Minors: Debuts everywhere; Matt Strahm Ks 9 of 10 batters

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Brandon Finnegan tries starting for Omaha; Terrance Gore takes lead in Texas League steals; Legends' Strahm faces 10 and fans 9.

Paulo Orlando was the odd man out when Alex Rios returned to KC, and is once again an Omaha Storm Chaser.
Paulo Orlando was the odd man out when Alex Rios returned to KC, and is once again an Omaha Storm Chaser.
Minda Haas

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 (25-26)

schedule | roster

Erik Kratz continued his rehab assignment with Omaha, adding one home run in five games, all but one as catcher. It seems the Royals will keep him there as long as they can - Ned Yost told Matthew DeFranks: "He can come up here and sit or he can get at-bats down there, which he hasn't had all spring. He's still playing every day and getting valuable at-bats."

Paulo Orlando returned to the minors with a bang, dropping in 3 hits against Albuquerque on Sunday.

Elsewhere in the Orlandos of Omaha, Orlando Calixte's bat has been a bit sleepy. His double and home run this past week are encouraging, but they were two of only three total hits. His overall line is .175/.227/.330, which may limit what the big club can do with "The Omar Infante Problem" that Old Man Duggan outlined the other day.

Brett Eibner, the Royals Review Readers' consensus pick for best hair on the planet, homered twice this week. He is slugging over .600 for the season, with a .284/.363/.605 line. Fellow outfielder Reymond Fuentes had a great week, with 8 hits, including a home run.

Mike Mariot had a good week in 3 relief appearances. He struck out 6 across 4.1 IP, picking up two saves and a win along the way.

It took Brandon Finnegan 59 pitches to make his way through three innings in a start against Albuquerque on Saturday. The Isotopes put up 6 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) on Finny, but he did strike 5 of them out.

Aaron Brooks threw 7 1-run innings on Sunday, with 9 Ks and no walks.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (31-17)

schedule | roster

In spite of the team's overall great record, it was a down week for many of the Naturals' bats. Balbino Fuenmayor was not among those; he had 8 hits across 6 games. Our hero is now slashing .365/.402/.602 with 10 home runs. He has only walked 9 times; we will have to see how long the "taters mashed > walks taken" equation holds true.

Terrance Gore had six hits this week, all singes. He also swiped 3 bases, bringing his season total to 20, tops in the Texas League.

Raul Mondesi doubled twice and homered as part of a six-game hit streak. He also only struck out 3 times, compared to 11 in the 8 games prior, as he makes his way back to form after an Opening Day injury.

Hunter Dozier is among those Naturals who struggled at the plate since I last checked in on them; you can see a much more in-depth look at his struggles from Shaun.

Jonathan Dziedzic pitched well on Sunday per the NWArk radio announcer, Benjamin Kelly.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-23)

schedule | roster

After spending the first quarter of the season in Extended, LF/DH Cody Stubbs made his season debut with Wilmington on Wednesday. Since then, he's already racked up 10 hits, including 4 doubles.

Carlos Garcia, a Venezuelan 2B/3B, was promoted to Wilmington a little over a week ago, and is doing well so far, with 7 singles and a double. He has already stolen 4 bags at the A+ level as well, totaling 25 steals between Lexington and Wilmington.

Parker Morin, a catcher the Royals drafted in 2012, made his season debut on Saturday, after some time in Extended.

Eric Skoglund went 8 innings on Friday, the 2nd-longest outing for any Wilmington starter this year. I'll let Blue Rocks media guy Matt Janus' game recap be the descriptor of record, because that result must have been SUCH a bummer.

Eric Skoglund probably deserved a better fate on Friday night. The Wilmington starter needed just 66 pitches to get through the first seven frames, allowing only a single score in the process. Unfortunately for the Blue Rocks, Skoglund allowed three hits and two runs in the eighth, as Potomac took a 3-1 win.

I noted a couple weeks ago that righty reliever Kevin McCarthy was off to a good start since his promotion to Wilmington. At that time he had given up just one run. Two weeks later, he has given up...still just that one run. He also has not walked anyone at either Wilmington or Lexington since April 15.

Right-handed starter Alec Mills held Potomac hitters to just 4 hits and 1 run over 7 IP on Wednesday. He struck out 8 and walked only one.

A Lexington Legends (21-29)

schedule | roster

Right-fielder Elier Hernandez fell a homer shy of the cycle on Friday, picking up his 11th double and 2nd triple of the season. He's batting .282/.328/.441.

Third baseman Wander Franco, still very young for this level, hit two home runs and two doubles this week. His .236/.291/ .398 is his weakest thus far in his career, but this is his first year of full-season ball and he won't even turn 21 til December. Hopefully this week is a sign of better things to come.

Former 8th-round draft pick Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado, an outfielder, picked up 7 singles and a home run, in just five games. Venezuelan shortstop Humberto Arteaga hit 8 singles and a triple, in six games.

Lexington's Wednesday opponent had something complementary to say about lefty reliever Matt Strahm.

This would be pretty good, in and of itself, BUT Strahm wasn't done! He ended up with NINE (!!) strikeouts out of 10 (!!) batters faced. The other batter walked.

Scott Blewett made his season debut, and his A-ball debut, throwing 4 innings and giving up 1 run on 5 hits. He struck out 8 (!) and walked two. He can sustain a 18.0 K/9, right?

Also making his season debut was Kyle Zimmer. He threw 1.2 relief innings Friday, which you can read more about from Shaun later this morning.

That was a lot of debuts this week! Who do you want to see more of? Who will be the next to get promoted?