clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

This Week in the Minors: Naturals and Blue Rocks are 1st half champs; Balbino hits like mad

New, comments

Two Royals farm teams take first-half championships; a streak for Mariot; Balbino Fuenmayor lead the org with four (!) home runs; Eric Skoglund and Alec Mills turn in brilliant performances for Wilmington; Disabled List updates at all levels

Michael Mariot had a nice streak going leading up to his callup last night.
Michael Mariot had a nice streak going leading up to his callup last night.
Minda Haas

This is our weekly* look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike.

*except last week, when I was out of town and/or shooting games. My apologies for the Balbino withdrawal symptoms you may have experienced.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (38-32)

schedule | roster

Veteran minor league catcher JC Boscan is back to playing after a few weeks on the DL. This settles the Omaha catching situation for now, with Francisco Pena as the everyday catcher and Boscan backing him up. Things had been in flux there with Erik Kratz's rehab stint, and the brief promotion (one plate appearance!) of Micah Gibbs.

Utility infielder Dusty Coleman continues to exceed expectations in his first extended Triple-A stint. Originally brought up from AA to help replace the injured Gabriel Noriega, Coleman has hit .284/.336/.483 for Omaha, including five home runs. Two of those dingers came this week, among nine total hits.

Matt Fields tripled this week, which is a rare enough occurrence it merited a mention. It was the 14th of his career.

Both Casey Kotchman (1B/DH/best Eric Hosmer comp EVAR) and Paulo Orlando continue to be pretty great at hitting Triple-A pitching.

Michael Mariot hasn't given up a run in over a month, with 11 scoreless innings in eight appearances since May 19. Prior to that date, Mariot had been used in various relief roles, but now seems to be exclusively a closer for the Storm Chasers. His K/9 on the season is 10.5, with a 2.5 BB/9.

25-year-old Matt Murray made his Triple-A debut on Friday, throwing four scoreless innings. Buddy Baumann and his signature haircut made one relief appearance (three innings) and one spot start (four innings) this week, totaling 13 strikeouts and just one walk, and just three hits allowed.

On the DL:
-Outfielder Jose Martinez, who had been batting .370/.438/.551. He said his oblique "went 'POP.'" On the disabled list as of June 6, retroactive June 5.
-Outfielder Rey Fuentes as of June 18.
-Second baseman Gabriel Noriega as of May 11, with a hand injury that may keep him out the whole season.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (40-29, first half champions)

schedule | roster

This week was a monster week for Balbino Fuenmayor. He mashed 11 hits, including four (!) home runs and a double. His season line is .350/.385/.591, and if not for Omaha being pretty well set at first base (Kotchman, Fields, and Cheslor Cuthbert all play the position for the Chasers), he'd probably be promoted by now.

Jorge Bonifacio hit three home runs and two doubles this week, but struck out eight times. This is classic Bonifacio: some pop, tons of strikeouts, and not many walks.

Hunter Dozier also had a multi-home run week, with two homers, and one of his doubles just missed going out, hitting the top of the wall. Dozier is still only batting .215/.287/.355 on the season, which is pretty similar to his production last summer in a half-season at AA, but with a slight uptick in power.

Catcher Zane Evans continues to hit for great power since his promotion to NWArk. With his two homers and three doubles this week, Evans brought his AA line up to .319/.351/.639 in 22 games.

Lane Adams put his wheels to good use this week, with a triple and a double among his nine total hits, along with two stolen bases. Adams struggled a tad bit with Omaha (.226/.305/.374) but is doing much better with Northwest Arkansas (.293/.353/.447).

Adams tweeted out this picture of himself and Micah Gibbs, which I present for Coach Feb.

On the DL:
-RHP Reid Redman since May 9, retroactive to May 8. He had Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.
-RHP Glenn Sparkman since April 30, last I heard he is expected to return sometime in July.
-Infielder Angel Franco, evidently since early June

-Outfielder Mike Bianucci was suspended 80 games for PEDs and was placed on the Restricted List.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (38-32, first half champions)

schedule | roster

Before this week, shortstop Jack Lopez had only hit one home run all season. This week, he hit two. Lopez, 22, was drafted out of high school in 2011.

Elsewhere on the Wilmington infield, third baseman Mauricio Ramos homered this week (his second of the year) and singled six times to bring his season line to .268/.316/.351. First baseman Frank Schwindel hit three doubles and also walked three times. That's good for this team, where nobody walked more than 21 times all season. #ForeverRoyal

Eric Skoglund pitched another phenomenal game, with 8 Ks and no walks last Monday. He only pitched one inning on Saturday, as a tune-up for the Carolina League All-Star game today, and threw just 11 pitches (9 strikes) and picked off the one runner who dared to reach base against him.

Lefty Matt Strahm was promoted to Wilmington this week, making two appearances in which he kept up his high-strikeout ways. He allowed a solo home run and a walk in three innings on Tuesday, but struck out five. In four shutout  innings on Saturday, he only allowed two baserunners (a double and a HBP), but struck out six.

Left-handed reliever Estarlin Cordero, from the Dominican Republic, hasn't allowed a run in the month of June, in five appearances.

Alec Mills, also a Carolina League All-Star, pitched brilliantly on Thursday:

Mills turned in his second straight marvelous start. After keeping Salem off the board over eight scoreless innings, but taking a no-decision on Saturday, Mills went 8.1 frames without yielding a score on Thursday in Frederick. The Carolina League All-Star allowed just three hits, walked only one, fanned seven and got 23 of his 25 outs without allowing the ball out of the infield.

On the DL:
-Infielder/coach Brian Bocock is listed as being on the DL, but he seems to be more "coach" than true "player/coach" at this point.

A Lexington Legends (31-39)

schedule | roster

Shortstop Humberto Arteaga had 10 hits  in six games this week, including a double and a triple, and struck out only once. The 21-year-old from Venezuala has a nine-game hit streak going.

Outfielder Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado, 20, also hit 10 times in six games this week. He's batting .313 /.356/.477 on the year. Ryan O'Hearn homered on back-to-back days against Augusta, which brings his season total to 16 and keeps him at the top of the South Atlantic League leaderboard in that category.

Kyle Zimmer made three appearances in the last week:

-Two perfect innings with three strikeouts on Monday
-a third of an inning wherein he walked two
-three innings with two hits including a solo home run, but five strikeouts and no walks.

Pedro Fernandez pitched three perfect innings on Saturday, with six strikeouts.

On the DL:
-Matt Tenuta since May 6

Idaho Falls and Burlington both began their seasons on Thursday. We'll have more about them in future updates.

Who do you think will be called up next? Will you be getting a BuddyCut any time soon?