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This Week in the Minors: Bubba returns

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Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado had more hits than some whole teams, probably. Brandon Finnegan made another start for Omaha. Kyle Zimmer was back, but now hurting again. Bubba Starling returned to action from the DL.

Brandon Finnegan is working on starting with the Storm Chasers.
Brandon Finnegan is working on starting with the Storm Chasers.
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 (29-29)

schedule | roster

Whit Merrifield collected three multi-hit games during the week, totaling 8 hits, including 3 doubles. He played second base for four of his games this week; the other two were at third base and left field.

Outfielder Jose Martinez was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Friday, which is unfortunate not only because injuries are unfortunate in general, but because Martinez had a 6-game hit streak going.

Aaron Brooks held the El Paso Chihuahuas to two runs over 6.2 innings on Friday. Brooks is 4-3 with a 3.41 ERA, and striking out 9.3 batters per nine innings. That ERA and K/9 are the both much better than his career averages.

Brandon Finnegan made his second Triple-A start on Thursday, going 3.1 innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked two.

Lefty John Lamb had two very different starts this week. Last Monday, he picked up a W with an 8-inning, 2-hit performance. He only threw 96 pitches. On Saturday, he threw 94 pitches across just five innings, while giving up 7 runs on 10 hits.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (32-22)

schedule | roster

The Naturals only won one game this week, so this section may be kind of sparse.

Jorge Bonifacio had 7 hits in 6 games, including two home runs and a double. True to his form,  he also struck out eight time and walked just once. Bonifacio's season line is now .236/.300/.429. His homers this week were his 8th and 9th on the season.

In Zane Evans' last two games, he has doubled twice and hit his first home run at the double-A level. I'm just noting that here in case it means that Evans, a 23-year-old catcher drafted in the 4th round in 2013, has begun to figure out his new level of competition.

Bubba Starling returned from the DL on Friday, after missing nearly a month from a hamstring injury. He went 0-4 in his first game back.

Luke Farrell, a tall righty who just celebrated his 24th birthday on Sunday, had a nice start on Thursday. It was only his 4th appearance at Double-A, and third start. He threw 5 innings, allowing just one run on five hits.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (33-23)

schedule | roster

Puerto Rican middle infielder Jack Lopez had three straight multi-hit games over the weekend, totaling eight hits - all singles - and a walk. Lopez, 22, was drafted in the 16th round in 2011, and is in his second season with the Blue Rocks.

Outfielder Logan Moon had seven hits this week, including his team-high 4th triple of the season. His line on the season is now .266/.328/.342.

Left-handed starter Cody Reed pitched a nice game on Saturday, giving up just one run on six hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one. Reed, a 2nd-round pick in 2013, is 5-3 with a 1.29 ERA.

Friday night, Jake Junis earned a win with 6 innings of one-run ball. He struck out five, walked zero, and allowed seven hits.

A Lexington Legends (25-32)

schedule | roster

20-year-old outfielder Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado led the Legends' bats this week with 13 hits, including three doubles. He also stole two bases.

Third baseman Wander Franco had a 10-hit week that included two doubles and a triple. Franco is batting .251/.301/.408. Right fielder Elier Hernandez is in his 2nd season with Lexington, and is batting .288/.336/.439. This week, he added nine hits, including three doubles.

Ryan O'Hearn hasn't been featured in this column as frequently as last year, when he won the league batting title, but he had a good week, including a 4-hit performance last Tuesday.

Kyle Zimmer struck out five batters in a row in his 2-inning outing on Tuesday, and pitched one scoreless inning on Saturday. He left that outing after just the one inning due to tightness in his shoulder. Kyle Zimmer is like a fancy orchid that could fall dead at any minute if you touch it or look at it wrong.

Last week, we featured Matt Strahm because he struck out nine of the 10 batters he faced. This week, he made two appearances, facing a total of 14 batters across 4 innings. He struck out nine of them.