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This Week in the Minors: Three teams are in the playoffs

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Omaha's season ends, but OF/1B Jose Martinez wins the league batting title with a .384 average. Idaho Falls, Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas begin playoff action tonight, but the Naturals will be without Kyle Zimmer.

Jose Martinez won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .384 average.
Jose Martinez won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .384 average.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. The regular season ended this week, but a few teams made the postseason.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (Final record: 80-64, not in postseason)

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This is the last update we'll have on Omaha, whose season ended Monday. The big news for the Storm Chasers is Jose Martinez winning the batting title. His .384 average is the best in the modern Pacific Coast League, dating back to 1958. The 27-year-old outfielder got a few days off in the final week, but still knocked in seven hits in four games to finish with a .384/.461/.563 line, a batting title, and a couple of local awards including Fan Favorite. He is not on the Kansas City 40-man roster.

An Omaha outfielder who is on the 40-man is Reymond Fuentes, who finished his season by going 10-32, to finish with a line of .310/.364/.432.

Catcher Micah Gibbs was promoted to Omaha to fill the vacancy left when Francisco Pena joined the Royals. Gibbs, again, is a catcher and not a pitcher. In spite of this, he pitched an inning on Sunday night. Manager Brian Poldberg's bullpen usage was limited by the big club, so it was known before the game that a position player pitching was likely. Other options for this role were infielders Gabriel Noriega and Angel Franco.

Super-utility player Whit Merrifield finished with a solid week, a welcome relief from the extended slump in which he had been mired. His 10 hits this week included two doubles and a triple, and he stole four bases and played four positions.

Brian Broderick, the reliever acquired in the Johnny Giavotella trade, threw 4.2 scoreless innings this week, with five strikeouts and one walk. Broderick quietly put together a nice season, with a 2.90 ERA  in 62 IP (42 appearances).

On the DL:

  • RHP Clayton Mortensen since August 24, retroactive to August 22, right shoulder tendinitis.
  • Balbino Fuenmayor, since July 25, left knee. He is out 4-6 months.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (69-70, in playoffs beginning tonight)

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The Naturals were first-half champions, and will face the Arkansas Travelers in a five-game series starting tonight.

Kyle Zimmer will not factor into the postseason:

Outfielder Bubba Starling hit a double, a triple, and two home runs this week. He also walked twice, but struck out nine times. Starling's final regular season line in 91 games for Northwest Arkansas was .254/.318/.426.

Utility man Alex Liddi doubled four times and hit his 13th home run of the season.

LHP Eric Stout, drafted in the 13th round last year, made his Double-A debut on Monday, throwing 2.1 innings and giving up two runs.

Fellow lefty Sam Selman threw in relief four times this week, with zero runs given up. He struck out six and walked three in five innings.

On the DL:

  • RHP Christian Binford since August 16, sore elbow.
  • 2B/SS Logan Davis since August 14.
  • RHP Reid Redman since May 9, retroactive to May 8. He had Tommy John surgery.
  • RHP Glenn Sparkman since April 30, also had Tommy John surgery.
  • Outfielder Mike Bianucci was suspended 80 games for PEDs and is on the Restricted List.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (62-77, in playoffs beginning tonight)

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Middle infielder Humberto Arteaga led Wilmington's hitters this week, going 9-25 with three doubles.

Right-handed outfielder Logan Moon finished his full season of professional ball with a 9-hit week, including a double. Moon was drafted last year, so he only played a partial season in 2014, and stuck with high-A Wilmington all season this year. His .254/.314/.306 slash line was not as good as his production at Burlington, so a repeat season at Wilmington may be in store.

RHP Ashton Goudeau pitched well in the 2nd game of a double header on Saturday, striking out six and walking two in six innings.

Righty reliever Andrew Edwards has had seven straight scoreless outings, beginning August 12. In that 11-inning stretch, he's only allowed three hits and three walks, and has struck out nine.

On the DL:

  • LHP Eric Skoglund since July 20, right elbow. He just started throwing off a mound again.

A Lexington Legends (Final record: 58-80, not in postseason)

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A couple of 2015 draftees stood out for the Legends in the final week. Right-handed 2B Austin Bailey doubled four times, tripled twice, hit a home run and walked four times. That, along with five singles, led to a .429/.529/.821 for the week.

Brian Bien, a middle infielder drafted this summer from Bowling Green University, was just promoted to Lexington. He greeted his new league by going 8-19 with a double, and he only struck out once.

Catcher Chase Vallot homered twice this week, and finished out the year with a line of .219/.331/.427. Lexington manager Omar Ramirez handled the young Vallot carefully, splitting his 80 games almost evenly between catcher and DH.

On the DL:

  • Shortstop Corey Toups, since August 23.

In addition to the Naturals and Blue Rocks as noted above, the Idaho Falls Chukars have secured a playoff spot and begin postseason play tonight. Next week's column will feature postseason updates on all three teams.

The AZL Royals also made the postseason, but that league has a single-elimination format and the team lost its first playoff game.

How did your favorite prospects end up? Who should be in Kansas City instead of heading home for the winter?