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This Week in the Minors: Ashton Goudeau and entire NWArk staff for Cy Young!

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Wilmington's Ashton Goudeau fanned 11 in 8 innings, for the best start in the system this week. That's a tall honor, given that Northwest Arkansas starters put in six solid starts. Elsewhere: Kyle Zimmer emerges from AZ; Hunter Dozier gets a promotion.

Ashton Goudeau pitched 8 shutout innings on Thursday, with 11 strikeouts.
Ashton Goudeau pitched 8 shutout innings on Thursday, with 11 strikeouts.
Ken Inness

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 (17-12)

schedule | roster

Hunter Dozier was promoted to Omaha on the heels of Cheslor Cuthbert's big league callup. He welcomed himself to Omaha by knocking in two runs against division rival Iowa in his first plate appearance. Dozier had been hitting .305/.400/.642 at Northwest Arkansas.

Mike Moustakas is expected to miss only 2-3 weeks with his thumb injury. A strong couple of weeks from Dozier would create an awkward logjam at Omaha's hot corner, assuming Cuthbert got sent back to Omaha upon Moose's return. Cuthbert can play first base, but the Chasers already have Balbino Fuenmayor and sometimes Jose Martinez over there. And Dozier has some experience in the outfield, but Omaha already has a full deck there too.

Center fielder Brett Eibner's week was highlighted by both power and patience: he hit two homers, and drew six walks in 25 plate appearances. LF/1B Jose Martinez dropped in nine hits, including two doubles, to bring his season line to .274/.331/.368.

3B/2B Angel Franco, who just started his season about 10 days ago, hit two triples on Friday. Jorge Bonifacio previously led the Storm Chasers in triples with two all season. 1B/DH Balbino Fuenmayor seems to be either in a deep funk, or overmatched in his first full turn at Triple-A. Through his first 20 games (85 PA), he's only hitting .244/.282/.282, with just 3 extra-base hits and no home runs.

Right-handed starter Luke Farrell had to throw some relief innings last Monday, after a bunch of rainouts messed up the Omaha rotation. He did fine there, letting in one run in 1.2 innings. He started on Saturday, striking out seven in five innings, with one earned run allowed. 22-year-old righty Evan Beal made his AAA debut on Sunday after a promotion from Wilmington, striking out three and allowing just a single in 2.1 innings.

It came in yesterday's game, but we did have a position player pitching alert!

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (15-14)

schedule | roster

Ryan O'Hearn took his promotion from Wilmington in perfect stride. In five games (22 PA), O'Hearn has a home run, three doubles, and three singles. He has yet to draw his first walk as a Natural.

Right fielder Orlando Calixte dumped in 11 hits this week, including four doubles. His nine total doubles are fifth-most in the Texas League, and second-most on the team, behind Bubba Starling (11). Starling also hit four of his doubles this week and is batting .245/.349/.489.

Shortstop Raul Mondesi sat out on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday:

The Naturals rotation turned in so many nice, long starts this week. The only exception is Eric Skoglund, who scuffled a bit on Wednesday.

Day Pitcher IP H R ER BB K
Christian Binford
4 3 2 0 3
Tuesday Jake Junis
6.0 3 1 1 1 8
Wednesday Eric Skoglund
5.0 5 4 4 2 7
Thursday Alec Mills
7.0 5 2 2 2 9
Friday Matt Strahm
7.0 6 2 1 1 7
Saturday Christian Binford
7.1 5 0 0 2
Sunday Jake Junis
7.0 2 0 0 2 4

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (9-20)

schedule | roster

Kyle Zimmer is alive! After spending time in Arizona working through some soreness, the enigmatic right-hander made his season debut this week. He struck out five and walked two in 1.2 shutout innings.

Ashton Goudeau, drafted by the Royals at Maple Woods Community College (KC) in 2014, pitched the best game in the system on Thursday, with 8.0 innings, no runs, six hits, and 11 (!) strikeouts. Even with all those Ks, Geoudeau only threw 91 pitches, and racked up a Game Score of 81.

Thanks to a rainout, Wilmington had to play a doubleheader on Saturday. Pedro Fernandez took care of all the pitching in the second of those, with 7.0 scoreless innings. He allowed three singles, and struck out eight. Middle infielder Corey Toups hit triples in three consecutive games to start the week. Toups is now batting .248/.344/.468 on the season.

Third baseman Wander Franco dropped in six singles for the Blue Rocks, as well as a double and a triple. One of those singles was good for an 11-inning walkoff win on Sunday. Franco's OBP is only .239 this season, but he is only 21 years old, almost a year and a half younger than most position players in the Carolina League.

A Lexington Legends (12-18)

schedule | roster

Shortstop Marten Gasparini suffered a minor knee strain in Monday's game, and has been day-to-day since. According to Keith Elkins, Lexington's director of media relations, Gasparini is expected to be in the lineup for this morning's game at Greensboro.

Infielder Travis Maezes, who the Royals drafted last summer, made his professional debut on Wednesday. He hit a home run in his first game. A bit more about Maezes, from the University of Michigan:

Maezes played and started in 162 games in his Michigan career and was a two-time All-Big Ten third team selection with the Maize and Blue. The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native had a lifetime .305 average with the Maize and Blue and has 39 doubles, seven triples and home runs and 92 runs batted in. He hit .313 as a freshman and earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors. Maezes had 18 doubles and was 19-for-24 in stolen bases his sophomore year. He then had 11 doubles, a home run and 27 RBI his junior campaign, including 16 multi-hit performances.

* * * * * * * * *

The Royals also let go a few players from the system this week including catcher Jon Denney, the talented, but troubled former Red Sox draft pick, as well as RHP Eric Sandness, LHP Ian Tompkins, RHP Tyler Carvalho and RHP Eric Kimber

The Royals have moved a lot of players around recently, some by necessity and some by merit alone. Of the guys who got promoted this week, who do you foresee flourishing, and who will struggle at their new level?

And what would you trade for the big league rotation to put together a week like the Northwest Arkansas staff did?