This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. We're back to the real team names after some randomly-generated fun last week.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (14-8)
A scheduled off day and two rainouts left Omaha's week shortened to just four games. In that truncated week, infielder Cheslor Cuthbert still knocked out nine hits, including two dingers and a double. Cuthbert finished April with a slash line of .325/.393/.584.
Right fielder Jorge Bonifacio also hit well, coming out of the week with his third triple and fourth homer of the season. The hits are nice, but as just_another_fan pointed out in a fanpost yesterday, the peripherals are not amazing: just one walk and 21 strikeouts already for El Boni.
Center fielder Brett Eibner hit his first homer of the season on Thursday, and had to celebrate with nobody. He hit another the next night, part of a late-game comeback that ultimately came up short for the Chasers in a 12-inning loss. Eibner has already drawn 12 walks this season, in 19 games. He drew 38 in 102 games last season.
RHP Miguel Almonte made his longest start of the season, striking out eight but walking three over 5.2 innings. In exactly 100 pitches, he yielded five hits and two earned runs. Almonte has brought his ERA down to 3.45.
Working from the Chasers bullpen, Brian Duensing (and did you KNOW, he and Alex Gordon go way back...) made two two-inning appearances, and shut opponents out in both. In 12.1 IP for Omaha, Duensing has only given up one run and one walk, and has 12 strikeouts.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (10-12)
First baseman Frank Schwindel hasn't been featured in this space in quite some time, but he socked three dingers this week so he is back. Scwhindel, 23, is batting .321/.381/.554 on the season. On the other corner of the infield, Hunter Dozier continued his solid start to 2016. He added a double and a pair of homers.
Raul Mondesi did this, Monday after press time. Analysis: That ball went so far.
That was the first of two dongs hung by Mondesi this week, in addition to a double and a handful of singles. After one month, his 2016 line features this enormous gap between OBP and SLG: .244/.303/.500.
Middle infielder Ramon Torres rode the singles train to every stop this week, with zero of his nine hits going for extra bases. This contributes to his almost comical season line of .275/.363/.300. No, that's not in the wrong order.
Christian Binford pitched seven innings on Tuesday. He walked two, but struck out seven and limited Springfield to two runs. Eric Skoglund, the 23-year-old lefty having his first go of the Texas League, also pitched seven innings in his start this week. He struck out five, walked one, and let in one run on five hits.
Another intriguing lefty, Matt Strahm, pitched well twice this week. Last Monday, he allowed two runs in seven innings, with five Ks and a walk. The Naturals went on to lose that game, so Strahm was stuck with no decision. On Sunday, he got his first 'W' of the season in a five-inning outing. He struck out eight (!) and didn't walk anyone.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (6-16)
Like Omaha, Wilmington's week was cut short by a scheduled day off and two rainouts. Outfielder Roman Collins only played two games, but made the most of them with two hits in one, and four in the other. Collins is a left-hander the Royals drafted in the 5th round last summer.
Ryan O'Hearn was promoted to Northwest Arkansas yesterday. He was clearly not being challenged in the Carolina League anymore, and he deserves the opportunity to be tested at a new level. He was batting .352/.408/.670 for Wilmington.
Typically, the kind of pitching performances that get featured here contain a bunch of strikeouts. Strikeouts are not a big part of RHP Zachary Lovvorn's game, and in fact he pitched seven innings on Saturday without any of them. He only gave up one run on three hits and three walks, and did not receive a decision.
On the other end of the strikeout spectrum is righty Josh Staumont, whose K/9 is still at 16.0 thanks to his nine Ks in five innings on Wednesday. Here's Baseball America's Hudson Belinsky on that start:
Early on in the game, Staumont showed a hard slider, thrown at 84-87 with powerful vertical break and tight spin. As the game progressed, he began throwing more of a true curveball at 79-81, with deeper top-to-bottom action and late 12-to-6 or 11-to-5 snap. He also mixed in a handful of changeups, locating the pitch down in the zone. His changeup was more of a feel pitch, and it did not show exceptional fade or tumble.
A Lexington Legends (10-14)
Part-time first baseman Joshua Banuelos was promoted to Wilmington, in a companion move to the O'Hearn promotion to Northwest Arkansas. Banuelos was splitting time with Samir Duenez, and had only gotten into 9 games prior to the roster move. Catcher Chase Vallot homered twice this week. He also walked twice, and struck out nine times in 20 plate appearances. Despite striking out so often, Vallot's line so far this season is .296/.402/ .577.
Right-handed reliever Jake Newberry, a late-round pick in 2012, made it all the way through April without giving up an earned run.
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Do you think O'Hearn's promotion to AA was well-timed? Would you have done it sooner if it was up to you? Who is the next promotion?