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This Week in the Minors: Balbino Fuenmayor heats up

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Balbino Fuenmayor has a 10-hit week; Chase Vallot is slugging .551; waiting on Bubba Starling and Kyle Zimmer to return from injuries

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

Today's notes cover games from Monday, May 23 through Sunday, May 29.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (26-22)

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First baseman Balbino Fuenmayor had a breakout week, after spending much of the spring struggling. He knocked out five doubles and a home run as part of a 10-for-24 week. Fuenmayor's line now stands at .282/.333/.412. The Royals seem to be showing a commitment to Fuenmayor by releasing Jose Martinez, with whom Fuenmayor had been sharing first base duties.

Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio had not played a single game in center field since 2011, but he filled in there for Brett Eibner on Wednesday, just before Eibner got his call up. Bonifacio also had another solid week at the plate, hitting three home runs, a double, and a triple. Jorge leads the team in triples with five on the season. Christian Colon completed his first full week back at Omaha after a somewhat surprising demotion, and is hitting.303/.378/.485 since his return to Triple-A.

Righty Miguel Almonte hasn't pitched since the 19th due to shoulder fatigue. On the season, Almonte has thrown 658 pitches in 34.2 innings. The Royals are hoping he and Naturals pitcher Kyle Zimmer can return to the mound this week. Right-handed reliever Benino Pruenda made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday, throwing three innings and allowing one run.

Veteran left-hander John Lannan went deep and picked up wins in both his starts this week. Tuesday, he pitched eight efficient innings, needing just 97 pitches while striking out five, walking zero, and letting in just one run. On Sunday, he made it 7.2 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits. Lannan is an eight-year Major League veteran who signed a minor league deal with the Royals after the Rockies let him go last winter.

The injury to Salvador Perez caused catcher Tony Cruz to get promoted to the Royals, meanwhile catcher Zane Evans was called up from AA to fill in for Omaha. Infielder Ramon Torres and utility player Orlando Carlixte were also promoted. The team also signed veteran infielder Steve Tolleson to fill in for a thin roster.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (23-26)

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Outfielder Logan Moon led the Naturals' bats this week, with 10 hits including four doubles and his first dinger of 2016. Moon, a 6th-round pick in 2014, is batting .266/.333/.367 in his first season at Double-A.

Bubba Starling is expected to start playing again soon, after missing more than a week with a heel injury. He was not placed on the disabled list, but has not played since the 19th. First baseman Ryan O'Hearn has now played about as much in Arkansas as he had at Wilmington prior to his promotion. In his 22 games at Wilmington this spring, he murdered baseballs to the tune of a .352/.408/.670 line. Double-A hasn't been quite as easy for the slugger just yet, as he is hitting .277/.337/.415 through 25 games as a Natural. Of course, the jump to AA is a difficult one, so some drop off was to be expected.

The Naturals signed Kyle Bartsch, who was let go by the Padres, but began his career with the Royals before being dealt for Reymond Fuentes. The left-hander has not given up a run in his first four appearances as a Naturals, after struggling in AA with the Padres this year. Right-hander Ashton Goudeau made his first start at the AA level this week, yielding two runs on three hits in six innings. He struck out three and didn't walk anybody. Fellow righty Jake Junis did well in two starts this week, pitching five shutout frames on Tuesday and seven innings with one run allowed on Sunday.

Infielder Corey Toups joined the team after a promotion from Wilmington, but the Naturals are still playing short-handed.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (17-31)

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Shortstop Humberto Arteaga had eight hits this week, all singles. On the other end of the slugging percentage scale, six of third baseman Wander Franco's seven hits this week went for extra bases - four doubles and two home runs. Center fielder Cody Jones was promoted from Lexington, where he had been hitting .300/.381/.392. Jones was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 draft out of TCU, where he was teammates with Brandon Finnegan.

Right-handed starter Zachary Lovvorn, a 6th-round draftee back in 2012, pitched six one-run innings to pick up a win in the second game of a Sunday double header. Wilmington played a lot of baseball that day: Each game of the twinbill was scheduled to be seven innings, but game two lasted 10 innings, for a total of 17 innings on the day.

Left-handed pitcher Colin Rodgers returned from a stint on the disabled list, and infielder Brian Bien and left-hander Luis Rico joined the team after time in extended spring training.

A Lexington Legends (21-29)

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Infielder Travis Maezes mashed three taters this week, giving him six on the season. Maezes didn't join the team until May 4, but is already second on the team in home runs. He trails only catcher Chase Vallot, who smacked his eighth home run last week. Vallot himself had a solid week at the plate, adding a couple of doubles to his home run. Through 40 games in 2016, Vallot is hitting .294/.400/.551. First baseman Samir Duenez drove in nine runs this week, on the strength of four doubles and a triple.

Right-handed starter Scott Blewett had the best pitching performance for the Legends this week, throwing seven innings on Saturday. He permitted only an unearned run on four hits. He did not walk anybody, and struck out five.

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Chase Vallot is, of course, young for his level. But between last year and this, he has played 120 games for Lexington. Does it make sense to promote him? The manager at Wilmington is Jamie Quirk, a longtime Major League catcher.

The injuries the Royals suffered set off several chain reactions throughout the lower minors. Several players moved up and down to accommodate roster vacancies. We will check in with some of those guys as they settle in -- or don't -- for their new teams.