This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. Results this week are from Monday, June 6 through Sunday, June 12 -- with one exception. This came in after press time but is special enough to share right the heck now:
TWELVE. STRIKEOUTS. Good gravy, you guys.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (27-34)
There is no nice way about this: Omaha is struggling. They've won one game this month. After an extended slide, they've found themselves in last place in their division, absent all their best players.
A bit about how the sausage is made here: Rather than simply run down how only the top prospects are doing, I seek to answer the same question about every single player in the system: "Did this guy have a good week?" That way, every player, even a career minor leaguer who may wash out well below the majors, has a chance to be featured in this space. And you, by reading every week, will become familiar with just about every name at all levels.
To find out who had a good week, I have a review process and a bit of a formula by which I measure every player. It takes a couple hours every Monday afternoon, and it usually gives me more than a few guys to highlight. This week, however, not a single Omaha batter made it through the filter. The closest was Irving Falu, who the Royals brought back to the organization from the Mexican League. Falu went 6-21 with a double and a homer this week.
Meanwhile, on the mound:
Miguel Almonte returned to action after sitting out for a few weeks with shoulder fatigue. He pitched two shutout innings with two strikeouts on Thursday.
The quest to stretch out Brian Flynn seems to be moving along - he got up to 3.1 scoreless innings on 62 pitches Friday, with five strikeouts but also a pair of walks.
The Royals acquired veteran left-hander Joe Beimel to shore up the Omaha bullpen (and perhaps, at some point, the Kansas City pen). The 39-year-old is off to a good start with Omaha, with three scoreless outings this week.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (28-34)
Northwest Arkansas spent the week in a funk like their Triple-A counterparts, scoring just 13 runs between last Monday and Sunday.
Silver linings...hmmm....Ryan O'Hearn hit two doubles and a home run? He struck out seven times in his seven games.
Right-handed reliever Matt Alvarez made his AA debut on Saturday. He pitched an inning, yielding three hits and a pair of runs.
Kevin McCarthy, another righty in the NWArk bullpen, has now gone over a month since permitting a run. In that 10-game stretch, he has pitched 15.2 innings, allowing just four hits and four walks. He has struck out 13 and faced just 53 batters.
Another reliever building a scoreless streak is left-hander Tim Hill, who has gone six appearances (7.0 IP) since surrendering his last runs. Hill, 26, was drafted by the Royals in the 14th round in 2014, out of Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Starter Jake Junis pitched six solid innings on Thursday. He struck out four, walked one, and allowed one run on three hits. It was his third Win in three consecutive starts.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (21-39)
Left fielder Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado led Wilmgton's bats, and in fact all other Royals minor leagues, with 10 hits this week. These included three doubles, and he also walked thrice. The 21-year-old is hitting substantially better in his second go-round at Wilmington. Last year in 54 games, he compiled a line of .206/.285/.291. Through 54 games this season, he's batting .277/.345/.333 and is still a year and a half younger than the league.
Third baseman Wander Franco contributed nine hits, including a double. Catcher Chad Johnson (no, not that one) hit his first two home runs of the year.
Corey Ray is a right-handed starter with only four games at High-A in his career. The best of those came Saturday, with 6.2 innings, one run on six hits, and four strikeouts. Ray was drafted in the 5th round in 2014 out of Texas A&M.
A Lexington Legends (23-39)
Lexington only picked up one win this week, but a few hitters produced well at the plate. Outfielders Anderson Miller and Roman Collins each had eight hits. Miller is repeating at Lexington after spending half a season there in 2015. Collins started 2016 at Wilmington, but was moved down to the Legends in late May.
Last week's column included a fishing update from Bubba Starling. This week's leisure activity is cards, on a bus, using a Chipotle box as a table.
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What would you do to pass the time on all those bus rides? How does it sit with you that all levels of the Kansas City farm system are below .500 this late into the season?