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 (27-28)
Omaha has struggled badly, having lost their biggest hitters to the Majors lately. With all the MLB callups, some new faces have appeared in the Chasers lineup. Catcher Luis Villegas, for example, was brought up from Wilmington, and played part of one game at first base. This was his Triple-A debut. He hadn't played 1B in five years, but he had to fill in for Balbino Fuenmayor after Fuenmayor left Saturday's game with an injury.
Another "new" player for Omaha is actually one of the longest-tenured Storm Chasers (nee O-Royals) of all time. Utility player and fan favorite Irving Falu had been playing in the Mexican Leagues, but was brought back to the Royals organization to plug some of Omaha's gaps. Per Omaha's media director Andrew Green, Falu is just 32 hits away from the franchise hit record.
Shortstop Ramon Torres has hit a bunch of singles in his first 10 games at Triple-A, but has hit just one for extra bases - a double - and has not yet drawn a walk. Torres, a 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic, had been hitting .268/.339/.329 for Northwest Arkansas before his promotion to Omaha.
Lefty Brian Flynn made Sunday's start for Omaha, and was on a 50-pitch limit. He put on a show with those pitches, striking out seven (!!) in 2.2 innings. It was amazing to watch. Flynn is certainly a contender to be back in Kansas City at any time.
Right-handed starter Miguel Almonte hasn't pitched since May 19. He's dealing with some shoulder fatigue. Luke Farrell is on the disabled list retroactive to June 1, with an oblique strain. He has already thrown a simulated game, so it may be a short-term injury. Reliever Matt Murray was activated from the restricted list and made his season debut on Friday. In two appearances, he has totaled four innings with one earned run allowed, and two hits.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (27-28)
We begin with this very important fishing update from Bubba Starling, featuring teammates Terrance Gore, Cam Gallagher, and Frank Schwindel.
This has been your fishing update of the week.
The Naturals ALSO played a bit of baseball. Schwindel, who appears to have caught a can of ice cold Budweiser up there, socked two dingers this week as part of a 7-15 week and a six-game hit streak. Gallagher hit his first triple of the year, as well as two doubles and seven singles (10 hits total). Gallagher also drew three walks and struck out just once in his five games.
Second baseman Corey Toups matched Gallagher's 10 hits, including three doubles and his first Double-A home run. However, he also struck out 10 times and walked just once.
Lefty reliever Kyle Bartsch has continued to help his new team. In five appearances since being acquired by the Royals, Bartsch has only given up one run -- to San Antonio, his former team. Righty Pedro Fernandez is usually a starter, but has been throwing out of the NWArk bullpen since his promotion. In two appearances this week, Fernandez struck out six in five shutout innings.
Right-handed reliever Kevin McCarthy, drafted by the Royals in 2013, hasn't given up a run since May 12. This streak spans eight games and 12.1 IP. He has struck out 11, walked two, and allowed just two hits.
23-year-old righty Jake Junis struck out eight in six scoreless innings on Saturday, bringing his record to 5-3 with a 2.59 ERA.
Kyle Zimmer was placed on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (19-35)
Catcher Nick Dini was moved from Idaho Falls to Lexington, then to Wilmington this week. The second move was to fill the vacancy left by Luis Villegas, who went to Omaha.
Shortstop Humberto Arteaga piled on 13 (!!) hits for the Blue Rocks this week, including a triple and his first homer of the year. Five of his hits came in Wilmington's 10-inning, 16-11 loss to Lynchburg on Friday.
Left-handed reliever Jake Kalish was promoted to Wilmington, and pitched two shutout innings in his high-A debut.
A Lexington Legends (22-33)
Catcher Chase Vallot fell awkwardly in this play at the plate, and hasn't played since. He has since been assigned to Arizona.
Chase Vallot left the game in the 3rd injury because of a back injury from this play pic.twitter.com/0OnpBmasyM— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) June 2, 2016
There's not much good to report from the Legends pitching staff at the moment. They're at the bottom of the league in many categories, including runs allowed, home runs surrendered, ERA, strikeouts, and even balks.
* * * * * *
The state of the farm system seems a bit troubling right now. The Royals will likely sign a few more guys to help fill gaps, like the reunion with Irving Falu, but the next few months could be rough at all levels.
Did anyone attend any games this week? If so, which team(s) did you see, and how'd they look? If not, does the lack of shiny prospects affect your likelihood of going to any this summer?