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This Week in the Minors: Jake Junis debuts with 7 strong in Omaha

RHP Jake Junis made his Triple-A debut; Eric Skoglund strikes out 10 in six innings; rough times for pretty much everyone else.

Jake Junis settled in for a fine start after plunking two batters to start his Triple-A debut
Jake Junis settled in for a fine start after plunking two batters to start his Triple-A debut
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. This week's column covers results from Monday, August 8 through Sunday, August 14.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (52-68)

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Middle infielder Ramon Torres doubled four times as part of an 8-hit week. The 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic is hitting .259/.286/.323 through 56 games with the Storm Chasers.

Center fielder Bubba Starling sat out part of the week with a bruise on his hand, evidently from the knob of his bat crunching something wrong as he swung. However, he avoided the pesky and painful hamate bone fracture and only missed a few games.

Right-hander Jake Junis was a 29th-round draft pick five years ago, but has sneaked up the ladder with an excellent 2016. He made his Triple-A debut last Monday. He struck out his first batter, plunked the second one, struck out the third, then hit the fourth in the back of the head. Fortunately for everyone involved, the 1:1 ratio of strikeouts and hit batters did not continue, and Junis pitched seven innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. He gave up a solo home run.

Lefty Scott Alexander returned from injury and pitched three scoreless innings in two relief appearances.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (55-65 overall; 26-24 in second half)

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The lead of first-place Northwest Arkansas has grown to 1.5 games over both Arkansas and the first-half champions from Springfield. Tulsa is hanging in there, only three games out.

Third baseman Mauricio Ramos flashed some power this week, hitting a homer and three doubles. He walked twice and only struck out twice.

Second baseman Corey Toups compiled the weirdest stats this week. He only had four hits, but all went for extra bases - two doubles and two dingers. On top of that, he walked nine times (once intentionally), leaving him with an odd line of  .182/.400/.545 for the week.

Outfielder Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado dumped in 11 hits for the Naturals, with two doubles. The 21-year-old is batting .261/.280/.378 through 30 Double-A games.

Eric Skoglund pitched the best game in the organization this week. In six shutout innings, he didn't walk anyone, yielded just three singles, and struck out 10.

Righties Aroni Nina and Reid Redman each contributed a pair of scoreless relief outings. Nina has not given up a run since July 20.

Right-hander Andy Ferguson is rehabbing from a shoulder injury, and joined the Naturals after some time in Arizona and Wilmington. On Saturday, he pitched five innings, striking out four and walking two. Ferguson had previously made it as high as Omaha in 2014 (for one game) and 2015.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (43-76 overall; 16-34 in second half)

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Wilmington is 16 games out of first place in the current standings. Not to pick on the kids, but the team is dead last in runs scored, and has given up more than any other team in the Carolina League. Neither of those categories have a close second place, either.

Right fielder Elier Hernandez picked up eight hits this week, including two doubles and a triple. Center fielder Brandon Downes hit his team-leading 10th and 11th home runs this week.

RHP Derek Gordon (the brother of Alex) pitched pretty well this week. On Tuesday, he threw three shutout innings with two strikeouts and a walk. He lasted three and a third innings on Sunday, and let in a lone run on a solo homer.

Left-hander Foster Griffin, a first-rounder in 2014, has had more than his share of struggles this season. However, he did pick up a win with a six-inning start on Thursday. He allowed six hits, but no runs and no walks, and he struck out three.

The rehab work of Glenn Sparkman was moved to Wilmington this week, and he pitched two solid games.

A Lexington Legends (44-75 overall; 19-31 in second half)

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It was a rough week for the Legends. They played eight games in seven days, and only won one of them. Yesterday was their first day off in almost three weeks, and they are 13.5 games out of first place with just 20 games to go.

22-year-old RHP Brian Bayliss made his full-season debut on Thursday, pitching four scoreless innings of relief. Bayliss was an 18th-round pick last summer.

Second baseman DJ Burt drove in seven runs this week, and hit his 4th home run of the season. Burt, 20, was drafted out of his North Carolina high school in the 4th round of the 2014 draft.