This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. The mission is to answer this simple question: "Who had a good week?"
Today, we’ll cover results from Monday, May 15 through Sunday, May 21.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (21-21)
Outfielder Bubba Starling is hitting all the baseballs this week. With his hits in each game of Sunday’s doubleheader, Starling is now on a hit streak stretching back 12 game. He is hitting 17-for-40 (.425) over his streak, lifting his overall line to .222/.285/.310 for the year.
Starling has moved to right field to accommodate Terrance Gore in center. Gore has not been on base much since joining the Storm Chasers, but he did rob a home run on Sunday:
Elsewhere in the outfield, Paulo Orlando fractured his shin, and will be out for "a while." Billy Burns returned from the disabled list this week, but before he came back, Omaha had only two outfielders. Corey Toups has filled in out there, but is still learning the position. Outfielder Logan Moon was briefly promoted to Omaha, but was sent back to Northwest Arkansas after playing in one game.
Moon’s demotion cleared space for first baseman Frank Schwindel, who was promoted from AA Northwest Arkansas after hitting .350/.374/.577 with six home runs in 34 games. Schwindel is three for his first 13 as a Storm Chaser, with a double and three runs scored.
Right-hander Christian Binford threw six shutout innings with five strikeouts and three walks on Thursday, for his eighth consecutive quality start of 2017, part of a streak of 10 quality starts going back to 2016. Top pitching prospect Josh Staumont only gave up one run in six innings on Thursday, striking out eight, but he also walked seven. Staumont has thrown 100 or more pitches in each of his last five starts. Right-handed reliever Malcom Culver has shut opponents out in each of his last five appearances. All outings were one inning.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (22-19)
Outfielder Elier Hernandez is a recent addition to the Naturals’ lineup, and is doing well at his new level. He drove in three runs on Monday to help manager Vance Wilson secure his 400th career victory. Veteran catcher Allan de San Miguel put up nine hits, including three doubles, in his four games this week.
Left-hander Emilio Ogando rebounded from a rough start last week with a solid six-inning outing on Wednesday. It was just his third start since being promoted from Wilmington, and he allowed one run on one hit and one walk, with one strikeout.
Right-handed reliever Jake Newberry was featured last week for his streak of five appearances without allowing an earned run. He added two more scoreless appearances this week, bringing the streak to seven. His ERA is now down to 0.89.
Two pitchers received promotions from Wilmington and made their Double-A debuts this week: righty Jared Ruxer, and lefty Jake Kalish. Kalish gave up a pair of runs on four hits in 2.2 innings. Ruxer, who the Royals acquired for Brooks Pounders, gave up two runs on four hits in four innings.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (21-22)
Right-handed starting pitcher Scott Blewett pitched the best game (by Game Score) for Wilmington this week, as well as the worst one. On Monday, he pitched seven shutout innings with six strikeouts, two hits, and three hits — a Game Score of 75. On Sunday, he was rocked for seven earned runs on ten hits (three home runs) and a walk in four innings. He struck out eight, but still ended up with a Game Score of 19.
Lefty Foster Griffin struck out seven in 7.2 shutout innings on Friday, lowering his ERA to 2.96. Fellow lefty Colin Rodgers gave up just one run in seven innings on Sunday, with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Catcher Chase Vallot recorded his first career four-hit game (hat tip to Clint Scoles) on Friday. In total this week, Vallot dropped in nine hits including three doubles. Oddly, this did not result in any runs scored or batted in. Center fielder Cody Jones tripled twice and doubled twice among a team-leading eight hits this week. Jones was a 6th-round draft pick from TCU in 2015. Jones was first promoted to Wilmington on May 24 of last year — almost exactly a year ago. Shortstop Nicky Lopez, a Creighton product the Royals drafted in the 5th round last year, has continued his solid season this week. He doubled three times and hit his first home run of 2017. Through 40 games, Lopez is batting .314/.376/.420.
Low-A Lexington Legends (19-24)
The Lexington bullpen combined for 11 (!!) shutout innings in an 18-inning win on Friday. The box score for that game is bonkers, including gems like a game time of five hours and 38 minutes. Two different Lexington relievers pitched four innings, giving new meaning to the term "long relief."
23-year-old catcher Nick Dini had three multi-hit days in four games this week. He doubled once each game. Dini was drafted in the 14th round in 2015, and missed significant playing time in 2016 with a broken hand. This is his first good look at full-season ball.
It is getting to be the time of year to think about trades. Is there anyone who stands out to you as a good trade candidate?
As always: If you attended any minor league games this week, please do share your experiences.