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, August 28 through the end of the regular season, which was Monday, September 4.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (69-72)
If I just copy-and-pasted some thing from a past column about Omaha first baseman Frank Schwindel hitting a ton of baseballs, would anyone notice? He was at it yet again this week, with 11 hits in seven games. Among those were a double, his 43rd in 2017, and home run #23.
Another Storm Chaser with 11 hits this week was switch-hitting center fielder Billy Burns. His lone extra base hit was a triple. Burns also walked three times and stole two bases.
Half of Jorge Soler’s hits this week left the ballpark - he hit four dingers and four singles prior to joining the Royals on Tuesday. Soler ended up with 24 dingers in just 74 games in Omaha.
Veteran catcher Brayan Pena’s last game of 2017 was Sunday night, and he hit a single and a double. Just dropping that note here in case it ends up being the last game of the 35-year-old’s career.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (67-73)
The Naturals are the lone full-season squad in the postseason, with the divisional series beginning tonight at home. Lots of their pitchers shone in their last outings of the regular season, so buckle in.
Josh Staumont followed up his seven no-hit innings from last week with six scoreless frames on Monday. He allowed just two singles and one walk, and struck out eight. Staumont was then saddled with a loss on Saturday, despite 5.2 strong innings. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks, with six strikeouts.
On Thursday, left-hander Foster Griffin allowed just two runs on five hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts. Both of the runs came on solo homers. On Sunday, fellow southpaw Emilio Ogando went seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out three and did not walk anyone.
Right-hander Corey Ray pitched five shutout innings in the Naturals’ regular season finale against Arkansas.
Sensational left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — did not allow any runs this week. RHP Walker Sheller was promoted to the Naturals, and started his Double-A campaign with three scoreless outings of his own. Sheller was a 2016 draftee, from Stetson University.
At the plate, Alfredo Escalera had the strongest week for the Naturals, going 10-for-24 with three doubles and two stolen bases.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (67-72)
The Blue Rocks finished 2017 with a plop, going 0-6 while scoring just 10 runs.
Left-hander Colin Rodgers pitched five shutout innings on Thursday, scattering five singles and two walks, with five strikeouts. The Royals drafted Rodgers, now 23, in the 3rd round in 2012.
Two right-handed 22-year-old Wilmington relievers finished their seasons with four scoreless outings:
- Franco Terrero totaled 9.2 innings, allowing five hits and three walks. He struck out seven.
- Grant Gavin walked two, struck out six, and allowed five hits in his 8.0 innings.
Outfielder Nick Heath had a strong week, with 10 hits. Nine were singles. Heath did not walk, and struck out nine times, so his average and on base percentage were both .357.
Low-A Lexington Legends (62-75)
It was a rough week for the Legends too, with six losses, no wins, and one game washed out by rain.
One bright spot was center fielder Michael Gigliotti. He was Kansas City’s 4th-round pick in this summer’s draft, and quickly made his way onto a full-season roster after a great start at rookie league Burlington. He finished 2017 with an 8-for-21 week. In 22 games with Lexington, Gigliotti hit .302/.378/.419.
Catcher Meibrys Viloria powered up this week, with four of his five hits going for extra bases. In 398 plate appearances this summer, Viloria hit .259.313.394, with 25 walks and 79 strikeouts.
- Omaha’s Ruben Sosa hit his 2nd home run of 2017 on Sunday, part of a three-homer inning for the Storm Chasers. Sosa’s first homer with Omaha was also part of a three-homer inning, back on June 9. Prior to that, Omaha had never had a three-dinger inning since Werner Park opened in 2011.
- The Royals are sending eight players to the Arizona Fall League.
- We will keep you updated on Northwest Arkansas however long they last in the playoffs.