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TWitM: Hunter Dozier avoids all the outs

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This Week in the Minors: Third baseman/right fielder Hunter Dozier reached base in half his plate appearances this week, eight times via hit and four by walk.

Hunter Dozier has swung a hot bat so far in Omaha.
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. The mission is to answer this simple question: “Who had a good week?”

Today, we’ll cover results from Monday, April 9 through Sunday, April 15.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (2-8)

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Hunter Dozier still plays for Omaha, and hit .400 this week with an on-base percentage of .500. That was eight hits in four games, plus four walks. He played right field, third base, and part of a game at first base.

Designated hitter and first baseman Frank Schwindel, who had a monster 2017 campaign in Omaha followed by an equally strong spring training, started 2018 with no hits in his first four games. However, his bat came back to life this week, with four extra base hits and three singles in six games. On Friday, he even hit his first triple since May 14, 2015.

Right-handed pitcher Scott Barlow was strong in his start on Friday, allowing no runs in 5 23 innings. He struck out five, and walked two. The Royals signed Barlow, 25, to a one-year deal in December. Fellow righty Heath Fillmyer, part of the return for Brandon Moss, followed that up with 5 13 scoreless frames on Sunday.

It may run afoul of baseball superstitions to mention a no-hitter in progress, but what if the person allowing no hits is doing so out of the bullpen, an inning or so at a time? Anyway, here is a link to Mike Broadway’s 2018 appearances so far.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (4-6)

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On Tuesday, Foster Griffin outdueled San Diego’s #3 prospect (according to Baseball America), Cal Quantrill. Griffin pitched six shutout innings, with five strikeouts, one walk, and five singles allowed. He induced three double plays.

It has been almost six years since Royals catcher Salvador Perez played in a minor league game, but this week he suited up with the Naturals for a rehab assignment. In his first game, he went 1-for-3 with a homer. Perez caught three innings for starter Glenn Sparkman, who ended up striking out six batters in five innings.

First baseman Samir Duenez powered up this week, hitting three doubles and his first triple of 2018. He also walked four times and stole a base. Duenez spent all of 2017 in Double-A. Center fielder Donnie Dewees had more hits than any of his teammates, with 8 — all singles. Like Duenez, Dewees is repeating AA this year.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (4-6)

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Khalil Lee was solid this week. He hit two doubles and a home run (plus three singles), walked four times, and stole a pair of bases. He did strike out seven times, however. Lee still will not turn 20 until June 26, which makes him the 4th-youngest player in the Carolina League right now.

Kort Peterson was off to a great start after a promotion to Wilmington last June, until an injury ended his season after just 11 games at his new level. The outfielder is back in action for the Blue Rocks this spring. In five games this week, he cranked out eight hits, including two doubles.

Catcher Xavier Fernandez only played in three games, but made the most of his time at the plate by hitting two doubles and a homer. Fernandez, 22, is at the High-A level for the first time.

The oddest batting line of the week belongs to outfielder Rudy Martin, who slashed .143/.455/.357 in five games. The high OBP comes courtesy of his seven (!) walks as well as one HBP. He also stole four bases, but was caught stealing once.

Two Blue Rocks relievers have maintained earned run averages of 0.00 so far on the season. Coincidentally, the are the two oldest pitchers on the team: 26-year-old lefty Nolan Becker and 25-year-old right-hander Bryan Brickhouse.

Low-A Lexington Legends (8-2)

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Shortstop Jeison Guzman, a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic, had three two-hit games this week. He also hit his second triple of the young season, and stole two bases. Guzman is in his first year in full-season ball, having spent 2016 and 2017 on rookie league rosters.

Catching prospect MJ Melendez hit two triples in Wednesday’s game against Greenville. Melendez was drafted in the 2nd round of last summer’s draft, and hit .262/.374/.417 in 47 games in rookie ball.

Nick Pratto was Kansas City’s top draft pick in 2017, and now mans first base for Lexington. This week, he hit his first home run of the season and doubled twice.

The Royals drafted prep pitcher Carter Hope in the 3rd round...all the way back in 2013. He was released in 2016, re-signed as a minor league free agent last July, and spent the summer in Arizona and Idaho Falls rehabbing an injury. Now, he’s in the Legends bullpen. In two appearances this week, he racked up five strike outs over 5 13 innings, did not walk anyone, and only allowed one unearned run.

On Thursday, Lexington was the first visiting team in Augusta’s new ballpark, and spoiled the special day for the GreenJackets by handing them a loss.