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TWitM: Josh Staumont racking up strikeouts

This Week in the Minors, pitching prospect Josh Staumont is striking out opponents at an unbelievable rate. Could he help bolster the Kansas City ‘pen soon?

Josh Staumont, likely in the process of striking someone out.
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 23 through Sunday, April 29.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (8-15)

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The bat of 3B/RF Hunter Dozier had gone quiet for a bit, but returned this week with a 9-for-23 performance including three doubles. He also walked four times, but struck out eight times in six games.

First baseman Ryan O’Hearn also hit well this week, hitting his first homer of the year as part of a 9-hit week. Through 22 games on the season, O’Hearn is now hitting .301/.386/.452.

Middle infielder Jack Lopez has a 9-game hit streak going. Lopez spent limited time with Omaha last season, but has made a strong case to remain with the Storm Chasers even with the return of Adalberto Mondesi from the disabled list.

A move to the bullpen seems to be working for right-handed prospect Josh Staumont. He is striking out approximately everybody.

The Omaha offense looks dramatically different this week after a series of moves. In addition to Mondesi’s return from injury, catcher Cam Gallagher and outfielder Paulo Orlando were sent down from Kansas City, and outfielder Bubba Starling was activated from the disabled list.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (7-15)

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Right fielder Elier Hernandez started the season a bit cold, but pulled up his slash line this week on the strength of 11 hits, including three doubles. His season line is now .289/.322/.386.

Outfielder Anderson Miller hit his first and second triples in back-to-back games this week. Those were part of an 8-hit week for the 2015 3rd rounder, who will turn 24 on Sunday.

Lefty starter Foster Griffin threw his best game of 2018 on Saturday. He gave up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk in seven innings, and struck out nine. Griffin, a first-round pick in 2014, first arrived in Double-A at the end of last May. With all the fluctuation in the Omaha rotation, he ought to be a possibility to slide up a level for spot starts at the very least.

Right-handed reliever Walker Sheller moved up from Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas this week, and contributed 2 23 shutout innings in his first two outings as a Natural. Sheller has touched the Double-A level before, getting called upon for three scoreless appearances at the end of last season.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (11-12)

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Ofreidy Gomez tied the best start (game score of 74, per Baseball Reference) of his career on Sunday. The 22-year-old righty struck out nine and walked just one in six shutout innings. He allowed three hits, all singles.

Right-hander Jace Vines fired off the strongest start of his 2018 season, with six strikeouts, no walks, and one run allowed in 5 23 innings. Fellow righty Arnaldo Hernandez followed up last week’s six inning shutout performance with a five-inning scoreless start.

Right-handed reliever Grant Gavin struck out seven in 3 13 innings against Winston-Salem on Friday. Lefty reliever Vance Tatum was promoted to Wilmington this week. Tatum, who turns 23 tomorrow, was an 18th round pick in 2016 and has started his Blue Rocks career with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in two appearances.

Outfielder Khalil Lee drew five walks this week to pull into second place in the Carolina League in that category, with 19. In first is his fellow outfielder Rudy Martin, who has 21 walks. Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera hit .333/.417/.476 in six games this week, including a double and his first triple of the season.

Low-A Lexington Legends (12-10)

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Southpaw Garrett Davila was solid in six innings on Wednesday. He gave up a solo home run, but aside from that limited Asheville hitters to three hits and no walks. Davila was drafted in the 4th round in 2015, and is in his second season at Lexington.

Catching prospect MJ Melendez homered and doubled in his three games this week. He shares duties behind the plate with Sebastian Rivero.