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TWitM: Melendez goes deep four times

This Week in the Minors, catching prospect MJ Melendez socked four dingers for Lexington.

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MJ Melendez hit four home runs for Lexington this week.
Clinton Riddle

‘This Week in the Minors’ 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 14 through Sunday, May 20.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (16-27)

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Reliever Justin Grimm made three rehab appearances with the Storm Chasers this week. He gave up one run in 23 innings the first time, and came up with a shutout inning in each of his next two games.

Righty Trevor Oaks didn’t allow any earned runs in his 7-inning start on Sunday, but two unearned runs scored in the 7th following an error by third baseman Manny Olloque, who joined the team following Ramon Torres’ callup to Kansas City.

That game was the second in a row where an Omaha starter went deep. Glenn Sparkman also pitched seven innings on Saturday, with four hits allowed and one unearned run. He walked one and struck out two.

Catcher Cam Gallagher hit two doubles and his first home run of 2018 this week, as part of a 6-for-21 effort. Gallagher is hitting .304/.355/.406 in 18 games since rejoining the Storm Chasers.

On Sunday, outfielder Paulo Orlando lost an 11-game hit streak.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (21-22)

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The Naturals made it through eight games in seven days, and came away with a 6-2 record on the week.

Center fielder Donnie Dewees picked up eight hits including two doubles. Shortstop Nicky Lopez dropped in eight hits as well, bringing his season total to a team-leading 50 hits. 43 of those 50 have been singles. Also with eight hits was second baseman Erick Mejia, who homered once and doubled three times.

Left-hander Emilio Ogando pitched seven scoreless innings on Saturday, with seven hits, no walks, and one strikeout.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (17-25)

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Righty Bryan Brickhouse continued his yoga-fueled comeback season with an 11-pitch inning to pick up a save on Thursday.

23-year-old Jace Vines put up his longest start of 2018 this week, with seven innings. He gave up just one run on five hits and three walks, and he struck out four.

In just three games this week, outfielder Nick Heath netted six hits, including his first home run and second double of the season. Heath was a 16th-round pick in 2016.

Center fielder Khalil Lee drew six more walks this week to bring his season total to 31, enough to take over the Carolina League leaderboard. He also stole three bases.

Low-A Lexington Legends (21-19)

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Four home runs is a lot for one week, but catcher MJ Melendez did it anyway. In addition, Melendez hit a double and a triple. The triple was his team-leading 5th, which is also one shy of tops in the South Atlantic League in that category. The league tabbed him as Player of the Week.

Check out the Melendez triple, one of his homers, and a bonus dinger from Seuly Matias:

Utility man Travis Jones also had a huge week at the plate, going 12-for-24 in six games. Jones homered and tripled once, and doubled thrice. He accomplished that while starting games at third base, first base, left field, and right field.

In his past three long relief appearances, last year’s 8th-round draft pick Holden Capps has amassed 9 23 innings with no runs allowed, no walks, and seven strikeouts. On the season, the lefty has only walked three, and struck out 26 in 24 innings.

21-year-old righty Carlos Hernandez followed up last week’s 5-inning shutout performance with another five scoreless innings, and also did not allow any hits. He walked three and struck out five.