‘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 21 through Sunday, May 27.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (21-29)
Infielder Humberto Arteaga is hitting everything that comes his way lately. This week, he had an astonishing 16 hits in seven games. He doubled twice, and homered and tripled once. Storm Chasers broadcaster Donny Baarns had this to say during Monday afternoon’s game:
Humberto Arteaga has a pair of 2-out, 2-strike RBI hits today for Omaha. So he's now 18 for his last 29 (.621). He's always been regarded as a glove-first prospect, but his ability to battle off tough pitches and find one to hit during this run has been very impressive. #Royals— Donny Baarns (@DonnyBaarns) May 28, 2018
Veteran outfielder Paulo Orlando also put down a lot of hits this week, going 11-for-28. Ten of those were singles, but he still came around to score seven runs. Catcher Cam Gallagher doubled and homered this week among his 9 hits in 23 at-bats.
Righty Trevor Oaks needed just 81 pitches to get through seven innings on Friday. He allowed one run on six hits, struck out four, and walked none.
Jonathan Dziedzic pitched six scoreless innings on Saturday, giving up just two hits. He struck out six, didn’t walk anyone, and erased one of the hitters on a double play. Saturday was a special one for Royals minor league starters, who combined for 25 innings without any earned runs given up, as pointed out by Andrew Gruman for Royal Rundown.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (24-26)
Saturday was RHP Zach Lovvorn’s 24th birthday. Saturday was also his turn in the Naturals rotation, and he gave himself the gift of an excellent game. His seven-inning outing was marred only by an unearned run following an error by Corey Toups. Lovvorn allowed three hits and two walks, and struck out five in his longest outing of the season.
Right fielder Elier Hernandez put up an OPS of 1.390 this week, on the strength of 14 hits. Among those were five doubles, a triple, and a homer. He also walked twice and struck out only thrice. Left fielder Anderson Miller went 10-for-22 with a double and his 4th homer of the season.
Strengthening his case for a promotion to Triple-A Omaha was shortstop Nicky Lopez. He had a dozen hits this week, including two doubles. One of those was an extra-inning walkoff winner.
A ground-rule double hit by Nicky Lopez brings in Erick Mejia for the winning run in the 10th inning. Final: #NWANaturals 7, Frisco RoughRiders 6. Gallery: https://t.co/1GBxf6IAkz pic.twitter.com/QsIbMKEn7p— NWADemGaz Photos (@NWADemGazPhotos) May 24, 2018
Contributing nine hits apiece this week were second baseman Erick Mejia and veteran first baseman Alex Liddi. Mejia had an odd week on the basepaths, with two stolen bases but three failed steal attempts. He’s 13-for-19 in steal attempts this season.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (20-29)
Center fielder Khalil Lee walked four more times, bringing his season total to 35, still tops in the Carolina League. Wilmington, as a team, leads the league in walks with 210 total. Lee also reached via base hit eight times, including a double and a triple. Through 45 games at High-A, Lee is hitting .261/.412/.386, and at age 20 is 2.5 years younger than league average.
Utility infielder D.J. Burt went 10-for-26 this week. Burt, 22, was a 4th-round draft pick in 2014 from high school in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. Right fielder Kort Peterson hit three doubles and a homer this week.
Right-hander Arnaldo Hernandez, 22, was solid in his Friday start. He went 6 1⁄3 innings, with eight punchouts and three walks. He allowed two runs on three hits, including one homer. This is Hernandez’s first season with Wilmington, after spending most of 2017 with Lexington.
On Saturday, lefty Daniel Tillo made his first home start in the Blue Rocks rotation, and pitched six scoreless innings. He struck out seven, walked one, and held Salem to just two hits. And he made this nifty play!
#Royals No. 18 prospect Daniel Tillo (@DT4Cero), a former Iowa Mr. Basketball, tosses six shutout innings in his second @WilmBlueRocks start. He was also good with the glove.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) May 27, 2018
VIDEO: https://t.co/1a90P5FcjI pic.twitter.com/3o4rOogjuI
Low-A Lexington Legends (26-22)
Half the Legends lineup ran absolutely wild this week. Third baseman Dennicher Carrasco went 14-for-31 with two doubles and a home run. Again, that’s 14 (!) hits in eight games. Catcher MJ Melendez continued his hot hitting from last week with five doubles, a homer, and four singles. He drove in 10 runs, including six (!) in one game on Monday.
First baseman Nick Pratto also had a double-digit hit total, with a 10-for-32 week. He did strike out 10 times, but hit two doubles and a homer. Utility man Travis Jones chipped in nine hits and scored ten runs. He also drew five walks this week, giving him a team-leading 14 on the season.
21-year-old Andres Sotillet bookended the week with two great starts. Monday, he went eight innings, with nine strikeouts, no walks, and just one run allowed on five hits. Then on Saturday, he pitched six shutout innings. He struck out seven, walked one, allowed six hits, and plunked one batter. These starts are the two best of the season for Sotillet, a big righty from Cumana, Venezuela.
Lexington RHP Andres Sotillet, 21 y/o, listed 6'1/170 but coaches said 6'2/220. FB 90-95 (92-93), mixes 2sm/4sm and established FB, competitive strikethrower; wide-gliding SL 82-84; firm straight CH w/ modest fade 85-88. @RoyalsFarm @royalsreview @h8rproof82 @paintingcorner pic.twitter.com/LNoOtvoPF7— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) May 22, 2018
Righty Carlos Hernandez, 21, struck out nine batters in seven innings on Wednesday. He surrendered two runs on five hits. The next day, left-hander Garrett Davila went seven innings as well, with seven strikeouts, two walks, and two runs given up on five hits.
Jacob Condra-Bogan, 23, is new to the Royals organization after being signed this week out of the independent Frontier League. That is the same league from which the Royals signed Omaha reliever Kevin Lenik. Condra-Bogan started his affiliated career with two shutout relief appearances, two innings on Tuesday and one on Friday.
Did you go to any minor league games? Who impressed you? What was the ballpark experience like? Any food recommendations for fellow fans?