‘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, June 4 through Sunday, June 10.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (28-34)
Rosell Herrera was claimed by the Royals, last week, when the Cincinnati Reds designated him for assignment and has made an immediate impression for Omaha belting two doubles, two triples, and a home run in only six games since being claimed on his way to slashing .318/.400/.727/1.127. He’s also stolen three bases without being caught while walking three times as compared to only four strikeouts.
Ryan O’Hearn has hit alright but what he has really done is walk a ton; five times in the last six games with only two strikeouts. He did hit a single home run, as well.
Frank Schwindel continues to make his own serious case for his promotion to the majors. He only managed to get into four games this week but he smacked three dingers and walked once without striking out at all. He’s now had hits in five of his last seven games, going back to last week, which included a total of five home runs and four multi-hit games.
Heath Fillmyer started a game and pitched six innings while allowing two runs on three hits and three walks but also struck out nine. Josh Staumont continued his transformation into a deadly starter when he went 4 2/3 innings in his sole start of the week with five Ks and only a single walk. His is a small sample size but it’s also the longest he’s ever pitched with this much command.
Oh, and this happened.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (30-32)
The Naturals had a pair of relievers give over two scoreless innings of relief, respectively, while striking out four in Jake Newberry and Pedro Fernandez. Yunior Marte also pitched four innings of relief across two appearances and struck out six without walking anyone or allowing anyone to score.
Middle Infielder Nicky Lopez managed to walk five times while striking out only once and also had seven hits in his six games for an OBP of .462 which was considerably higher than his slugging percentage because he hit only one double and still has yet to hit a dinger, this year. Utility man Alex Liddi had a pair of homers but only a total of three hits in 15 at-bats across four games giving him an ISO over .400 for the week.
Outfielder Elier Hernandez, who was given the highest international signing bonus ever distributed by the Royals six years ago, is making some progress in AA, now. He grabbed nine hits in his six games with a pair of doubles and also stole a couple bases without being caught. Infielder Jecksson Flores was the real hitting star of the team, though, with 10 hits in seven games including a pair of doubles and a home run to become the only player to cross the 1.000 OPS mark for the Naturals, this week.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (28-35)
Khalil Lee has had a good year, so far, but he finally started tapping into his power this week to go with all of his walks. He still walked twice as many times as he struck out but he also hit a pair of dingers, a pair of doubles, and added in a triple for good measure. He also stole a pair of bases and just continues to get hotter and hotter as the season goes on.
Khalil Lee hit his 4th HR of the season yesterday pic.twitter.com/tD82zmzBX6— Prospect Gifs (@prospectgifs) June 8, 2018
Chase Vallot returned to Blue Rocks a couple weeks ago and has started playing catcher again. He played in four games last week and picked up three hits, two doubles, while walking three times. He did still strike out five times.
Outfielder Kort Peterson managed the only OPS above 1.000 on the team besides Lee. He had a double and two home runs on his way to a .368/.455/.737/1.191 slash line. Infielder Gabriel Cancel came close but couldn’t quite make it. He slashed .440/.481/.480/.961 while collecting 11 hits in his six games, including a double.
2016 third-round pick Daniel Tillo collected his fourth start for the Blue Rocks and it was his third straight allowing one run or fewer. Carter Hope pitched in two games for a total of 8 1/3 innings and allowed only one run but only struck out one, as well. Arnaldo Hernandez made two starts that lasted a total of 10 innings and allowed four runs but also struck out 10.
Low-A Lexington Legends (33-29)
Outfielder Seuly Matias finally made FanGraphs’ top 100 prospect list and has still hit more home runs than everyone, including three more this week - all solo shots. But those home runs plus a double were the only hits he managed to collect while striking out a whopping 12 times in 28 plate appearances across eight games.
Shortstop Ricky Aracena had a decent week at the plate collecting nine hits in his eight games but only one was an extra base hit. Left Fielder Brewer Hicklen had nine hits of his own but tacked on a pair of home runs and a triple. Middle infielder Christian Perez had an impressive 12 hits including two doubles.
Garret Suchey pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief and struck out six while allowing only one run. Tad Ratliff added six innings of relief with eight of his own strike outs and no walks in two appearances. Both are a bit old for the level at 23 and 22 respectively, but you take your value where you can get it, sometimes.
Did you go to any MiLB games, this week? See anything interesting you want to tell us? How long do you think you’re willing to wait to see the new Royals first rounders pitching in a professional game for one of the Kansas City minor league affiliates?