‘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 11 through Sunday, June 18.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (31-37)
Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is 8-for-22 with three doubles through the first five games of his rehab assignment with Omaha. He is on his way back from an 80-game PED suspension.
Middle infielder Jack Lopez hit two dingers this week, giving him four on the season.
Trevor Oaks is in the running for the title of Mr. I-29, having already gone back and forth between the Royals and Chasers several times. In his Omaha start this week, he pitched five shutout innings.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (34-35)
By this time tomorrow we will know whether the Naturals held on to climb to the top of their division for a first half title. Last night’s game was the end of the first half, for purposes of the standings, and the Naturals and Arkansas Travelers were tied for first. The two teams will play tonight for all the marbles.
With Adalberto Mondesi being promoted from Omaha to Kansas City, and the Royals acquiring a Double-A middle infielder as part of the Kelvin Herrera trade, could this be the last time shortstop Nicky Lopez is mentioned in the Northwest Arkansas section of this column? Lopez hit his first homer of 2018 this week, along with eight singles. He also walked three times.
Left fielder Anderson Miller had five two-hit games this week. And on Wednesday, both of his hits were home runs. Third baseman Jecksson Flores homered and doubled as part of his 8-for-24 week.
Left-handed starter Foster Griffin started and ended his week with two very different starts. He was great on Monday, with seven shutout innings. He allowed just four singles and a walk, and struck out four. Saturday, he was roughed up to the tune of four runs on seven hits in 5 1⁄3 innings, and surrendered two homers.
Reliever Yunior Marte is on a nice little run, with five consecutive shutout appearances dating back to June 6. In that span, he has struck out 13 in 10 innings, walked just two and surrendered four hits.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (31-39)
For both Wilmington and Lexington, the first half of the season is over. Neither team won their divisions, so they will have to win the second half in order to make it to the postseason.
2B Gabriel Cancel slugged .700 this week, with three doubles and a homer rounding out his 8-for-20 performance. First baseman Chris DeVito hit seven times in four games this week, including a pair of doubles. Outfielder Nick Heath was on base fully half of the week, with five walks in addition to eight hits in 26 plate appearances.
Righty Anthony Bender pitched seven strong innings on Wednesday, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out two and did not walk anyone. This was Bender’s second consecutive seven-inning start, and his third one of the season. Bender was drafted out of Santa Rosa Junior College in the 20th round of 2016.
Low-A Lexington Legends (37-31)
Minor league pitchers don’t often throw complete games, but RHP Nolan Watson handled all nine innings for Lexington on Friday. He needed just 89 pitches for shutout performance, in which he gave up six hits, walked nobody, and struck out seven. Prior to this game, Watson had never gone longer than six innings in a game in his pro career.
Seuly Matias is still first in all the Minors in home runs, with 22, two of which he hit this week. He also doubled twice, bringing his season total to 10 of those. If you missed it, Maria Torres from the Kansas City Star detailed his progression from milking cows to socking dingers. Matias will appear in the South Atlantic League home run derby tonight.
Shortstop Cristian Perez went 8-for-22 this week, and all of his hits were singles and he did not walk. That’s good for a line of .364/.364/.364.
In an odd turn of events, Lexington’s final game of the first half ended in a tie.
Some roster moves:
- LHP Robert Garcia, Lexington to Idaho Falls
- UTIL Julio Gonzales, Lexington to Idaho Falls
- OF Rudy Martin, Wilmington to Idaho Falls
If you have not already, check out Shaun Newkirk’s dive into the ways numbers from Wilmington and Lexington can be skewed if you don’t look carefully.
What roster moves are you looking forward to as the first half ends for the lower levels? Have you been to any minor league games lately, Royals or anywhere else?