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TWitM: Nicky Lopez hits for the cycle

This Week in the Minors, shortstop Nicky Lopez hits for the second cycle in Naturals team history.

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

‘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 18 through Sunday, June 24.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (35-39)

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Trevor Oaks allowed a single and a walk on Sunday, then settled in and cruised for six shutout innings. He did not walk anyone else, and struck out seven. Kevin Lenik and Jake Newberry completed the shutout win for Omaha.

Left-handed reliever Sam Selman moved up to Omaha from Double-A last week, and has shut opponents out in all four of his games since then. He has five strikeouts, no walks, and has allowed just three hits in those 6 13 innings.

Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio kept up his hot hitting from last week as he continued his rehab assignment. He added two doubles, a triple, and three walks in a 9-for-21 week. Fellow outfielder Billy Burns had eight hits in his four games, including a home run that clanked off the foul pole at Omaha’s Werner Park. That’s a whopping 310 feet. Still counts!

Outfielder Donnie Dewees started off strong after his promotion from the Naturals. In four games, he already has seven hits, and was a double shy of a cycle on Sunday. His home run inspired quite the pun from the team Twitter account; please go throw tomatoes at them.

Frank Schwindel homered once and doubled thrice this week. He leads the team in both categories, with 18 doubles and 13 home runs. He is also tops on the team with 54 runs batted in.

With the addition of Dewees, and Paulo Orlando returning again, Omaha is facing quite a crunch in the outfield. They also have Burns and Terrance Gore in regular rotation. Getting somewhat lost in the shuffle has been Logan Moon, who has only played in 11 games in June. He was placed on the 7-day DL yesterday.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (36-38)

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Nicky Lopez is on the Naturals, and hit for a natural cycle on Thursday. That feels almost too “on the nose,” but that’s baseball for you. He came up in the 6th in need of a home run, hardly a gimme for a player who had just one this season prior to that at bat.

That same night, catcher Nick Dini hit two home runs, his sixth and seventh on the season.

Third baseman/outfielder Jecksson Flores has an eight-game hit streak going, and has also hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games. During that stretch, he’s hitting .364/.406/.580, and making contact almost constantly - he only has five walks and six strikeouts. Flores, 24, has been in the Royals organization since he was 17, and he has played the last three winters in his native Venezuela.

Second baseman Erick Mejia is also riding a hit streak. In his last 10 games, Mejia has 17 hits, including three doubles and a triple. The triple was his sixth, which pulled him into the team lead.

Kelvin Gutierrez came to the Royals as part of the Kelvin Herrera trade, and joined the Naturals roster as a third baseman. Outfielder Kort Peterson moved up to Northwest Arkansas from Wilmington, and homered in his first game as a Natural.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (33-40)

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Three-inning saves are one of my favorite baseball oddities, and right-hander Ofreidy Gomez held on to a one-run lead to earn one on Thursday. Gomez turns 23 next Friday, and has been in the Royals organization since he was 17.

Center fielder Khalil Lee went 5-for-12 this week, bringing his season line to .269/.403/.408 in 69 games.

Outfielder Blake Perkins, acquired from Washington in the Kelvin Herrera deal, joined the Wilmington roster this week. His first series was at Potomac, which was his team until just a few days ago. He hit two singles and walked twice in his first game.

In each of his first three games at the High-A level, utility man Travis Jones had one single, one walk, and one strikeout. That sort of symmetry really stands out in a game log.

Typically this column serves to highlight good weekly outcomes, but sometimes struggles are noteworthy. To wit: catcher Chase Vallot is 0-for his last 20 at bats (six games), with three walks and 14 strikeouts.

Low-A Lexington Legends (37-35)

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Well, an 0-4 record is not the very best way to start the second half of the season, but there were some bright spots for the Legends.

Mostly, the bright spots were home runs number 23 (!) and 24 (!!) for right fielder Seuly Matias. Legends hitting coach Jesus Azuaje had many positive things to say about Matias in this video from the Lexington Herald Leader.

Also socking two dingers this week was outfielder Brewer Hicklen. Through 46 games, Hicklen is hitting .313/.370/.536. The Royals drafted him out of Alabama-Birmingham in the seventh round last summer.


Roster moves:

  • RHP Nolan Watson, Lexington to Wilmington
  • RHP Bryan Brickhouse, Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas
  • SS Jeison Guzman, Lexington to Burlington
  • UTIL Travis Jones, Lexington to Wilmington (1B, 3B, RF, LF, DH)
  • 3B Manny Olloque, Idaho Falls to Lexington
  • OF Brandon Downes traded to Braves
  • C/1B Xavier Fernandez, Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas
  • OF Kort Peterson, Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas
  • RHP Jake Newberry, Northwest Arkansas to Omaha
  • CF Donnie Dewees, Northwest Arkansas to Omaha
  • RHP Jason Adam, Kansas City to Omaha
  • RHP Scott Barlow, Kansas City to Omaha

Have you been to any minor league games recently? Who do you think will or should be promoted next? Is there anyone you would like to see skip a level — something the Royals almost never do?