‘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, July 1 through Sunday, July 8.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (40-48)
Righty Scott Barlow left last Sunday’s start after just 15 pitches with an injury, necessitating a full game of work for the Omaha bullpen. Barlow, who has two stints with the big league club this season, is now on the 7-day disabled list.
Following the bullpen’s long day, Omaha needed a strong start for Monday’s doublehader. Jake Kalish delivered just that, firing a complete game shutout win. This was a marvelous excuse to think of an old friend of the Royals:
Jake Kalish tonight became the first pitcher in franchise history to record a 7-inning complete game shutout since...— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) July 3, 2018
(you ready for this, guys?)
BRUCE CHEN on June 13, 2009! #50maha pic.twitter.com/NNF4YwYxVg
Jonathan Dziedzic continued to lighten the load for the ‘pen on Wednesday with seven shutout innings of his own. Righty Zach Lovvorn, fresh from Northwest Arkansas, followed with six scoreless frames the next night.
Dziedzic, by the way, announced on Instagram that his wife gave birth. Congratulations to the Dziedzic family!
Right fielder Paulo Orlando is on an 11-game hit streak dating back to June 27. In that time, he is 15-for-41, with three doubles and a home run.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (38-47)
The Naturals won one and lost six this week, so we will tiptoe lightly right into the next section and let them move forward into the new week in peace.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (39-46)
Three relievers of note:
- Lefty Cristian Castillo has pitched 14 2⁄3 consecutive scoreless innings across seven games, one of which was a four-inning spot start. In this streak, Castillo has struck out 15, walked just one, and allowed six hits.
- Vance Tatum, also a left-hander, is also on a scoreless(ish) streak. Tatum has had to work around more baserunners than Castillo, with 10 walks along with six hits surrendered in his 13 1⁄3 shutout innings across 10 games. Two unearned runs have scored on his watch — two consecutive “Magic Runners” scored in an extra-inning game on Sunday, and those don’t count against the pitcher’s ERA.
- Right-hander Tyler Zuber was promoted to Wilmington, and has pitched the 9th inning, the 9th inning, and the 13th inning of his first three games at his new level. And has been perfect in all three of them.
Low-A Lexington Legends (44-41)
The last four starts for 21-year-old Andres Sotillet had been a story of struggles: 20 ER given up in 19 2⁄3 innings, and opposing batters on base at a .379 clip. That is quite a slump! But Sotillet righted the ship in a big way with Saturday’s start: nine (!) innings pitched, zero runs allowed, zero walks, and 10 (!) strikeouts. He allowed seven hits, six of which were singles.
Righty Carlos Hernandez followed up his 7-inning shutout start from last week with...an even better 7-inning shutout start on Wednesday. This week he struck out five and walked one, and allowed just three singles.
Right-hander Yefri Del Rosario does not turn 19 until September, and is thus the youngest player on the Legends roster this season. He had his best start of the season on Sunday, striking out eight and walking one in six innings. Both of the runs he gave up were on solo home runs, something that has plagued him quite a bit in his month stint with Lexington (eight dingers surrendered in six starts, 28 innings). Del Rosario was one of the international prospects who became free agents in the wake of the Atlanta Braves’ scandal last winter.
Outfielder Brewer Hicklen wins this week’s “Like His Hair is On Fire” award* thanks to his 12 (!) hits and seven (!!) stolen bases in seven games played. Among that dozen hits were three doubles and two homers. He also walked twice and was plunked twice, and struck out seven times.
*not a real thing, but holler in the comments if it should be.
Another thing Hicklen did:
Small sample sizes are fun, which is why I write this column in a week-by-week format. Example: Wow, Sebastian Rivero is slugging .913! ...in this specific five-game chunk. The 19-year-old catcher went 10-for-23 this week with a pair of doubles and three (!) home runs.
Seuly Matias had another of his patented two-homer weeks, bringing his season total to 26. However, he struck out 10 times and walked none, bringing those totals to 106 and 21, respectively. Per friend of the site Clint Scoles, Matias needs 15 more dingers to break a league record.
Seuly Matias needs 15 HR to break the South Atlantic League record, he's got 52 games to do it in. He'll miss a couple games for the Futures Game also.— Clint Scoles BP (@ClintScoles) July 9, 2018
Did you see any minor league games this week? Who did you see, and how did they look?
Bonus questions: Now that it has been in place for half a season, what do you think of the runner who magically appears on 2nd base in extra innings of Minor League games? Have you been to any extra-inning games? Did fans around you seem to notice or care?