‘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 25 through Sunday, July 1.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (36-44)
Shortstop Nicky Lopez debuted in the Omaha lineup on Friday with a 4-5 night with a double and a home run. Catcher Cam Gallagher went 5-for-15 this week, with two doubles and a home run, plus three walks and no strikeouts.
First baseman Frank Schwindel socked two more dingers, bringing his season total to 15. He was also named a Pacific Coast League all-star, and turned 26 on Friday.
Righty Trevor Oaks was solid on Friday, giving up one run in six innings. He struck out four and walked one. Reliever Michael Mariot added a pair of two-inning shutout outings from the Omaha bullpen.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (37-41)
Northwest Arkansas’ week was shortened by their All-Star break, and punctuated by the loss of one prospect (shortstop Nicky Lopez to Omaha) and the arrival of another (outfielder Khalil Lee from Wilmington).
Three pieces of Khalil Lee news:
June 30 - hit in the head by a pitch.
July 1 - cleared to return to the lineup.
July 2 - Lee cracks the Baseball America Top 100, coming in at #99.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (37-43)
On Thursday, right-hander Gerson Garabito pitched seven strong innings, yielding two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks. He struck out four. That was the third 7-inning start for Garabito on the season, his first season as a Blue Rock.
The next night, 2015 1st-round pick Nolan Watson made his second High-A start. His debut last week was rough, with five runs given up on 11 hits in four innings. This week, however, he went 6 2⁄3 shutout innings, with three hits surrendered. However, he walked five and did not record a strikeout. Watson struck out 8.5 batters per nine innings in Lexington prior to his promotion, but has yet to record a strikeout with Wilmington.
Sunday, righty Jace Vines added another superb start to the Blue Rocks rotation’s week. He gave up just one run on four hits in seven innings, with seven innings and two walks. This was Vines’s best start of the season by Game Score (70 per Baseball Reference) and his fourth 7-inning game of the year.
Infielder D.J. Burt tripled twice this week to make his way to the team lead in that category. Those were part of a 10-for-21 week that also featured seven (!) walks and four stolen bases.
Outfielder Rudy Martin returned to Wilmington after missing some time with injury, then playing a stint in Idaho Falls.
Low-A Lexington Legends (40-38)
Several Lexington pitchers had noteworthy performances this week. 21-year-old righty Carlos Hernandez pitched seven shutout innings on Thursday, with three walks and three strikeouts. He allowed just a pair of singles. It was the second time this season Hernandez had gone that deep in a game, with the other one in late May.
On Sunday, 2017 5th-round pick RHP Charlie Neuweiler made his Lexington debut with five shutout innings. He did give up three walks, but struck out four and held Asheville to three hits. Neuweiler, 19, had spent the early part of the season in extended spring training before being tabbed as the Burlington (rookie league) Opening Day starter. He made just two starts for the B-Royals before being moved up to Lexington.
Left-hander Holden Capps struck out seven in four innings of relief of Neuwiler, with no walks and just one hit surrendered. That game was a scoreless tie through nine innings, and Lexington won 2-1 in the 10th.
The winning run in that Sunday game was driven in by outfielder Cal Jones. That was part of a solid week at the plate for Jones, where five of his six hits went for extra bases. Catcher MJ Melendez had the same set of XBH as Jones - three doubles, a triple, and a homer. Melendez did strike out eight times in his 26 at bats, however.
First baseman Nick Pratto was a doubles machine this week, with five doubles bringing his season total to a team-leading 16.
Did you see any minor league games this week? Who did you see, and how did they look?