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TWitM: Schwindel still streaking

This Week in the Minors: Omaha first baseman Frank Schwindel extends his hit streak to 19 games; Scott Blewett goes the distance; two Royals affiliates in first place.

Frank Schwindel hit his 21st homer of the season this week.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

‘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, August 6 through Sunday, August 12.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (55-63)

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First baseman Frank Schwindel had a hit streak going last week, and it has now reached 19 games. Through 112 games this season, Schwindel is batting .282/.332/.505 with 29 doubles, 21 homers, and just 60 strikeouts.

22-year-old righty Arnaldo Hernandez was great in his win against Round Rock on Saturday, pitching seven scoreless innings in which he allowed only two hits. He struck out four and did not walk anyone.

The newest Storm Chasers pitcher, Jorge Jopez, had a nice start this week with 5 23 shutout innings and seven strikeouts. Lefty Jonathan Dziedzic was threw six shutout innings with five hits and one walk allowed, and two strikeouts.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (58-61 overall | 23-26 in second half)

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The Naturals have lost just one game in August, but are still 5.5 games out of first place.

Middle infielder Jecksson Flores leads Northwest Arkansas with 26 doubles. Two of them came this week, along with a triple in an 11-for-24 performance. Flores also stole three bases, giving him a career-high 23 on the season.

Erick Mejia, 23, has added center fielder to his defensive resume over the past month, moving out from his usual combo of shortstop and second base. This week at the plate, Mejia drove in nine runs on nine hits, and stole a pair of bases.

Veteran 1B/DH Alex Liddi drove in 11 runs in just four games played this week, and turns 30 today.

Three Naturals starting pitchers turned in noteworthy games this week:

  • RHP Scott Blewett allowed just one run in nine innings, with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw only 94 pitches, and it was just the second time in his pro career that he went nine innings.
  • LHP Emilio Ogando, who turned 25 yesterday, pitched six shutout innings on Wednesday. He allowed just two hits and zero walks, and struck out five. By Game Score, it was Ogando’s best start of 2018.
  • LHP Foster Griffin held Frisco to one run on seven hits and no walks. He struck out five.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (60-58 overall | 29-19 in second half)

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Wilmington is in first place by just a half a game over Lynchburg (CLE), but has plenty of time to expand that lead or lose it because there are seven Wilmington-Lynchburg matchups left this season.

Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera has hit in six straight games, and limited his strikeouts to just three in six games. On the season, Rivera has struck out just 46 times in 354 plate appearances.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria doubled twice, homered, and hit his first triple of the season in his 7-for-21 week.

Gerson Garabito struck out eight but walked four in his six-inning win on Wednesday. That strikeout total was one shy of his season-high of nine, which he achieved in his first start back in April.

Reliever Andrew Beckwith has come out of the Blue Rocks’ pen five times since his promotion last month, and has yet to give up a run in 5 23 innings. Beckwith is a right-hander the Royals drafted in the 32nd round in 2017.

Low-A Lexington Legends (65-51 overall | 28-20 in second half)

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Lexington holds a one-game lead in their division. Greenville (BOS) and Asheville (COL) are the only likely competitors with just three weeks remaining. The Legends have no more games with Asheville, and will not play Greenville again until the final series of the season, so some scoreboard-watching is in order for the next few weeks.

First-round draftees Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch did well again this week. Kowar, working with a pitch count of around 60, threw 56 pitches in four innings. He gave up just one run on one hit, struck out one and walked one.* Lynch struck out seven and walked nobody in his five innings of one-run ball.

*This prospect update brought to you by the number one!

Catcher MJ Melendez went 6-for-18 with two doubles and a triple this week, and also walked five times. The triple was his team-leading 8th.

Shortstop Cristian Perez and first baseman Nick Pratto each had eight hits this week. Perez homered, his third of the year, and Pratto doubled three times.