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This Week-ish in the Minors: The first one!

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Minor League Baseball started on Thursday. Here’s how Kansas City’s affiliates have fared so far.

Humberto Arteaga continues a hit streak that started in 2018.
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 Thursday, April 4 through Sunday, April 7.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (2-2)

schedule | roster

If you need a refresher on which players were assigned to which affiliates, check out Max Rieper’s guide to the minor league rosters from Thursday.

Omaha started the season on the road, and will return to Papillion for their home opener tonight. The infield portion of the Omaha roster is a little bit heavy on the hot corner:

Who says there is no such thing as a Third Base Tree?

Third baseman Humberto Arteaga has played two games at second base, and a game each at third base and shortstop. He has piled up six hits in the first four games — all singles. Arteaga is now on a 12-game hit streak that includes the final eight games of 2018.

Fellow third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez hit Omaha’s first dinger of the season, and has hits in each of his first four games as a Storm Chaser. Gutierrez came to the Royals organization from Washington as part of the Kelvin Herrera trade last summer.

Bubba Starling is still unbelievably good at defense, as shown in this catch from Sunday’s game:

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (4-0)

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Go ahead and pencil the Naturals in for 140 wins. The Naturals have already picked up a win after coming back from a six-run deficit, an 11-inning walkoff win, and a win via walkoff homer from outfielder Kort Peterson. Outfield prospect Khalil Lee is 6-for-16 on the season so far, with a double, a triple, three walks, and two steals.

Shortstop Taylor Featherston, who the Royals signed to a minors deal in January, has hits in each of his first four games with the Naturals, and already has three two-hit games. Outfielder Nick Heath has tallied four hits and four walks in the first four games, and has stolen two bases.

Righty Conner Greene pitched a nice six-inning game on Thursday, with four strikeouts and no walks. He allowed one run on three hits, on what was his 24th birthday. Left-hander Jake Kalish came in after Greene to finish the final three innings. He faced nine batters, and struck out seven (!) of them.

Off the field, a few Naturals players paid a visit to Arkansas Children’s Hospital on Friday. The hospital is across the street from Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-2)

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Though the Blue Rocks are off to just a 2-2 start, this team is loaded with prospects and ought to be one to watch closely this summer.

Outfield prospect Kyle Isbel homered in just his second plate appearance at the High-A level. Isbel, 22, was a 3rd-round draft pick out of UNLV last summer, and he slashed .326/.389/.504 between Idaho Falls and Lexington to start his pro career.

Right-handed pitcher Jackson Kowar, a 1st-round draft pick from the University of Florida in 2018, started his first full season with a five-inning no-hit performance against Salem. He struck out six and walked two.

J.C. Cloney, a lefty starter, gave up just one run on four hits in his start on Saturday. He struck out seven and walked two.

Low-A Lexington Legends (1-2)

schedule | roster

The Legends have played only three games due to Sunday’s contest being rained out. Their first win of 2019 came via walkoff hit by catcher Chase Vallot.

Vallot is 3-for-9 with a homer and a triple. Both extra-base hits came in the first game. Vallot has also drawn four walks in three games, but also struck out five times.

Nick Hutchins has only played in one game so far, but he made it count with three doubles and two runs scored. Hutchins was a late-round pick in 2017.

Third baseman Nathan Eaton made his full-season debut after playing last season with rookie league Idaho Falls. Eaton has hits in each of his first three games, and has already drawn four walks and stolen two bases on three attempts.

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This column only covers results through Sundays each week, but sometimes things happen on Mondays that just can not wait until the next week to mention. Omaha outfielder Elier Hernandez driving in six runs (!) in a single inning (!!) is one of those things. He drove in two runs with a single, then hit a grand slam when he came back up later in the inning. The Storm Chasers scored 12 runs in total that inning, the highest-scoring single innings since 1999.

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Have you been to any Minor League games yet this season? Who stood out to you?