‘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, May 27 through Sunday, June 2.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (27-31)
Lucas Duda is five games into his rehab assignment with Omaha, and has been DH in all five games. So far, Duda is 6-for-18 with a double, two walks, and three strikeouts. I know, you were all falling over yourselves in anticipation of that update.
Catcher Nick Dini is off the concussion list and got two hits in each of his first two games back in the lineup.
A very important holiday came and went this week:
Happy National Bubba Day to all the Bubbas out there, including our own Bubba Starling! pic.twitter.com/qgaeV4oCnq— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) June 2, 2019
Right-hander Arnaldo Hernandez was demoted to Northwest Arkansas last month after struggling in his first handful of starts with Omaha. He is back with the Storm Chasers now, and looked more like his old self again, with six shutout innings.
Relievers Richard Lovelady and Tim Hill remain almost automatic out of the Omaha bullpen; either or both of them should see more time in the Majors.
Kyle Zimmer made two traditional bullpen appearances this week, along with opening Sunday’s game. Since his first action as an “opener” on May 5, Zimmer has opened six games, appeared in a traditional relief role four times, and followed fellow opener Josh Staumont once.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (23-32, 12.5 games back)
Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera walked five times this week, in addition to going 8-for-20 with a double and two home runs. It seems safe to assume Rivera is seeing the ball well these days. Second baseman Gabriel Cancel drove in a dozen (!) runs this week, thanks in part to a trio of homers.
Left fielder Kort Peterson went 7-for-18 this week, including two doubles and two dingers. Catcher Meibrys Viloria went 8-for-19 in five games.
Brady Singer made his much-hyped Double-A debut on Saturday. He went five innings, allowed two earned runs and four total runs. He walked three batters and struck out just one, and also hit the first batter he faced.
In relief, righty Yunior Marte made three scoreless appearances this week. That makes seven straight games (nine innings) in which Marte has not allowed a run.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (35-21, lead division by 6.5 games)
Jackson Kowar made his second 7-inning start of the season on Tuesday. He allowed three runs on six hits, including a two-run homer. Kowar struck out five and did not walk anyone, but he did hit one batter.
A couple of relief performances of note: lefty Holden Capps pitched twice this week, and held opponents scoreless in two innings each time. Capps has not allowed a run in his last 13 innings, covering seven games. Left-hander Rito Lugo (great name, BTW) pitched 5 2⁄3 scoreless this week, spread over two appearances.
Third baseman Dennicher Carrasco homered twice this week, bringing his season total to a team-leading five (5). Catcher MJ Melendez went 6-for-20 this week, with two doubles and a triple. He also walked once and was hit by two pitches - in the same game!
Late in a tied ballgame, first baseman Nick Pratto came up with this play:
Catcher Sebastian Rivero, 20, spent a few games this week all the way up at Triple-A Omaha while they sorted out some injuries. While he was there, an Omaha pitcher raved about his preparation and intelligence, saying Rivero approached pitchers in Spring Training with a notebook and pen, intending to learn every pitcher’s approach. Evidently this is not typical for a lower-minors catcher to take initiative to do, and earned a comparison to the intelligence of Salvador Perez.
Low-A Lexington Legends (26-29, 3.5 games back)
The Legends are in third place in their division right now, with a series left against second-place Augusta next week that may be an opportunity to move up a slot. They do not play first-place Charleston again until the back half of the season.
Have you ever received hand washing advice from a baseball mascot? Wait no more:
Be like Big L (minus the mascot's gloves, of course!) and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to fight the spread of illnesses. Watch this special video made in partnership with @LexingtonLegend! #handwashing @PublicHealth @HandwashingSoap @LexingtonKyGov @MiLB #publichealth pic.twitter.com/4sZehc0iJY— LexKy Health Dept. (@LFCHD) May 31, 2019
Last week, left-hander Austin Cox got a mention in this space for his 6-inning shutout performance. This week, Cox took it up a notch, pitching 6 1⁄3 shutout innings in a 7-inning game. He allowed just one hit and one walk, and struck out seven. Josh Dye, also a lefty, slammed the door with nine pitches to finish the shutout for Lexington. That was Dye’s last appearance in Lexington before being promoted to Wilmington.
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Did you go to any Minor League games this week? Who stood out to you? Any wacky ballpark promotions?
BONUS MiLB STUFF: The Albuquerque Isotopes, who are playing in Omaha starting tonight, had their Star Wars night over the weekend. This video might be the most adorable thing the Star Wars universe has ever blessed us with.