‘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 15 through Sunday, July 21.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (46-55)
Ryan O’Hearn is hitting a lot of baseballs a long way these days. This week he hit three dingers, two doubles, and a triple on his way to a 9-for-26 total.
Yesterday, @Rohearn11 , Kelvin Gutierrez and @nickdini11 went back to back to back in the 1st inning. The @OMAStormChasers went on to win 9-8. #AlwaysRoyal pic.twitter.com/wQgiK4CefA— Kansas City Royals Player Development (@RoyalsPD) July 17, 2019
Outfielder Brett Phillips mashed two more dingers this week, and hit his team-leading 11th triple. He also drew six walks, was walked intentionally once, and only struck out four times.
The Chasers had a scary moment on Friday night when catcher Nick Dini took a pitch sqaure in the face. However, he told me the next day he escaped any vision or breathing issues, and actually does not expect to be out too long. Omaha will go with Nate Esposito and Xavier Fernández behind the dish in the meantime, neither of whom started the season with the Storm Chasers.
Reliever Bryan Brickhouse’s YouTube yoga-fueled journey back up through baseball is now just one stop away from the Majors. Brickhouse made it up to Triple-A this week and pitched twice, offering up a two-inning scoreless outing each time.
Lefty Foster Griffin was sharp and crafty in his start on Saturday, using a mixed-up tempo to keep Memphis (STL) off the board for the first six innings. He faltered a bit in the 7th, and two runs came across. Griffin’s final line: 6 2⁄3 innings, two runs, five hits, one walk, nine strikeouts.
Since the callup of Bubba Starling, Omaha has rolled with just three outfielders on the roster: Phillips, Jorge Bonifacio, and Elier Hernandez. Utility man Erick Mejia slides into the fourth OF spot when he is not playing in the infield. I wonder if Omaha will get any additional outfielders. Khalil Lee always feels like an option. Nick Heath has hit well for Northwest Arkansas lately, and is the kind of “speed guy” the Royals love.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (43-54)
RHP Brady Singer had a nice start for the Naturals on Wednesday, giving up just two hits and a walk, and a plunked batsman. He struck out six. The start was marred by a fourth inning in which three unearned runs scored with two outs, thanks to two fielding errors behind Singer.
The next day, righty Gerson Garabito was solid in six innings, with one run given up on six hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
Veteran shortstop Taylor Featherston hit three dingers and a double in one game:
Featherston began his night with leadoff solo shot in the second, followed by a three-run blast with none out in the fourth, which kickstarted a seven-run inning for the Naturals. He didn’t have to wait long for his next bomb, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth. After fanning in the sixth, Featherston ended his night at the plate with a double in the eighth, driving home his seventh run in the process.
Outfielder Nick Heath went 7-for-27 this week with a double and a homer, and two more stolen bases. His 48 total steals is tied for the lead in all the minors with outfielder Johnny Davis, who plays in the Mexican League.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (60-39)
Lefty Kris Bubic followed up his great game from last week with another stellar performance, striking out 11 in six innings. He allowed a solo homer but no other runs on five hits, and did not walk anyone. This game was Bubic’s fifth double-digit strikeout effort of the season, and third since moving up to Wilmington in late May.
Yesterday, the @WilmBlueRocks pulled off the 4-1 win in large part to @KrisBubic and his 11 strikeouts in 6 innings of work. Clutch home runs by @brewerhicklen & Dennicher Carrasco helped secure the victory! #AlwaysRoyal pic.twitter.com/7DVHidi2x0— Kansas City Royals Player Development (@RoyalsPD) July 18, 2019
Righty Jonathan Bowlan was featured last week for his magnificent no-hitter. He kept up the strikeouts in his follow-up start, punching out nine, but gave up four runs in five innings.
First baseman Nick Pratto hit for tons of power this week, with two homers and three doubles as the highlights his 9-for-17 effort. Pratto only struck out once in his five games, stole two bases, and was caught stealing once.
An unfortunate update on center fielder Michael Gigliotti:
Well sh**. Gigs just left the game with an injury. Was grabbing his right hip area after hitting a foul ball.— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) July 20, 2019
Back on June 1, LHP Daniel Lynch left a start in the second inning with a sore arm. He did not require surgery, and this week made a return to the mound in a rehab stint with Rookie league Arizona. The 2018 1st-round pick threw two innings there, giving up a run on three hits. He struck out one and walked one, and threw 21 pitches.
Low-A Lexington Legends (50-49)
Second baseman Rubendy Jaquez went hitless in the first three games this week, but then cranked out four consecutive two-hit games. He also stole two bases, bringing his season total to 24 — good for 4th in the South Atlantic League.
20-year-old righty Charlie Neuweiler had a nice start this week, with five one-run innings over Charleston (NYY) on Thursday. He allowed one run on three hits, all singles, and two walks. His eight strikeouts were one off of a season high.
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Did you go to any Minor League games this week? Who stood out to you? Any wacky ballpark promotions? Have you ever witnessed a scary sports injury? What happened?