‘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 22 through Sunday, July 28.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (48-59, 9 games back)
Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is on a roll these days, going 9-for-26 this week. Among those nine hits were a double, a triple, and two dingers. Bonifacio started the season with an absolutely miserable April and May, so his season batting line is still lagging. But in July he has hit .303/.393/.539 with just 13 strikeouts and 11 walks in 89 plate appearances.
Third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez was on base a whole bunch this week, thanks to eight hits, four walks, and getting hit by pitch once. Among Guti’s hits were a home run and a pair of doubles. The home run featured this subtle yet glorious bat drop.
Good news: outfielder Nick Heath was promoted to Omaha this weekend. Bad news: he was hit in the neck by an attempted pickoff his very first time on base, and removed from the game as a precaution. Silly news: I just learned on Instagram that Nick Heath is rooming with Heath Fillmyer, making them like one of those “before and after” puzzles from Wheel of Fortune.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (44-59)
Gerson Garabito tossed six shutout innings on Wednesday, but his efforts were for naught in a Naturals loss. Garabito struck out five and walked two, and allowed two hits.
Right-handed prospect Brady Singer went 6 1⁄3 innings on Sunday, allowing just one run on five hits. He walked one and plunked one, and struck out five.
Brady Singer (W, 3-2) now has 5 quality starts in his last 6 outings. During that stretch, he's allowed just 10 earned runs in 37.1 IP to go along with 37 strikeouts compared to 8 walks. Today's win was his first at Arvest Ballpark. #GoNaturals #Royalshttps://t.co/2JJvDyQmof— NW Arkansas Naturals (@nwanaturals) July 28, 2019
Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera went 9-for-22 with three doubles. He walked thrice and struck out six times.
Shortstop Kevin Merrill, who came to the organization in the trade that sent Homer Bailey to Oakland, has a nine-game hit streak going.
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (63-43)
Lefty Austin Cox had a really great day this week and a really bad one. First, the good: seven innings and a career-high 10 strikeouts on Tuesday, with one earned run scoring on four hits. The bad: on Sunday, he gave up three runs in two innings, and then came out of the game after warming up before the third. An injury would be awful for Cox, a 5th round draft pick from 2018. He was having a solid season over two levels, striking out roughly a batter per inning to go along with a sub-3 ERA.
Also clocking in with a seven-inning start this week was left-hander Daniel Tillo. He allowed six hits and a walk, but no runs. Kris Bubic also went seven innings on Saturday, with seven strikeouts and no runs allowed. Five hits fell in against him, including two doubles. He walked one and plunked one.
Lefty Robert Garcia could not have been better out of the pen this week. He was perfect in a pair of two-inning appearances, with three strikeouts in the first game and two in the second. Garcia was drafted out of UC Davis in the 15th round of 2017.
This is absolutely not baseball, but it is breakfast, which is almost as good:
A rehab update on lefty prospect Daniel Lynch: he struck out five and allowed three hits in three shutout innings in the Arizona League.
Low-A Lexington Legends (53-52)
The top Legends batter this week was center fielder John Rave, who was just drafted this June out of Illinois State University. Rave went 9-for-23 with three doubles and a grand slam.
Second baseman Rubendy Jaquez went 6-for-21 with four doubles. He also walked five times and was intentionally walked once, which all adds up to a solid .423 OBP for the week.
Righty Zach Haake turned in a good start on Thursday, with eight strikeouts in five shutout innings. It was a refreshing return to form for Haake, who had struggled in several of his starts since returning from injury a month ago.
Yohanse Morel is one of only seven 18-year-old pitchers at this level of the minors per FanGraphs. His best start of the season came on Saturday, when he struck out six and allowed just three hits in five innings. A weird unearned run did score - a batter reached on a swinging strike three on a Morel wild pitch, then later scored on a fielding error at third. But the Legends won the game and Morel got the W.
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Did you go to any Minor League games this week? Who stood out to you? Any wacky ballpark promotions?