‘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 5 through Sunday, August 11.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (52-67, 12 games back)
Lefty Jake Kalish pitched well on Friday, going 7 1⁄3 innings with two runs surrendered, six strikeouts, and one walk. Both runs came on solo homers. The start was a good bounce back for Kalish, who had had a few rough starts in a row.
Andres Machado needed just 11 pitches to get through a tough Las Vegas team in the 10th inning on Sunday, which set up a walkoff win on a hit by Kelvin Gutiérrez.
Speaking of Kelvin Gutiérrez, he is hitting like mad these days with 14 hits in his six games this week. He is also on an 8-game hit streak during which he has compiled a .500/.553/.765 line.
Catcher Xavier Fernández hit well in four games behind the dish this week. Fernández came up with five hits, including a double and two homers. He also struck out only once, and walked twice.
Outfielder Brett Phillips only went 5-for-23 this week, but three of those were homers and one was a triple. Additionally, Phillips walked five times and stole two bases. Phillips is also nearing a rare milestone:
Only 3 players in our franchise's 50+ year history have recorded 2️⃣0️⃣ home runs & 2️⃣0️⃣ stolen bases in a season.@Brett_Phillips8 is 2️⃣ homers away from joining that exclusive company.#TheNextWave #StirUpTheStorm pic.twitter.com/gyfbdjV1Tw— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) August 12, 2019
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (47-69 overall; 16-32 in second half; 11.5 games back)
This column operates under the rule Thumper’s mom taught in Bambi, so I will just slide right along to the next section of the column.
Conner Greene got promoted to Omaha, but not before making this video. (The full version on YouTube is 20 minutes long and worth the watch.)
In preparation for the arrival of the Growlin' Chickens, join @BKellyPxP and @connergreene as they discuss baseball, acting, modeling, and Charlie Sheen over a basket of @foghornswings. #LetsGrowl— NW Arkansas Naturals (@nwanaturals) August 7, 2019
Link: https://t.co/SNvtziNTrw pic.twitter.com/Gll0GbzOs5
A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (68-50 overall; 24-25 in second half)
Check out Wilmington’s Pythagorean W-L (the number of wins and losses you’d expect based on the number of runs scored vs. runs allowed): 57-61. Now look up at their actual record. Now back at your man. Now back at me. That’s wild, isn’t it?
Outfielder Brewer Hicklen mashed three taters on his way to a 10-for-26 week. He did strike out seven times, though, bringing his season total of those to 126 in 108 games. Here is a video following Hicklen on a visit to a children’s hospital, and it is adorable.
Hospital visits have long been an integral part of the Blue Rocks experience here in Wilmington.— Wilmington Blue Rocks (@WilmBlueRocks) August 12, 2019
Take an inside look with #Royals prospect @brewerhicklen as he and the guys visit @AIDHC. pic.twitter.com/LUzPlVh6lO
Newly-signed outfielder Tyler Hill hit the ground running with his new team, knocking out eight hits in his first three games. These included a home run and two doubles. Hill is a Wilmington native.
Kris Bubic went the distance for Wilmington on Thursday, giving up just one run on three hits in nine innings. That was the first time Bubic has gone more than seven innings in his pro career. The 11 strikeouts in that game were just one shy of matching his career high.
Lefty Rito Lugo was called upon for a spot start last week, and pitched six shutout innings. Wilmington turned to him for two more starts this week, and he delivered two more great games: 6 2⁄3 shutout innings on Tuesday, followed by 5 2⁄3 shutout innings on Sunday. In those 12 1⁄3 total innings, Lugo struck out 12, gave up just six hits, and walked only two.
Left-handed prospect Daniel Lynch pitched five shutout innings with three strikeouts and two walks in a rehab start for Burlington.
Low-A Lexington Legends (57-61 overall; 20-29 in second half)
Shortstop Jeison Guzman is on an 8-game hit streak, during which time he is hitting .387/.429/.645 with two doubles and two homers. Guzman had another 8-game streak in early July, and a 9-game streak in mid-to-late June.
Look at this spectacular catch by John Rave:
Charlie Neuweiler turned in his second consecutive start of seven innings, one run given up, and nine strikeouts. The righty Neuweiler, still just 20 years old, has gone seven or more innings six time in his 24 starts this season.
Left-hander Bryce Hensley was solid in his start this week. He pitched six innings of a seven-inning game, with one earned run allowed via solo homer. Hensley struck out four, walked none, and gave up just three hits in just his third start of the season after being used as a reliever until a couple weeks ago.
RHP Jon Heasley was activated from the Injured List and pitched three scoreless innings in his return to the mound. Relievers Andres Nunez and Brandon Marklund were nails this week, each contributing three shutout innings over two appearances.
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Did you go to any Minor League games this week? Who stood out to you? Any wacky ballpark promotions?