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TWitM: Carlos Hernandez brings the heat

This Week in the Minors: Pitching prospect Carlos Hernandez’s great fastball shines for Lexington; three Royals rehabbers put in work.

Legends starter Carlos Hernandez
Clinton Riddle

‘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 19 through Sunday, August 25.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (56-75, eliminated)

schedule | roster

Bad news and then slightly less-bad news for center fielder Nick Heath: he was placed in the IL with a hand injury, but does not need surgery.

Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi rehabbed with Omaha this week, and is 3-for-17 so far with three walks and eight strikeouts. He is also 2-for-3 in stolen base attempts.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (53-76 overall; 22-39 in second half; eliminated)

schedule | roster

Danny Duffy made a rehab start with the Naturals on Sunday. He threw 72 pitches in five innings, with four strikeouts and one run allowed on four hits.

Jackson Kowar put together a nice start on Saturday. He went eight innings for the second time this season, and allowed two runs on five hits. Kowar struck out six and walked one, and threw just 92 pitches in a performance that netted a Baseball-Reference game score of 69.

Righty Scott Blewett has had a rough go of things this season, struggling in Omaha until a demotion to NW Arkansas earlier this month. He really captured something in his latest start, though, with eight strikeouts in seven shutout innings. He did not factor in a decision, however, as the Naturals went on to lose that game 1-0 in 10 innings. Baseball is rude.

Shortstop Kevin Merrell went 9-for-27 with a double and a triple this week.

Broadcaster Benjamin Kelly just about wilted in a non-air conditioned booth. Please send thoughts and prayers for his dearly departed shirt.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (78-53 overall; 34-28 in second half)

schedule | roster

Wilmington always has so many pitchers to cover, and this week is no different. Let’s break them down by handedness.


22-year-old Austin Cox pitched seven shutout innings, with five strikeouts and one walk. None of the four hits he allowed went for extra bases. Marcelo Martinez, who just turned 23 earlier this month, struck out nine in five innings to tie a season high. He allowed one run on three hits in five innings. Daniel Lynch also struck out nine in a five-inning start, though he also walked three and allowed three runs on four hits.


Raise your hand if you remembered Jesse Hahn was due to come back from UCL surgery. In his first rehab start with the Arizona Royals, Hahn struck out two and allowed one hit in a shutout inning. In his second one with Wilmington, he struck out the side on 12 pitches in his one inning of work.

Jonathan Bowlan followed Hahn with six shutout innings with two hits and three walks allowed, and four strikeouts.

And now for some hittin’!

Among outfielder Brewer Hicklen’s 11 (!) hits this week were five (!) home runs. Three of those came in one game. Center fielder Kyle Isbel also piled up double-digit hits with a 10-for-24 effort this week. Isbel also walked five times, and struck out five times.

Outfielder Michel Gigliotti is on his way back from an oblique strain, and singled twice and stole two bases in a rehab game with Arizona.

Low-A Lexington Legends (63-68 overall; 26-36 in second half)

schedule | roster

Right-handed pitching prospect Carlos Hernandez (#13 in Shaun Newkirk’s most recent list) pitched six shutout innings with six strikeouts on Thursday. He allowed four hits, all singles, and three walks. Hernandez has a high-90s fastball and has maintained that velocity through the dog days of the season. It will be interesting to see if he will be part of the Arizona Fall League.

A couple of right-handed Legends relievers are on a roll. Brandon Marklund has not given up a run in his last eight games (12 23 innings). In that time he has struck out 14 but walked 7, and allowed just five hits. Andres Nunez has gone 9 13 innings over his last six appearances without allowing a run. He has struck out 12 (!) over that span and walked zero (!) and allowed just three singles.

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Did you go to any Minor League games this week? Who stood out to you? Any wacky ballpark promotions?