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TWiTM: Emmanuel Rivera and Omaha’s absurd offense

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This Week in the Minors: a Quad Cities no-hitter, Omaha hitters keep mashing, and more highlights from the Royals farm system.

Omaha third baseman Emmanuel Rivera hit five home runs this week.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

‘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 Tuesday, June 15 through Sunday, June 20.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (29-12)

schedule | roster

Omaha took 4 of 6 from the Louisville Bats (CIN) and maintain a 6-game lead in their division. This absurd offense has a team slugging percentage of .512 and has hit 83 home runs in 41 games - both numbers that lead their league by a wide margin.

Emmanuel Rivera hit the daylights out of basically everything this week, going 12-for-23 with two doubles and five (!) home runs. The home runs vaulted the third baseman into second in the team standings for homers with 13, behind only Ryan McBroom, who has hit 14.

Next in the team homer standings is Ryan O’Hearn, who had one more great week at the plate before being called back up to the Majors yesterday. O’Hearn hit three doubles and two homers among his eight total hits. He also drew four walks.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria reached base in each game this week, which is sort of his “thing” for 2021. On the season, Viloria has reached base in 30 out of 31 games. He has drawn a team-leading 19 walks, and owns a season slash line of .283/.405/.455.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (19-20)

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The Naturals split this week’s series at San Antonio (SD), and despite being in fourth place and under .500, they are just 2.5 games out of first place. Anything can happen in a division that tight!

Shortstop Bobby Witt, Jr. had six extra-base hits this week, and went 11-for-22 (!) overall. He stole three bases and is also now officially the best shortstop in the minors, since the Rays called up their super-prospect Wander Franco.

Also hot at the plate this week was 2B Clay Dungan, who counted two homers and a triple among his nine hits. Dungan also drew four walks and stole two bases.

Lefty Drew Parrish pitched well on Wednesday, with a 5-inning start. The Missions scored one run on one hit, one walk, and one HBP. Parrish struck out four. Right-hander Jon Heasley also had a five-inning start with one run allowed, on Sunday. He struck out three and walked nobody, allowing just two hits.

The following pitchers came out of the bullpen for two appearances, and allowed zero runs:

  • RHP Yefri Del Rosario: 4 IP, 5 K, 1 H
  • LHP Josh Dye: 2.1 IP, 2 K, 0 H
  • LHP Robert Garcia: 2 IP, 3K, 1H
  • RHP Carlos Sanabria: 4.1 IP, 4 K, 3 BB, 0 H

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (27-13)

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A Sunday rainout stood in the way of the River Bandits’ quest for a six-game sweep over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL), but winning 5 is a pretty good week anyhow. Quad Cities is in first place by a healthy 6 games.

Right-hander Zach Haake and lefty Dante Biasi combined to throw a no-hitter on Friday. Haake started things off with six innings, in which he struck out four, and walked two but allowed nothing else. Biasi walked four in the final three innings, but maintained the no-hitter.

Reliever Christian Cosby struck out 8 out of 13 batters faced in 4 no-hit innings on Tuesday. Righty Peyton Gray similarly mowed batters down in his lone apperance this week, with 6 strikeouts against 8 batters in 2 23 innings.

Lefty prospect Asa Lacy allowed just one hit in four shutout innings on Thursday with 7 strikeouts, but 4 walks.

Jake Means was promoted this week, and got off to a hot start at his new level. The third baseman went 7-for-19 with two home runs and a triple. (That was Means at third base in the above video, bobbling a grounder but recovering in time to secure the final out of the no-no.)

Shortstop Jeison Guzman has also been out in center field in some games, but regardless of position, he hit really well this week. Guzman hit five doubles in his 8-for-17 week, along with one triple. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino now leads the team in doubles with 11, after adding four of them this week.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (22-16)

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Columbia’s series this week was shortened by a rainout, so they only got in five games against the Augusta GreenJackets (ATL). At 22-16, the Fireflies are 3 games behind first-place Charleston (TBR).

2B Herard Gonzalez had one hit in each of four games this week, including two home runs. Center fielder Diego Hernandez went 5-for-14 with a triple. 19-year-old LF Darryl Collins walked three times in addition to his four hits in 13 at bats.

Lefty Rylan Kaufman was solid in a no-decision on Tuesday. The 21-year-old gave up just one hit on one walk and two hits, and he struck out four.

The best start from any Fireflies pitcher this week came from Ben Hernandez. Hernandez threw five shutout innings, with five strikeouts and one walk. He allowed two singles.

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Did you go to any minor league games this week? Who stood out to you? Did you get any cool giveaway items or meet any mascots?