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TWitM: Week one!

This Week in the Minors: dingers and dominant relief in Omaha, short series at the lower levels to ring in 2022.

A right-handed batter in a batting practice cage swinging, about to make contact with the ball, which is also in the frame.
Brewer Hicklen taking batting practice on Sunday, April 3.
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, April 5 to Sunday, April 10.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (2-4)

schedule | roster

The Chasers won their season opener Tuesday against the Indianapolis Indians (PIT), got rained out on Wednesday, split a doubleheader on Thursday, then dropped the weekend games to get out to a 2-4 start.

Overall, the bats were a bit chilly this week. Perhaps the weather - also chilly - played a part in that, so it’s probably not time to fire all the hitting coordinators or panic in the streets.

Outfielder Brewer Hicklen led the way at the plate, going 8-for-21 in his first week as a Triple-A player. He also stole a pair of bases.

Last year’s Chasers hit an absurd 231 home runs. This year’s homer hitting was started off by a 461-footer from JaCoby Jones, new to the Royals organization.

First baseman/right fielder Nick Pratto hit a trio of dingers this week as well, although they were interspersed with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.

The Chasers bullpen featured a lot of guys who kept Indy off the scoreboard, including but not limited to:

  • RHP Colten Brewer: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 7 K (yes, that really does say that he struck out 7 out of 7 batters faced.)
  • LHP Sam Freeman: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K.
  • LHP Foster Griffin: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K.
  • RHP Arodys Vizcaino: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K.

Omaha will play its home opener tonight at 6:35, kicking off a 6-game series against Louisville (CIN). The scheduling format that began in 2021 is sticking: all series are six games long, with almost every Monday as a day off/travel day.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (1-2)

schedule | roster

Since the lower levels got a later start and have only played three games, let’s just look at some highlights!

As Max noted in a rundown of all the minor league rosters, the Naturals have a bunch of intriguing pitching, including tonight’s probable starter, Asa Lacy. Lacy’s 2021 was halted by a shoulder injury, so 2022 is going to be a crucial test.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (2-1)

schedule | roster

The River Bandits finished 2021 with an almost unbelievable 77-41 record, and started off 2-1 with a 3-game series at South Bend (CHC).

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (1-2)

schedule | roster

Center fielder Erick Peña started off the season with some late-inning heroics on opening night:

Left fielder Darryl Collins enjoyed a strong start to the season as well:

Columbia is on the road at Charleston tonight, and will now resume the standard 6-game schedule with Mondays off.

Who are you most excited to see in development this season? What roster decisions stood out to you as assignments were made last week? Has anyone been to any minor league games yet in 2022?