‘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?”
This Week in the Minors: Tuesday, April 12 to Sunday, April 17.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (6-6)
The Chasers won four of six in their first home series of the year, against the Louisville Bats (CIN).
Vinnie Pasquantino led the way on offense, going 7-for-16 with a double and a triple. He struck out just once, walked seven times, was hit by a pitch, and stole two bases. On Sunday, he accomplished a career first: a triple and a steal in the same game.
Also checking in with seven hits was third baseman Emmanuel Rivera, whose hits included a homer and two doubles. Nick Pratto split his time on defense among his native first base, two games in right field, and his first-ever game in left. At the plate, he went 6-for-23 with a double, a triple, and a pair of steals. He struck out 7 times, plus two that went in the books as a strikeout but came on clock violations - more on that topic coming in another post!
MJ Melendez’s bat was quieter this week, but he did add a new position to his repertoire when he made his debut in right field on Saturday. Rusty Kuntz spent the week in Omaha working with Melendez and Pratto.
The Storm Chasers got a lot out of their bullpen this week, with six relievers keeping the Bats off the scoreboard in multiple outings:
- RHP Colten Brewer induced six groundouts in his 4.0 innings in a pair of appearances, and struck out three.
- RHP Jose Cuas pitched four innings across three appearances, with five strikeouts, one walk, and just one hit allowed.
- LHP Sam Freeman plunked a batter, but was otherwise perfect in two game-finishing innings.
- LHP Josh Dye came out of the pen twice, and struck out four in 3.1 innings.
- Righties Brad Peacock and Domingo Tapia were each called upon twice, and put up zeroes in the run columns.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (3-6)
The Naturals hosted the Wichita Wind Surge (MIN) and won the first two games, but dropped the other four.
Shortstop Maikel Garcia was on base all the time thanks to five walks and eight hits. He went 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts. In 104 games last season, Garcia stole 35 bags. Center fielder Nick Loftin also swiped three bases this week.
Loftin also made this play:
Oh what a play by Nick Loftin in center field ! @NickLoftin02 hauls this one in to end the top of the 8th! ⭐️@SportsCenter @ESPNAssignDesk #SCTop10 #SportsCenter #Top10— NW Arkansas Naturals (@nwanaturals) April 16, 2022
▲ 8 | Wichita 4 #NWANaturals 2
Right-hander Yefri Del Rosario pitched three shutout innings in relief on Friday, with two strikeouts one single surrendered, and two walks. Lefty Angel Zerpa allowed six hits but no runs in four innings in Saturday’s start.
Alec Marsh racked up nine strikeouts in 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. The right-hander is averaging 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings in his pro career.
In one of the longest starts of his pro career, prospect Asa Lacy struck out seven and walked two, and surrendered two earned runs on five hits.
Asa Lacy. 4/17/22. Thoughts:— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) April 18, 2022
• Control was better than I gave him credit for the first time I watched
• Lefties have absolutely no chance
• His upper body is synced up with his lower half so much more than last year
• When he gets on top of his fastball it’s unhittable pic.twitter.com/NtoiuPmSR4
Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (4-5)
Quad Cities hosted the Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) this week, with two wins and four losses.
Outfielder Tyler Gentry hit his 2nd homer of the year as part of an 8-for-14 week at the plate. Gentry is repeating the Advanced-A level after his 2021 was cut short by an injury last summer.
Left fielder Burle Dixon produced six hits in five games this week, but did strike out 11 times as well, with no walks. Infielder Herard Gonzalez went 5-for-17.
RHP Anderson Paulino took the loss in Sunday’s game, but didn’t give up an earned run in 4.0 innings. He struck out six, walked two, and did not allow a hit. The unearned run that scored came on Paulino’s own fielding error.
Single-A Columbia Fireflies (4-5)
The Fireflies split their series at Charleston (TBR) this week.
21-year-old RHP Eric Cerantola struck out 10 and walked none in a 5-inning start on Saturday. He did surrender a homer among 5 hits. Cerantola was a 5th-round draftee last summer.
KC 2021 5th rounder Eric Cerantola had himself a night. Struck out 10 batters in 5 innings. Command wavered towards the end, but FB was mid 90’s with wicked breaking stuff. pic.twitter.com/F3OwEpc8oX— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor) April 17, 2022
Lefty Noah Cameron allowed just one run via solo homer in a 4-inning start, with no walks and seven strikeouts. Right-hander Heribert Garcia picked up a W in his 5-inning start, allowing one run on five hits, with six strikeouts and no walks. RHP Ben Hernandez pitched four shutout innings in his 2022 debut, with one walk and one hit permitted, and four strikeouts.
Catcher Carter Jensen drew five walks to go with his three hits on the week. And all three of his hits left the yard! Also, Carter Jensen is just 18 years old, 2.7 years younger than the league average age for hitters.
Utilityman Edgar Martinez went 5-for-19 with a pair of stolen bases.
Who are you most excited to see in development this season? Did you go to any games this week? If so - how was the weather? Omaha was freezing and windy, except on Tuesday night when it was warm and tornado-y.