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River Town earns player of the week honors

This Week in the Minors: River Town and his 2.167 OPS earn league honors, Vinnie Pasquantino hits some dingers, and more

River Town batting for the Columbia Fireflies

‘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 19 to Sunday, April 24.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (9-9)

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Omaha faced the Memphis Redbirds (STL) and split the series 3-3 to remain a .500 team.

Four Chasers had two-dinger weeks, led by a great overall performance from third baseman Emmanuel Rivera. Rivera went 8-for-25 with two doubles and two homers, but weirdly only wound up with two RBI out of all of that.

Clay Dungan had a few firsts this week, hitting Triple-A homers numbers one and two, and playing right field for the first time in his pro career. Dungan also stole a pair of bases, hit his first triple of the year, and was hit by two pitches.

Another Storm Chaser with a two-homer week was 1B/DH Vinnie Pasquantino. They were his first dingers at Triple-A, and his slash line now stands at .286/.423/.482 since being moved up to Omaha to start the season.

Rounding out the two homers club is outfielder Brewer Hicklen. Hicklen went 6-for-23 with the homers, a double, a triple, and three steals. He also struck out 15 times, which is kind of astonishing. But look at this throw!

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (7-8)

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The Naturals won four of the six games in their matchup at the Frisco RoughRiders (TEX) to improve to 7-8.

LHP Ángel Zerpa had a good start on Friday, with five shutout innings. Zerpa allowed just four singles, one walk, and struck out five. Fellow lefty Drew Parrish struck out four in his start, and allowed one earned run in five innings.

Corner infielder Robbie Glendinning’s stat line this week is brought to you by the number 7: 7 runs scored on 7 hits, with 7 walks and 7 strikeouts. Among those hits were a homer and three doubles.

Second baseman Michael Massey homered thrice, his first three of the year.

Please also enjoy some defensive wizardry from Massey - hang on til the replay at the end to actually see how he snags the ball and makes the throw to first.

Center fielder Nick Loftin homered twice this week, his first two dingers of the season. Utilityman Nate Eaton went 6-for-19 with two steals.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (5-10)

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Quad Cities came away with just one win against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL). But that one win was by a score of 18-1!

Second baseman Herard Gonzalez walked seven times, while also hitting two homers, a double, and a triple, and driving in eight runs. Six of those came in the lone win.

Center fielder Diego Hernandez had a 7-hit week, including one of each kind of extra base hit. Catcher Luca Tresh homered twice and doubled twice as part of a 6-for-18 effort this week.

Right-hander Charlie Neuweiler picked up the W in the team’s lone win, pitching six innings with one run on four hits allowed, one walk, and two strikeouts.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (6-9)

schedule | roster

The Fireflies dropped four games to the Down East Wood Ducks (TEX) at home this week. As we continue to learn about the realigned Minors, I’d like to share that the Wood Ducks play in Kinston, North Carolina, and call themselves the Woodies.

Columbia’s top hitter of the week was outfielder River Town, a 15th-round draftee last summer. Town went 9-for-15 with 4 (!) doubles and 3 (!!) home runs, plus 5 walks. That’s good for an OPS of 2.167 (!!!) on the week. The Carolina League tabbed him as Player of the Week.

Following last week’s 3-homer performance, catcher Carter Jensen kept himself on base a ton this time around. Jensen went 5-for-18 with a homer, with five walks, one HBP, and one intentional walk.

First baseman Guillermo Quintana homered once and doubled four times this week. Quintana and Town are tied for the team lead with doubles, with four apiece - all hit in this series. Shortstop Wilmin Candelario drew seven walks this week, which is more than 10 teammates have all season.

Right-handed starter Luinder Avila earned a Game Score of 70 with a 5-inning performance, allowing zero runs on one hit, with six strikeouts and one walk. By that stat, it was the best start of Avila’s career, which goes back to his signing in 2018 at the age of 16.

Also clocking in with a strong start this week was lefty Noah Cameron, who pitched four shutout innings with just one hit and one walk allowed. He struck out three, and has had better and better games in each of his three starts.

Who are you most excited to see in development this season? Did you go to any games this week? What is your favorite Minor or Independent league team name?