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Gabriel Cancel put up a dozen hits for Omaha

This Week in the Minors: Parrish earns Pitcher of the Week honors for Northwest Arkansas; Cancel on a tear in Omaha; Noah Cameron throws 5 perfect for Columbia

A baseball player with dark brown hair and eyeblack under both eyes standing in a dugout.
Gabriel Cancel in the Omaha dugout on Star Wars night, when the team wore Darth Maul-inspired jerseys.
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?”

This Week in the Minors: Tuesday, May 3 to Sunday, May 8.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (15-14)

schedule | roster

Omaha hosted the Columbus Clippers (CLE), and knocked them out of first place by winning four of the six-game series.

Gabriel Cancel went on a tear this week, with 12 hits that included three doubles. To my eye, it was one of those stretches where he caught every break, with nearly every ball in play finding a hole or sneaking fair down the line. Cancel wound up with an odd batting line: .600/.591/.750, with a .750 average on balls in play.

Outfielder Dairon Blanco hit his first homer of the year as part of an 8-for-18 week. Blanco also stole four bases to give him nine on the season, and take over the team lead from fellow outfielder Brewer Hicklen. Hicklen doubled thrice this week among his seven total hits.

Vinnie Pasquantino is currently the full-time first baseman, with Nick Pratto on the IL with a concussion following a HBP to the head on Wednesday. Pasquantino hit two dingers and a double, and drew four walks against just three strikeouts.

Utilityman Jimmy Govern has seen limited playing time this season, but he came up as big as a batter can in Saturday’s game, hitting a walk-off grand slam when the team was down by three. Not to get overly editorial in this space, but: it was awesome.

Catcher William Hancock made his first Triple-A start and collected his first hit at this level. He should see more playing time with MJ Melendez in the majors. Freddy Fermin is now Omaha’s primary catcher.

Brady Singer pitched five shutout innings on Thursday, allowing just three singles and a walk. He struck out four, and threw 60 pitches (42 for strikes). And some of those pitches were changeups:

A quartet of relievers were nails for the Chasers this week. Both Brad Peacock and Matt Peacock put up zeroes in all their innings, with Brad making three appearances and Matt making two. Yes, Omaha has two Peacocks in their bullpen.

Left-hander Foster Griffin was great in three appearances totaling four innings, allowing zero baserunners and striking out four. He also made this great defensive play:

Righty Jose Cuas was the 9th inning guy three times this week, and three times he kept the Clippers off the scoreboard.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (14-13)

schedule | roster

The Naturals visited the Springfield Cardinals (STL), and came away with a 4-2 series win to get themselves above .500 and stay competitive in the fairly tight Texas League standings.

Left-handed pitcher Drew Parrish was named the league’s pitcher of the week following his 7-inning start in which he allowed zero runs on two hits, with four strikeouts and one walk. This was the third 7-inning start of Parrish’s pro career, and the first of the 2022 season.

Alec Marsh struck out eight and allowed one run on two hits in four innings. It was a good bounceback effort for the righty after he gave up three homers in his previous start. Lefty Marcelo Martinez was sent to Double-A after spending the first month of the season in Omaha, and allowed just one run in a 6-inning start, with seven strikeouts and one walk.

LHP Anthony Veneziano started the first and last games of the series with dramatically different results. Tuesday’s game was disastrous, ending after just 1 23 innings with five runs allowed on four walks and four hits. Sunday, on the other hand, Veneziano threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks.

Center fielder Nick Loftin dropped in double-digit hits, going 10-for-26 with a homer, a triple, and three doubles. All of the doubles came in Wednesday’s win.

Shortstop Maikel Garcia scored 9 runs on 9 hits while playing in all six games. Garcia also drew three walks and stole a pair of bases. His 11 steals on the season are good for the team lead, and put him in the top 5 in the league.

Utilityman Nate Eaton went 6-for-21 with a double and a homer.

Second baseman Michael Massey went 8-for-19 with a double. Right fielder Seuly Matias showed some patience at the plate with five walks in the series, to go with his six hits that included one of each type of extra-base hit.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (11-16)

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The River Bandits went on the road this week to Cedar Rapids, where the first-place Kernels (MIN) took the series 4-2.

Corner infielder Cam Williams homered twice in the series, to give him a team-leading six on the season.

The best pitching start of the week was lefty Tyson Guerrero’s game on Wednesday, in which he shut the Kernels out for five innings, allowing only one hit and striking out a career-high six.

RHP Charlie Neuweiler pitched five shutout frames in his start on Friday, allowing just one single and one walk. Righty Noah Murdock struck out six on Sunday, with two walks and one hit allowed, but no runs.

In relief, left-hander Christian Chamberlain appeared twice, totaling 4 23 innings. In those, the 22-year-old allowed to singles and two walks, and struck out 11 (!) batters. Chamberlain has struck out 19.6 batters per nine innings so far this season.

Righty Anthony Simonelli pitched four relief innings on Saturday, allowing no runs on one hit, with five strikeouts and one walk. Chase Wallace made his Advanced-A debut, and contributed four shutout innings in a pair of two-inning relief appearances.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (10-17)

schedule | roster

Columbia split their home series this week, against the Delmarva Shorebirds (BAL).

Left-hander Noah Cameron followed up a rough game from last week with his best pro start yet: five perfect innings with seven strikeouts. Cameron threw just 60 pitches, with 40 strikes.

Another strong performance came from 23-year-old righty Delvin Capellan, who struck out seven and allowed just one run on three hits in a 5-inning relief appearance. Fellow righty Wander Arias also put up a strong five innings in his lone appearance this week, with 6 Ks and one run allowed on three hits.

Righty Luis Barroso was called upon for the 9th inning twice this week, and produced a pair of no-hit, shutout frames.

Leading the Fireflies lineup in hits were 3B Enrique Valdez and 2B/RF Edgar Martinez, with 8 apiece. Among Valdez’s hits were three doubles and a homer. Martinez hit his first homer of the year.

Left fielder Darryl Collins went 6-for-23 this week with one double. He only struck out once, and walked six times, which evens out his season totals in those categories to 16 of each. Shortstop Wilmin Candelario stole five bases this week, to give him a team-leading 10 on the season.

Anne Rogers provided injury updates on 1B Nick Pratto, LHP Asa Lacy, and RHP Will Klein. Pratto should be back this week-ish from his concussion; Lacy seems to be a few weeks away following an issue with his back, and Klein is rehabbing shin splints.

Who are you most excited to see in development this season? Did you go to any games this week?