‘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 17 to Sunday, May 22.
AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (21-20)
Omaha played host to the St. Paul Saints (MIN) and beat them five times to get back above .500.
Leading the way on offense was first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who went 10-for-24 with five doubles and two home runs, and drove in 13 runs. The second homer cleared not only the outfield concourse that winds beyond the berm, but the large party tent beyond it.
Just call him Vinnie Diesel!#Royals No. 4 prospect Vinnie Pasquantino launched a loooong homer on a career-high five-RBI day for the @OMAStormChasers: https://t.co/WA2Tzn90hq pic.twitter.com/YKaJ9SbwDh— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 23, 2022
Vinnie’s great hitting makes a conundrum for manager Scott Thorman, who also needs to give Nick Pratto everyday playing time. Pratto started three games in right field this week and a pair of games in left. At the plate, Party P (yep, that’s his name and I won’t hear arguments to the contrary, thank you) drew nine (!) walks to give himself an on-base percentage of .467 despite just five hits. Of those five hits, two were dongs and one went for two bases.
Also clocking in with two home runs this week was outfielder Brewer Hicklen. While rotating among all three outfield spots, Hicklen went 5-for-20 with the homers, plus two doubles, one HBP, a pair of stolen bases, and four walks. He did strike out nine times, which has been a hallmark of the season - he has struck out 64 times in 144 at bats on the season.
This baserunning moment was pretty great - watch how Hicklen moves on the basepaths despite his football-player size.
Clay Dungan stole three bases and doubled twice in a 6-hit week. Dungan mostly plays 2B but spent some time at 3B and even center field this week. Third baseman Jimmy Govern went 6-for-13 with a double and a triple.
Five Storm Chasers relievers put up zeroes in the earned run column in multiple outings this week. Time to break out the bullet points!
- Right-handed submariner Jose Cuas: 4 outings totaling 4 1⁄3 innings. Two unearned runs scored on Sunday but the team still won, and it’s great to see someone who can be called upon so often.
- RHP Brad Peacock: 3 outings, 4.0 total innings. 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 singles.
- RHP Colten Brewer: 2 outings, 3 innings. 5 K, 1 BB.
- RHP Arodys Vizcaíno: 3 outings of 1 IP apiece, 8 (!) K, 2 BB, 2 H.
- RHP Andres Sotillet: 3 outings, 2.1 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 H.
AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (18-20)
The Naturals dropped four games to the Arkansas Travelers (SEA) in a road series.
On Thursday, RHP Alec Marsh notched double digit strikeouts for the first time in just over a calendar year, racking up 10 Ks in five innings. EIGHT OF THEM HAPPENED IN A ROW, sorry for yelling, but wow. He surrendered two runs on two hits and two walks, and plunked one batter. Previously, Marsh struck out 11 on May 14, 2021.
Reigning two-time pitcher of the week Drew Parrish kept the Ks coming this week, with 8 strikeouts in 5 2⁄3 innings. Parrish gave up three hits and walked a pair, but both of the runs that crossed the plate against him were unearned.
Northwest Arkansas got some great relief from a Zach and a Zack. Zach Willeman pitched three times, totaling 3 2⁄3 perfect innings. Willeman was the PTBNL in the trade that sent Danny Duffy to the Dodgers. LHP Zack Phillips made two longer appearances, contributing five shutout innings with five strikeouts.
Shortstop Maikel Garcia did a little of everything this week, going 8-for-21 with two doubles and a triple. The 22-year-old also walked five times, stole two bases, and only struck out twice.
Second baseman Michael Massey has been dubbed “Mashey” on Twitter, and brought some power this week. Of his five hits, three were doubles and one left the yard. Massey, 24, also drew three walks and stole a base.
Outfielder John Rave went 7-for-21 with a homer, along with five walks. He struck out five times, and was 1-for-2 in stolen base attempts. Fellow outfielder Tucker Bradley walked four times and stole a pair of bases, to go along with a 6-hit week that included a dinger.
Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (14-25)
The River Bandits won two and lost four in a series at the Dayton Dragons (CIN) that was addled with three separate rainouts.
Left-handed pitcher Noah Cameron was promoted to Quad Cities this week, and announced his presence with authority. In four innings, Cameron struck out 12 (!) of the 17 batters he faced, ultimately giving up two runs on three hits. He walked one and plunked one.
Tyler Tolbert walked five times and had five hits, including three doubles and a triple. While on base all those times, the shortstop stole four bases to secure sole possession of the team lead in that category, with 18.
Center fielder Diego Hernandez went 7-for-18 with two doubles and a homer, and three stolen bases. Right fielder Tyler Gentry homered once and tripled once as part of a 6-hit effort.
First baseman Dillan Shrum hit a home run this week, along with two doubles and a single in 11 at bats. Shrum also walked once and was walked twice, all adding up to a .500 on-base percentage for the week.
Single-A Columbia Fireflies (11-28)
Oh, dear: the Columbia Fireflies dropped each of their six home games to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (CHC) this week.
The big news is that last year’s 1st- and 2nd-round draftees, Frank Mozzicato and Ben Kudrna both made their pro debuts this week. Mozzicato started on Wednesday, throwing three scoreless innings with one hit allowed, three walks, and three strikeouts. Kudrna was saddled with an L in his start on Saturday, despite throwing three perfect innings before allowing just one run on one hit and one walk, in 3 2⁄3 innings. He struck out five, but threw a pair of wild pitches.
Ben Kudrna’s strikeouts was our ABC Quality Play of the Game presented by the South Carolina Department of Social Services from last night! pic.twitter.com/AAXsHD2cPp— Columbia Fireflies (@ColaFireflies) May 22, 2022
Also making his pro debut this week was shortstop Daniel Vazquez, who won’t even turn 19 until December. Vazquez was described as a highlight of the 2021 international signings last winter, and went 4-for-13 with two walks and a stolen base this week.
Left fielder Darryl Collins was solid at the plate, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and a triple, plus four walks. Outfielder River Town had five hits and three walks in his five games this week, plus two HBPs. Town and Collins lead the Fireflies in on-base percentage, with a .383 and .379 respectively.
First baseman Guillermo Quintana drew six walks this week, in addition to hitting a homer among five total hits.
Up for discussion: Did you go to any games this week?