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Dingers galore for Royals prospects

This Week in the Minors: Omaha powers up but Northwest Arkansas mashes even more.

A baseball player in catcher’s gear has his mask pushed up, and is standing grinning toward the camera.
Naturals catcher Sebastian Rivero homered thrice this week in four games.
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, April 26 to Sunday, May 1.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (11-12)

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The Storm Chasers only got to play five games of their planned six-gamer against the Toledo MudHens (DET) this week, thanks to some crappy weather.

A trio of Chasers homered in back-to-back games, Saturday and Sunday: outfielder Dairon Blanco, and first basemen Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino. In addition to the homers, Pasquantino also doubled twice, and only struck out once all week.

Pratto went 7-for-20, with the homers and a double. Off the field, he finally got his hands on the Minor League Gold Glove that he was awarded at the end of last season. Remember, that’s not for just the best in the league or at the Triple-A level, but among all 120 minor league first baseman.

Outfielder Brewer Hicklen went 6-for-18 with a homer and two doubles, and made some spectacular plays on defense.

Brady Singer had never pitched at Werner Park before, and his Papillion debut yielded a 2.2 inning start with one hit on one run, with one walk and three strikeouts. The hit was a solo homer.

Right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaíno added two outings to a bit of a streak he’s on: 5 consecutive shutout appearances, ranging in length from one out to one inning apiece.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (10-11)

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Northwest Arkansas split a home series against the Amarillo Sod Poodles (ARI). A thing you need to know about the Sod Poodles is that there is a Sod Poodles anthem, and also “Sod Poodles” is super fun to say. Sod Poodles!

Lefty Drew Parrish started twice; a fun side effect of the six-game series format is that one starter gets two turns against the same team. In the first, Parrish tossed six shutout innings, striking out six and allowing just one measly single. He received no decision there, in an eventual 11-inning loss. He did get the W in the second one, weathering two runs on six hits in five innings.

Against Sod Poodles (sorry, last one) pitching, several Naturals hitters hit really well. Second baseman Michael Massey went 10-for-24 with three doubles and two homers. Massey leads the team with homers now, with five, and got a cool nickname:

Nate Eaton also went off, with a 10-hit week that included two doubles and a home run, and he also stole three bases. Shortstop Maikel Garcia walked five times in addition to piling up nine hits that included a trio of doubles.

Catcher Sebastian Rivero socked three dingers and doubled twice in just four games. That all adds up to an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.451. Also clocking in with an absurd OPS this week was corner infielder Robbie Glendinning, whose two homers and three doubles contributed to a 1.382 OPS for the week.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (9-12)

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The River Bandits hosted the South Bend Cubs (CHC) this week, and won four out of six games.

Shortstop Tyler Tolbert was on base for almost the entirety of the series, with 10 hits and four walks in 23 plate appearances. That’s good for an OBP of .609. Tolbert hit two doubles and his team-leading third triple of the season, and stole two bases to give him a team-leading nine. Tolbert was a 13th-round draftee out of UAB in 2019.

First baseman Dillan Shrum hit his first homer of 2022 this week, part of a 6-for-11 effort that also included two doubles and four walks.

And check out this note:

A pair of pitchers made successful debuts after being promoted from Columbia this week. Right-hander Chase Wallace threw two no-hit, scoreless innings on Friday, though he did issue a walk and hit a batter. Righty Patrick Halligan came through with three shutout innings on Sunday, striking out two while allowing just one single.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (7-14)

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The poor Fireflies had a rough week, coming away with just one win, and finishing the week on the wrong side of a combined no-hitter at the hands of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (CHC).

Outfielder River Town followed up last week’s monster performance with a perfectly nice 5-for-19, plus three walks and two stolen bases.

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, and why is it Sod Poodles?