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Nate Eaton is an XBH machine for Omaha

This Week in the Minors: Eaton’s power trip continues; Omaha’s bullpen streaks grow; gems by Veneziano and Cameron

Picture from a low angle of a man in a white baseball uniform and blue cap giving high fives to a line of children.
Nate Eaton giving high fives to some kids on the field before an Omaha Storm Chasers game
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, June 7 to Sunday, June 12.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (29-29)

schedule | roster

Omaha played host to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), and won two of the six games to fall back to .500.

Outfielder Nate Eaton led the way with eight hits this week. He is slugging .596 since his promotion to Omaha on May 27, and added four more extra base hits this week, in addition to four singles. He only struck out once, and drew one walk.

Vinnie Pasquantino only played in the field in the series opener, and served as DH in the other five games. He went 6-for-20 with two homers and a double, plus five walks and just two strikeouts.

In this home run, Vinnie was also dealing with an active nosebleed and had little cotton thingies shoved up his nostrils.

Shortstop Iván Castillo put up six hits as well, including his 2nd homer of the season. Uncharacteristically, he did strike out seven times - a contrast to the 11 times he had struck out the entire season before this series.

Also with six hits this week was Party P Nick Pratto, who had one of each type of XBH, as well as two walks and two HBP. He struck out six times, bringing his season total in that category to 68 in 50 games.

All four of the relievers who had scoreless streaks going last week have added some more goose eggs:

  • Brad Peacock closed out two games, allowing just one hit and no walks. He struck out three. He has now pitched 19 innings in 17 appearances since giving up his last run.
  • Foster Griffin pitched one inning on back-to-back days, bringing his shutout streak to 11 13 IP.
  • Colten Brewer added 1 23 innings to his own shutout streak, which is now at 8 innings in as many appearances.
  • Andrés Núñez pitched three times, totaling 2 23 innings. He is now up to 8 23 across 8 games since his last run surrendered.
  • Lefty Josh Dye is joining the streakers now as well, with no runs given up in his last five games.

Right-handed starter Daniel Mengden had an odd game in his last start before the Royals called him up yesterday. He took a no-hitter into the 7th, but by that point issued five walks and gave up a run on a combination of a walk, a balk, and some sac flies. He finished the 7th after giving up a hit, and ended up allowing three total runs.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (28-28)

schedule | roster

The Naturals were the only team in the system with a winning record this week, winning four of six games at the Tulsa Drillers (LAD) to pull up to .500.

Outfielder Nick Loftin made a lot of noise on the bases this week, stealing four bases to bring his season total to 11. He went 5-for-23 with a homer and a double. Loftin’s season slash line now stands at .287/.350/.438.

Here’s some potential news on second baseman Michael Massey, who has certainly earned a promotion if this comes to fruition:

Catcher Logan Porter is hot at the plate lately, with a 7-game hit streak during which he has gone 10-for-23 with three homers and two doubles. He has also walked six times, compared to seven strikeouts in that span.

Outfielder John Rave homered twice and doubled twice among his five hits this week.

In the second game of a double-header on Thursday, lefty Anthony Veneziano pitched a complete (7-inning) game shutout. He did hit two batters, but otherwise allowed just three singles and one walk. He struck out five and needed just 79 pitches.

An encouraging result from right-handed reliever Will Klein: he struck out seven batters in four innings this week, split among two outings. The only batter to reach against him was one walk.

Adv-A Quad Cities River Bandits (21-36)

schedule | roster

Quad Cities went 2-4 on the road against the Peoria Chiefs (STL).

Center fielder Diego Hernandez is on a streak of five consecutive two-hit games, including each of the four games he played this week. He’s also on an overall 8-game hitting streak, during which he’s slashing .472/.525/.806.

Right fielder Tyler Gentry is on a 7-game hitting streak, including a 6-for-14 showing during the Chiefs series. Gentry is having a great season in his second year with QC, putting up a slash line of .336/.434/.516 in 152 plate appearances.

Infielder Morgan McCullough went 7-for-16 with five walks and a stolen base this week

Lefty Noah Cameron was brilliant in his fourth start at this level. He pitched five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks. He struck out nine, for a total of 33 strikeouts in 18 since his promotion last month.

With the six-game series format, the pitcher who starts the first game often ends up starting the series finale too. That was the case for RHP Charlie Neuweiler, who stumbled a bit in his Tuesday start but came back on Sunday with an absolute gem: six shutout innings, two singles and two walks allowed, and six strikeouts.

Single-A Columbia Fireflies (16-41)

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The Fireflies bookended their series against the Augusta GreenJackets (ATL) with wins, but lost the four in between to leave their record at 16-41. However, the split-season format has returned to some levels, so Columbia is close to having a clean slate for the second half.

In each of the wins, catcher Carter Jensen had a 3-hit day with a homer. In the games in between, he didn’t have any hits. That’s not to say that the team record for the week was Jensen’s fault! It’s just a tidy tie-in.

Speaking of tie-ins, the next batter up is also 18 years old, like Jensen. Shortstop Daniel Vazquez went 7-for-20 on the week, with two stolen bases.

Outfielder River Town homered twice this week, part of a 5-for-20 effort.

The Fireflies were involved in a dustup this week!

Righty Ben Kudrna struck out four and walked one in three innings plus one batter in the fourth. That batter reached on an error and eventually scored, one of two unearned runs against Kudrna in what ended up being a lopsided loss. However, no earned runs scored, for the third start in a row.